Sunday, March 16, 2014

Ellicott City - Cincinnati - San Antonio

March 16, 2014 Peace and Good, This past week, after I had recovered from my Australia trip, has been giving a parish mission in St. Maximilian Parish in the diocese of Cincinnati. I had been booked to give this parish mission four years ago before I was elected Assistant General. I had backed out of all of the other commitments, but this parish is named after one of our friars (St. Maximilian) and it was its 25th anniversary. The Pastor, Fr. Jeff, had asked me to try to be there. I was glad that I had kept this one commitment. It is a very large parish and very vibrant. The area around the Church continues to grow. I preached on some aspects of the life of St. Maximilian and how we could emulate his spirituality in our own lives. As always with parish missions, I offered the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the afternoon each day, and the line got longer and longer as the week went on. I visited the combined school a couple of times, and I gave a day of recollection to the parish staff (which is quite large). All total, it was a very good experience. I flew down to San Antonio on Friday to visit on of our friaries which is a formation house. There are three postulants (men considering entering the Order) and one post-novitiate student in the house. This is also where Fr. Phil Leh lives who runs a center for illegal immigrants who have become ill. Recently, he has also taken in young men whom the drug lords are pressuring into carrying drugs across the border. If they refuse, the drug lords murder someone in their family. Fleeing to the States is the only way they can protect their family and themselves. I am also using this time in San Antonio to write some reports and get some research done for a day of recollection that I will be giving next week. These are the books that I have finished: The Wolf: The German Raider that terrorized the South Seas During World War I in an Epic Voyage of Destruction and Gallantry by Richard Guilliatt and Peter Hohnen During the First World War, the Germans tried to cut off supplies from the British Isles from their far flung empire. Their main weapon in this battle was the submarine, but they also used a hand full of surface raiders to lay mines and take prize ships. This is the story of one of those ships which especially prowled the Indian Ocean and the Southern Pacific Ocean near Australia and New Zealand. We hear about the crew and also the many prisoners that were held in the hold of the ship. We hear about the denials by the British Government which was afraid of sparking panic among shippers, but who thus denied a means of providing safety to those very shippers. The book is an interesting account of a long and perilous journey (one that lasted over a year). For the Thrill of it: Leopold, Loeb and the murder that shocked Chicago by Simon Baatz This is the story of a shocking murder that occurred in Chicago in the 1920’s. Two young men decided to kill a young boy for the thrill of killing someone. The tragic story also speaks of their trial. While they declared themselves guilty, there was a trial to determine whether they would be sent to prison or executed. Clarence Darrow served as the attorney defending one of the boys. Ultimately they were not executed because of their young age. One of the two died in prison, while the other was eventually released and married. One gets a sense of the post-World War I sense of decadence in which everything could and was being done. Helsinki Homicide: Nothing But the Truth by Jarkko Sipila This is a detective story written by a Finnish author which takes place in Helsinki. It is about a woman who gives witness at the murder trial of a mob boss and who then suffers the consequences. I like books like this which are not set in our own cultural environment. It gives a different view of the world. The only difficulty is the names which are all Finnish and for an American can be a bit difficult to sort out. The Autumn Bridge by Takashi Matskoka This is a very interesting book that spans a 500 year period from the Middle Ages to the opening of Japan to outsiders in the 19th century. It is the story of a family that has the gift to see the future and how one woman in history keeps visiting the men of that family as a “ghost”. One gets to see how chaotic the intervention of Westerners was in a society that had been static for centuries. There is the question of how Americans judged the Japanese and visa versa. This book deals with so many interesting questions that it is difficult to sort out the most important message. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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