Sunday, November 16, 2014

Ellicott City (Baltimore) - Clifton, NJ - Bridgeport, CT

November 15, 2014 Peace and Good, I hope you are all well. I finished off some slower days at Ellicott City this past week and travelled to Newark, NJ to first of all visit my publisher, Catholic Book Publishing Company, and then to conduct a visitation at one of our friaries in Clifton. I have been writing for Catholic Book for some 30 years now. Most of what I have done is children's books, but I have also done some meditation books and some Bible Study Books. Since I have been on the road with my ministry as Assistant General, it has been tougher for me to keep up with writing and taping, but I do what I can. I can steal an hour here and there and so I can do shorter projects. The parish at Clifton was originally a parish of my home province, but at the chapter we handed it over to the Canadian custody which is for Polish people. Probably 60% of the parish is Polish, including most of the young people (although their children quickly become Americans). Three of the four friars there are new, so the friary community is just getting off the ground. One of the old timers at the parish is Br. Ed Handy who works for Catholic Charities in an Aids center. He looks like a 60 year old, and I was shocked when he said that he was already 74. He is a good source of common sense wisdom for the younger friars in the community. Two of the other friars had been missionaries in Kenya, and the third just moved in from South Boston. The next stop was Bridgeport. There were two friars there who I know for decades, and one new one whom I met once while he was serving in Ireland. This is a more Polish parish with probably 70% coming directly from Poland. Many of the older Americans are now home bound. The friars here do a great job in ministering to them. Fr. Stefan, who is from Poland, is one of the kindest and gentlest priests I have ever met. Fr. George Maslar from OLA province works at a local nursing home. He is already 77, but he is still on the go. This afternoon the friars are running me up to Boston which is the next stop in the visitation I finishing the following books: The Neighbor by Dean Koontz This is a novella which speaks about a young girl and boy who have terrible parents and must face the perils of a haunted house right next door. What makes it worse is that the person haunting the house is a pervert who has ogled the girl and had killed another young girl and buried her in his basement. The story is well written, as are all of Dean Koontz’ works. Waiting Out Winter by Kelli Owen This is a short story about an infestation of flies which carry an incurable disease. It turns out that the government released the flies to combat an infestation of worms that were eating up the forests, but they released the wrong batch of flies. Society degenerates as everybody hides in their own houses out of fear of contact with the disease. It is a post-apocalyptic vision of the break down of society, but seen from one family’s viewpoint. No Simple Victory by Norman Davies This is a long and very detailed overview of World War II by a British scholar who had done most of his studies on the countries of Eastern Europe, especially Poland. His premise is that while almost everyone condemns the crimes of the Nazis, they often overlook the crimes of Stalin who was just as bad in his own way. He compares the War in the East to a battle between two groups of gangsters. He tries of give a balances overview of the story. He treats the European theater of war and all but ignores the Pacific. This is a very studied, very worthwhile book on the topic. The bearded Lady: The Adventures of Ellery Queen This is another of the short stories in the Ellery Queen genre. In this one, Ellery is looking for a murderer of a man who painted a beard on a portrait as a clue to his murderer. The only problem is that the beard is on a woman in the painting. He is able to figure out from this insignificant clue and a couple of other details who killed the victim. Take care and Shalom fr. Jude


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