Sunday, March 1, 2015


March 2, 2015 Peace and Good, This past week has been another week of General Definitory. This time we went two weeks, which I have to admit is a bit much. By the end of the second week, you are about ready to agree to another just to get the meeting over with. We did deal with some very good things, however. We took a trip over to our international theology faculty, the Seraphicum, which is located in the suburbs of Rome. We met with the faculty there and talked about the future of the institution. We are working to auto-finance the institution by using spaces that are going to waste in order to leave more funds for the education of our students in the Third World. We have a brother there, Corrado, who comes from Padua and is brilliant in getting things set up the way they are supposed to be (which is Rome is a miracle because there are so many regulations here and they seems to change every six hours). Throughout this past week there has been a musical festival at our Basilica here. It is dedicated to Frescobaldi, a Baroque musician in the Franciscan tradition. These sort of things help to get our basilica known in the area, something we have been working on for the past couple of years. Already one can see the results in our Mass attendance in the morning. We used to get four or five people, and now there are 30 to 40. It is a good start. This week I will be home until Thursday when I scoot over to Oxford for a couple of days for a meeting. Once I get back, I will be starting a whole series of trips. I spent a lot of last week getting plane and train tickets ready for the next few months. I have finished some books: Nibble, Nibble, Crunch by Willow Rose This is one of the horror stories contained in a collection of four by a Danish author. She tells of a young girl who finds a snow man in her back yard. The snow man then proceeds to eat a dog and several people, making them into auxiliary snow people. Her mother does not want to believe her story, but she is eventually helped by a man who lost his girl friend and by her father who kills the snow people with a blow torch. It is the sort of wicked nightmare that one might experience on a very bad winter day. God’s War by Christopher Tyerman This is a thorough portrait of the various crusades of Christians against the Muslims. There were the official attacks led by kings and royal families, and there were unofficial attacks by bands of fervent Christians which often led to disaster. The word crusade was also used for attacks which took place in the Baltics against the Slavic pagans and also in France against the Albigensian heresy. The author is realistic of his portrait of the organization, motivations and conduct of the fighting and, all too often, the slaughters of people who had little to do with the fighting (e.g. the Jewish people in the Rhineland). The Magicians of Caprona by Diana Wynne Jones This is an almost fairy tale story of how two families of magicians in an Italian town must learn to overcome their differences and their long held but little understood feuds in order to defend their beloved city against the forces of evil. The Dinosaur Feather by S.J. Gazan This is a very strange Danish novel about a murder of a Danish professor of paleontology by a gruesome method: he is fed tapeworm eggs which then hatch and eat his body from the inside. There is also the story of a long term fight between various professor over their theories, and also of a young woman who is working for her doctorate but who must uncover various secrets in her past so that she might find out why she is so angry. No one in the story comes out looking all that well. Wild Bill Donovan by Douglas Waller This is the story of the founder of the OSS, the predecessor of the CIA. He was drafted by President Roosevelt to set up an intelligence agency during World War II, a task which he had to undertake from scratch. His story interested me because he was born in Buffalo, New York, my home town. He was not necessarily the best organizer, but he was a charismatic figure who did a remarkably good job in establishing spies and counter-intelligence throughout the battle fields of the war. He, himself, was not that nice a person: overly ambitious, a womanizer, etc. It is possible in the next few months that I will be repeating a book or story that I already cited. I lost some memory on my computer and had to reconstruct some things from my own quite fallible memory. I hope you have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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