Sunday, November 1, 2015

Rome - Nairobi - Limuru

November 2, 2015 Peace and Good, I am now in Kenya for the canonical visitation of the friars here in preparation for their custodial chapter. There are around 38 friars in all, five communities. They are growing very nicely. They are in charge of the national Marian Shrine in Sabukia where I am headed this morning. The friars are very welcoming. I have enjoyed my visit so far. Mass yesterday went about 2 hours and 20 minutes, but as always in Africa, there is a spirit of energy and joy. The young men in formation are filled with energy and dreams, which is a very good sign. I have to remind them to go at a slow pace to make sure they don't make any big mistakes, but so far they are doing everything right. They are taking a new site in Mombassa near the coast to establish a retreat house, which will be the first in the diocese. The bishops have been begging for our presence, largely because of the good work the friars are doing in Sabukia. This custody was founded by the Polish friars from the Gdansk Province. They have done just about everything right. They did not build large structures that would be impossible for the local friars to continue. They did not shower them with money. They put locals in charge as soon as possible. I have to congratulate them for their good work. I will be in Kenya until the 13th of this month, and then on to Rome for a few days. I have finished some reading: 460 Days by Amanda Lindhout with Sara Borbett This is the story of a young man and a young woman who are kidnapped by Somali rebels. They are held hostage until their ransom is collected from their families. At one point, they concoct an escape, but they are captured even before they can get out of the town where they are being kept. When I read stories like this, I just have to ask myself why people would travel to lands where there are so many people kidnapped regularly. Is it for the thrill? Do they have a right to put their families to so much pain? The Rope of Fear by Thomas Hanshew This is a simple British story about a bank theft and the murder of one of the guards. A brilliant detective manages to put all the clues together and name to perpetrator and recover the money. It is typical of those stories that attempt to duplicate the mystique of the Arthur Conan Doyle stories, but it is more a wannabe than a success. The Collectors by David Baldacci Over the years, I have occasionally bought a book that I had already read or listened to years ago. This was the case of the collectors. Unlike most of the others, though, the second time through was just as enjoyable as the first time. A group of unusual misfits in Washington DC who call themselves the camel club solve mysteries such as the murder of the friend of one of them at the Library of Congress. What was first thought to be a simple heart attack turns out to be a murder perpetrated by a spy ring. There is a side story about the wife of the murdered man who turns out to be a con artist. The book is very, very good. Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba … and then lost it to the Revolution by Ronald English When prohibition ended, the mob in the United States was looking for another way to cash in on the vices of Americans. They came up with the idea of coopting the president of Cuba (Battista) and owning a series of casinos that would provide opportunities of gambling, sex and booze. Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky were the first to see the potential. They saw Cuba as a base of expanding to an international crime empire. The only fly in the ointment was the revolution led by Fidel Castro. In spite of the repressive techniques used by Battista, Castro, almost by accident, managed to take over and expel the mob from Cuba. Detroit an American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff This is the story of a newspaper journalist who travels back to his home town to work for one of the big Detroit papers. He finds a city in a terminal stage of degredation. He speaks about the corrrupt system in which those who lead the city always take huge cuts, even if it means that critical services are not offered. He speaks about arrogant politicians who would rather fight and argue than solve problems. He speaks about a a fire fighter department and police department which cannot receive even the simplest equipment that could have saved lives. He also speaks about the loss of jobs due to the implosion of the car industry and how the mistakes and leadership and unions caused this disaster. It is a sad story, but one that must be told as a warning to many big cities of what could happen to them. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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