Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Rome - Lisbon - Porto - Viseu - Coimbra - Fatima - Lisbon - Dublin - Wexford

November 9, 2016 Peace and Good, Sorry that this blog is a bit late, but the past week my computer was down for the count, sidelined by a bad virus. I use two anti-virus programs each day, but I travel so much that a virus is always a bad possibility. Fortunately, I didn't lost anything, so other than being off the net for a week, there was no big harm. We have been in Portugal for the past two weeks. The first week we did some tourism to sites where our friars are located. Porto is where Port wine originates. Coimbra is the city where St. Anthony joined our Order. This is also the place where the relics of the first five martyrs of the Franciscan Order are housed. We were at Fatima for a meeting to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Milita of Mary Immaculate, a movement founded by St. Maximilian Kolbe. This past week we had our usual definitory in Fatima. We took a bit of time out to see the sites around the city. Most of the friars were very impressed by Fatima, but I was not all that moved. It is not that I didn't like it, but I did not find myself drawn to it (as I very much was in Guadalupe in Mexico). This Sunday I flew into Ireland to do a canonical visitation here. We have two friaries: in Dublin we have a parish and in the Southeast, Wexford, we have a shrine church. The friars here are doing a great job. The weather is pretty much what you would expect in Ireland at this time of year. I will be leaving for San Francisco this coming Friday. I have finished some books: The Herald by Leslie Glass A reporter from the Herald comes to the site of a crime which appears to be a murder-suicide. He arrogantly tries to interview the presumed widow of the deceased married man even before she has been informed about her husband’s death. In the meantime, a detective is trying to sort out what really happened, especially since everyone had assumed that it was a love affair gone bad and the woman who was killed turns out to be the step-sister of the deceased. The story is well written with a few good twists and turns. The Defector by Daniel Silva I usually don’t reread books, but those by Silva are almost as good the second time through A Russian defector is kidnapped from the streets of London, and Gabriel Alon, who brought the defector to the west, has to sort it all out with his team. In the meantime, his own wife is kidnapped and held for ransom (the return of the children of a Russian arms merchant-oligarch who is living in the States. All of Silva’s books are well written. The Great Pleasure Project by Tim Neville This is the story of two men who travel to North Korea to try out the ski slops of a new mega-resort built by the present dictator of the country. There is a tremendous disconnect between the luxury of the resort and the way normal people live There is a constant sense of being watched and controlled by the communist minders. While the slopes are fine, the whole experience leaves both the author and the reader distinctly uncomfortable. Cities of the Ancient World by Steven Tuck This is a 24 lesson series on various cities of the ancient world from the Teaching Company. It is a thorough examination of the phenomenon of city life from the earliest ancient city Catal Hayuk in Turkey up to Rome and Constantinople. It speaks of the various city plans, spaces for commerce, residential houses and central administration (which includes both civil government and religious shrines). It speaks of defenses of the city and why they were needed. It also tries to draw lessons from ancient cities that might be applied to the cities of our own day. It is well done. A Tale of a Tub by Patricia Marx This is the account of a travel author who takes a trip from the States to Hamburg, Germany in a commercial freighter. Unlike what one would expect, it is not all that much cheaper than a cruise boat. The food is forgettable, the amusements minimal, the accomadations are sufficient but not much more than that. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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