Monday, January 30, 2017

London - Manchester - Liverpool - Aberdeen - London

January 30, 2017 Peace and Good, I landed in London last Saturday to finish off my visitation of the British/Irish custody. Monday I headed out to Manchester where we have a friary and a filial house. Then a short distance up to Liverpool where there is another parish. Then on Friday I headed up to Aberdeen in Scotland where we are chaplains at the University of Aberdeen (which was founded in the 14th century). Then yesterday I flew back to London where I met with the custodial definitory this morning to present my findings. It was a positive report with a number of suggestions on how things could be changed. It is not a question of them doing the wrong thing, but rather they are now ready to do the right things because of circumstances changing. A lot of times on visits I have to be careful not to impose my ideas, but rather to suggest and invite. The weather, for being the end of January in England and Scotland, has actually been quite nice. I actually had sunny days in Manchester and Aberdeen, which at this time of year are slightly more probably than meeting a herd of unicorns. It was good to make contact with some of the friars again whom I had not seen for quite some time. Two of them, Philip and Columbkille, are quite elderly and not all that well. I am here for a couple of days yet and will meet with two friars tomorrow and another one on Wednesday. Then on Thursday I head back to Rome. I finished some reading: The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers by Thomas Mullen This is a strange book which speaks about the death and continued resurrections of two brothers who are bank robbers. This takes place during the depression, and it gives a good insight into the tragedy of this era and how and why bank robbers were considered to be heroes by many of the people. The book never really tells one why the brothers keep resurrecting, but it does provide a good bit of action (at times funny, at times graphic and very messy). Bass, Bill and Jefferson, Jon Beyond the Body Farm by Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson Bill Bass is the man who established the body farm which is an experimental site where bodies are left outside to decay so that forensic scientists can determine how and why things occur as they do. This is a series of stories about a number of cases that he has been involved with since he retired from his full time job. This is not a book for the squeamish, but it is quite interesting. St. Maximilian Kolbe: Saint of Auschwitz by Elaine Murray Stone I do not often reread books, but this one had to be reread for a purpose. It is a relatively short book that details the life and ministry of St. Maximilian Kolbe. I had been asked to give a talk on him to a break out group at the English language catechesis, and I needed to review the details of his life. This books is good because it is not overly detailed, but gave me enough to give a decent presentation. Explorers of the Nile: The Triumph and Tragedy of a Great Victorian Adventure This is a good overview of the men and women who traveled to Africa to determine the source of the Nile and the difficulties of their adventures. At times they overcame horrific experiences. They were often very proud, arrogant men and they often fought among themselves for honors and titles. Their work also often led to unexpected, tragic consequences (e.g. the difficulties in South Sudan today can be traced to decisions made in their days, as well as the brutal colonialization of the Belgian Congo). The Guardian of Mercy by Terrence Ward This is the story of how a couple discovered a masterpiece by Caravaggio that was hanging in a small, almost forgotten Church in Naples. It is also the story of the custodian who was an uneducated man who worked himself up from collecting garbage to being one of the great experts on this painting. It was commissioned by a charity group that wanted to practice the corporal works of mercy, and the painting depicts them (e.g. visiting prisoners, feeding the hungry, burying the dead, clothing the naked, etc.). This is a truly good book, well worth reading. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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