Monday, March 27, 2017

Reno, NV - Hermosa Beach, CA - Ellicott City, MD - Rome, Italy

March 28, 2017 Peace and Good, I have been on the go for quite some time now, finishing off my visitation to the California province and then having a long meeting in Ellicott City with the heads of the various jurisdictions in our federation (Australia, Canada, US, Great Britain and Ireland). The visitation in California went quite well. I was able to give a couple of talks in the parish in Hermosa Beach and celebrated a couple of Masses on the weekend. I always feel very much at home when I visit that parish. Our meeting of the federation also went well, but by the end of the week I could feel that the batteries were drained. I am trying to take it slow for these first couple of days back in Rome to recharge things a bit. When I am out on visitation, I don't really feel that tired until towards the end for the effect seems to be cumulative. There were a lot of extremes in weather throughout the trip as well, and that tends to have an effect. I am in Rome for a week to catch up on some of my paperwork, and then we have a week of definitory. I will be heading back to the States on Palm Sunday and will be in the US for three weeks (two in Ellicott City and one in Chicago). On the trip over here from Baltimore, my seating was messed up on one flight and I missed the other flight due to delays in the arrival of the first flight to London. I was very impressed at the way that British Air resolved the problems. They tend to be very efficient. I finished some books: End of War: Europe, 1945 by Charles Whiting This account deals with the last months of the war, especially from the point of view of the war in northern Germany. We hear about Montgomery’s attack against the Germans in a push to the Baltic so that the English could block the Russians from the route to Denmark. We then hear of the end of the Nazi regime and of their surrender to the allied forces. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo This is a tragic account of families living in a slum outside of the Mumbai airport and how they struggle to survive. You hear about the constant bribery for everything that people want or need. This is especially true because the very people who want the bribes the most are those who should be protecting them (police, members of the justice system, etc.). One is left with a feeling of the pointlessness of the struggle, and yet many people hold on and not only survive but even find a way to thrive. The Wicked Wit of Winston Churchill by Dominique Enright This is a collection of the witticisms of Churchill. He was brilliant and used language both for the good and for other purposes. He was able to disarm his opponents with clever expressions. He was not always kind but almost always funny. Venice: Pure City by Peter Ackroyd This is an impressive account of the history and culture and politics of the city of Venice. It is presented as the ultimate city built upon water. The author over and over again shows how this fact influenced the life and thought of those who were found there. This was theoretically a republic, but was actually much more of an aristocracy. The needs of the city were considered to be much more important than the rights of the individual. This was a center of great beauty, but also a closed, very mercantile society. The account is quite poetic and is quite elegant in its description. The World of Byzantium by Kenneth Harl This is one of the Teaching Company’s courses. This one covers the history of the Roman Empire in the East from the time of Constantine the emperor until the fall of Constantinople which became Istanbul. It covers both the history and the culture and politics of this empire. Some of it is extraordinarily magnificent, while other episodes are sadly decadent and sordid. The course is well done and well worth the effort. St. Paul: The Traveler and the Roman Citizen by William Ramsay This is a dated study of St. Paul from the Acts of Apostles. Ramsay did his work in the 19th century, so he was not familiar with much of the archaeological information that has been discovered since his time. He is filled with details, however, which, even if I did not necessarily agree with all of his conclusions, nevertheless offered good raw material for a better understanding of Paul and Luke who wrote Acts. Overall, I would recommend this book as long as one knew from the start that it is dated. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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