Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Buffalo, NY - Alfreton, England - Rome - Newark

September 27, 2017 Peace and Good, The funeral for my niece, Jillian, went very well. A good number of the family was there, and even though there had been no obituary, the chapel was full. It was a great consolation. Last week I was back in Alfreton at the Hayes Conference Centre for the second part of the provincial chapter. I played a role that I had not really expected. On Saturday, fr. Justin Biase, an ex-provincial of the Immaculate Conception Province (which is now part of my own province, Our Lady of Angels) had a major heart attack after a triple by-pass operation. I called our provincial and suggested that it might be a good idea for him to remain in the States and not go to England for the second part of the chapter. I could cover for him. He agreed, and it was for the best for fr Justin eventually passed away. Justin was a truly good man, beloved by those with whom he came into contact. The second part of the chapter went very well. The friars made a decision to accept an invitation to serve at the National Marian Shrine of Walsingham. This shrine dates back to 1061, and was destroyed by Henry VIII. It was rebuilt in the past century both by Anglicans and Catholics. This gives us a great opportunity to serve both Catholics and Anglicans. I was very pleased that the friars wanted this. The custody of Great Britain has had a rough time in these years, but recently it has been doing quite well. This chapter seemed to be a turning point. It is no longer just surviving. It is preparing for the future - dreaming! Something very, very good happened last week. By the end of last week, fr. Justin had passed away. It meant that I had to fly to Rome on Saturday for a meeting that evening, and then fly out again on Sunday to Newark. The funeral was yesterday in Brooklyn. It was very important for me to be there, and the friars were very appreciative. Tomorrow I fly back to Rome. I finished some reading: The Civilian Conservation Corps: The History of the New Deal’s Famous Jobs Program during the Great Depression by Charles River Editors My father and uncle were in the CCC, so this book especially interested me. It was a New Deal program to give jobs to youths so that they would find a bit of hope and they could help their families to survive. The pay was low, and the work was mostly conservation and park construction. Yet, if one travels to any of our National Parks, one is bound to find a shelter or trail or something else that they built. Gettysburg: A History for the People by John Cox This is a rather complete account of the battle of Gettysburg. The telling reaches to level of the brigades and regiments, as well as calling upon personal accounts from the battle. It is a good history book, but can be a bit tedious for someone who is not fascinated by all things historical. The Forbidden City: The History of the Chinese Imperial Palace of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing by Charles River Editors This is the account of the construction and the maintenance of the Forbidden City in Beijing. This was the home of the emperor and his entensive retenue. It is a major tourist attraction today. The Irish Potato Famine by Charles River Editors This short book gives an outline of the tragedy of the Potato blight in Ireland in the 19th century that led to over one million deaths and countless more emigrating to the US, Canada and Australia. It also tells of the furiously poor response of the British government to this crises, for much of what they did actually made the disaster worse. Rotten Ice by Gretel Ehrlich This is a science short story in which the author accompanies residents of Greenland in their hunts for walrus and seals upon the ice off the shore. Over the years, the ice has become thinner and more dangerous. This has destroyed a hunter-gatherer form of life lived by these people. This is obviously a reference to the effects of global warming upon the ice pack that holds much of the world’s fresh water supply. The Assassination of President James Garfield by Charles River Editors This is a short account of the death of President James Garfield, the second president to be assassinated in the United States. He was killed by a mentally disturbed man who thought that he was due an important posting in the diplomatic corp. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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