Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Manila - Ho Chi Minh (Saigon)

January 31, 2018 Peace and Good, I finished off the week in Manila for the custodial chapter. I had given the opening afternoon of recollection, and I had also been asked to preach at all the Masses. That went very well. It is remarkable how a five minute homily can set the tone for a day. The days were also spent doing some editing on a text for one of the friars concerning the history of the break between the Conventual Franciscans and the Friars of the Immaculate. You might remember that I am the liason for those friars who are seeking to enter our Order from that group. On Sunday fr. Benedict and I travelled from Manila to Ho Chi Minh. The trip was only two hours, and the passport control was very easy (I had gotten an e visa). The trafic in the city is every bit as chaotic as I remember. There are still thousands of motor bikes, but I noticed a lot more cars as well. I had last been here in October of 2014, and I noticed quite a few changes in the area around the airport with many new stores and nice restaurants. Vietnam is doing quite well economically due to the movement of factories from China to here in quest of a land with lower wages. I and fr. Benedict are here to have a canonical visitation. This delegation was founded around 13 years ago, and it is growing nicely. We see some growing pains, and also we see that we are arriving at a transition period in which the energy must be refocused on reaching outside of the community. Up to now most of the work has been in the formation of young friars, but now a number of them are finishing their formation program and we have to find apostolates for them to do. There is a wonderful spirit among the friars. I am very impressed with them, and I hope they keep this spirit of collaboration as they grow. I see this as a real gem in the future. fr. Benedict and I will be travelling up to the Hanoi area on Sunday to visit some friars up there. Then on Thursday we will be returning to Rome. I have finished some reading: Elizabeth Kolbert The Siege of Miami This is a study of the effects of global warming based on the rising of the water level in Miami Beach. This is alredy happening, and it is creating a situation in which every time there is a high tide, streets are being flooded. This is due to the melting of the glaciers in Greenland and Antartica. No matter how one argues the cause of the global warming, the evidence that it is happening is no longer debatable. The Actual Hollister by Dave Eggers We have seen people wearing clothes that have the name Hollister on it all over the place. This author visits the actual Hollister, CA. Interestingly, they don’t sell clothing in that city that has the name on it because the store that markets the brand does not have a store there. What makes the story a bit more interesting is that the man visiting Hollister is a descendant of the founder of the city. Rasputin’s Revenge by John Lescroat This is a mix of the story of the last years of the Romanov Dynasty, the machinations of Rasputin, the mad monk, and, believe it or not, a sequel to the Sherlock Holmes story. While that seems to be a daunting combination, the story is really not all that bad. It is narrated by a French diplomat who has come to Russia to try to keep them in the war on the side of the allies. I would say that, if you want an easy and entertaining read, this fits the bill. The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton I had seen the movie many years ago, but this was on sale so I bought it on Kindle and decided to read it. I was very pleasantly surprised at how good it was. This is the first book I read in which the protagonist is not the people in the book but rather the scientific process used in trying to identify and respond to a micro organism which had landed on the earth and seems to have a devastating lethality. Give me Back my Legions by Harry Turtledove This is the fictional account of the battle between the German leader Herman (Armonius) and the Roman legate Varus. It ends with the massacre of three Roman legions in the Teutenborg Forest, a loss of about 15% of the entire Roman forces in the world at that point. It is the tension between accepting an invading force that seems umbeatable and gathering a disperate disunified force of combatants to defend the traditional ways. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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