Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Van Mon (near Hanoi) - Rome - Holyoke, MA - Rome

February 14, 2018 Peace and Good, This past couple of weeks took an unexpected turn. I was at the leprosy village outside of Hanoi when I heard of the passing of fr. Donald Kos. The General and I had accompanies him home to the States on December 9th after having spent 59 years in Italy. He had served both the Order and the Church in a number of responsibilities. When he arrived in the States, his health was already in decline, but we did not realize how much until a week before his death when we were told that they had discovered widely metastasized cancer. It is remarkable that they had not discovered this in his many visits to the hospital in his last months here in Italy. He was placed on hospice care and died a week later. fr. Donald was a man of incredible dedication. He was a canon lawyer, and at times they can be legalistic. That was not fr. Donald. He was always a humble servant. The General wrote me in Vietnam saying that it would be a good idea for me to accompany him to the funeral which was to be held in Holyoke. Last Thursday I flew from Hanoi to Rome, and then Friday from there to Boston. The funeral was the next day, and then we made our return trip to Rome on Sunday night. This is an itinerary I would not recommend. I worked out yesterday that in the past month I have flown around 35,000 km. This week we have a meeting of our definitory. I have three presentations to make, but all three had been completed before I started this long trip so I am ready with the paperwork. We end on Saturday. I have finished some books: Pope Francis’ Little Book of Wisdom by Andrew Kirk Assaf This is a nice collection of the sayings of Pope Francis. It is arranged thematically, and is not all that profound, but a nice meditation nevertheless. I think that many of the thoughts come from his daily tweets and his daily homilies. A Certain Justice by PD James This is the second time that I have read this book, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it both times. The first third of the book sets up the figure of the person who was to be murdered. She was a driven lawyer in London who has a daughter who hates her, a lover who wants to break it off, a younger colegue who she wants to expose for bribery, etc. The inspector is Adam Daglish, a somewhat eccentric investigator who works well with his staff. PD James is an excellent author. The Amish: The History of America’s Oldest and Most Unique Communities by Charles River Editors This is one of the short studies produced by Charles River Editors. It gives a history of the community, an outline of their theology, and especially a description of their practices. It is sympathetic without being fauning. It found it a good read. The Ark of the Covenant by Charles River Editors This study of the Ark of the Covenant is a bit strange and not one of the better studies produced by Charles River Editors. The author begins with some strange theories about what the Ark meants, suggests that there were many arks over the years (without any credible evidence), and then tries to describe the disappearance of the ark. I can’t say that I learned anything valuable from this study. Lisey’s Story by Stephen King Thw widow of a famous writer must confront a madman who claims that he wants her to donate some of her husbands archives to a particular university, but whose real purpose is to hurt her as much as he can. She must resort to seeking a strange and wonderful (sometimes) world which her husband had used as a refuge from his abusive father and insane brother and from which he drew much inspiration for his stories and books. As always, King is a wonderful storyteller, and this book is no exception. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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