Monday, September 3, 2018

Rome - Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam - Seoul, South Korea

September 4, 2018 Peace and Good, After a couple of days of rest following the General Chapter, I went out on the road again. The first trip was to Saigon in Vietnam. I had asked the Minister General to stop there on my way to Korea to attend the ordination to the priesthood of three of our friars and to the diaconate of two of the other friars. The delegation there is doing very well. The friars have a wonderful spirit, a real joyful attitude. There is a sense of hope and future possibilites. They are at an important point right now in their developement, for the first friars to complete formation are now leaving the seminary and the friars there have to find a number of new apostolates for them. Furthermore, the numbers in formation continue to be good, so I can see them becoming a custody at the end of four years or so. I travelled to Vietnam with fr. Louis. P, who is the Secretary for Formation for the Order. This was his first time there, while I have visited four or five times already. The friars there are building a new seminary for their postulants (the first stage for those coming into the Order). They only began a couple of months ago, but it is already well along. The Vietnamese are quite industrious, and they tend to finish projects beforetime and under budget. On Sunday I flew to Seoul which was about five and a half hours from Saigon. I am here to do a half term visit to a province that I have visited canonically twice already. At the end of a visitation, we give a series of recommendations, and I am here to see how they are doing with what was suggested. I have finished some reading: The Enthusiast by Jon Sweeney This is the story of Brother Elias, one of the early companions of St. Francis. He was one of the first Minister Generals of the Order, but after the death of Francis he seems to have betrayed the charism of the Order’s founder. He even ended up being excommunicated for his siding with the Holy Roman Empire against the Pope. The book is supposed to be about Elias, but it really is more about Francis with Elias thrown in until after Francis’ death. World War II Biographies by Hourly History This is a series of short biographies on such figures as Ernst Rommel, Benito Mussolini, Adolph Hitler, George Patton and Joseph Stalin. The presentations are a quick overview, but they nevertheless provide some good information on each of these people and how they influenced the outcome of the war. Terminal Freeze by Lincoln Child I have read a number of books by the team of Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston which includes the Special Agent Prendergast series. This one is by Lincoln Child alone and it deals with an Artic expedition to find traces of previous eras in the melting ice (due to global warming) of a glacier. The team comes across a frozen animal, possibly a saber tooth tiger. The TV firm that is funding the expedition decides to defrost the animal live on TV. They send a team for this TV special. The animal, though disappears. It has defrosted itself and it turns out to be a much more dangerous animal than expected. The rest of the book is about the team’s hunting it and its hunting them. It is quite well done. The Khufra Run by Jack Higgins A nun is looking for a plane full of treasure that her family tried to carry out of Algeria around the time of independence. She finds two disreputable but nevertheless not that bad characters who assist her in the hunt, the proceeds of which will be used to build a hospital for the needy. An evil Algerian colonel seeks to steal the treasure. This particular volume by Higgins bears a remarkable similarity to another of his books in which the treasure is hidden in a delta in Vietnam. The Name of God is Mercy by Pope Francis This is a two part book. The first part is an extended interview of Pope Francis on the topic of mercy. The second part is the text of the document that he wrote to inaugurate the Holy Year of Mercy that we celebrated a couple of years ago. There is nothing new here, but it is good to hear what it contains. Wolfgand Amadeus Mozart by Hourly History This is one of the short biographies that speaks of the life and times of Mozart. It gives an honest appraisal of his life and influences, especially that of his father. It shows how he learned from previous masters and was a source of learning for those who followed. It speaks of some of the misconceptions contained in the famous movie Amadeus. This is well done. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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