Monday, November 25, 2019

Lusaka - Ndola - Garnerton - St. Joseph Mission - Rome

November 26, 2019 Peace and Good, I have finished my weeks in Zambia and returned to Rome. The primary reason for my stay in Zambia was to preach a retreat to the National Conference of Bishops. That went very well. I covered two Gospels: Matthew because that is what we will be using in this coming liturgical year, and John for some spiritual insights for the bishops. There were 11 in all. We were at Mt. Zion retreat house just outside of Lusaka. Zambia is having a terrible problem with electricity. They use mostly Hydro power, and they have been suffering from a drought. They are just now entering rainy season. At the retreat house, we had power from midnight to 4 AM. All throughout my travels in Zambia, the power was very restricted, and there was hardly any internet connection. After the retreat, I flew to Ndola. On Sunday I celebrated Mass in our parish in Kitwe, and then Monday through Wednesday I had conferences for the novices (6 of them). Then I went to St. Joseph's Mission for two days of conferences with the postulants. There are 19 of them, 4 in the second year and 15 of them in the first year (14 from Zambia and 1 from Angola). It was very hot, and the bugs were more than abundant except for St. Joseph Mission which is blessed with many swallows which love to eat the mosquitos. I am back in Rome to change my suitcase, for tomorrow I head out to the States for a week (mostly routine doctor's exams). I finished some reading: The Black List by Brad Thor The hero of the story is part of a secret group which works under contract with the government for the elimination of the country’s worst enemies. The problem is that his own group has been put on the black list, fated for elimination themselves. He has to uncover the reason for this condemnation and reverse its effects. The author is a bit to the right of what I am comfortable, but one only sees this in comments here and there. The Apology of Socrates by Plato This is the first time that I have read this particular work. It was part of a masterpieces of literature collection that I got on my Kindle. So often I have heard about this, but had never actually picked it up. I am very glad that I read this version of Socrates’ defense as reported by Plato. Instead of denying what he said and did or begging for mercy, Socrates simply shows that he was in the right and that the Athenians would be condemning themselves by condemning him. This is the work in which he speaks of the necessity to live an examined life. It is well worth reading. Alfred Nobel: the Life and Legacy of the Famous Scientist and the Nobel Prizes by Charles River Editors This is a quick biography of Alfred Nobel, the man who invented dynamite and who dedicated much of his fortune to the awarding of prizes for various services to humanity (peace, literature, economics, science, etc.). A Vast Conspiracy by Jeffrey Toobin This is a full report on the Clinton scandals and impeachement procedure. It is very well done, and Toobin does not try to take sides. It turns out that both sides have more than enough to apologize for having done. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about what happened, as long as they can stomach the sleeze. Ludwig van Beethoven: The Classic Romantic by The History Hour This is one of those short biographies. This one is a bit strange for it goes into quite great detail about the music, using a lot of terminology with which I was not familiar. It also deals a lot with who the eternal beloved, the love figure of Beethoven, might have been (without giving a definitive answer). It was not all that good. Forever Odd by Dean Koontz I very much like this series by Dean Koontz. Odd can see ghosts (who do not speak to him). He works to help them find peace and to go to the other side. This particular volume deals with a woman who is very strange and who is fascinated with ghosts. She tries to force Odd to conjure up some ghosts for her. There is some very good spirituality in each of the stories (even though that is not the stated goal of the series). Happy Thanksgiving fr. Jude


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