Saturday, February 6, 2021

Castro Valley, CA

February 6, 2021 Peace and Good, I have been in Castro Valley this past week finishing up my visitation. I have met the friars in person, on skype, on zoom, by phone, by iternet email, etc. In spite of the limitations of the method, I feel that I have gotten a good picture of where the province is at this moment. There are two major decisions coming in these years. The first is to raise the delegation in Vietnam up to the status of a custody. The second has to do with the unification of the provinces of friars in the United States. I spoke with the provincial and his definitory this past week, and the meeting went well. I have to write up the preliminary report in the next few days, and then submit it to them for their comment. I will also present it to the General Definitory at the end of the month. When everyone is OK with it, then it will be sent out to the friars of the province. The weather has been excellent here. We had a bit of badly needed rain (which became blizzards as the front moved east). But it is mostly sunny and in the 60's and even the 70's. I was supposed to head back to Rome this past Thursday, but the Ghanian Embassy took a long time to give me a visa to Ghana and to return my passport, so I am now leaving this Tuesday. Later today I head out to get another covid test. I have finished some reading: The Other America by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This is a short speech which speaks about how the poor people in our country are not lazy or evil, but rather have to struggle against unconquerable obstacles. It is good to hear a different approach to many of the social problems about which we speak so easily. Roman Emperors by Ron Carver This is a medium size treatment of some of the major emperors of the Roman Empire. It is a bit odd in its organization (not being historic nor thematic). The material is basically accurate, but it is very superficial. British Covert Operations in World War I by Charles River Editors This is a short account of some of the secret diplomacy during World War I, including many of the agreements which led to so many difficulties during the rest of the 20th century (e.g. in the Middle East). It does not really go into the question of spy craft which I would have expected. Pompeii: Daily Life in an Ancient Roman City by Professor Steven Tuck This was a 24 lecture presentation on the city of Pompei (and life in a Roman city at the beginning of the first century AD. It deals with the foundation of the city, the economy practiced there, the buildings and what they tell us about life there, etc. Only the beginning and end really deal with its destruction by the explosion of Vesuvius. The rest deals with individual studies of topics about the life of the city, and especially of the normal people living there. The Third Reich in Power by Richard Evans This is the middle of a three book series on the Third Reich. Evans gives an incredibly thorough and good presentation of the many, many different social, political, economic, religious, etc. considerations of what happened between 1933 and 1939. I marvel at how well researched and written Evans’ books are. An Introduction to Infectious Diseases by Dr. Barry Fox This was a free gift from the Teaching Company due to the present Pandemic. It was a series of 24 lessons, and it was of the quality of the other Teaching Company courses. The most interesting lecture was that which dealt with possible future pandemics. The presenter was not all that far from what happened, although he sided with the idea of another version of influenza and not the coronavirus. The Origins of World War II by Keith Eubank This is one of the books which I purchased through Chirp books. The topic was well presented, but the reader did a terrible job of the pronunciation of names. All in all, it was worth the listen, but… Christian Eschatology by Charles River Editors This is a Charles River production, so it was a very quick study of a very complicated topic. Nevertheless, it gives a good outline of the topic. I was quite impressed. The author seems to be more affiliated with the evangelical approach to the question, but they have also written the most in the past century, especially the Pentecostals. Keep safe. fr. Jude


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