Thursday, June 24, 2021

Atlanta - Louisville - Baltimore - Buffalo - El Paso (Mesilla Park, New Mexico)

June 24, 2021 Peace and Good As you can see by the title, I have been doing quite a bit of travelling in these days. Now that the covid pandemic is winding down, it is possible to visit the friars and others whom I have not seen for quite a while. The airports are incredibly busy in these days. I visited three of our friaries in Atlanta, and then went to Louisville (Mount St. Francis) which is the provincialate of Our Lady of Consolation Province. I was able to spend some good time with the provincial and the friars living there. While I was there, an artist who works in fabric, Penny Sisto, gave an exhibition. I was expecting some quilts, and the art that she displayed was breath-taking. Check our her site on the internet. I went to Baltimore for another doctor's appointment. The medicine I am taking for my heart can have side effects on the lungs, so I went to the Pulminologist. All is well. I got to go out with one of my classmates while I was there. I got to Buffalo and stayed with my brother and sister in law for a few days. Now I am in New Mexico at one of our retreat centers to be with the friars who are participating in a workshop for those who have been out of formation for less than five years. We have found that this time period is critical for the reinforcement of their vocation, so every year they meet to share some ideas (theirs and from others) on what is going on in their lives. Tomorrow I head back to Rome. A lot of the restrictions have been lifted in these days, so it will be good to see how things are going there. I finished some reading: Origins of Great Ancient Civilizations by Professor Kenneth Harl This is a series of lectures by the Teaching Company on various early civilizations of the ancient Mid-East. The professor gives good, accurate information in a pleasant way. This is one of the series from this company that I truly enjoyed. The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown by Claire Ridgway This is a book that goes into the accusations against, the trial and the execution of Anne Boleyn. The author is very much a defender of Boleyn, so she always evaluates the information in the best light possible for her. Yet, it does seem as if the death of Boleyn was a set-up, probably instigated by Henry VIII who had become bored of her, especially since she had not been able to bear him a male heir. Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom by Stephen Platt This is an account of the Taiping Rebellion which occurred in China about the same time as the American Civil War. Millions and millions of people were killed through execution or starvation or disease because of this event. It was led by a man who had heard Christian preachers and who identified himself as Jesus’ brother, the son of God. A lot of the book deals with Britain’s involvement in one form or another with the event. Yet, the author does manage to show a respectful treatment of the Chinese as well. Killing the SS by Bill O’Reilly This is typical of the series of Bill O’Reilly’s books on Jesus, Kennedy, etc. There is a lot of good information. At times, there are overt judgments on people or activities. A very large part of the book is on the hunt, arrest and trial of Adolph Eichmann, but there is also information about the hunt for other criminals as well. The famous Nazi Hunter Simon Wiesenthal, is not all that positive. He is presented as a publicity seeking, at times lying individual. Whirlwind by Barrett Tillman This is the story of the bombing campaign against Japan during World War II from the Doolittle Raid to the use of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The author is a staunch defender of what the bombers did all throughout the war. He is very honest about the shortcomings of various commanders and various techniques and of the interservice rivalry between the Army Air Corps (before the establishment of the Air Force) and the Navy fighters and bombers. Sky watching: Seeing and Understanding Cosmic Wonders by Alex Phillipenko This is a Teaching Company course on the various phenomena that one can detect in the day and night skies. It is taught be a professor who is incredibly enthused with his topic. He doesn’t always know how to dumb down the material so that those unacquainted with the material could still understand, but his joy and wonder at the topic makes up for that. Some of the topics include meteors, comets, aurora borealis, haloes around the sun and moon, the stars and constellations, etc. Have a good 4th of July and a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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