Thursday, June 3, 2021

Rome ne

June 3, 2021 Peace and Good, I finished my time in Rome, and on Tuesday I travelled to Atlanta. The flight was on Delta. It was long, but reasonably comfortable. The number of people flying was still low, but it is starting to grow. The EU is supposed to scale back some of its Covid regulations shortly, which should help a bit with the tourism season (although this is probably too late this year to salvage the season). I found the people at Delta very helpful and friendly, and believe I could recommend flying with them to anyone. I am visiting three of our friaries in the Atlanta area. I am at the first of these in Columbus, Georgia (south of Atlanta and alongside the Alabama border). Here we take care of three parishes. One is small and mostly Hispanic, another small and African American, and the third large and mixed - having a grammar school and a high school). I am already quite impressed with the work the friars are doing here. There is a social outreach center who provide food, clothing, rent and utilities assistance, etc. The directors of the school and the outreach center are tremendous people. The staff here is very friendly. On Saturday, I will head to Jonesboro, and then on to Holy Cross Parish in Atlanta. I leave this area on the 10th. I finished some reading: High Heat by Lee Child This a novella about Jack Reacher when he was a teenager. He takes a trip to New York City the night of the great power outage in 1977. He runs into an FBI agent who is furloughed, and a mafia boss whom he antagonizes. He even runs across the Son of Sam killer. The story is farfetched and almost like a comic super hero, but yet it is entertaining. The odd thing is that the day after the blackout was when I went to New York to take off for Europe for the first time for my studies. Bill Bryson by Audible Interviews Bill Bryson has written a great variety of books, including science and travel. The book he is presenting in this interview is The Body. He speaks about how the body works, and the strange phenomena that one discovers concerning the body. Le Morte D’Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory This is the story of the reign of King Arthur and his round table. I have often read that Malory’s books were often read and respected in the antebellum south. I really did not enjoy the book because it is filled with men and women who profess their faith while they go around sleeping with each other out of wedlock and killing each other for sport. The Little Drummer Girl by John le Carre This is a very, very good book (as are most of le Carre’s). It deals with a young British actress who is recruited by the Mossad to play the role of a lover of a Palestinian terrorist whom they caught with the purpose of trapping his brother. The story is very believable. It is heart rending and heart stopping. Remarkably, it is able to treat both Israelis and Palestinians and their causes with respect. Saber Toothed Tigers by Charles River Editors This is a short treatment of the saber toothed carnivore which ranged throughout much of the world during and shortly after the last ice age. Much of the book deals with archeological evidence of its body shape and speculation on what that meant for its hunting habits. The Great Influenza by John Barry This is a full treatment of the great influenza of 1918, the so-called Spanish flu. Barry gives the details of the disease as well as its treatment. He is very critical of the way that the government and the media treated the outbreak. This flu probably killed between fifty and one hundred million around the world. It probably originated in Kansas, and then spread to a training camp for the army. The movement of these troops spread it throughout the country which was then fighting World War I. One of the best aspects of the treatment is the description of how the medical profession changed from what amounted to near quackery to well trained professionals. St. Gregory the Great by Charles River Editors This is a short biography of the great Holy Father Gregory who helped the Church survive in very confusing times. Barbarians were often at the gates, and the Byzantine Empire who were nominal rulers of Italy had largely abandoned it. Gregory had to take temporal rule into this hands. Gregory is presented as an unwilling monk who wanted anything but to be pope. The only problem with the book is that the introduction and the conclusion are filled with information that really has nothing to do with the main topic. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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