Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Castro Valley, CA - Ellicott City, MD - Chicago, IL

December 8, 2021 Happy Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception I am continuing my trip with the Minister General, fr. Carlos Trovarelli, in the United States. He would like to visit each province a bit to get a sense of what is going on in each place before we celebrate our provincial chapters this coming April and May. From Castro Valley (Oakland) we travelled to El Paso, then Baltimore, and we are now in Chicago. Each place we go we meet with the Ministers Provincial and with the friars who can come to a gathering to meet him. It has gone very well. There has only been one travel glitch, a mechanical problem, but that only lasted an hour. Travel back to Europe has become challenging due to the changing rules on covid tests. In El Paso, fr. Carlos got to meet with the local bishop and also with two of the leadership team of the local tribe, the Tigua, who worship at our parish there. In Baltimore, we attended Mass at St. Casimir's Church and at the end there was a quick Christmas pagent. The very small children played the angels, the shepherds, and even the animals (donkey, sheep and cows). I was surprised that the lady leading the event used by Christmas book for the test of the pagent. I even read one of the last pages of the book to close the event. It was great. The Minister General is heading back on the evening of the 10th, and I will leave on the evening of the 12th. I will be staying in Chicago to attend the funeral of my nieces's husband. Please keep him, Reid, in your prayers. Also, please pray for Chrissy and her three children. I finished some reading: Five Days in London: May, 1940 by John Lukacs This is an account of the discussions and decisions made in London by the new Prime Minister, Churchill, and his cabinet. Belgium was surrendering, France was on the precipice, and the allied forces had begun to evacuate Dunkirk. This book runs from May 24 to 28. It deals with suggestions that negotiations be opened with Hitler or Mussolini, that the British recognize that they could not win, etc. The account is well done and well documented. The Byzantine Empire and the Plague by Charles River Editors The emperor Justinian had just reconquered many of the lands in Italy and Africa that had been lost to barbarian invasions. At that point, plague hit and devastated his empire and his army. Ironically, the barbarians were not as affected due to the looser societal bonds. The Church in Rome had to step forward and take control of events in the surrounding areas, all but ignoring the exarch of the Byzantines who lived in Ravenna (for he could provide no assistance). This short account gives a good overview of the tremendous impact this pestilence had upon society, government and religion. Emperors of Rome by Ron Carver This is part of a series of overviews on Roman topics provided by this author. The series is oddly disjointed, with no real time line. The writing style is so conversational that it is at times embarrassing. Overall, though, the individual sections are worth reading. The Zimmerman Telegram by Barbara Tuchman This is a book that I had read a long time ago, and rereading it was a joy. Barbara Tuchman is an accomplished history author. This volume deals with a telegram that the German foreign minister sent to Mexico and Japan during World War I to gain their assistance in the war (even if it meant going to war against the United States). He promised Mexico the lost areas of the southwestern US, e.g. New Mexico, Arizona, California, etc. The British were able to decode the message and shared it with President Wilson who desperately did not want to go to war. This and the unfettered submarine warfare eventually convinced Wilson to ask for war in April of 1917. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown This is an account of the relations between native Americans and the government and army of the US and Mexico. It is definitely from a native American perspective. In that sense, it is one sided, but since the story is most often told from the perspective of the manifest destiny to take over the continent, this is a good balancing account. It is troubling and leaves one depressed, as it was intended to do. War at the End of the World by James P. Duffy General McArthur is not my favorite person because I find him arrogant and pompous, but this account of his campaigns in New Guinea during World War II gives a different picture of him and his work. It deals with the attempt first not to allow the Japanese to conquer the entire island (lest they then take Australia or at least cut off it supply lines from the US) and then to roll back the Japanese tide on the northern part of the island. It is well written. The Basques by Captivating History The Basques are an ancient people who live in the northeast of Spain and southwestern France. They have their own language and culture. This short book is an account of who they are and their interaction with the various invaders who entered their territory and often sought to assimilate them, often with violence. It goes from their earliest origins to the present when the Basque territories in Spain have the status of autonomous regions. May the rest of you Advent be blessed. fr. Jude


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