Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Ellicott City

January 23, 2024 Memorial of St. Marianne Cope Peace and Good, The Marianne Cope I mention was a Sister of Syracuse who travelled to Molakai in Hawaii to work with St. Fr. Damian with the lepers. A number of years ago, I was travelling to a friary in Vietnam where our friars work with lepers. I was able to obtain a first class relic of St. Marianne for the friars there. I am getting ready to begin my radiation treatments this Thursday (for seven weeks) and my chemo on Monday (the same length of time). My chemo doctor is turning out to be a gem, Dr. Christine Hamm. She answers my emails on my chart, and she has offered to sit down with me to explain the chemo process. Not all the doctors whom I have run across in these months has been so accomidating. We faced a week of winter weather (although nothing like Buffalo has been facing). I have been asked to write a series of short articles for one of our magazines in Assisi. I will write them in English, and they will have them translated into Italian. I am glad to have projects like that upon which I can work when I feel up to it. One of our former minister generals, fr. Joachim Giermek, passed away in these days. fr. Carlos Trovarelli, our present minister general, came here for the funeral which was very good of him, considering his incredible schedule. I finished some reading and listening: The Apocalypse: Controversies and Meaning in Western History by Craig Koester This is a Teaching Company course on the Book of Revelations: its background, its meaning, and its use throughout history. The professor is tremendous. I don’t agree with every single interpretation, but he is overall great in his presentation. Beginnings for Judaism by Isaiah Gafni This book speaks about Judaism from its earliest days during the Babylonian exile until later developments. This is a Teaching Company course. The presenter is very good, very thorough. Dressed for Death by Donna Leon Donna Leon is a Spanish author who lived for years in Venice. She presents the story of a police detective who investigates various crimes. This one deals with a murdered man found dressed in woman’s clothes. Leon is able to describe the bureaucracy of Italy perfectly. He presents the detective as a loving husband and father (in a very realistic manner). Every one of her books is tremendous. Exploring the Roots of Religion by John Hale This is a Teaching Company course presented by an archeologist whose specialty is the origin of religious beliefs in the early centuries of humanity. He is a tremendous presenter, and he is able to deal with topics such as religious sites, religious time, burials as a sign of belief in the afterlife, etc. I would strongly recommend this course. Henry VIII by Abigail Archer This is a short biography of Henry VIII. It is non-polemical and informative. It would be a good introduction to the topic. Darkfall by Dean Koontz This is a very scary story told about a battle between a Mafia lord and an evil Voodoo priest. The Mafia priest summons demons from Hell to attack the Mafia lord and his family and cohorts. A detective begins to put the pieces together, and he and his family are attacked by the demons. The detective is only protected by the fact that he is a basically righteous man. Nutrition 101: Understanding the Science and Practice of Eating Well by Jamie Pope This is a Learn25 course dealing with the questions of nutrition including diets, what is healthy and what is not, what forms of nutrients are necessary and at what level, etc. The professor is clear in her presentations and challenging in her assigned tasks. War on the Waters by James McPherson This is the story of the use of the northern navy during the Civil War. It includes stories of how the navy collaborated with the army (e.g. the conquest of Forts Henry and Donaldson), the war against blockade runners, the attempt to conquer certain cities and forts (New Orleans, Vicksburg, etc.), the rise of iron clads, etc. The Story of the Bible by Luke Timothy Johnson Johnson is a tremendous exegete, always taking the middle road on questions of interpretation. He is a former Benedictine monk who now teaches at Emory in Atlanta. This was a Teaching Company course which speaks about the origin of the Bible, its being copied in its early days, why certain books were or were not accepted into its canon, and how various groups have used and translated the Bible over the years. I, Michael Bennet by James Patterson This is the story of a detective and his family who are endangered when he arrests a drug lord. His children are threatened, other police are assassinated, he is put in the cross hairs of the drug lords lieutenants. The story is presented in a stereotypical manner, but it is entertaining. Jane the Quene by Janet Wertman This is a novel dealing with the queen of England who succeeded Anne Boleyn and who died giving birth to Henry VIII’s only legitimate son, Edward VI. She comes across as a plain person (which was a great change for Henry who felt himself brow-beaten by Anne Boleyn. Her family is seen as scheming (as was most of the court at the times). Introduction to Judaism by Shai Cherry This is a Teaching Company course that goes through the various aspects of what it means to be a Jew today, including the role of the synagogue, dietary concerns, the tension between integration into the larger society and rejection of that world, etc. It explains the history of the various groups that call themselves Jews (e.g. conservative, reformed, Hasidic, etc.). The course is well done and the topics are handled simply and without polemic. A Brotherhood of Spies by Monte Reel This is the story of the U2, and especially the flight and shoot down of that plane over the Soviet Union during the times of Eisenhower and Khruschev. It deals with the technical questions, but also with the personalities of those who designed the plane and those who flew it. Powers comes out of the story as a sad figure, especially considering his disastrous marriage. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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