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Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Saturday, November 1, 2014
9:03 PM (10 hours ago)
Friday, September 26, 2014
Well, here we go again. I went to the States on the 10th of Sept. a Wednesday, arrived on Thurs. after some very looooong flights (Durban, Joburg,Zurich, Chicago, Milwaukee), had the wedding practice on Friday, the beautiful wedding on Saturday where I had a chance to meet the groom's family and get to know better the people in the wedding party, along with, of course, all the other relatives and friends whom I already know. It was a great bonding of the two families as well as the bridal couple, Jo and Jeff. I was delighted and I think that everyone else was happy to rejoice with the newly weds.
I was lucky to have a chance to celebrate a home mass with my Unlce Casey and his wife Rose. Casey is 9 yrs. older than I am and Rose a few years younger than Casey, but both have health problems related to simply getting older and more fragile. Both have trouble hearing now and usually watch the Mass for shut-ins on the TV, but can't receive communion. We were able to offer them that chance on the Sunday after the wedding before going to a gathering of those who were in the wedding party for a brunch at a local restaurant. It was just good to be with the family again, and to meet and get to know the other family members (Jeff Johnson's mom and dad and sister, among others)
My cousin Sue rented a car for me on Monday to visit my Aunt Rose in Chicago. She is 97 now and delights me by sending an email with the signature---sent from my i-Pad. Ha! My cousin Jeannie thoughtfully invited Aunt Rose and the angel from the Phillippines, Lita, who looks after Rose, to her house to save her the commotion of preparing something to eat. There I had a chance to catch up with Tom, Jeannie's husband and Michael, the son. Of course, I soaked this all up and savored it.
I also had a chance to talk with Sue and Dave, the parents of the bride. Usually it is hit and run, but this time we had a bit more time, in spite of the hectic preparations for the wedding and the collecting of the debris after the wedding.
On Tues. morning, Sept. 16, Sue took me to the airport where I flew from Milwaukee to Chicago and on to Los Angeles to visit other friends and family there. I missed my niece Karla who lives and works in Santa Barbara, because she had a chance to go to Africa and enjoy some game viewing there, but I did meet my cousin's daughter (Jerry and Barb Pietrusiak) Leah, who is a journalist and is working on a project regarding the ecology of the crabs up in Alaska. We managed to meet twice and she took some photos and did an interview for the family archives several evenings after work.
I stayed with a good friend, Judy child, and met her three sons and their wives and children and enjoyed seeing the kids who had grown since I last saw them.
I also saw an old friend, Reggie Grzeskowiak and his wife Nancy. They have also been very supportive, over the years for whatever projects I had gotten involved in and have helped many people with funding for school fees, repairs to houses and many other ntreeeds that crop up. Reggie studied at our seminary way back in the 50's.
Judy had booked us tickets for a concert by Yanni. I had heard the name but didn't really know about him. It was fantastic. There were 13 musicians, each of them skilled in the use of their instruments, (a harpist, two violas, three violins, a kind of trumpet, a trombone, a french horn, a percussionist on the bongo drums, a drummer from Chicago, and another guy, like Yanni, on the keyboards, and they made some really beautiful music. Both Yanni and his other keyboardist, had several instruments, each having three keyboards, and kept switching back and forth on the to create beautiful sounds. The impression was that the whole was much greater than the sum of its parts. I really enjoyed that concert.
I was reminded of how civilization has improved our human living by experiencing, once again, the Los Angeles traffic on the six lane-each way, highways. Ha! No wonder there is so much domestic violence. To face that traffic every day??? Wow! Give me the bush.
My friend Judy (we met when she was nursing at St. Joe's Hospital in Ann Arbor in 1964) hosted me, for which I am happily grateful, and then dropped me off at the airport for the return journey to SA on Tues. the 23rd of Sept. The return journey went from LA to Chicago (long layover--just missed the closing down by a few hours) to Munich (long layover where I was able to connect with Reinhard Maier, a friend from long back, for few hours, catching up on family and work things. Then back to the plane and on to Joburg and finally to Durban where I arrived on Thursday at 12 noon. In Munich, I had grabbed a sandwich and when I went to pay for it, I left my carry on next to the counter. When I went to the boarding gate, I wanted to put something in to the carry on and noticed that it was not mine. Wow. I hurried back to the small restaurant and the guy whose case I had was happy to make the exchange but was disappointed that I didn't have any Kruger Rands in my case.
Bishop Lobinger was there at the airport to fetch me, and after grabbing a quick lunch we arrive back at Mater Dolorosa at about 2pm.
That evening when we were watching the news on TV, I drifted off and only woke up as the news was ending. Bishop Lobinger tried, unsuccessfully to wake me up before that. So I slept the sleep of the dead that night and am now ready for work again.
I will have two masses on Sunday, one in Zulu and one in English with a visit to the hospital in between to see how the mother of the other yet unborn twin is doing and will meet her husband to plan the baptism.
Fr. Macarius, from Zambia, is back, getting ready for an operation in October, that may help him to improve his sight. He is totally blind in one eye and 90% in the other. We are trying to organize things for him.
By theway, I was given a gift of an i-Pad during my stay in the States and that will be one of my challenges---how to use it.
I think that that is enough for now. A bit long winded. See you again after some time.
By the way, people have been deluging me with request for Linkedin or Facebook. I made the mistake of peeking into both of them to see what they are like but I am not familiar with them and am lost and really don't have the time for them. It seems that they are using my name to send messages out to others, some of whom and not happy about it. Me either. Just ignore them.
My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org Use that if you want to get in contact with me.
Sunday, September 7, 2014
Holy Moses, how time flies. It is a month since I put something in my blog. In the meantime, I gave a one day presentation on the Holy Spirit, especially now the Holy Spirit works today in lots of big and little ways, like Pope Francis and Mandela and lots of little ways at the super market, in the office, at school, in the hospital, and just about everywhere and all the time. Wake up and see for yourself.
I have also been working in the garden (not a flower garden or a vegetable garden but a long stretch of grass with lots of trees. Raking leaves and making a compost pile, collecting fallen branches and pruning trees and dragging the big limbs to the dump, etc. etc. etc.
Twice I had the opportunity to celebrate Mass with groups of youth. I always get turned on when I see young people and all the potential and energy waiting to get released on the world. Just guide it in the right direction and watch the fantastic results.
I am organizing two baptisms. One for the doctor, Chiara Henry, who is still keeping quiet so as to deliver the second twin in a few weeks and the other for the daughter of a good friend, Theresa Chisanga, who lives and works in Durban while her mother, Theresa, who is chaplain to the students at the university in Mthatha, teaches as head of the English dept. there.Both baptisms, when the time comes, will be here at the monastery. How nice.
I have been visiting, in the hospital, Clive, who managed to avoid having his right foot amputated 4 times, but finally, the doctor said it has to go. No circulation. I saw him at home yesterday and met the family and we prayed and said thanks for providing great medical care and now for healing so that he can eventually get a prosthesis for walking.
I also was involved in a three evening presentation, last week, on FAMILY. After Mass, each evening (Mon. Tues. Wed.) there was a half hour presentation. I began with explaining that a priest doesn't just fall from the sky or pop out of an egg, but comes from a family like anyone else with all the ups and downs of any family, squabbles, divorces, medical problems, drugs and alcohol, etc. We survive by prayer and supporting one another. Then on Tues. an Indian couple explained their ups and downs in their families and marriage. And finallyt i
Friday, August 29, 2014
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Aug. 10, 2014
What a delightful day. I was asked, at the last minute, to take another Mass at 8:30am last Sunday. I already was going to Savannah Park at 10am but, knowing that African time is very flexible, I agreed. But I didn't know how to get to the place so I asked for someone to show me the way. I would follow
so that I wouldn't get lost. Holy Moses. We went up hill and down dale and around curves and just meandered all over the place till I thought we might just be on the outskirts of Detroit. We finally got there about 8:15 (in Africa that is still more than reasonable). And it was a huge crowd, and very animated and joyful, especially the primary school children. They must have been primed. The singing was marvelous. However, I was a bit nervous because it is the custom to sing all 50 verses of every song, and there are many songs, but I just let loose the reins and let it happen. We enjoyed each other. I would estimate that there were maybe 400 or more people as the church was packed and even some outside, mostly men. The men don't want to risk catching some terrible disease by stepping inside a church you know.
Then, I was shown the way to Mass number two at SP. Maybe 20 people. The choir tried, but there was only a handful of choir members. There was something going on at the mother church and many went up there for that special service. Instead of shaking hands with the little kids at the greeting of peace I just grab a bunch of them and we have a great group hug. I hope that they get the message that they are really and truly loved, not just by me but by the one whom we are celebrating each Sunday, their great friend Jesus.
After that we took communion to two sick members, one a real old gogo (granny) and the other just too sick to go out of the house. They were so grateful to know that the community hasn't forgotten them or written them off. Then we went to Mike's home for bite to eat and a slowing down. Mike's wife is one of those women who have at least 5 over-active thyroids, and she just slipped and banged her right foot against a mean, dirty old steel leg of another machine. And it did some serious damage so she has to wear a boot in the hope that it can heal on it's own. If now, it means an operation. We will wait and see. Her name is Net (short for, I believe, Annette)
Then Mike Pillay, (the same Mike) the leader of this community asked to be dropped off at the mother church to be with those who went for the special service. When we got there and went to the priest's house, I was greeted with shouts and hugs " Fr.Cas, are you still alive!!!" I used to help out there when I was at the retreat house at Mariannhill and got to know them well. We love each other. It was nice.
Then, there is another old gogo whose husband passed away a few years ago and who lives nearby. So I figured that as long as I am so close I may as well drop in and say hi, which I did, and, of course, she was very happy. Any good Zulu Catholic woman won't let you out of the house without food and a blessing. Since I had just come from a full meal, I managed to beg my way out of the food part, and the blessing was fine for me.
I wrote more about last Sunday but, as often happens, it just disappeard into the ether never to be found again. I hope it is not the case for this one.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Thursday, July 3, 2014
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Saturday, May 17, 2014
This is just a kind of afterthought. I sent this message to a few people and then thought that I might as well share it with you all. It is what happened since I returned from Zimbabwe on Wednesday the 14th of May.
I flew up to Harare, Zim on the 2nd of May and stayed with some dear friends till the 7th when I flew down to Bulawayo to visit our Mariannhill confreres there and then back on the 9th to the 14th when I returned to SA. While in Harare I managed to visit old friends at the Dominican Convent (we worked together in Zambia before we both moved down to Zimbabwe back in the 70's) and also my Jesuit friends at Aruppe college and at Silveira House where some are teaching Philosophy and others and running courses for various skills and projects. Also met the head of Justice and Peace to understand a bit about what they are doing under the present circumstances, and a few others who have been working with NGO's who are in the picture. I also visited our new house in Harare near Aruppe College and Trinity college where our guys will study philosophy and theology because it is much cheaper than here in SA. I also had the pleasure of celebrating Mass at our CPS house in Harare twice. I paid a special visit to my old haunt, Imbisa (Inter-regional meeting of the bishops of southern africa) where I lived and worked with refugees (exiles) from 1988 to 1992. I met a friend and colleage, Fr. Richard Menatsi who has been the secretary for the past 5 1/2 yrs. and is ready to come back to SA.
In Bulawayo I visited the CPS sisters and especially one of our sisters from Mthatha, Sr. Martina, who is working for a project called Mustardseed Project. Physically challenged children being taught to do handwork, sewing, candle making, etc. She is enjoying it and it is a great project. CMM also has a project in the offing for building a school for skills training that is greatly needed in their rural area. I also saw, among others, Fr. Andy Heier, the only other American who has been working in Zim for many years now and is finally retired like myself--re-tyred. We also visited our candidates and hope that one or the other will pick up the baton and carry on were we left off.
But with the indiginization policy for businesses in Zim, many businesses have had to close down and the unofficial number of unemployed is 80%. That means now money is circulating. Only a comparative few have the US dollars to buy things. Everything is presently available but it may not last through next year when things will have come to a head. People survived the total collapse of the economy in 2008 so they feel that they will also be able to survive whatever happens next year.
so that is the Zim story. Now after the return..
Saturday, May 10, 2014
I am kind of rushing this off because I am not in the mood to sit down and do something proper right now. When I get home, SA, I will try to update you on things here in Zim.