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Friday, September 26, 2014

Sept. 27th, 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:   Use that if you want to get in contact with me.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sept. 8, 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