April 26, 2016
Holy Moses, again, more than a month has gone by. Winter is now beginning to show its fangs. For you, not much, but once you get used to the semi-tropical climate of Durban, 50C is like freezing.
Let’s look back. Holy Week. Pope Francis took a page out of my book. I have been washing women’s feet on Holy Thursday as long as I can remember. But this year there was a slight twist. Because I have been babying my bad left knee, I asked the altar servers to put a chair in the middle and the basin, water and towel, also in the middle, so as one came in from the left and got his/her feet washed, the next would come from the right, and I would remain in the middle so I wouldn’t bugger up my knee. I didn’t move from one to one, they moved. Inovation. But we got the job done and it was my pleasure to be able to get down off my high horse and show a bit of humility.
One of our inhabitants of the old folk’s home, Fr. Simon, Dutch, 85 yrs. old died peacefully after a long illness (he was on oxygen 34/7 for many months). May he finally rest in peace.
I contacted several builders and architects regarding what we can build if we have no money. They are very helpful, but, I don’t think they understand. Ha! We want to build a temporary church as strong and as cheap as possible, and we have very little to work with. We keep praying. We would probably need about US$20,000 and it is a joke to think that we are actually able to raise that with our poor poor people. The Bishop and the parish priest keep looking the other way. I think that most bishops are willing to give permission but say just don’t ask me for money as I have my own problems. That’s life.
I continue to have Mass every morning at the hospital since the chaplain still hasn’t arrived. It’s about two months now. I am leaving for my home leave on the 22nd of May, and they will have to find someone else of go on a Communion diet, the sisters, that is and the few patients who receive communion.
I did a lot of grass cutting and bush clearing (the bush is intruding on our property, not respecting the fact that it is climbing well over our fence. Lots of thorns so I have to wear gloves. Keeps me out of mischief.
I have had several School children’s masses and I enjoy being with the youngsters. I hope to be talking to the seniors in a week or so , outside of Mass, and I want to challenge them to use their talents to build and not destroy. We have been having student demonstrations where violence breaks out and buildings get set on fire. They don’t want to pay for their university education. They think is should be free. It is true that many really are gifted but can’t come anywhere near affording to pay the fees. But burning buildings (even a library and a clinic) is not helping the cause. It is much like the Wild West syndrome in the States. Have gun and will travel. Shoot and ask questions later.
Several people have been coming regularly for help. I was beginning to get the feeling that they thought I was a mobile ATM machine and eventually had to say, no, maybe next month. Hard to do but once the dependency germ has taken root, the next thing is a symbiotic relationship. Some of the needs are genuine and you have to kind of smell things out a bit. When they do get help (when I think it is genuine and have some help to give ) the tell me thanks. I tell them that I will tell those who made the help available thanks in their name since I don’t have the money myself. “The poor you will always have with you.” Why?
One of the priest that was in the hospital that I was bringing communion to passed away and I was at his funeral. But I had an appointment with my travel agent to pick up my tickets. I asked her to delay the pickup for at least an hour. I sat near the door. The funeral service was supposed to start at 9am. It was about 90F already. I had my shorts on under the alb and was still sweating. We finally started at about 20 past 9. At 10:15 the bishop started his homily (sermon…he usually talks for between 30 and 45 minutes) and I did some calculating and figured that this would go on till at least 12 noon. So at 10:30, I slipped out the side door and had to fight to get out of the parking but managed to keep my appointment at a bit past 11am. When I came back shortly after 12 noon, they were still in church, but were just beginning to come out. I can’t take these long services any more. I get locked into a sitting position and it takes a while to get unlocked.
We then had another funeral the next week for Fr. Henry, 83 yrs. old. A good friend of the late Fr. Simon. A huge funeral as he was a very beloved man and really was a brother to all people. He loved music, has a good sense of humor, was always ready to help anyone any time. We will miss him terribly.
In between I managed to get my grand niece, Katrina, on the phone and that picked up my spirits again. She is battling to find work. She has a couple of vague offers and is waiting for the results of her interviews. I miss her. It was the first time that I had a member of the family with whom to share life with for a whole year. It was great while it lasted. The kids at the orphanage really loved her too.
I have been trying to get permission from the Prison dept. to come to say Mass, hear confessions, and do some spiritual counseling for the Catholic inmates. I filled out sheaves of paper, got my fingerprints put in the system (I discovered that I really am not a criminal. The fingerprints are not connected to any of my escapades). But when all the papers were filled in and all the “I’s dotted and “t’s” crossed, the prison chaplain said the cut off point was 70yrs. ha. Why didn’t he tell me that 4 months ago when, after a face to face, we started this process. I will still cajole him till he gives in. I can still walk and talk and don’t need a wheel chair, although that shouldn’t be a problem in this day and age when considering the “ physically challenged.” We shall see.
Lots of other things but let’s move on to now. I am back in Mthatha ( I brought Fr. Macarius along. He is about 97% blind and gets bored sitting the whole day in the old folk’s home. Some people can’t pronounce his name so that call him Fr. Macaroni. So? ) We left MD (Mater Dolorosa, the name of the old folk’s home…. Bad name) on Sunday the 24th after a Mass at my outstation Savannah Park. We got the news that another one of our brother there at MD who has been trying to die for months now (cancer, progressive, constant pain, reached the highest limits of pain killers and then nothing else could be done) and finally succeeded in persuading the lord to give him the final call. We left the house that morning about 7:30 and he died about noon or so. God was merciful to him. Here we have been visiting our old mission at Landsend where Macarius built a school to get the kids off the street and is still loved and remember by the people there. We also visited Fr. Guy’s boys and had supper with them on Monday evening. They are very good cooks. After the meal, to pay or respects to the ancestors, we called on Jack (as in Daniels) for a bit of help. It was a nice evening and good to catch up on who was now doing what. We are going back tomorrow for a formal board meeting (BOM… board of management) to plan the way forward.
We intended to also attend a CMM meeting on Thursday and return home on Friday but because we got the news that Br. Adrian will be buried on Friday, we decided to leave on Thurs. to be at home when they bury our dear brother with whom we shared the last months of his painful life. We will accompany him on his final journey.
As I said, there is lots more but let this suffice as a quick update.
I leave for my home leave on the 22nd of May, as I said, and I have already packed my suitcase and carry on so that in case there is any need, I can leave at the drop of a hat.
I have tried to fine tune my leave so that all on what day and at what time we can meet and share life a bit. I will include it here. Don’t laugh. If I don’t let people know a year ahead of time, when I get there I find that they are in Beijing or Rio or something and then I won’t see them for 8 yrs. Too much long for me. Love and Peace, Cas. Here is the schedule, more or less .
November 14, 2015—Finalized itinerary for Home leave 2016
(As you can see from this itinerary, I am very relational. Relationships are precious to me. I am sorry if I have damaged or strained our relationship in anyway and ask your forgiveness and a chance to make up for whatever it was. You may think that I am mad to undertake such an itinerary, but the truth is that it is you and your love and support that have kept me and continue to keep me alive in my spirit and able to continue to be of service to God’s people. May God bless you for your enduring friendship over many, many years. )
(You are in here somewhere!)
May 23—arrive London, stay till 28th stay with Boykie and Pat and Family til
May 28—Arrive Charlotte and Greensboro
June 1—lv. For Ocean City
June 7 Vern & Mary Sue
June 8, Shepherdstown, W.Va Larry Goodwin
June 9-10, Shillington PA CPS sisters
June 11,12,13—NYC Nino, Catrina
June 14, Pat & Jim Francek , Hungtinton, CT, on to Sherbrooke, Que. (cmm)15,—Sherbrooke,
June 16-—Ottawa—Ken & Cheryl, OMI, Alec Campbell (overnight)
June 17---Whitby (Sylvia Skrepichuk)
June 18---Supper Nicholas’
June 19---evening at Terry McCann (back with him in the morning)
, 20, 21—, Toronto
June 22—Youngstown NY, (late afternoon) to Retreat Center—supper with them and Ivan and Nimo
June 23 Woodstock, Ont. On to Detroit till July 1
June 25—Bullock family reunion—Chris and Chuck
26 June—Thanksgiving Mass, St. Bernard Sem. Friends and family, coffee and donuts—9am
July 2—Hirmers—Lake Michigan on to Milwaukee
July -6-12 —Chicago
July 12—fly Chicago (Midway) to Denver overnight (visit two families)
July 13—fly---Denver --- Burbank—(Los Angeles)
July 14-19— Los Angeles and Santa Barbara
July 20-. Fly---Burbank to Oakland--
July 20-25 San Francisco, Berkeley, Livermore
July 25—fly Oakland CA to Chicago (Midway)
July 26—Northern Indiana
July 28—North Vernon
July 30 Evansville (Bishop Gettelfinger—classmate retired)
July 31—St. Meinrad—class reunion
Aug. 4—New Albany (Gettelfinger family)
Aug. 5—Louisville—Lou Harpenau (classmate)
Aug. 6—Sue and Scott
Aug.7—Luisa KY. (Sr. Pat Cataldi, CPS)
Aug. 10—Aiken, SC
Aug 12—back to Greensboro
Ar. Joburg-Aug. 16 (contact Basil to leave baggage with them for that week in Zambia)
(Dep. For Lusaka-Aug. 17 Lv. Lusaka-Aug. 24 to Joburg—stay in Joburg till the 31st of Aug. )