Sept. 30. 2017
On Monday, Sept. 18th, I went to the US Consulate and picked up my new US passport. Holy Moses, the security to get into the place is intimidating. It kind of puts me off. I am a US citizen and it is difficult for me to get in. I wonder how it is for non-US citizens. I sometimes get the impression that the standard mindset of the US staff at consulates around the world is that everyone who applies for a visa is a potential thief, terrorist, scam artist, of something else bad, and they are sometimes treated as though it is true. I get angry.
I first went to the Paulines (Catholic Bookshop) and picked up 5 copies each of the two encyclicals by Pope Francis, “the Joy of the Gospel” and “ Laudato si (about our common home, mother earth)”. I will be having classes with the novices in November and I want them to read and study these documents (as far as I am concerned, they would be required reading in my course on what it means to be a Christian, 101) so that when we have a closer look at them ( I get once class of one hour to introduce them to them), I don’t want to have to waste time starting from scratch. I came back and did some work in the garden to get out of the house. The weather has been really funny, cold, hot, cold, hot. Now rainy.
Tuesday I went to Rajes, our Travel Agent to check on whether she could have her friend in Home Affairs give some advice as to how and where to go to to get my Permanent Residence transferred from my old passport to my new one. She promised to contact him.
Wednesday I attended a function at the Denis Hurley Center which was a tribute to Msgr. Paul Nadal, blessing a garden inside the center in his name as he is a lover of gardens and the great outdoors.
Mpume’s son, Scott (Mpume is one of our house mothers) was told to leave school because of some alleged misbehaviour. No warning, no written letter to his mother (unless he hid it). Well it is some weeks now that he hasn’t been to school and exams are coming up and I felt that it is very unjust, the whole procedure and lack of proper protocol. He will definitely flunk as he is a kind of borderline student, but a hard worker. And that means he will probably want to drop out of school. Even if he is guilty of something, it is not the proper procedure and is not fair. I asked Mpume to bring whatever papers she had in this regard and all she had was the usual handout to parents explaining the rules and regulations of the school. No warning, No letter to her. Hmmm. So I promised to talk to the person who heads the Catholic schools office on her behalf. That was Thursday.
On Friday, I helped a lady to pay her rent and water bill before she got thrown out of her room. I used the money that you guys send to help people who are struggling. I also went to visit a Sr. Michael Mdluli who fell and hit her head and then had a stroke and wasn’t talking or able to use her one side. So they said. Clairwood Hospital. I usually wear my collar when I go to a hospital just to remind the administration who my boss is and don’t give me a hard time. I can’t always go during visiting hours, and I don’t want to go at that time since we may have some confidential stuff to deal with (Confession or communion or just praying).
Saturday, 23rd, I had Mass with 2 CPS postulants. It is always a picker upper because they prepare well and sing a lot and I can join in. Then I went for a lunch at a family gathering at Mike Pillay’s house. Met lots of people, many of whom have long ago given up on Church for one reason or another. So we talk about this and that often some kind of churchy question pops up and the ice has been broken so that can feel free to ask knowing that they won’t be blown out of the water for asking a dumb question or revealing that it has been 200 yrs. Since they last went to church. Ha. I call it “ Informal Evangelization”. Then I had a 5:30 evening Mass at an Indian parish (it gives me a chance, since it is in English, to tell a couple of jokes) and, after Mass, visited a friend who, being a dibetic, had his right foot amputated, and now has to go for dialysis. Not good. His wife prepared some nice Briyani. Always a plus.
Sunday, was the usual 8am Zulu Mass at Savannah Park followed by a lot of studying to prepare for my November classes. It’s coming.
Monday was a national holiday, Heritage Day (Afrikaans, English, Portugese, German, Swiss, French, Greek, Zulu, Xhosa, Venda, Sotho, American ?, ) when everyone remembers his or her heritage. I thought that my heritage was my faith. Because I really believe in the Trinity, Jesus, his crucifixion and resurrection, and all the values that he stood up for, I thanked God for this gift which I didn’t deserve and didn’t work for. It was just dropped in my lap and has certainly shaped and formed my life. I don’t know where I would be without it.
Tuesday, 26th, I tried three places to get a cover for my cell phone so I don’t scratch it or mess it up some other way but no luck. So I had to be satisfied to just pick up some copy paper.
Wednesday, I was reminded by a message on the cell phone that I had run out of data. So I used the computer and the internet to get some more data and top up my air time as well.
Thursday, 28th, I was supposed to take my friend Shirley for lunch. She is 83 and has been a friend for 50 yrs. When it is my birthday, she takes me for a meal, and when it is her birthday, I take her for a meal. However, her son Peter phoned me on Wed. that she had fallen and was not well and he had to take her to the hospital. It turns out, as I found out later, that she had been bleeding internally, and when there wasn’t much blood left circulating any more, and the blood pressure was down, down, down, she just collapsed. She went for lots of scans and colonoscopy etc. to find out where the bleeding was and it turns out, it seems, that it healed itself as there was no sign indicating that there had been a bleed, so she is on the mend again, but is taking medicine to build up her blood. She looks a bit pale but she is much better.
In the meantime, since I was to take her for lunch that day, and it was to a place I really wanted to see, I got Mike Pillay to come with me and we had a fantastic curry meal. I usually take a doggie bag, but this time, I really garbaged up. Ha. Then I had been invited for supper by another family (the wife/mother left the ANC in disgust. She was the director of Pinetown Child Welfare Society, a social worker, and ANC activist, but now retired. I also baptized their 49 yrs. Old son, Matthew, who was letting everyone in the restaurant that it was his birthday. It was humorous. But I didn’t have room for another huge meal so I just had two starters and a glass of wine. I got home a bit later than I intended and, as I expected, had acid reflux, and had to keep twisting and turning. I don’t like to eat too late for that reason. I guess it is just old age stuff.
Friday, 29th, I popped in for a long visit with Shirley and she is better by a long shot. So we made a plan to catch up on that meal next Friday. In the meantime, I went back to Rajes to find out if she had made contact with her friend at Home Affairs. She had. He says to come to him and he will fix it. Hooray. Home Affairs in like lining up to go to the Bermuda Triangle. You may never be seen again. Ha. Rajes’ husband will take me to him next week sometime, I hope.
Saturday, today, I printed a bunch of copies of a little brochure on St. Therese of Lisieux for tomorrow, as it is our church’s feast. It took most of the morning. In the afternoon, I visited a priest friend who was taken to the hospital by another friend with a very painful foot and swollen leg. He is scared because he says that he has poor circulation in his extremities and they told him that they may have to amputate his left foot. Holy Moses. I would also be scared. So we prayed together for a bit asking God to be merciful and, if need be, to give him the courage to bite the bullet, have it done, and get on with life.
There is no time to be bored around here. Always something. I am grateful that I still have the health to move around and not be forced, like Macarius, who has macular degeneration and can barely see, to sit at home being bored stiff. So, tomorrow, we will celebrate our parish feast day. I am waiting to see what the people will have prepared. Tonight I will sleep like a stone since the weather is rainy and cold and I really appreciate my two blankets. I also managed to warm up the weed eater which had been sitting idle for a couple of months now. She was excited to be brought back to life so we went out and did a bit of grass cutting just to make her feel good.
Hey, it is getting close to my bed time so I will say, good night, and God bless you abundantly in this coming week. Love and peace, Cas.