Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Relaxing Times

Just finished another retreat and now I'm in some relaxing days. I'm still sorting through the stuff I took out of my moving boxes and finding a lasting location for them. I'm slowly getting settled.

I visited Cape Cod this weekend to see two friends from Virginia and my aunt and uncle. I wanted to see my relatives because they are the grandparents of the boy who took his own life seven weeks ago and this was my first chance to visit with them. I have to spend longer time with my mother as well. My (deceased) sister's birthday is Saturday and we always remember her in some way.

Down the Cape I was able to hit a few golf balls with some instructions on how to improve my swing. It was very helpful. I was going to call a friend who directed a retreat with me last week. He was the one who gave me a ride in his Porsche. He was to meet his wife down at the Cape.

Today I visited the Jesuit Community at Boston College. It was so fun to see so many friends again. We really are hospitable to one another. And gracious. Bill Russell and I went out for a walk to see the new Boston College School of Theology and Ministry and the Blessed Peter Faber Jesuit Residence in Brighton. The school and new community houses look great. The weather was also superb.

I caught a stomach bug so I just intend to go to bed early and sleep it off.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Photos: Picturesque Rockport

To see photos of the the Art Colony of Rockport, please click on the link below:

Pics of Rockport

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Photos: The Pounding Surf

To see photos of the surf kicked up by Hurricane Igor, please click on the link below:

Pics of Igor's Mighty Surf

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Dark Night's Walk

I had a very comfortable sleep last night and I arose ready for my full day with retreatants.

The food here in Gloucester is very good. The other night we had lobster tails and a delicately cooked steak to greet the tertains as they began their 30-day retreat.

My mailed package from Australia via Honolulu arrived and I have been able to sift through the contents. It brings back many fond memories of my time in Australia. Gee. I wish that continent was closer.

I watched the frisky seals splash on the rocky coast of Gloucester. It seems that every day I visit the ocean something is different about it whether it is the color of the sea, the height of the surf, the crashing waves, or a rock that has split open from the constant pounding. I even notice something different about the forest when I pass through the many acres.

Tonight I walked along the silent road that leads into and out of Eastern Point. The moon is very bright so it was able to light the way. I liked it when the beams of light filtered through the branches. It was somewhat haunting. The air temperature is perfect with cool nights and warm days. I could smell that someone lit a fire in the house fireplace as the chill might have necessitated it for some people who like very warm houses. I then walked by another house where a group of friends were having a cookout. Even though I was full, the smell of chicken sizzling on a grill always scintillates my taste buds.

I walked to the mansion-museum that was having an open house for the neighborhood. I arrived late and was able to talk with a few folks. As I arrived a man picked up his guitar and sang "The Girl from Ipanema" for me. How lovely. I had never been serenaded like that before. He teaches music at Philips Andover and he has played in a band called Beatlejuice (even before the movie came out.) He was a lovely fellow. His best friend, Delp, was the lead singer in a band called Boston in the 1970's and 80's. He then played a melancholy song about his cat who died recently.

I am settled in for the night and will begin to pray over my homily for Mass on Monday.

Tomorrow the Jesuits honor men who have jubilees. The celebration will be at Boston College High School and it is always a good time to honor who have given much of their lives in service to the church. Good on ya, jubilarians.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Few Days of Rest

The first retreat of the fall season has completed and I feel very good about what happened. I very much liked being with the retreatants. They are just good souls.

I am tired though. I have moved into my new room after living in a temporary room for a week. I have been unpacking and getting rid of boxes. I am amazed at how much stuff I have. I wish I gave more of it away before I left Maine. Last year, I threw away many papers and gave many books as gifts to people and I whittled down my possessions. I really don't buy much, but I receive much along the way. I believe it when they say that when you are generous, you get so much more back than you could ever anticipate.

The past two days of silence have been very good. I laughed at myself today when I left the property to get silence. Silence is pervasive here, but the busyness of unpacking has its own sort of chatter to it. I took a short ride to Rockport for a change of scenery. I passed by many stores and could not bring myself to go in because why would I go into a store? I don't want to buy anything. I don't need anything. I have so much that is intangible and invisibile that fills me up.

The tertians arrived today. I already knew five of them so it was good to have a meal with them and catch up. I wish I had more time with them, but they entered into silence this very night. I'm glad they will be with us for a month as they make their 30-day silent retreat.

At Mass with the tertians I began thinking back on my own experience of tertianship. I could see Adrian's and Joe's faces in my imagination. I miss my brothers. I wish our friendship could continue in a physical realm. We stay in touch by email, and I lament we cannot see each other with great regularity they way we did in Pymble, Australia.

I thought of our long retreat where we presided at Mass each day and the directors provided homilies. Church is more egalitarian there. I brought to mind the parishioners at the Canisius Chapel and the way we celebrated Mass with a different style. I could almost smell the sweet flowers on the trees at Canisius College, and to imagine that the plover eggs have hatched into little chicks. The aroma of the vineywards at Sevenhill was so full, and the kangaroos that popped out after dinner was always a treat. God has been so good to me then and continues to be. I have such good memories of the miracles God worked in my life.

I feel sated. God is enough.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Photos: My New Residence and a few neighbors

To see photos of Eastern Point Retreat House in Gloucester, Massachusetts, please click on the link below:

Pics of Eastern Point Retreat House

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Settling In

I have enjoyed the past few days in Gloucester. The end-of-summer weather has given us some cool nights and some warm days - perfect for sleeping. Yes, I have been tired because the move was rather quick, and though I am living out of boxes, I am getting sufficient rest. It is unbelievable that I both live and work here.

I can sense that I am more connected with the province because I am an hour closer to most other communities. This makes quite a difference in the ways in which we relate to one another. I will be glad to visit once I have a few days off. As soon as we finish this retreat, we begin another two days later.

The walking is quite nice. Yesterday, I walked to the beginning of the Eastern Point peninsula and met some interesting people along the way. In the middle of the deep harbor waters of Gloucester was a large cruise ship that contained more than 2,500 passengers. The downtown area was swarming with tourists.

I also walked past the Beauport Sleeper-McCann House which is an early American house with a sea captain's room, an early American kitchen, a green and white dining room that overlooks Gloucester Harbor and many rooms are decorated like stage sets that showcase an historical theme. They invited us to a neighbor's gathering later in the month.

The retreat is going well and I'm glad to be spending time in this valuable ministry. The lives of many people are difficult and so many people carry much heaviness. We all find relief when we decide to unburden ourselves by telling others our stories.

Earthquake Relief in Christchurch, New Zealand

The people near Christchurch, New Zealand are still experiencing great challenges. Five days of frequent aftershocks and another earthquake on a different fault line is taking a toll on the inhabitants. Many people have had successive nights of undisturbed sleep and there is some toll on families who cannot weather these challenges. Current estimates of the cost of rebuilding are around four billion dollars.

Donations to Caritas for Christchurch earthquake relief can be made by:

• Phoning 0800 22 10 22 to make credit card donations or

• Donating online using a credit card at www.caritas.org.nz or

• Posting to Caritas, PO Box 12193, Thorndon, Wellington 6144, New Zealand.

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is a member of Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of 165 Catholic aid, development and social justice agencies active in over 200 countries and territories.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

First Day in Gloucester

Hurricane Earl has downgraded to a tropical storm and it whizzed through Portland without much fuss. It rained between 11 pm and 2 am and then fizzled out. When I awoke this morning, the skies were bright and the grass was well watered. I packed up my possessions that I brought with me to Australia and I headed to Gloucester.

As I was arriving, I was pinching myself to really ask if I was going to live in such a beautiful place. The Harbor was teeming with many sun-worshippers who are sucking up the last bit of summer sun. The grass is so green and the water is a vivid blue. As I drove into Eastern Point I realized the immense silence of the place. I recall thinking that my life is going to be very happy here.

As I exited from the car, I smelled the seawater and recalled the other scents of the place. I just walked around to breathe in the memories again.

I was welcomed and greeted warmly by John Murray, the superior of the community. After a short conversation, I picked up my temporary room and settled in. A nap was calling me too strongly and I dozed for 40 minutes and then went out for a walk.

The community is very lovely. They prepared a nice meal with stuffed clams, but not with much bread as an ingredient. We ate a moist roast chicken and had a berry pie a la mode. At the end of the meal, I setteld into my room to write about my day. I would do other things, but the soothing ocean is making me sleepy and I will head to bed very soon. I think I'll sleep soundly and well.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Life in Portland

Since I have been back in Portland, life has been good. I have been adjusting to the East Coast time zone and have been awake until 3:30 or 4:00 a.m. each night (morning.) Fortunately, I have been awaking at 7:30 a.m. so something is kicking in. Each day is better.

I have enjoyed the leisure days in Portland. I have not seen my family yet, but that will come. I have been on the phone with them often as they are in a difficult spot once again. I have seen some friends in Portland and have connected with my former colleagues at Cheverus High School. A few nights ago, I went on a cruise with them around Casco Bay. It was the most pleasant night to be on the bay. I posted some photos a few nights ago.

Two nights earlier I visited a friend on Long Island in Casco Bay. It was a great time. We went swimming, had a nice meal, toured the island, and I blessed their renovated shed. The cruise back to the mainland was also pleasant as I met a teacher from Biddeford High School who had my three nephews as students.

There are too many good people to see and not enough time. I soon have to head down to Gloucester and I need to get acclimated to the time change. As I have returned I find it so remarkable that there are so many good people striving to do the best in the world. Their goodness really makes my heart feel warm in gladness for who they are and for what they mean to me and to others.

We celebrated the last meal of an elderly Jesuit who is about to retire to Campion Center in Weston, Massachusetts. He is a good priest and has done much of the weekend cooking for us. The Jesuit community is in good shape as they begin a new academic schedule. The Jesuits of Cluster 28 have reconfigured themselves and they are primed for the fall season; the Cheverus community is all set to begin another academic year.

All is good.

Thursday, September 2, 2010