Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Chorus North Shore Commemorative Concert



Attached is the poster for our upcoming concert.  Please forward it out to your friends.  Below, I've added a little background on the concert for your email if you wish to use it.
 
Chorus North Shore is celebrating its 80th Anniversary this year and the 50th anniversary of our Artistic Director, Sonja Dahlgren Pryor. The Bravo! Encore! program includes favorite music from the history of the Chorus, Ms. Pryor, and our country. In addition to patriotic music, the program features Roy Ringwald's God's Trombones a collection of poems representing negro sermons set with speakers and chorus; and a composite mass which includes Beethoven's Kyrie, Verdi's Sanctus and Faure's Agnus Dei.  The concert is a celebration of choral singing that invites your participation.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Reunion and Farewell

I first want to acknowledge the beautiful weather we've had in Gloucester this past week. We had a bitterly cold two days last week that produced a marvelous effect on the ocean. I already posted images of the ocean smoke that results from the air temperature being colder than the water. However, during these cold days, the tiny skyline of Boston was magnified three times  because of the reflection. On a clear day, the skyline is noticeable, but too remote to discern any buildings. This week, the buildings rose triumphantly and majestically.

Speaking of tall buildings, I saw the movie "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close." I hadn't known if I wanted to view it because of the horrible memories of 9/11/2001. However, the warmth and tenderness of a loving mother predominates. This was the message I took from the film.

The movie was shown through the eyes of a boy who lost his beloved father in the World Trade Center bombings. It was fascinating to see how he put together his world and its meaning in the wake of his father's death. He has to piece the world together in his imagination. The quiet, invisible support of his mother permitted him to go on his mission. The fraternal care of the mute, "Renter" was instructive for him. The power of a listening ear can do great things for a person. This boy was driven. It was much like the book about the Asberger boy in "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time."

However, onto my main point, I returned to a reception at the Bank where I used to work before entering the Jesuits. My former boss retired after 25 years. He left to take a position at a small Catholic college as the founding dean of the business school. I am proud of him.

Returning to the Bank filled me with many great memories. I enjoyed my time at the Bank even though I knew I had to move on to find my life's purpose. I thought of my first days at the Bank, the ups and downs of hard work in an exciting time, the friendships I have made and nurtured over the years, the lost opportunities and the ones I seized. We don't live our lives by "what ifs." Thankfully.

The people at the Bank are truly remarkable individuals. I'm glad we are still in each others' lives. We are all on our own individual journeys that are made possible through friendships and the care of others. The journey is more fun and delightful when we share our stories with others. Sometimes our hearts break, but it is only because we care deeply. I'm grateful the Bank has been a great part of my journey. I know they will continue to do well because of the character of the good people who hold onto their dreams.

I'm proud of my friend who has the courage to move on and to return home. He has an exciting journey ahead of him and he will fashion it into something remarkable. He already has. May God be with him.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Spiritual Exercises (Retreats)


The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola

offered at Eastern Point Retreat House in Gloucester, Massachusetts, a work of the New England Province of the Society of Jesus

June 25 through July 29, 2012

and

September 2012 (new)

For further information, contact Fr. John Predmore, S.J. at predmoresj@yahoo.com for an application or type in www.easternpoint.org in your browser's search field.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Storm

It is amazing that in mid-January, we have not seen our first snowflake. I'm sure it will come, but with half the month already over, it will seem like a short winter. While much of New England received some snow two days ago, we received a lot of rain.

Yesterday, it was blustery with gale-like winds. The winds howled around 40-45 mph, but the temperature was very warm at 46 degrees. The sun was bright and the clouds had interesting formations. These are the day when I like to go out to the rocks and sit on a blanket and listen to the wind around me. I find a spot where I am safe from the winds and soak in the warmth. It is surreal because I can see the effects of the winds and hear the pounding surf, but I can find a place where I only feel the calm, stillness. What a paradox to experience.

Last night, I had dinner in Jamaica Plain, Boston. I seldom get there, but on my way to visit friends, I drove by the old convent that used to house the Jesuit novitiate. I had two good years there. I was surprised to see the massive development around that property. A mixed-use commercial/residential building exists where the old rectory was situated. The parking lot has been filled in and my old novitiate is a beautifully renovated house situated among other similarly-appearing buildings.

I am amazed with the feel of the square. I feel like I am in a neighborhood of New York City. It feels alive, vibrant, and it retains its multi-ethnic population. Some tired bars and pubs have been beefed up into more inviting restaurants. It seems like a great place to live - new, with an old neighborhood feel to it. I am pleased.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Book: "Praying the Truth" by William Barry, S.J.


William Barry, S.J. is pleased to share the good news about his newest book, Praying the Truth.

This book helps us deepen our friendship with God by examining how to approach God, at any time and with any problem, in complete honesty. Praying the Truth helps us realize that if we do not approach God in complete honesty, we may be holding back a part of ourselves that needs to be healed. By learning how to communicate honestly with God, our friendship with God and our faith in God's promise to love us unconditionally will be strengthened.

Praying the Truth is available on both Amazon.com and LoyolaPress.com. The book is also available at many bookstores across the country.

Visit www.loyolapress.com/honesty.

Monday, January 9, 2012

What's in a name: Jack or John

On a recent visit to my family home, we began talking about names we call one another. Mostly, we call each other by our given names. My mother told me that she and my father agreed that I would be named after my grandfathers "Jack" and "Alfred." Subsequently, I was given the name "John" with the explicit instructions that I was not ever to be called "John." My name would always be "Jack." I wish I knew something about my grandfathers and I have to explore the reasons why I was not to be called "John."

I was called "Jack" by many friends in the Worcester area where I grew up, but when I went to college it seemed easier for professors to call me "John," so I kept that name as my classmates became used to that name. It seemed official and formal, but it also represented a break into a world where I as an adult could make my own choices.

However, recent prayers and my mother's statements are causing me to go deeper into my prayer. The giving of names is very important. Am I to respect the desires of the family in giving me my name? I also wonder what name God wants to call me in prayer. I never asked. As names go deep into our identity and we are always moving to become our true selves, am I "Jack" or "John?" I have to see how this develops.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The End of the Christmas Season

Today's Feast of the Epiphany marks the last day of Christmas in the Roman Catholic calendar. We return to ordinary time tomorrow with the Baptism of the Lord, an event that ushers in the earthly ministry of Jesus. To celebrate the end of the season, I took two Jesuits to St. Paul Church in Harvard Square today to participate in the Lessons and Carols sponsored by the Parish Choir. It was a song-filled way to end the Christmas season.

From there, we headed out to Faneuil Hall and Quincy Marketplace for one last glance of the Christmas lights and decorations. It seems a shame that we could not see them in the snow, but the snow will certainly come - probably with a vengeance. We then had a terrific dinner at Cafe Pompeii in Boston's North End with the obligatory stop at Mike's Pastry for cannoli and cookies. We enjoyed the Sabbath Day and the little respite from directing the 30-day silent retreat.

As much as I am not ready to do it, I will begin taking down my Christmas decorations tomorrow. I love the colorful lights and the joy they bring me. I love the sparkle and wish it did not have to end.

With an early bed, the week will begin with great rejuvenation.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Cusp of a Long Retreat

Tomorrow, the January 30-day retreat begins. It is always a special time for Eastern Point Retreat House because the novice come to make their initial retreat of their Jesuit lives. Old friends return each year, that is, the novice directors and their assistants. We are always glad to renew our friendships.

More than half the novices from the U.S. Assistancy join us in making the retreat. Novices from Wisconsin, Chicago-Detroit provinces join the New England, New York, and Maryland guys. This year the novices from English-speaking and French-speaking Canada join us. Additionally, seven other spiritual seekers make the retreat at the same time. To round out the numbers, three eight-day retreats will run concurrently with the 30-day retreat.

Tonight we had a social to introduce the retreatants to one another. It was a lively affair with a brief general meeting. Tomorrow we will do a few housekeeping items before the directors greet their retreatants.

It amazes me how quickly these days come upon us. Just as Christmas and New Years ends and you expect to have a few days of downtime, we are up and running like an endurance marathon. This is a time of the year we enjoy most.

January is often cold and snowy. This morning fell right into form. Sea smoke rose from the ocean as the air temperature was much colder than the water temps. The effect is like the water is on fire. It is so cool.

We have not had a single snow-flake in Gloucester this season. We know it will not last, but we appreciate the warm weather than God has blessed us with so far. Nature evens itself out so we are prepared and expectant. We will enjoy it when it comes. We are happy to see that we have gained 10 minutes of daylight since December 18th.

The intense period of prayer into which we enter is much a blessing. The retreatants have understandable anxiety and we enjoy watching the ways God unfolds the mysterious story for them. I feel so privileged to be a part of their experience.

Their stories beg that we pray for them daily. And we're off...