Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Photo: The Public Gardens

To see photos of Boston's Public Gardens, click on the link below:

Pics of the Public Gardens

The Institute of Contemporary Art

Thank you, Mayor Menino, for your work in developing the Innovation District of South Boston. It is hardly recognizable if you haven't been to the area in the past decade. This place is fun. The waterfront has been opened up and it is lined with many fine restaurants and trendy architecture. The lamps resemble the old gas lamps with a contemporary flare. Edgy artwork appears in front of buildings and in public squares and the Institute of Contemporary Art is a big draw. Even the electronic billboards are elegant. This is a place to play and to feel good about the city while looking out into the harbor or at the cosmopolitan skyscrapers of Boston.

Near the ICA is Louis of Boston, the Moakley Courthouse, Anthony's Pier 4, Legal Seafood, a host of other restaurants, and the music tent. Red Bull sponsored a diving competition at the ICA and they hosted artwork from Brazilian twins. As you drive along Atlantic Avenue near South Station, you see the artwork of a graffiti artist who is hiding his face with his clothing. It builds excitement about going to see the artwork inside the ICA.

The Innovation District has energy. It suddenly connects the once-isolated South Boston to the Financial District and it opens up a whole cosmopolitan world to diners and adventure seekers. Menino did a great job in creating a vision for this area. It is the place to be.

Photo: Innovation District

To see photos of Boston's Innovation District, click on the link below:

Pics of the Innovation District

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Photo: South Texas

Before I head out to Jordan, I thought it would be a good idea to visit my father who lives near Corpus Christi, Texas. I haven't seen him in some years and he turned 80 in January.

We were able to spend a couple of days together. He and his wife gave me a tour of Rockport (7,500 population) and Fulton (1,500). We had plans to go into Corpus Christi aboard the U.S.S. Lexington, but that never worked out. I was able to see a replica of the Nina of the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria. The others will soon be built.

I had plans to visit friends in San Antonio, but a health concern for my father negated those plans. I'll get to San Antonio next year when I return for a visit.

We toured the Rockport Educational Center, which had an interesting illumination of weather patterns on a globe. Images were projected onto the globe that gave the appearance that the globe was rotating. It was a fascinating educational film that showed storm patterns and their causes, flight patterns, use of Facebook connections from space, and some environmental concerns.

We had several nice meals and some downtime in their home. The swimming pool was a welcome relief for the overly hot weather. We watched a documentary on the Korean War and we flipped through photo albums that featured the work my father did with veterans of the Korean War.

It was a few short days, but it was a start. We'll try to build more connections in the family and see what happens next.

To see photos of South Texas, click on the link below:

Pics of South Texas

Photo: Down in Texas

To see photos of from Texas near Corpus Christi, click on the link below:

Pics of Texas

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Summer's Over?

We are about to flip to the other side of August and weather wise this means changes. Now, it's not as if fall is going come in on the 16th of the month, but daylight is rapidly diminishing and this will have profound affects on our weather. In northern Canada there is a small town called Resolute. Since May, Resolute has enjoyed 24 hours of daylight. In the next 15 days they will lose over 7 hours of that light and by mid-September sunrise and sunset will grow closer together for a loss of another 5 hours. The loss of the sun means temperatures will cool there as well as across the rest of the northern parts of our hemisphere. I am fascinated by Resolute. Temperatures today are in the 30s with periods of cold and snow. Although it may still warm into the 40s this month, the temperature trend is heading lower. You might ask, what the heck does that have to do with us? As colder air builds to the north it will be help to push the jet stream further south. As the jet stream moves south, our air cools, we lose humidity and we generally get a bit stormier. It takes, depending on the year, about 8 to 10 weeks for that jet stream to move more permanently into our area. Once that happens fall and even winter arrive. Last year, the jet stream rarely moved south but this winter I expect that to not be the case. More on the winter forecast in the next couple of weeks.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Seldom Used Gem

I am sitting in the Ambulatory given to the Society of Jesus by Iraqi graduates of Al-Hikma University and Baghdad college. It is a stunning piece of architecture that connects the Health Center wing of Campion Center to the Main Dining Room, chapel, and Jesuit residences. It was built for two purposes: to help older Jesuits connect with the Province's past and to give them some space to spread out while enjoying the magnificent views of nature from a glassed-in vantage point.

I'm praying and reflecting upon my impending mission to Amman, Jordan and I am enveloped by plaques that detail our missionary past. I will soon be one of those missionaries whose work is central to Jesuit ministry. I survey parishes we once ran, closed retreat houses and villas, the grand missions to Iraq and Jamaica, and former mission territories. We once had thriving communities in various places. The work is still great and there are far fewer Jesuits to send to those areas.

On my way to the ambulatory I ran into one Jesuit who said he was glad I was leaving Gloucester. Perplexed, I asked why? Most people have said they are sad to see me leave. He cheerfully replied that Gloucester is too small for me and I will flourish in a bigger stage. I asked him how he meant it and thankfully he replied that it is a compliment. I was worried because I don't ever want to give the impression that I am more important than the work. He did not mean it that way. He just sees Gloucester as a very small corner of the world and he sees that I have more to give. What a relief!

It is wonderful to be at Campion Center where a Health Center thrives, the Jesuit community is engaged, and the retreat center is very busy. It is in the wealthy town of Weston so it is often good to leave the property and dialogue with the rest of the world.

A walk through our cemetery tells a wondrous story. It is hard to walk through it without choking up. Many deceased Jesuits have done some excellent work before us and they have built up such good relationships in life. I'm sad to know they are not here with us. Death is hard because it is final and while we have faith, death is still difficult. However, I feel like I am immersed in my province's brief history. Men who have touched so many lives of others so profoundly are in my consciousness. This place once bounded by young Jesuit philosophers and theologians; now it serves mainly the retired and infirm Jesuits, but alive in the corridors are the spirits of many men who came to know the Lord intimately. They formed lives based on being friends of Jesus. I'm glad to just be sitting here in the midst of the past and present.

The story continues....

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Spirit of Silence

From the Australian Provincial

In his concluding speech at the recent Congregation of Procurators, Fr General Adolfo Nicolás SJ urged Jesuits around the world to recover the spirit of silence. It is a timely message for all of us in these busy times.

On this Feast of the Assumption, Fr Nicolás’ words make me think of Mary's prayerfulness and her ability to ponder things in her heart.

The silence of our hearts is indeed a beautiful place to meet God. Here is what Fr Nicolás said on the subject of silence:

I believe that one of the primary challenges facing the Society today is that of recovering the spirit of silence. I am not thinking of disciplinary measures, fixed times of silence, going back to religious houses that look more like monasteries. Rather, I am thinking of the hearts of our men.

We all need a place inside ourselves where there is no noise, where the voice of the Spirit of God can speak to us, softly and gently, and direct our discernment. In a very true sense we need the ability to become ourselves silence, emptiness, an open space that the Word of God can fill, and the Spirit of God can set on fire for the good of others and of the Church.

More than ever, every Jesuit should be able to live like a monk in the middle of the noise of the city – as an Orthodox friend of ours once said. That means that our hearts are our monasteries and at the bottom of every activity, every reflection, every decision, there is silence, the kind of silence that one shares only with God.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Family Gathering

I spent some time on mid-Cape Cod to visit my aunt Nancy (my mother's sister) and her husband, Bill, and their dog, Lucky. It was good to spend some time with them. We had the pleasure of watching a rare athletic event. The Red Sox won against the Cleveland Indians by a score of 14-1 with Jon Lester pitching. It is eerie how siblings can be so alike and dissimilar at the same time.

Nancy and Bill's children (Bob, Ellen, and Julie) plan to visit the Cape later in the week. This is the anniversary of Julie's son, Brian's, untimely death.

 After a while we visited my cousins who are the children of my mother's other sister who is deceased. I haven't seen most of them since my aunt's death seven years ago. I can't believe that much time has passed. Mary was the chef and host in that smooth style much like her mother'. Jamie sounded and had mannerisms a lot like his deceased father. Ann and Valerie visited from Oregon. All the women resemble their mother so much, but in very different ways. It was a pleasure to see all of them with their children.

Since my family of origin lived 40 minutes away from my aunt's family, we hardly spent any time together. It is a blessing to see them again as adults. I'm proud of them and I'm happy they are my relatives.

Photo: Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway

To see photos of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway in Boston, click on the link below:

Pics of the Greenway

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Master Harold and the Boys

Tonight, I joined some friends at the Gloucester Stage Company to see "Master Harold and the Boys." It is a  3-person play about the horrors of the harshly oppressive apartheid system in South Africa in 1950. It projects the idea that if a person can change his or her view of events in life, he or she can also change one's own behaviors. This play is a struggle of conscience. The attitudes by which he respond to emotionally significant experiences will determine the terrain for the rest of our choices. Turning points create opportunities for us to become more than what we have become. A person can move from a lower plane to a higher one.

This was a sacred play. When it was finished and the actors came out for acknowledgement at the end of the show, I wanted to punch the character named Hally. I did not like what his character did to the other two. He had truly become Master Harold. The actors who played Sam and Willy I wanted to embrace because their stories moved me a great deal. When they received applause, these actors were still in their characters. It was not a time to cheer for great acting; it was a time to acknowledge the grave social sins we commit against each other - historically and currently. The two black actors were still in tears and it pulled at my heartstrings. The white South African actor could not wear a smile because of the severity of the ending. It was no time for rejoicing in their abilities. They knew they were credible. We just sat aghast with our wet handkerchiefs.

It was a sacred moment and the play deserves grand silence to honor those who struggle each day.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Skype Me, Please!

Don't forget to test out your Skype so we can stay in conversation while I am in Jordan. Some have even expressed continuing spiritual conversation. Skype is easy.

Go to www.skype.com and click on the "Download" button. It will run through an installation routine.

At the end of it, you will be prompted to create a user name and ID. This is easy. It is just like setting up a new email account. You have done it before.

Once the setup is complete, seek my name "predmoresj" and add me to your connections. We are ready to video chat!

Welcome to online video conferencing. John

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Video: Eastern Point's Summer Sunrise

To see a video of sunrises at Eastern Point during the 30-day retreat (courtesy of Sr. Tho Pham), click on the link below:

Video of Eastern Point's sunrises

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Photo: Full Moon in Gloucester (with Maine Flowers)

To see photos of the first of two August full moons in Gloucester, click on the link below:

Pics of August's Full Moon

Last Night in Gloucester

I was prepared for an easy last night in Gloucester when I saw the first of the two August full moons rise. I wanted to sit an observe the moon rising through the hazy clouds and just take it easy.

When I went to my room to pack, I noticed I had far more work left to do than expected. I thought I was down to the minimum amount I could carry, but I still have too many possessions to leave behind. Mild anxiety hit me and I was determined to sort out everything.

The spirits came alive. Memories flooded back and seem to swirl throughout the retreat house. I was the only one around so I dimmed many of the lights. Before I knew it, it was 2:00 a.m. and I was wide awake. I had no thought of sleeping, but I must have fallen asleep around 8:30 p.m. So much to do and my energy was zapped. I hadn't realized all the emotions I had to revisit.

Onward to the frontiers...

So long Gloucester....

Until we meet again....