IN THE COLD WEATHER THE FISH TEND TO GATHER WHERE THE "WARM" SPRING EMPTIES INTO OUR SMALL LAKE. GOUPIL IS HOME TO DOZENS OF THESE OVERGROWN CARP. I DOUBT THAT ANY OF THESE PICTURED ARE PRIZE WINNING KOI BY REASON OF SHAPE, SIZE AND COLORING BUT THEY DO ADD A DIMENSION TO A WALK ON OUR GROUNDS.
The typical woodpecker is long gone from my sight before I can creep close enough with my phone! This bird was hungry and very busy pecking out what grubs were hiding in this tree and paid me no attention. The misnomer, "red-bellied", is not so pronounced in some seasons when the breast also shows some color.
My last comments about the political scene in the United States were months ago. I have been waiting to see what might happen. The Jesuits have spoken clearly and, I say also bluntly, about the Trump's Executive Order on Immigration and Refugees.
Statement from the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the U.S. on Trump Administration’s Executive Order on Immigration and Refugees
January 30, 2017 — As members of a global religious order that works to form men and women of conscience and compassion, we denounce the Trump Administration’s Executive Order suspending and barring refugees and banning nationals of seven countries as an affront to our mission and an assault on American and Christian values.
The Jesuits — through our work in high schools, colleges, parishes and signature ministries such as Jesuit Refugee Service — have a long, proud tradition of welcoming and accompanying refugees, regardless of their religion, as they begin their new lives in the United States. We will continue that work, defending and standing in solidarity with all children of God, whether Muslim or Christian.
The world is deeply troubled, and many of our brothers and sisters are justifiably terrified. Our Catholic and Jesuit identity calls us to welcome the stranger and to approach different faith traditions and cultures with openness and understanding. We must not give in to fear. We must continue to defend human rights and religious liberty. As Pope Francis said, “You cannot be a Christian without living like a Christian.”
We Jesuits do not often speak so clearly with a united voice.
This week the courts will test the Order. Meantime here in Pennsylvania we await the second coming of the Syrian family who were stripped of their visas at the Philly airport and sent back to Syria on the first day of the Order. At least the Republican Congressman representing their relatives in Allentown, Pa, Charles Dent, is speaking out on their behalf. It appears that the family will be able to enter the USA tomorrow. I praised Robert George, noted Catholic conservative, for his stalwart refusal to join other conservatives in support of Trump. He never wavered and remains highly skeptical of the new administration. At the same time he is a big fan of Neil Gorsuch, the Supreme Court nominee. After I watched Gorsuch standing just forward of Trump give his big-hearted speech accepting the nomination, I looked at the two men and heartily wished that Gorsuch was the president. He will gain the respect of enough Democrats to gain the Supreme Court seat. And he may even be a justice who can stand up to Trump when it's needed. Postscript: Gorsuch a few days later remarks on Trump's statements about judicial challenges to his executive orders regarding immigration. Gorsuch calls them "disheartening." This is not the first and will not be the last time Trump has to deal with people of integrity.
( Blue Marsh Lake at trail mile 11.4 on February 8, 2017, a spring day right before a snowy one)
We Catholics know February 3 as the feast of St. Blase, the patron saint of healthy throats. I had my throat blessed today but not also without earlier getting a flu shot. Also I spent some days this winter fortifying my immune system with Sambucol, an over the counter elderberry remedy. Some years ago Dolores Akers recommended this when she happened to be at St. Joseph's Prep with one of her grandsons. She saw me sniffling and the next day her grandson delivered a supply of Sambucol lozenges for my use. The relief was immediate and since then I have kept a supply on hand. A few lozenges always ease and sometimes banish the sore throat. It also helps that I live in a huge park and can take healthy walks four or five times a week. I hope to see Dolores soon and discuss the remedial characteristics of Sambuco, this an elderflower liqueur with an ingredient related to the berry.
THESE SEVEN SENIOR LEADERS FROM THE CLASS OF 2017 LED A GROUP OF SCHOOLMATES FROM THE CLASS OF 2018. EACH LEADER PRESENTED A RELIGIOUS THEME: PRAYER, LOVE IN ACTION, GRATITUDE AND THE LIKE. EACH PARTICIPATED WITH A GROUP OF SIX RETREATANTS AND AN ADULT LEADER IN REFLECTIONS ABOUT THE TOPICS.
ALEX, DEAN, MICHAEL, ANDREW, CONOR, JAKE AND ANDREW