Sat Jan 3

I had a gr8 NYE in London! No rain, or snow – but it was freezing! My cold returned, so I kept rugged up. Arrived Monday 12 noon & caught the tube to the flat of an old Fitzroy friend, Alan. He lives in Fitzrovia – we both love the connection. After settling in we walked around the nighbourhood & had a drink in The Fitzroy Pub! Tuesday I went to 2 special exhibitions at the V & A & the Royal Academy. Wednesday I checked in at the Intercontinental Hotel in Park Lane. I chose this because it is near Trafalgar Squ, & used points, not $$! Went to 6 pm Mass at nearby St Paul’s, Knightsbridge & had dinner at the Italian restaurant where we pilgrims dined in August 07. The Polish waiter is still there! At 10 pm Alan joined me for a new year toast, & then we walked to Buckingham Palace & Whitehall, finishing up in Trafalgar Squ. By 11.30 pm it was packed. As Big Ben chimed midnight fabulous fireworks lit up the sky. So it is now 2009. I went to Mass at All SS, Margaret St, watched the Lord Mayor’s parade, then checked out of the hotel. I moved to the Holiday Inn where we pilgrims stayed – so as to be close to the tube for Heathrow. Joan Hooton joined me for dinner at 7pm. Next morning I caught the tube to catch my flight back to sunny San Diego 🙂 

Sun Jan 4 – The Epiphany

The Chargers won last night!!!!!!! Everyone was happy this morning. Attendances very good. I was a bit worried about my sermon after 8 am & prayed for better inspiration at 10 am. Lots of comments afterwards – thank you Lord! Music at 10 am was wonderful. I blessed Rob White, going on deployment. He & his 2 boys carred the 3 kings in the procession. At 5pm we had the Service of 9 lessons & carols. This was lovely, with the choir providing beautiful music yet again. They have certainly excelled themselves this Christmas, as have the acolytes. Gr8 to see the youth eagerly turning up an hour before & enjoying themselves in serving at the altar. The total congregation was 66 – it deserved more, but it’s hard to get people to return on a Sunday night. The supper afterwards was excellent, & everyone stayed quite a while.

Mon Jan 5

My day off. Did chores in the morning. Also returned to the gym. I have put on 4 lbs since Christmas – but still under my desired weight of 180. In the a/noon I went to the movies to see Valkyrie. Given my interest in German history/politics, I found it very interesting. It was enthralling & suspenseful – despite Tom Cruise & other non-German accents! I knew some of the locations in Berlin. A quiet night followed. 

Tues Jan 6

8.30 am in the office – & down to work for 2009! Staff meetings with Terry (parish) & Jim (business). Parish AGM coming up, so did the 2008 statistics. Acts of Communion increased to 11,323. This includes 320 home/hospital communions – a huge jump on 2007. I need to chase up various reports & do my own. Must plan for Lent – yes now! Have already purchased study group books – need to plan program & other things. Dinner with a parishioner tonight – at my favourite restaurant, Medgrill. 

Thurs Jan 8

Today was the funeral of General Krulak, the father of my assistant, Fr Victor Krulak. The Requiem Mass was celebrated at the Chapel, MCAS, which holds 600 & was full. All Saints’ took over the chapel, bringing our vestments, etc! The celebrant was Fr Krulak, assisted by Fr Edwards & myself, & the acolytes were Terry & the 2 White boys. It was an impressive liturgy, made all the more moving by the attendant Marine Corps & the ceremonies for a general. It was an honor to be involved. 

Friday Jan 9

Friday bible study resumed – always helpful for my sermon. In the a/noon l did my sermon – a question at last night’s confirmation class prompted some thoughts. At 4 pm I had HOA meeting…..the US could learn something form Australia re condo ownership! I had a ticket for the 8 pm Symphony – but my cold is still lurking, so gave it a miss. Instead I watched a DVD about Assisi. This is my next vacation destination – a pilgrimage to co-incide with the anniversary of my ordination.

Sat Jan 10

Societies of Mary today – so a relaxing morning at home before going off to church for 11 am Rosary, followed by Mass & lunch. At the end of Mass we processed out to the patio, where I blessed the newly built outdoor shrine of Our Lady. The shrine has been there for decades, & last year started to list – like the Titanic, as I said! Troy Lindenmeier did a wonderful job of building a new shrine, & Teresa, his wife, painted the inside beautifully, complete with stars on the ceiling :-)

Sun Jan 11 – Baptism of the Lord

Another beautiful sunny day. Good attendances, esp at 10 am – maybe they all came to pray for the Chargers this a/noon! After 8 am I thought my sermon was like a theological lecture, as I took them from the Trinity to the nature of Christ, to Baptism, to the work of the Holy Spirit, to the Sacraments, quoting St Paul, BCP & the creed! As usual, the 10 am version had more power, & I thought I had preached a really good sermon. Several commented in that vein, incl Fr Thurmston. Sunday school was crowded – & I now have 2 more children’s classes to do.

Tues Jan 13 – St Hilary

The beautiful sunny days continue….actually it’s quite warm. And my cold seems to have gone. A busy morning in the office, as we prepare for the annual meeting. The reports are to be printed this week, & they are all in except the financial statements. I now have to do my annual report! Some visiting & phone calls this a/noon, & Vestry at 7 pm. 

Wed Jan 14

Not only are the sunny days now here – but the sun rises at 6.30 am & sets at 5.45 pm. Another busy morning in the office. We had chocolate cake after Mass for Barbara’s birthday!  At 1.45 pm I saw my Dr (a few minor ailments), then a HC visit, then at 4.15 pm the 1st children’s HC class. Last year’s was fun, but a real challenge to my ability – & patience! In the evening I hosted a new parishioner for dinner. It seems ages since I had someone over for a meal.

Thurs Jan 15

This a/noon I am driving up to LA. I have been invited to attend a cocktail party by a magazine I subscribe to – a rare treat. It is at the luxurious Bel Air hotel. I will stay in LA overnight & drive back tomorrow morning. Ever reliable Fr Krulak will say Mass in my absence.

Fri Jan 16

The drive up to LA & back was very pleasant. Beautiful sunny trip both ways with nice views of the ocean & mountains. The cocktail party was very nice. The magazine Gen Manager knew I was “the Episcopal Minister from down south”!  I got back to All SS at 11.30 am. An interesting a/noon – but a pastoral call made me late for a 4 pm visit with parishioners. So unlike me :-(

Sat Jan 17 – St Anthony of Egypt

I prefer the Egyptian Anthony as my patron saint to Padua. Have been to his monastery. Nice to read at 9 am Mass the gospel he heard in church when he decided to be a monk. A useful morning – got my tax return details done! As I did in Australia, I calculate my tax figures myself, & then give them to my tax agent.

In the a/noon I drove to Temecula to visit newer parishioners. A 60 mile drive on a beautiful sunny day….they sure travel a long way to attend All SS. In the evening I walked around the corner to have dinner with some new parishioners. They live in a cute house, complete with an underground bomb shelter! They are the nearest parishioners to me, & the meal was excellent.

Sun Jan 18 – Epiphany 2

We are now in “Ordinary Time”, and a challenging gospel really exercised me for the sermon. There is more to Nathanial’s fig tree than meets the eye! In the a/noon I flew to Memphis for a 2 day break. Monday is the ML King holiday, so I get Mon & Tues off. Every time there is a Monday holiday I try to fly to a new city. Memphis continues my theme of visiting cities associated with music – Gracelands is there. It is also, coincidentally,  where ML King was shot.

Mon Jan 19 – ML King holiday

Today was a good day to be in Memphis. Grand celebrations for ML King day centred on the motel where he was shot – now the civil Rights Museum. I enjoyed mingling with the crowd. I also visited Gracelands – quite uncrowded, thankfully. Very interestng – taking me back to the 50’s. I spent the evening watching the activity from DC – a hint of the excitement to come.

Tues Jan 20

The inauguration of Barak Obama as 44th President of the USA

What a day! And what a privilege for me to be living in America on this historic day. I watched the inauguration on TV, sharing the excitement of the black staff at the hotel. It was all wonderful. Obama’s speech was inspiring & challenging. So much to encourage everyone – & not just in the US. I can see him bringing a new respect for America around the world. A new era of peace is possible – we need to keep him in our prayers.

Wed Jan 21 – St Agnes

Today is the 20th anniversary of my father’s death. As I reflect on his life (& my mother, who died in 1965) I realise he taught me to work hard for what I wanted to achieve, and to fulfill my dreams. I also remember that he worked hard planning to enjoy life & travel when he retired. It never happened – he was 57 when he had his 1st stroke. That is partly my incentive to travel now!

Fri Jan 23

It’s been a busy week. All my classes resumed, there were sick visits, incl my monthly visit to Atria, & a few “problems” to be dealt with. Every parish has them! I also have things to do in preparation for the parish annual meeting Sunday – & going away for a week’s holiday next week. 15 at Mass this morning. The bible study was an interesting take on the bizzare readings for Sunday. In the a/noon I administered the Last Rites to a 98 year old. This is always a privilege. Tonight I am having dinner wuth Fr & Mrs Thrumston.

Sun Jan 25 – Epiphany 3

A good attendance at 10 am, with several from 8 am present. The parish annual meeting followed at 11.35 am. It was the usual happy meeting, & lasted just 59 minutes – as I promise every year! This a/noon I go on the 1st week of my annual leave – a holiday to Italy. I am going on a pilgrimage to Assisi, & then to Rome to celebrate the anniversary of my ordination on Feb 2nd. I return Feb 3.

Mon Jan 26 – Australia Day!

Excellent flights – I experienced the new Bus Class suite from SF – Munich. Arrived Frankfurt 8.30 pm. Very cold! Next morning flew to Rome. Arrived 3 pm, staying at the same hotel as last Summer. Gr8 to be welcomed back by staff. Went to St Peter’s in time for 5 pm Mass. Supper in a local wine bar packed with locals.

Wed Jan 28 – St Thomas Aquinas

Caught 11.55 am train to Perugia, arrived 2.30 pm. Staying at new Holiday Inn outside town. Perugia is chocolate capital of Italy (think Baci) & I am using this as a base for Umbria. After unpacking went into the old city. Marvellous mediaeval town with a fabulous 14th cent cathedral. Visited cathedral & found chapel of the confraternity of the ring. This mediaeval fraternity supposedly were custodians of Mary’s wedding ring………well this is catholic Italy! Explored rest of town & enjoyed wonderful view as sun set. 

Thurs Jan 29

My pilgrimage to Assisi. Caught train & arrived 11.15 am.  Most people catch the bus, but I thought walking was more appropriate. It also gave me a marvellous vista of the town on the hill. I headed straight for St Francis Basilica. Hardly any tourists – which was why I came now, despite the cold. I visited the Lower Church 1st, & the tomb of St Francis. Prayers & reflections. Marvellous frescoes. Then to the Upper  Church. Here are the magnificent Giotto frescoes – 28 circling the walls, telling the story of St Francis. Such beauty is inspiring.

Aftre the basilica I walked thru the town. It seems to have hardly changed in in 800 years. Visited other churches, incl Basilica of St Clare, where the St Damiano cross is kept. Prayers & intentions at her shrine. Then walked to St Damiano, where the crucifix spoke to Francis. 3 Franciscans led me there. The simplicity added to the holiness of the place. Then I walked down to the main road on a footpath thru olive groves, past a disused monastery, arriving at the Basilica of St Mary of the Angels. This is magnificent. Inside is the Porziuncola – a delightful chapel where St Francis & his friars were based.

Caught the 4.45 pm train back to Perugia, & went up to the town center. Today is the festival of St Constanza -patron of the diocese. I have never heard of this martyr – perhaps she died being boiled in a vat of chocolate!! At 6pm I attended a wonderful Mass in the cathedral: 700 present, a choir of 100, 50 priests concelebrating, 5 bishops & the Archbishop, wearing his paluim. The music was gr8, as was the ceremonial & atmosphere.    

Fri Jan 30

Today I caught the 9.55 am train to Orvieto. Arrived at 11.30 am & then caught the funicular up the hill to the town center. Went straight to the cathedral, This is beautiful form the outside – black & white striped stone, with an elaborate facade. It is most famous for containing  the shrine of the corporal from the miracle at Bolsena. Pope Urban IV had the cathedral erected to honor the miracle, & also established the feast of Corpus Christi. So it is a special place for me. In the chapel of the corporal I gazed on  it, & felt the presence of Christ. After my devoptions I went to another chapel where there is a magnificent fresco of the Last Judgement by Luca Signorelli. Then I explored the rest fo the town, starting with the Moor’s tower, which gave a magnificent view of the town & surrounding countryside. So beautiful. I enjoyed walking around wonderful medieaval alleys, homes & villas. I even walked along the city wall.

I caught the 4.20 train back to Perugia. A 20 min stop at Trentola to change trains gave me the chance to enjoy sunset over Tuscany.

Sat Jan 31

Caught the 11.18 am train back to Rome. Arrived 2.15 pm. Very nice room at the same hotel. Walked all around the city – there are still churches I haven’t been inside! The Corso was packed with shoppers late a/noon. More locals than tourists. Had dinner in a small restaurant nearby.