Category Archives: Uncategorized

UFO, Google maps, terror negligence

google ufo drone

There are lots of reports about UFOs these days. Whatever with that, count the floors of the buildings so you know what you’re looking at. Now look at how close the camera has to be to the plane to get this aspect ratio. If it was a satellite, the plane would appear to be a tenth the size in the picture. Perhaps the camera is just a couple of hundred feet up from the plane, an excellent weatherproof camera with lots of storage and battery power and decent engines for its rounds even in turbulent weather. A plane? I doubt that. We’re equidistant between London City Airport and Heathrow in direct line with the runways of both, close to both. Either this guy is just taking off or just ready to land. This camera would have had to have been in a drone, right above this plane. Or, let’s just call it a UFO and then it’s all O.K. once again. You can’t indict a UFO or make an insurance settlement with a UFO. This is really sloppy national security over in England. Does this happen in the USA?

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Dad died June 11 1993

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I was threatened with a possible law suit a while back should I put up pictures of my dad, threatened by someone who, it seems, wants to erase his memory, his very existence. I wonder if other WWII / Korean War veterans families are getting this kind of smack-down. Anyway, should I get the actual descriptive citations for his two Distinguished Flying Crosses, I may be posting even more pictures. One of our “full-bird” Colonels in the parish is making some good progress on this for me. I have a lot of respect for my dad. I don’t think that that’s a bad thing in a time when dads are dissed by all and sundry.

What’s my best memory of dad? you ask. It has to do with the Most Blessed Sacrament and Altar Rails and the Cathedral of my home town. R.I.P. Dad: Best memory…

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“Fr Byers, we think you should read…”

amazon account

https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/O5RNK584SFAF/ref=cm_go_nav_hz

In a recent post I mentioned that Father Gordon MacRae said I would do well to read Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six, something about the exploits of a counterterrorism unit surely named after the famed Rainbow Division of World War I which would itself inspire the founding of that which was the inspiration for the founding of the CIA.

The polite yet incisive response to that, without exactly dissing that reading recommendation, offered this:

“If you have an amazon account, we can send you whatever we think you should read” (adding a smiley face).

Not being much of a techy, I respond with the link above to a public wish list which for many years has been entirely empty. I’m not sure if people can just put things on that list or not…

Mind you, I’m the most un-well-read priest in the world, in world history. People of all stripes and backgrounds and cultures have been trying to get me to read this and that all my life. Father Gordon is only the most recent. There have been so many priests and bishops, Cardinals, laity… Seminarians at the last place I taught created an extensive “must read” list of pages, categorized into ancient works, poetry of the ages, classics of all kinds, modern, from a century to a handful of centuries ago, all must reads without which I should just curl up and die a most miserable death, utterly useless to all and sundry. This almost broke up a friendship with the most-well-read priest in Australia, who would start every conversation with me with: “Hey! Have you read….?” Grrr.

I am stubborn. But I can try. I can have good intentions. But you’re dealing with a donkey here, with ears laid back, wary, not understanding, eyes glazing over… (add smiley face).

On the other hand, I do have a good example from bygone days. My mom. She was a voracious reader. Read. Read. Read. As a little kid I was dragged along to the library with her, which I dreaded, as I would be tasked by carrying the book bag, in and out, I’m guessing thirty pounds worth each way (that’s a lot for a pipsqueak kid), every week. Of course, if I didn’t tumble down the granite staircase in front of the magnificent library of old, I was also pretty proud of myself. So, I can at least say I’ve been around libraries a lot. Oh, and then there’s this, with me still wearing my crippley boots:

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I can handle whatever in English, Italian, Spanish, French. German (unpracticed since highschool) would slow me down quite a bit. I liked it then, but in Rome it was a pain to brush up on. Germans make up words on the fly. I like that, but, still. At this time I would struggle with anything in modern Hebrew, though I’ve been listening to some videos in Israeli Hebrew with its particularly unique pronunciation. Memories! There are other languages, but, be easy on me. If this is about trying to get me to read, make it super easy. Make it English. U.K. English is fine…

Meanwhile I go back to editing Father Gordon’s article for These Stone Walls this Wednesday…

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This Catholic Priest baiting Andrew Jackson Democrats: how Kryptesque

It might be argued that a priest shouldn’t talk about unpleasant topics because that somehow besmirches him, but a priest would be besmirched in my opinion if he didn’t talk about the darkest of humanity’s existential peripheries so as to see about addressing the problem. You can’t solve the problem unless you can name it and address it, right? Saying that priests should just be wusses and stand on the sidelines is NOT the way to go about things.

It might be argued that a priest shouldn’t talk about politics, as he is likely to alienate people from much more important religious matters, and therefore he is risking their eternal salvation for the sake of few banal comments on a few banal matters. This Catholic priest thinks that he has the right to talk about purely banal matters, being a tax-paying citizen, about whether or not, for instance, a road needs repaving before hiring more police, what with arguments about car-size potholes ending lives or lack of police who could have been there to slow people down coming to the fore depending on one’s point of view.

But some matters are both political and moral and therefore belonging both to the natural law and also to religion, God having created nature, after all. Thus, the morality of genocide, for instance, while being supported by politicians on one side of the political spectrum (Democrats, as demonstrated in the video above), is also a topic that a minister can validly address. God will be the judge if one is for or against, campaigns for or against, facilitates or places obstacles over against, for instance, genocide.

Sometimes certain matters are so important that methods of teaching that are out of the ordinary are called for. For instance, read a classic teaching-by-way-of-baiting event in Mark 3:1ff or Luke 6:6ff, when Jesus purposely called into the midst the man with the withered hand, curing him and making the others absolutely livid, furious, inciting their willful murderous intent so that they could see just how bad and evil they already were. Hah! “Oh, but, Father George! Baiting like that is mean! Jesus is a meanie!” No. Jesus was teaching truly horrifically cruel people a lesson. Period.

FBI CITIZENS ACADEMY

Recently I wrote a post about the genocide of the Cherokee promoted by Democrat Andrew Jackson. I compared the praise he lavished on those who took the land compared to some of those who took the land, the Scots-Irish. I’m also Scots-Irish, as I’ve redundantly pointed out on this blog (redundant because the name and family clan of Byers is, like, the definition of what a Scots-Irish person is). The baiting was to get a reaction to whatever the reader thought might be important, because, truth be told, I’m quite afraid that the same Democrat Andrew Jackson kill-em-all attitude is still to be found in abundance in this region. But sometimes it needs a bit of baiting to bring it out for all to see, including the people who, even unbeknownst to themselves, are genocidal without knowing it. It’s important to know who’s who. Law enforcement agencies do this kind of thing all the time, say, detectives, say, the FBI, say, the DEA, et alii. All the time. But, hey! You can even bait the baiters…

I would have hoped that it would be agreed that Andrew Jackson’s call for genocide was a terrible mar upon American history. But I thought, rightly, that some might take the bait and, revealing who they are in a comment, demonstrate that the only important thing for them is not that genocide began here, but that some among the Scots-Irish might have been criticized, I mean, like, you know, even the point of name calling, and in their opinion, entirely wrongly. Oooo! Name calling! “You, you, you, human being you!” I need to put up a post I wrote long ago about the name calling wrought by Jesus and His cousin John the Baptist. They’re the biggest name callers of all time because, truth be told, they were right both logically and morally and with integrity and honesty and goodness and kindness of actually taking people seriously enough to tell the truth. I’m not as proficient at name calling as they were, but – hey! – one can try!

Anyway, I won’t approve that one particular comment or reveal who that person is, you know, unless it appears they are going to continue some violence on the Cherokee or anyone not themselves, like the Latinos.

I’ll have to write a post about someone here – super intelligent – who was seriously rationalizing with the most refined moral argumentation the gunning down of Latinos in Graham County just to do it. Think about that. It’s reminiscent of 1920s Germany, you know, the lead-up. But I digress. Though not really. Oh! What’s this:

fbi fairmont wv criminal justice information systems

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Fr Byers is… Scots-Irish?!

DNA scots-irish

Here’s a partial detail of a screen shot of my Ancestry DNA results. Ulster! Scots Irish! Who knew? I did. Actually, decades ago before any DNA whatever. You see, Byers is an Ulsterish name. My dad looks soooo Scots Irish. Byers is a terribly common name in Western North Carolina. Anyone who knows anything about Scots Irish knows I’m that. So, why…

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Ooo! EU’s Privacy Policy & this blog: Cookies and cookies! Mmm mmm!

cookies

So, it looks the EU is paranoid. If you’re concerned about your privacy and visiting, like, you know, WordPress blogs, take a look at what the WordPress cookies are and do, that is, take a look at what seems to be, like, you know, some 25 or 50 pages or so of detailed technical presentation about what kind of computer gobbledygook goes into making such cookies: https://automattic.com/cookies/ They could call it a recipe.

A bunch of people have signed up for email notifications. Those go out automatically and each one, I guess, has a link by which you can unsubscribe at any time. If you subscribe through WordPress reader or whatever, you can unsubscribe to that pretty much in the same way you subscribed. :-)

There should be a banner which appears at the top of the blog asking you to accept or to instead stop using the site. On that banner you’ll see I’ve added a note that we also use StatCounter, which is almost useless since WordPress.COM blogs don’t use javascript, so only basic stuff comes back that can simply repeat what WordPress provides but in an easier to use format, like nicely colored world maps of where visitors come from across the globe. To do this, it does collect, like WordPress, the public IP, which, anyway, is no longer tied to any particular source as there are no longer enough numbers: IPs are reused now for any number of people at any given time right around the world, so, whatever.

WordPress seems a bit miffed about all this hassle, but provides this way to comply with new EU law. If you click Accept, the banner will disappear for 180 days but then reappear, just to annoy you. Sorry. Offer it up for the Poor Souls.

Sometimes computer users are a bit unknowing about all this. For instance, one dear reader left a nice comment only to be horrified that it appeared publicly and quickly asked me to take it down and that no message should ever go up. I took it down right away, of course. But now, there’s a mixed message wondering why messages never get put up! The reader is really wonderful, but just new to the whole computer thing. And that’s fine. We can work with each other.

If anyone wants to take a comment down or whatever, let me know. I’m happy to oblige.

In looking over all this kind of thing and imagining all the law suits and bickering that can go on, it comes to mind that I would rather just be heaven. That’s one of the reasons I have comment moderation turned on. I don’t want fights going on in the comments box. It all turns very ugly very quickly, so, no. I like civility.

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tradition of Tradition wins out

stemma carta intestata-colori600151069..jpg

Good news! We PIB alumni have just received a communication which sported the image above. Thus, we have returned to the Coat of Arms of the Pontifical Biblical Institute, the Sacred Eucharistic Heart of the Cherubic Fiery Sword Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Alpha and Omega, the Eternally Enduring Incarnate Word of the Inspired Words of God. The Keys binding and loosing according to the truth of the revelation of the heavens, the authority of the Supreme Magisterium with aspects of all that which is prophetic, priestly and of fatherly governance. I love it. After all, Jesus is the One. He’s the only One.

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Math equation priorities: rules for life UPDATE: Pornchai Max to the rescue

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  • I would say 60. I would say, in this case, to do things linearly.
  • Others would say 15, citing a “rule” that multiplications are operated before all else.

Just to say, that latter “rule” seems stupid to me, as there are a thousand and more analogous situations. Is “addition” to be trumped just because it is a simpler operation? I bring this up on behalf of a friend.

UPDATE:  I asked Father Gordon to ask Pornchai Maximilian Moontri about this, seeing that Max is a noted world class mathematician:

Dear Fr. George

Considering your equation quandary, I have consulted with a noted mathematician, Pornchai Maximilian Moontri. He says that the answer to 5+1×10= could be either 60 or 15 depending on where you are in the West, we read equations from left to right. And in many Asian cultures they are read from right to left, so in China 1×10=10 and plus 5 would equal 15.

There is also a view from quantum mechanics which would be my cup of tea. Of course you probably think that quantum mechanics may refer to guys who can work on more than one car at a time.

Fraternal blessings,
Father Gordon

Back to the original post:

Mind you, I have a total mental block with math after my experience as a junior in high school when the teacher prepared a kind of public cage-fight to the death between he and I without letting me know it would be me in the cage. I think I mentioned this previously. For a month or two he told the class, every class (I think three or four times a week) that on a specific date no one is to miss class, even in the event of a family death. Everyone came. “All books, notes, everything on the floor,” he said.

Then he presented a super-complicated math problem, you know, with all sorts of numbers and letters and parentheses and square roots and symbols on both sides of the equation. He didn’t write this on the board, but in the air. We just had to remember it as he “wrote” it out while he described the invisible formulae. Then he called on me for a solution.

I was as sick as a dead dog, but, since I was somehow alive, and death was no excuse, I was present. Other students objected, telling him to leave me alone, that I was obviously sick to death. He insisted on me and only me answering. “54” said I. It was correct.

This was repeated twice more, with the second time seeing more of my classmates object, with the third time the class being an uproar against the teacher. But I said, “27”, and was correct, and “9” and was correct again. Something like that.

It was a bit of a Will Hunting janitor doing math at MIT experience. But, confused teenager that I was, I didn’t know if this was meant to encourage me or meant to have definitively smashed me into the ground. That’s when the mental block for math was dropped on my head. It might as well have been made out of cement:

crane cement block.png

I guess I’m altogether too sensitive and entitled or whatever. But that blindsided me. Never again, thought I. The usual being naive vs a general mistrust kind of dynamic turned into a much more helpful situational awareness, which looks for the best and is always prepared for the worst. I’m still learning about that.

Doing up addition of facts before escalating a situation by multiples of whatever is, I think, important. But, back to that equation:

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Terra Firma!

My parishioner who’s a 25 year retired cop came to pick me up – three hours plus one for traffic, and that’s just one way. So, of course, we stopped for pizza, which has a first course.

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Miracle Mary Pilgrimage for Father Gordon MacRae and Pornchai Maximilian Moontri

This is the famous little church where Mary Immaculate brought about a certain miraculous conversion. This is also where Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe offered his first Holy Mass, in fact, at this altar..

O.K., not exactly that altar. Let’s peek into that side chapel:

I felt compelled to pray for Fr Gordon MacRae and Pornchai here. Saint Maximilian Kolbe was imprisoned, as you will remember, and he is a patron saint of Father Gordon and also Pornchai, who took the name Maximilian upon his conversion. Will you join me with some prayers?

Angel of God…

Hail Mary…

Saint Michael the Archangel…

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Update: For Fr Gordon MacRae et al

I made a pilgrimage to the Mamertine Prison where both Sts Peter and Paul were imprisoned. I felt compelled to pray for Fr Gordon MacRae and Pornchai here. Will you join me?

Angel of God…

Hail Mary…

Saint Michael the Archangel…

Update: just got this email:

“Dear Father George, this news was just read to me via telephone by Charlene Duline and I am more grateful than you could know for this remembrance. And it came on the day after my birthday. I turned 65 yesterday. I wonder if they let prisoners retire!! With fraternal blessings,
Father G.

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Nota bene: Sala Regia

Two years ago Pope Francis addressed the Missionaries of Mercy in the Sala Regia. The ultra-Tradition-al-ism-ists condemned him, me, everyone else there, and then said that the Sala Regia is not the Sala Regia but some other place.

Here we are again, in the same place. They’ve had two years to do research. Will they entrench, apologize, just not talk about it anymore?

If anyone was willing to listen, would they hear what was said this time about mercy being founded on justice? about Confessors going to Confession themselves? about those who are bitter going to Confession? about joy in seeing our wounded but risen Saviour, our God, before us? about priests being a good example of repentance and joy?

byers dance paul vi audience hall

Can’t we just help each other to get to know Jesus? Didn’t King David dance?

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“Simony!”

This is a “lame” begger in front of the Holy Office next to St Peter’s. Maybe he is. He approached me asking for money. Pretty much 100% of beggers in Italy are harmless. Then he said “Simony!” really loud.

Perhaps I’m underestimating street beggers but this struck me as being mighty theological if this was an accusation. If so I wish he would have expounded so I could go to Confession.

Or maybe he was repeating an accusation from a priest about himself. In that case he would be baiting people to purchase an indulgenced occasion of almsgiving from him.

Or maybe this is echolalia and I’m way overthinking it. Good to think the best, right. Nothing is as it seems. Maybe this is another St. Joseph Benedict Labre. He looks exactly like him. Hmmm….

So, now I call him Simon and we are friends.

…. Make that Jacky. Good to know someone named after donkey-kind.

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How to be a Confessor for Confessors who hear confessions of Confessors

In other words, how does a Missionary of Mercy go about hearing the confessions of fellow Missionaries of Mercy who hear confessions of fellow priests back home, who hear the confessions of the faithful?

There were 12 of us hearing confessions yesterday. I happened not to get a confessional but was up on one side of the sanctuary with another priest on the other side with the Most Blessed Sacrament in the middle of us.

As confessions started… Well… They didn’t. It was a bit awkward. So, the way to get things moving is for us two up in the sanctuary to go to Confession to each other. And that opened the flood gates of mercy for all.

Our Lord Jesus takes care of His priests if they want His mercy. It’s all about Jesus.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Aspect ratio edition)

This is the altar of the Blessed Sacrament in the Twelve Apostles Basilica next to the Biblicum. It’s run by the Conventual Franciscans. I like to kneel just here at the altar rail as it is just here that I prayed in preparation to be ordained a deacon. But there’s more. It is at this altar that I prayed to get through my studies with the help of St Joseph of Coopertino, the flying saint. He did. That involved a similar path, in detail, right down to professors and chapter 15 of Luke, again and again. I never did have his aspect ratio, however, flying around as in the painting above, since I can’t count extreme sports as a kid. I’m happy to always see flowers at the tabernacle throughout the decades. I’m sure He gives those right to His mama. After all, it is this Basilica that hosts the preached novena to the Immaculate Conception every year. The Franciscans prayed for Pius IX to proclaim the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, even as the Jesuits next door prayed for it to somehow be stopped. We know what happened. Haha.

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The Holy Spirit, Peter, priests, keys, absolution, me

Pope Sixtus V put up this obelisk to show that superstition is conquered by the cross, sin by grace, by love. It was laying on the ground to the Gospel side of pre-basilica times where Peter was crucified upside down out of deference to our Lord.

These are the bells which ring madly when a new Pope is elected.

Any Pope is always Saint Peter. It has something to do with the Holy Spirit, who provides the power of keys. Priests turn those keys in Confession. But the power is always with Peter. We thank the Holy Spirit who was sent among us for the forgiveness of sins. It’s the power of the Holy Spirit.

So far, I’ve prayed at the tombs of Bartholomew, Philip, James, and now, sorry, but most importantly, Peter. Those are his bones below the altar.

Besides the usual prayers for the plenary indulgence, my prayer to Saint Peter was this:

  • Help me to be one in solidarity with you and your successor.
  • Help me to be one in solidarity with you and your successor in being a sign of unity.
  • Help me to be one in solidarity with you and your successor in bringing many to the Lord.
  • And I continued in that manner…

Looking up:

And looking over:

On my way out of the Basilica just for nice:

But then I visited the tomb of Pius X just there, to the Gospel side. He sets me into ecclesia militans mode. But that’s for another post. Meanwhile, just there, off to the side, my guardian angel smacked me down so that I would take one last picture, one that would be significant for the prayer I had just made at the tomb of Peter, just a section of our Lord’s words to Peter:

“…and whatever you loose on earth…”

Significant, that, for a Missionary of Mercy.

No better place to start than myself. Outside, down below, near the colonnade, amidst the mayhem of the crowds, I spotted a couple of priests who looked terribly unkempt in terribly worn out clerical clothes. Nobody could fake that look. I asked them if they were Catholic priests.

The elder one said yes. The younger one, clearly a secretary, warned[!] the elder that I was a priest (stating the obvious, so political), and then told me sternly that the elder was not just a bishop, but an archbishop (I had seen the ring…). Ignoring this breathlessness, I quietly, humbly asked the elder if he might hear my confession. Yes, he said. That Archbishop was a saint. It only took a minute or two.

Any priest readers might be tempted to chime in to say that I was very rude to do this and that the younger priest was right to be upset. Instead, I think this was a good example about asking for confession, being available for confessions and in being available to one’s fellow priests.

If there is anything at all, ever, that will be a sign of unity, which will assist Peter in his mandate, it will be the blood of the Lamb falling upon us in forgiveness of our sins, then bringing that forgiveness to all.

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Street mafia = Vatican security. Nothing is as it seems, ever.

Not this guy.

There’s a line through security into Saint Peter’s that reportedly takes five, even six hours. That’s if you don’t cut the line. Enter the street mafia. Pay them and they will shove you into the front of the line. They look like tour operators. The sheeple don’t complain. You pay to calm your conscience down. The ones you are kicking in the face are poorer than you.

Not this guy.

Street Mafia: “Pay me to skip the line to enter the church.”

Since I had to wait a bit for my friend who was, as always, busy with the Holy Father, I decided to put a certain skill set to work. Get a stopwatch!

Within just a few minutes I had the whole mafia hierarchy down, the name of the anti-mafia LEO assigned to the piazza, names, places, even family pictures, who collects from who and how much. Easy peasy. All good conversation.

One guy, while looking the part, had a rather different background. He was a seminarian with the […] for 13 years (I suppose including minor seminary). He did his licentiate thesis on immigration. This was now it seems a role playing exercise for a doctoral thesis, also with a counterterrorism aspect with cooperation with police.

He said he left the […], but when he gave me his contact details they were still those with the […]. I’m sure he’s a priest. I left him sure that he had left the priesthood to be a cop, but now I think he’s still a priest cooperating with cops as he tries to get to know the Dynamics of the street mafia. That kind of knowledge makes for trusted leadership.

And here I was trying to convince him to go back to the […]. He’s a 1000 times a better priest than I. Nothing is as it seems.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (survival edition)

I’m told that it’s been terribly cold for Rome these past weeks, with quite a bit of snow. These guys are really struggling, but are trying their best to beautify this monastery originally named the Annunziata.

Like any mom, Mary appreciates any try on our part.

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If I go to the ends of the Earth…

… You are there, Jesus. The chapel where I’m staying.

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Such a trip. Such a travelling companion.

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. So we made a beeline across the globe, regardless of any curvature of the earth, adding a couple of hours to the flight. Usually we’re much father North.

And then we wandered around Spain and the Mediterranean perhaps continuing a dead reckoning exercise. We got up to 38,000 ft.

But no matter. I had a very pleasant travelling companion. I always do.

This person had never been assigned to Rome but had passed through many times. Assignments otherwise included the Middle East as well as Israel, Central America and Asia.

On this occasion the tables were turned a bit. Since I’ve spent some decades in Rome it was an honor to be of assistance in getting this person safely near our Embassy up on Via Veneto. The conversation was going in the direction of common friends. A refreshing start to this Missionary of Mercy jaunt in Rome.

Of course, just to make the encounter official, I was asked the inevitable question: who are you, anyway? ;-) It’s just that I’ve been in Rome way too long.

And here I am again. Trillions of memories flood in with every Vista. Nothing has changed. That can be a good thing.

Maybe it’s just that as the years skip by, I’m not so terribly offended by this:

I have such good memories of St JPII that I was happy to see it. Or maybe I’m in a good mood.

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