Greetings from Seoul, Korea, the last leg of a far-too adventurous trip to Asia.
Father Dave Pfeiffer, ever the gracious host, welcomed me warmly to the Seoul House yesterday after I took the red-eye from Hong Kong. It was good to see Dave and the faithful remnant of Maryknollers here.
Father Jerry O'Connor was the next Maryknoller I saw. He hasn't changed since the time I did my OTP at his parish in Hwa Su Dong in Incheon back in 1976! I suspect there may be a special portrait of Jerry aging up in the attic.
Father Phil Mares, who did his OTP at my parish in Masan in 1984, showed up next. He's a perfect example of the student far outpacing the teacher, as his Korean (complete with Kyungsangdo accent) is better even than most Koreans'! He does great work giving retreats and spiritual direction to Korean Sisters and seminarians, infusing a mission spirit into ther vocations.
Father Jim Sinnot was especially happy to see me so he could decompress some of his thoughts and emotions about all the Roy Bourgeois developments. "Loose cannon?" Jim says with disbelief and contempt, "If anything, he's a straight arrow."
Jim has had his own episode in the lime-light back in the 1970s after he was expelled from the ROK for "meddling" in their politics by coming to the aid of widows whose husbands had been illegally executed by the Park Chung Hee regime. Jim's actions on behalf of justice were vindicated by a later democratic Korean government that invited him back and paid his way so he could enjoy his retirement in the new Korea he had helped to create.
Fr. Bob (Black) Lilly remained discretely silent during Jim's defense of Roy. Bob, for his part, mentioned how somehow Magnificat magazine comes to him despite an erroneous address showing him living in the North. When he pointed out the error, Magnificat starting sending him two copies. Fr. Dick Rolewicz reports the same problem with Maryknoll magazine. I told him to use the other issue as an evangelization tool. Who knows, maybe if he too had an address in the North, he'd get four copies.
Fr. Hank Benenati and I shared memories of our time down in the Masan area when he lived in the neighboring town of Changwan.
Fr. Russ Feldmeier, who generously allowed me use of his computer so I might blog and ccheck email, is as perapatetic as ever. After a brief time talking together, he was off to do more of his work with collaboration and retreats. Russ and I go WAAAAY back to when he and I served in the Peace Corps together at Kungbuk University in Daegu back in the early 1970s.
Both Father Jerry Farrell and Father Joe Slaby keep active by continuing their interest in the Charismatic renewal.
Fr. Carl Costa came to the Seoul House on Tuesday, as is his custom, to do the bookkeeping. Carl continues to minister at a local old folks home.
Local superior Father Jerry Hammond and I apparently crossed paths in midair last Monday as he flew off to a meeting in Hong Kong.
Tomorrow I catch the Bullet Train to Masan, my old stomping grounds. Wish me well. The newly constructed train has been plagued with breakdowns in recent months.