Sunday Homilies

from Father Kevin Laughery, Quad Pastoral Unit, Sangamon and Morgan Counties, Illinois Comments from this page do not reach me; instead, email: kl@kevinlaughery.com

The Podcasts

Those of us who use computers must be impressed with the visual nature of the interaction between ourselves and these devices.  We equate seeing with understanding.  The word of God today encourages us in our understanding.  As Hebrews declares today, God understands us, not because he is standing by and looking on from a distance, but because in Jesus he experienced the effects of living in the obscurity of a sinful world.
Direct download: KML_2006-10-29.mp3
Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 10:59am EDT

The computer just ate my message.

Category:Fr. Kevin's Blog -- posted at: 3:21am EDT

Hello everyone,
 
Monday morning I got an Oyster.  You may ask, "What's so exciting about that?"  Oyster is what they call the London universal pass for the Underground and the buses.  You "touch in" and "touch out" on entering and leaving the Underground -- that way, the system calculates the proper fare and deducts it (even if the visitor to London has made his journey in a roundabout way).  It's been extremely convenient for all the running around I've been doing the last three days.
 
Monday I proceeded to go to Greenwich and hence make a "journey to the beginning of time."  The Royal Observatory gives you the opportunity to stand on the Prime Meridian, and to find out just what exactly determined it.  (Waverly: keep in mind that the ninetieth meridian west, halfway between the Prime Meridian and the International Date Line, crosses Route 104 just a little bit west of Waverly.)  It was at an international conference in Washington in 1884 -- there was quite a bit of rivalry between London and Paris on this -- but the U.S. helped to swing the decision toward London (Greenwich Observatory).  The prime meridian was defined by the crosshairs of the "Great Transit" telescope at the Greenwich Observatory.  I watched the time ball drop at 1 pm -- this is/was for the benefit of ships on the Thames.  The observatory is found at the top of a steep hill.  After my journey up that hill, I found myself kind of lightheaded and my adherence to the 1200-calorie diet immediately became less strict.  (What a sacrifice.)  Among other things, I fortified myself that evening with a pub meal of roast chicken, veggies and "chips."  I was pleased to find out that pubs in London do have non-alcoholic beer.  So far I have had a Guinness brand called "Kaliber" and the German Beck's NA.  I liked them.  I still haven't found them in grocery stores, however.
 
Tuesday it was another trip to Leicester Square for a theater ticket.  Then I went to the Tower of London.  (That's another of those things that brings forward the question "Why didn't you see it in '82?" because, indeed, the Tower is the key to the history of London for the last thousand years.)  I took the yeoman warder's tour.  They really play up all the executions that took place there or at nearby Tower Hill.  (It will cause me to think differently about a certain small town in central Illinois.  Thomas More was one of those executed on the Hill.  The yeoman warder's talk belittled Henry VIII in this matter.)  And of course I saw the crown jewels, including the world's largest diamond, the Cullinan I "Star of Africa" at the top of Elizabeth's scepter.  The Tower was a very full day, followed by a full evening at The Producers, which of course was very successful in its initial New York run with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick.  The two guys in the main roles were likewise superb -- tremendous singers.  And yes, it was very funny.
 
Today I got a late start.  I had a wonderful salmon dinner at a seafood restaurant about a block away from where I am staying (French management apparently).  I visited the Roman Catholic cathedral, Westminster Cathedral, and two nearby Catholic bookstores.  I walked by Buckingham Palace, through either Green Park or St. James Park and then the east end of Hyde Park. 
 
Tomorrow I plan to work in another show.  I've never seen Les Miserables, so that might be a possibility.  It's been playing in London for 21 years.  While I was at The Producers, Spamalot was having its gala opening, with all the living Pythons (except Cleese) present.  Spamalot tickets are not being sold at the half-price booth.
 
I am, in fact, having a thoroughly carefree time.  I may get used to it, and stay carefree whether or not circumstances warrant!
Category:Fr. Kevin's Blog -- posted at: 4:44pm EDT

Thursday afternoon I had an interesting walk which included what the guidebook says was George Orwell's inspiration for the "Ministry of Truth" building in the novel Nineteen Eighty-four.  (Turns out Orwell died close by, at the University College Hospital where I worked in '82.)  I also saw an exhibition of editorial cartoons. 
 
Friday I did the whole "queue-up-for-half-price-theater-tickets-in-Leicester-Square" thing and did go to a musical that evening.  (I'll tell you about it when I get home.  I guess I will have to pay full price for Spamalot.)  I am still amazed at so many things close to Ogle St. that I never got around to seeing.  You remember the theme from The Patty Duke Show?  About how Cathy Lane had been "everywhere, from Zanzibar to Berkeley Square"?  ("But Patty's only seen the sights/ A girl can see from Brooklyn Heights ...")  Maybe I'm the only one in the universe who remembers those lyrics -- but I have viewed Berkeley Square and its beautiful old plane trees.  This is in the Mayfair area of London, which I think can be classified as the "rich" part of town -- and again, I was really close to it back in '82 and didn't know about it!  Also found an excellent Italian restaurant just a block away from Ogle Street -- I assure you I am still keeping to the diet!
 
The next observation will be especially appreciated by Democrats.  Saturday I went again to the Mayfair area.  The U.S. Embassy (designed by Eero Saarinen, who also designed the Gateway Arch) is at the west end of Grosvenor Square.  On the north side of the square is a statue of FDR.  Then one must consider the northwest corner of the square.  The U.S. ambassador during the Reagan Administration saw fit to erect a statue of Eisenhower, as if he couldn't stand that the square was dominated by the FDR statue!!!  Saturday's walk also included Savile Row, with the upper-crust men's tailors.
 
Today, Sunday, I took a quick walk to the Hyde Park area and promptly turned around.  I decided that Hyde Park was too congested.  I have an idea that there may have been a rally or protest or something there.  I wonder what it could have been about?  Let's sum it up by saying that neither Tony nor George is popular here.  (After church today a man said to me, "I hope someday you get the President you deserve.")  And I am getting a lot of reading done.
 
Finally, about the caffeine I mentioned in the subject line.  I have been having a terrible time (a "Dickens" of a time?) getting to sleep at the proper hour.  I still need to confirm this with Alan, but here's the deal.  I looked around the kitchen and saw that Alan had lots of decaffeinated instant coffee.  I drew the conclusion that his store of coffee was exclusively decaffeinated.  So I have been getting instant coffee out of a yellow jar on the counter ... but now I strongly suspect that I have been ingesting caffeine for several days.
 
More soon.  KML
Category:Fr. Kevin's Blog -- posted at: 1:50pm EDT

Hello All,  
 
Yesterday and today (Wed. and Thu.) I have been sticking close to Ogle Street.  Yesterday was a long long walk in Regent's Park (I used to run the entire circumference of it).  I continue to be amazed at all the things I don't remember about the environment just a block or two from me.  I am very close to the main building ("Broadcasting House") of the BBC, but do I remember it from 1982?  No way.
 
I needed a jacket this morning, but this afternoon it's probably in the 50s and sunny.  Yesterday morning there was a very hard rain.  I sleep late every morning.  I have the impression that if I am sleeping, I need to sleep.  So I do.  I should be looking into getting tickets for some plays.  But if I'm lazy, so be it.  That's the purpose of time off.  Be assured that I am doing plenty of reading too.
Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 9:36am EDT

Tuesday, Oct. 10, 5:13 pm.  Mary and Greg, Happy Anniversary!  Yesterday I woke up a few minutes after noon.  I did not leave the presbytery.  I did get my laundry done.  Could not get to sleep until some time after 4 am.  Today I woke up before 9 am.  (My room in the presbytery is very quiet.)  I wandered through bookstores in the morning.  There was a little rain.  The weather is unseasonably warm, in the 60s.
 
This afternoon I did what could be considered my first tourist bit.  You know, I had thought I had seen London pretty thoroughly when I lived here for nine weeks in 1982.  Then again, I had only one day off per week and at the end of my stay, I didn't hang around London and instead spent a few days in Yorkshire.  Now, what's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of London?  The Houses of Parliament?  I would say that that is the most universally recognizable symbol of London.  But I have to tell you that I really have no recollection of having seen the Houses of Parliament back in 1982.  I corrected that omission today.  The best view of the building is from the south side of the Thames (and I do remember for sure that I never made it to the south side of the Thames -- Southwark or "Sutherk" -- back then).  Well today I took in the whole beautiful vista.  Near Parliament is Westminster Abbey, which I think I visited in '82 (so then why wouldn't I have seen Parliament back then? -- maybe I do need to take pictures).  Over the main door of Westminster Abbey there are sculptures of ten 20th-century saints, including Martin Luther King.  I think I'll go inside the Abbey tomorrow; having read The Da Vinci Code, I am interested in seeing the monument for Newton.
 
Having done a lot of walking today, I hope that getting to sleep tonight will be no problem.  I think my 1200-calorie diet can be bent today.  Fr. Alan doesn't appear to keep much fresh fruit around.  I've bought some clementines and Braeburn apples.
Category:Fr. Kevin's Blog -- posted at: 12:35pm EDT

After an uneventful air trip, I am in London where I worked as a deacon in the summer of 1982.  I arrived at the parish for the 9:00 am Mass with three minutes to spare.  I have located an internet cafe, from which I am sending this message.  I am walking around the old neighborhood.  Both of the hospitals where I worked have undergone great changes.  The parish church has a completely remodeled interior, in keeping with guidelines on providing for baptism of adults by immersion.  I will write some more after I have done some more.
Direct download: KML_2006-09-24.mp3
Category:Fr. Kevin's Blog -- posted at: 9:58am EDT