Sunday Homilies : Journey to the beginning of time

from Father Kevin Laughery, Troy St. Jerome and St. Jacob St. James Parishes, Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. Note: Comments from this page do not reach me; instead, email:

The Podcasts

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: 3:44pm CST