Saturday, September 29, 2007
GUANTANAMO PRISONER ABUSE
A lot of shocking stories came out of the "Gitmo" scandal. Here is another one. This time it is the prison chaplain, Captain James Yee, who was abused, proving that once again we can still be shocked by how low our government can go.
THE JURY'S GOT IT
CLEVELAND -- A former church accountant who paid $784,000 in kickbacks to his former boss at the Cleveland Catholic Diocese should be convicted for defrauding the church and the Internal Revenue Service, the prosecution said in its closing argument Friday.
But the defense for Anton Zgoznik, 40, of Kirtland Hills, said he was following orders in paying the money to keep a valued top accountant working for the church.
The U.S. District Court jury left the courtroom after 2 1/2 hours of closing arguments to begin deliberating. Zgoznik is charged with conspiracy, money laundering, mail fraud and obstruction of justice.
The payments went to Joseph Smith, former chief legal and financial officer for the diocese. He faces trial later on similar charges.
"There was no way Bishop (Anthony) Pilla would know, the diocese would know" about the payments, assistant U.S. Attorney John Siegel told the jury, referring to the now-retired head of the diocese.
Read the rest...
FROM THE EMAILBOX
Spirit & Life®
"The words I spoke to you are spirit and life." (Jn 6:63)
Human Life International e-Newsletter
Volume 01, Number 86 | September 28, 2007
Who Is Like Unto God?
Tomorrow we celebrate the Feast of the holy Archangels, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. Each year, this feast gives us a golden opportunity to renew our friendship with the angels who are given for our spiritual benefit and are eager to assist us in our battle against the principalities and powers of the world of darkness. We need only to ask their assistance and their guidance on our way to heaven.
Let us take a moment to reflect on the glorious prince of the heavenly host, St. Michael the Archangel, the most potent of all God's helpers. We start with his name: "Michael" is of Hebrew origin and, literally translated, means, "Who Is Like Unto God?" It is actually a composite of three little Hebrew words that form one phrase: "Mi" (pronounced "mee" and meaning "who?"); "cha" (pronounced "ka" and meaning "like"), and "el" (the Hebrew name for "God.") The phrase, "Who is like unto God?" is not a statement about this angel being so close or similar to God - no one can claim that. Rather, it is a rhetorical question. It is what Michael uttered in his disbelief that someone would claim to be like God. That someone was another angel named Lucifer.
Tradition has it that Lucifer, the sublime Seraphim, ranked highest in the order of angels and proudly asserted that he wanted to "be like the Most High" (see Isaiah 14:14 for this). One faithful angel of a lower rank, unable to countenance the impudence of a creature thinking he were equal to God, courageously stood up in the divine assembly to defend the rights of God with a rebuke that issued from the depths of his being as a question something like: "And just who could possibly claim to be like God?" And so "Mi-cha-el" became his name.
Michael then cast Lucifer out of heaven with all his rebellious companions. No creature that rejects the sovereignty of God could ever remain in heaven. Michael is thus the defender of the rights of God and the one who manhandles the strongest of the demons. We have him to thank for showing us that proud Satan can actually be defeated and that the rights of God can be vindicated against all blasphemers.
Does God really have rights? You better believe it! The Lord of Heaven and Earth has, above all, the supreme right to be worshipped by all creation. God doesn't need our worship in an absolute sense, but all creatures need very much to worship Him and keep Him in the first place in our lives because that is how the order of the universe is maintained. When creatures replace Him with idols or arrogantly suppose that they, as creatures, are gods, then all things fall apart and man loses the very meaning of his life. God is the divine center that holds all things together and, as such, He has an absolute right to be worshipped by His creation.
Today we need St. Michael's aid more than ever. Never in the history of humanity has Satan convinced so many people to set up false idols to replace the worship of the True God. Never has Satan been so successful in getting people to abandon the worship of God and obedience to the moral law on such a massive scale. In the same way, never have we seen so much blasphemous conduct disseminated with such intensity throughout the human community by the power of modern communications; nor have we ever seen the glorification of Satan given such pride of place in the entertainment business.
We need a powerful and glorious angel to teach us to defend the rights of God again. St. Michael has been doing this since before time began and is eminently equipped to teach us to make sure that God remains as the absolute center of our lives and our society. Let us turn to St. Michael on his feast day and thank him for defending God and us against "the wickedness and snares of the devil." Let us invoke his protection over our loved ones and renew our friendship with him again on his feastday.
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer,
President, Human Life International
MORE TRAVEL STORIES
If you're bored with them, just skip this one.
We rode through the locks in Sault Ste. Marie on a perfect day for a boat ride, with the sun shining and just enough breeze to feel good. (There's an interesting animated diagram of how locks work here.) It's a photographer's dream to see them from the inside. I printed some of the pictures last night and can't quite figure out which is top and which is bottom on a couple of them. Zoom has its limitations.
As we were driving away after the tour I remarked to my husband that I don't need to take the Panama Canal tour now that I've already seen a lock. He just laughed. Do you think maybe he wasn't actually planning to take me on a Panama Canal cruise?
Next stop was Mackinac Island (pronounced "Mackinaw", you Californians) where the only transport is horse drawn. There are 500 horses on the island and no motorized vehicles provided you ignore the golf carts. Or so they told us. The place has an interesting smell, and the pooper scoopers are a bit larger than usual.
Mackinac is a tourist trap extrodinaire. Main Street is one souvenir shop after another. The Grand Hotel--where I wanted to spend the night until I had actually been in it--is old, quaint, other-worldly, and HOT. They didn't seem to have air-conditioning in the main lobby. They post an employee at the door to keep out the rif-raff unless the rif-raff happens to have a reservation or a luncheon ticket. Even with the ticket they look at you suspiciously if you are wearing K-Mart clothes, but our luncheon ticket got us in.
Luncheon buffet takes place in the diningroom where the tables are set with enough silverware to confuse the Queen. I just picked a fork and stuck with it until I realized the white-jacketed gentleman from Jamaica who knew would realize that I didn't. Then I tried getting rid of the fork and knife when I went for the dessert, but found them carefully removed from my dirty plate and placed on top of the remaining utensils so they wouldn't mar the white tablecloth that up to this point was still pristine--on MY side of the table. ;-) I think our waiter's little joke was on me.
There was enough food there for a party. Since we didn't get there until near the end of the luncheon hour, there were only three tables filled with diners. I thought of asking for a doggie bag so all that buffet food wouldn't go to waste, but didn't have the guts to make a fool of myself twice.
The carmelized onions were wonderful. So were the tiny shrimp in dill sauce. The rest was so-so, kind of bland. There were medallions of what I thought was beef until my husband asked me which side of the beef serving dish I had gotten it from since one side was beef and the other side was venison. Whatever it was, it was tender enough to cut with a fork and rather tasteless. Dessert was a chocolate lovers heaven.
With all that fuss and grandeur the ladies room actually lacked those neat seat covers that make the toilet paper routine unnecessary. Even the rest stops along the interstate had those. They are the absolute minimum in essential luxury provision. Major oversight. Maybe the budget at the Grand was tight this year. A night at the Grand costs over $200 and that's per person. Double occupancy. Of course meals come with it, so that makes it ok. Yes? It's expensive to sleep where presidents have slept. I wonder if they have a Lincoln bed?
Mackinac is home to some grand architecture. I know because we could see the mansions from the boat as we came into Mackinac harbor. It's the only time I saw them. If you've got enough money, you keep the tourists out. Instead our horse-drawn carriage toured the pine trees in the state park. When you've seen one fir tree... The Catholic cemetary is in the state park. You can only be buried there if you've lived on Mackinac for a long time. It's harder to get planted in St. Ann's than to get through the Pearly Gates. There's also a nice arch rock in the park with a view of the lake underneath, if you're into that sort of thing. Then there is Fort Mackinac. We didn't get down from the carriage for Fort Mackinac. Neither did anyone else. War is out of favor with the tourists. The live butterfly house was an exception to the usual tourist routine. Even my husband enjoyed it, though he didn't expect to. I was able to persuade one large blue one to sit on my hand.
After our Mackinac day of delights we moved on to Frankenmuth, arriving in the dark, and ending up in that Third World Knight's Inn because we were so tired we couldn't see straight. Literally. Frankenmuth is home of "little Bavaria," and Bronner's--the ultimate Christmas store. Try to imagine acres of Christmas. Try to imagine walking for miles amid glitter and lights and the sound of Christmas music. Try to imagine a bad case of indecision. Yup, that's Bronner's. Enough said.
There was one more stop before we got home. Cabela's. Mr. I've-got-gills-for-lungs just happened to be oh so in need of a stretch about a mile before we saw it from the interstate. Do you think that was planned? Cabela's comes with a moose, unlike the train through the Canadian wilderness which certainly should have. The moose is stuffed, but their display of stuffed hunting targets is awesome. I had a good time looking at the goats and sheep and deer and bear while Mr. Gills entertained himself in the fishing aisle. Cabela's even has an aquarium with live fish. They should advertise that. It's great for the wife and kids. They also have a nifty little eatery with some unusual selections on the menu.
Now at last this travel narrative has mercifully come to an end, and you can breathe a sigh of relief that it's finally over. Until next time...
Friday, September 28, 2007
DID GOD HAVE FINAL SAY ABOUT "THE ROCK" ?
Spirit Daily links a story on the fire at The Rock. It was started by lightning. It gutted the interior of the church but left the stained glass windows unharmed. It is expected to take a year to repair it.
I believe this is the same church where the praise dance video was made.
Praise dancers cavort as their church burns and Archbishop Burke looks on, while probably being no stranger to the theatrics.
Meanwhile on a different front Archbishop Burke has issued a conservative edict without precedent:
St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke, a veteran of clashes between Catholic bishops and politicians, has attempted for years to enlist fellow bishops to deny Holy Communion to wayward politicians.
Now, the conservative cleric is invoking the church's highest punishment -- mortal sin -- to persuade the lay and ordained Catholics who distribute Communion at Mass to safeguard the sacrament.
Drawing on the works of the late Italian Jesuit scholar Felice Cappello, Burke says those ministers are "held, under pain of mortal sin, to deny the sacraments to the unworthy."
That argument could place Communion ministers on the frontlines of the "wafer wars" as the 2008 presidential race heats up, and as bishops debate a document on "faithful citizenship."
It's not only EMs who will be on the wafer wars frontlines, other bishops may be there as well:
If Burke is calling on Communion ministers to disobey their bishops and deny Communion to Catholic politicians, it would be "revolutionary" and "encourage anarchy," [Rev. Thomas] Reese [of Georgetown Univ.] said.
"Most bishops do not want ministers of Communion playing policeman at the Communion rail," he added. "This is a significant change in focus. Suddenly, you're going to have a few thousand decisionmakers in parishes across the country."
CANCER JOURNAL - TEST RESULTS AND HAIR STYLES
Shortly before I left on vacation my oncologist ordered a bone scan in order to determine what had appeared on the bone scan last spring--cancer, arthritis, or evidence of chemotherapy. Today I got the results--nothing has changed from last spring. Meaning that most likely whatever is appearing on the scan is not cancer. Since I still feel relatively normal if I ignore the side-effects of the medication, I don't need to see my oncologist again till January.
Along with that good news my hair has finally grown long enough to cover my head. Last week on vacation I kept the wig in the suitcase and ventured out in public with chemo curls. No one's jaw dropped. I didn't notice anyone's eyes wandering repeatedly to my head. So apparently I look marginally presentable. Thank goodness considering that the hot flashes seem to be getting worse, and having a head covering of real hair makes the wig even more annoying.
In a couple more weeks I should have enough hair to present my hairdresser with the chemo curl challenge. Maybe she can think of something to do with it. I can't--I just try to avoid the mirror. I look like the offspring of a poodle that mated with a Brillo pad. But hey...it's goofy, but it's mine!
EMERGENCY BIRTH CONTROL FOR RAPE VICTIMS APPROVED BY CONNECTICUT BISHOPS
HARTFORD, Conn. -- Roman Catholic bishops in Connecticut have agreed to let hospital personnel give emergency contraception to all rape victims, reversing their decision days before a new state law requires it.
The church, which runs four of the state's 30 hospitals, had fought the state law requiring medical personnel to give rape victims emergency contraception, sold as Plan B, even if the women are ovulating.
Church officials had said the treatment was tantamount to abortion and had been considering legal action, but they took a step away from that position Thursday, in a joint statement by the Catholic Bishops of Connecticut and leaders of the Catholic hospitals.
The hospitals will be allowed to provide Plan B without ovulation tests "since the teaching authority of the church has not definitively resolved this matter and since there is serious doubt about how Plan B pills work," the statement reads. "To administer Plan B without an ovulation test is not an intrinsically evil act."
Plan B is a high dose of a drug found in many regular birth-control pills. Its maker, Barr Pharmaceuticals Inc., got approval last year to sell the drug over-the-counter.
The company says Plan B can lower the risk of pregnancy by up to 89 percent if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex. The drug works by stopping ovulation and has no effect on an existing pregnancy.
Read the rest...
ANDREW GREELEY ON POLITICAL CORRECTNESS
Andrew Greeley asks the question "When will anti-immigrant bias become politically incorrect?" His purpose is to suggest that Mexican illegals are really not doing anything more wrong than we are doing when we jaywalk or double park. He writes:
To enter the United States without the proper papers is a misdemeanor like double parking. Does it justify a righteous anger that permits storm troopers to break up families or deprive young people of an education or adults of health care, including chemotherapy for cancer?
When will it happen that the American media will treat the "i" word with the same care as they treat the "n" word or the "k" word or the "f" word - all words that are bleeped out or repudiated or cost people their jobs?
When will it happen that his hard working, family-oriented, reliable group of human beings is protected from the storm troopers and the vigilantes who are like the Ku Klux Klan? When will Mexican immigrants become politically correct? Not in this generation.
He claims that we should not stereotype Mexican illegals who "don't drive trucks safely". Well, some of them don't. They don't get licenses even though they get jobs that require them to drive. I know from experience. One of them hit my brother-in-law's pick-up by running a stop sign. My sister-in-law's neck was broken in the accident. It was hardly the equivalent of double parking.
Greeley needs to stick to what he is supposed to know best--Catholicism. His wanderings into sociology, while being a major part of his expertise, are liberally prejudiced to a fault. Breaking the law is, in fact, not Catholic.
STAYING IN NICE HOTEL ROOMS
Everyone has a few vices. One of mine is a fondness for luxury hotel rooms. One of the nice things about traveling in the off-season is that those luxury hotel rooms are sometimes affordable.
On this recent trip we happened onto one quite by accident. The Ontario Building at the Best Western is located on Lake Huron at St. Ignace. Our third floor balcony overlooked the water, with Mackinac Island in the background. There were ducks and Canada geese squawking below. Instead of going out for dinner, we got a pizza and ate it on the balcony while the world got dark and the geese lined up single-file to parade down to the water. There must have been a hundred of them. The sunrise over the lake was worth getting up early and freezing our buns off out on our balcony in our pajamas in the early morning chill.
This is the only hotel room I've ever seen with a floor-to-ceiling bay window large enough to accommodate two chairs, a table, and a lamp. That window coupled with the patio doors made the room bright and homey. The bathroom was big enough for a party, and the bedroom must have been at least twice the size of my livingroom. The bed was so comfortable that I'm thinking about a new mattress for the bed at home. I took souvenir pictures of the hotel room, and I'm saving the brochure just in case I ever get back to St. Ignace.
I learned something from this hotel room, though. That big bathroom has its downside. No matter what I wanted in there, it was out of reach. Hey, nothing's perfect.
The following night we ended up at a Knight's Inn with double locks on the door, a mattress with a serious mid-torso sag, and everything movable nailed down--just to keep things in perspective, I guess. If I ever get to Heaven, I may seek a conversation with the Boss about contrasts and shocks to the human system!
Thursday, September 27, 2007
RABBI ALAN BRILL COMMENTS ON BENEDICT'S BOOK
Speaking of JESUS OF NAZARETH, Rabbi Brill describes the theology of Pope Benedict concerning the Jews, taking note of the sea change that the book represents, of which the following quote is an example:
Benedict presents a few examples of seemingly anti-Jewish parables. The story of the treacherous tenants in Matthew 21:33-46 is usually taken as proof that Jews were punished and superseded. Benedict offers his personal observations, creatively limiting the parable to those who deny God then and now. From his perspective, he openly rejects the Church Fathers who condemn the Jews based on these parables and says the New Testament does not support them.
I haven't read the book, but if this is a correct interpretation of Benedict's theology, isn't rejection of the teaching of the Church Fathers sufficient to condemn the book, no matter who wrote it?
GOOD LORD ! - PRAISE DANCE IN ST. LOUIS
Spirit Daily has linked this YouTube clip of Praise dance at "The Rock" Catholic Church in Saint Louis. Is this church Roman Catholic?
HERESY ON THE RIGHT - SIX NUNS EXCOMMUNICATED FOR HERESY
The Diocese of Little Rock has announced the excommunication of six nuns who are members of the Good Shepherd Monastery of Our Lady of Charity and Refuge in Hot Springs which is no longer viewed as a Catholic institution. The nuns have embraced the teachings of the Army of Mary, a movement promoting the locutions of Marie-Paule Giguère which has been deemed a heresy. Two of the nuns residing at the facility reject the Army of Mary movement and so have not been excommunicated. The details of the condemnation of the Army of Mary are spelled out in the Religious Tolerance website.
STILL SAYING MASS
An alleged pedophile priest whose molestation trial has been repeatedly delayed due to questions over his competency has overseen religious services in apparent violation of church orders and was warned by a Catholic bishop, the Herald has learned.
Church officials in Springfield were told in early September that John Szantyr has conducted Mass, despite being stripped of his authority to act as a priest in 1988. The apparent violation of church orders prompted Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell to fire off a stern warning to the embattled holy man, said Terence Hegarty, spokesman for the Springfield diocese.
“We did receive conclusive proof that contrary to the instructions from the Diocese of Worcester, he had celebrated Mass in a private home in Springfield,” Hegarty said. “The bishop informed him that he remains absolutely forbidden to celebrate Mass anywhere, privately or publicly, or to administer any sacramental functions at all.”
Szantyr was in the news recently for stalling for the 34th time his trial for sexual abuse.
JUST IN CASE YOU'RE WONDERING...
I'm having difficulty monitoring comments in Haloscan since the original blog post doesn't appear in the Haloscan website. All that appears is the comments boxes. When someone comments on an old blog post, I usually can't determine where to locate the thread, so I'm trying something new--putting the blog title and the date in the first comment box.
SUNDAY MASS AT THE CATHEDRAL
Last Sunday Mass was a little gift. We attended the 9:00 at Precious Blood Cathedral in Sault Ste. Marie where Msgr. Burns was the celebrant.
There were only a couple of rude people talking before Mass began. Most were prayerfully silent whether kneeling or seated. I was actually able to say part of a rosary while we waited for Mass to begin.
Msgr. Burns prayed the Novus Ordo. He didn't perform it. In fact there was little performance of any kind as there was no music, no choir, and only a processional and a recessional hymn, both focused on God and not on man. The processional was a hymn of praise I have never heard before, and while the melody for the recessional was familiar, the words were not. They don't use the "Gather" hymnal up there.
The homily was solidly Catholic.
It was soooooo good to be in the company of others who seemed to belong to the same faith that I believe in. We were a real community, not something manufactured by using a bunch of buzz words and glad-handing. I felt like I was among friends even though I didn't know a single person or speak to any of them. Too bad it's an impossible commute.
SIGN AT THE SIDE OF I-75
"This is a prison area. Do not pick up hitchhikers."
It appeared over and over again as we traveled north from the Ohio Turnpike all the way to the top of the Upper Peninsula, meaning I suppose that there are several prisons along that interstate.
My husband remarked that apparently the Michigan Highway Department has little confidence that the Michigan Department of Corrections can do their job.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
KATHY SAILE SAYS SHE IS PRO-LIFE
Word was making its way around the web before I left on vacation that the USCCB's new hiree, Kathy Saile, named Director of Domestic Policy for the group, was not pro-life. That rumor was based on a report at LifeSite.com and information from a variety of blogs.
LifeSite now reports that they have contacted Saile and she says that she is "absolutely" pro-life.
THE CLEVELAND SOAP OPERA CONTINUES
Last Monday the Plain Dealer reported on the testimony of Anton Zgoznik on his own behalf in the ongoing "trial of the Cleveland Diocese"...a label that is once again protested by Bob Tayek, spokesman for the diocese.
According to Zgoznik, he had seen diocesan accounting records of $80,000 transferred into Pilla's personal account for unspecified purposes. Zgoznik, too, is "shocked" at diocesan financial activities. Strange word to choose given Pilla's "shocked" that elicited such humor from the press, but there it is in the article in quotes.
The Diocese, of course, is denying any guilt; and Zgoznik insists that "They wanted somebody to take the fall for the decision-making at the diocese." It looks like Zgoznik is the man of choice, proving that the danger in working for the Catholic hierarchy is not all sexual.
What was Zgoznik supposed to have gained by these financial shenanigans? It rather looks to me like Pilla and Wright came out with the cash and Zgoznik merely came out with a criminal charge to show for his silence. What was the motivation if we are to believe what Pilla and the diocesan spokesmen are trying to tell us?
I'm still inclined toward sympathy for this guy who appears to be taking the fall.
FATHER PETER PHAN
John Allen has written a fascinating account of the doctrinal difficulties Vietnamese-American theologian Father Peter Phan has gotten himself into with the Vatican.
Among Father Phan's more controversial ideas is that "God doesn't necessarily want everybody to be Christian." He believes that one can be a Hindu Catholic or a Buddhist Catholic, for instance.
Father Phan is "currently a professor at Georgetown University" and in 2001 he "became the first non-Caucasian to serve as president of the Catholic Theological Society of America." He also advises the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences.
Another interesting twist to Father Phan's thinking is that "before agreeing to sit down and respond to critical observations from the Vatican and the American bishops, Father Phan has insisted upon being paid for his trouble."
THIRD EPISCOPAL BISHOP MAY BECOME ROMAN CATHOLIC
Bishop Jeffrey Steenson, 55-year-old Episcopal bishop of Albuquerque, N.M. has asked his fellow bishops for permission to resign over the homosexual issue. He has hinted that he will become Catholic.
A NASTY LITTLE HPV PAY-OFF ?
TORONTO, September 20, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - As Canada, in large part due to aggressive behind the scenes lobbying, rolls out the not-comprehensively-tested Merck HPV vaccine for girls as young as nine, a look at developments on the vaccine south of the border should cause Canadians serious concern. In the United States a similar lobby campaign by the same company launched the mass HPV vaccination of girls beginning in June last year.
In just little over a year, the HPV vaccine has been associated with at least five deaths, not to mention thousands of reports of adverse effects, hundreds deemed serious, and many that required hospitalization.
Judicial Watch, a U.S. government watchdog, became concerned while noting large donations to key politicians originating from Merck. A freedom of information request from the group in May of this year discovered that during the period from June 8, 2006 - when the vaccines received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - to May 2007 there were 1,637 reports of adverse reactions to the HPV vaccine reported to the FDA.
LIVING EIGHTEEN DAYS IN SIX
One good thing a diagnosis of cancer does is cause a more intense appreciation of all of the wonderful moments of each day. Staring death in the face contributes greatly to the enjoyment of life.
I spent the last six days visiting Michigan and Ontario. Driving with my husband to Sioux Ste. Marie, Ontario, we boarded the Algoma Railroad through Agawa Canyon where we exchanged the tour train for the commuter train bound for Hearst a trip of 300 miles through the Ontario wilderness. It's another world.
The commuter train moves passengers from one tiny cabin or hamlet to another. To ride, a passenger stands beside the tracks and waves down the train, climbs on board, and pays the conductor who sits in the passenger car and collects the fares. Some of the passengers are sportsmen who have cottages along the tracks. Some are tourists like us. Some, though, are locals, like the trapper who showed off the impressive onions he had grown, and told the story of painting the floor of his cabin, then having to catch the train to escape the smell of the paint. He had ridden the train going north on Friday, then caught it going south on Saturday., but only rode for a short distance.
On Friday night over dinner in Hearst the engineer answered my curiosity about what happens when a moose challenges a train. He assured me a moose can fly, and that he knew because he saw one fly the time it stepped onto the tracks at the last minute when it was too late to stop the train. He still has the rack, though his wife hasn't let him hang it over the fireplace yet. He let me climb up into the engineer's seat on Saturday morning before we departed, and I discovered how cramped his quarters are up there.
Ontario was at peak fall color last weekend before the Friday night storm that brought down a lot of the leaves. There is a color that almost appears pink mixed in with the reds and yellows and oranges. It made this landscape the most spectacular fall display I have seen, and I saw Vermont a couple years ago. Sadly it rained nearly all day Friday, so the pictures are not great.
It rained during our visit to Agawa Canyon, but that didn't stop me from hiking to the waterfalls to at least try to get a picture. The train that was scheduled to pick us up at 1:10 arrived around 2:20. We had to shelter under the small overhanging roof of the only building in the canyon other than the rest rooms. There were a lot of us cramped and wet crowded under that roof. It's one way to get to know your fellow travelers. It seems that the commuter train had many unscheduled stops to make on the way up causing it to be more than an hour late. The Canyon Tour Train which we had ridden up to the canyon couldn't leave until the commuter train arrived, maybe because there is only one set of tracks, but more likely because they'd get sued if they left us stranded there in that uninhabited place.
On the commuter train there is no potable water, and no food, so we had to bring our own. A small fridge and microwave are provided for keeping and cooking it. After a few hours on a train the swaying motion sort of mesmerizes. We got drowsy. We forgot about the "outside" world. We got to know our fellow passengers, several of whom got off at what looked like a series of haphazard buildings and a pontoon boat. The boat rescued them from what would have been a miserable night, taking them to a wilderness resort where they saw bear and moose, or so they told us the next day.
There are numerous roads along the route and the train whistle signals each of them, though there was seldom anyone there. A couple were paved. Most were dirt, and didn't appear to go anywhere in particular. There were some train stations, though most appeared not to have seen a passenger on the inside for a generation. One deserted station was named Akron. The engineer stopped the train so we could take a picture of Akron, which we did from the door in the mostly empty baggage car which also served as the smoking compartment if standing on the platform between the cars was too cold.
In Hearst the first language is French. In the hotel restaurant the menu is written in French with the English translation in small print below. As we ate dinner the conversation around us was in French, but the waitress could handle our English without a problem. Hearst is located on TransCanada Highway No. 11, and known for moose, though we didn't see one, as well as ATVs and snowmobiles along with the usual hunting and fishing that you men love. The chief industry in the area is lumbering. There are bears around. As we pulled out of the station on Saturday morning we happened to notice the environmentally green appliance-size steel box with the door propped open sitting in the brush near the rails and a short distance from a group of mobile homes. It seems that the bear discovered garbage bags left outside contain edibles. He politely drug his cache over to the train yard where he explored it and left the mess, prompting the bear trap.
A new bishop was named for the Diocese of Hearst this year, Bishop Vincent Cadieux, O.M.I. The diocese has 30 priests and 7 sisters. Cadieux is also Bishop of Moosonee with its population of 4,000 Catholic mostly Aboriginal People. Unfortunately we weren't there long enough to explore the cathedral.