Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Up at Omena.

In October, I reported on the novices' weekend villa at Omena, site of the Chicago and Detroit Provinces' shared vacation property. That weekend jaunt was merely a warm-up for the imminent epic known as "formation villa," a two-week vacation at Omena with all the other guys in formation, from first-year novices like myself to newly-ordained priests. Located on the Grand Traverse Bay, Omena is known for its bucolic tranquility and rustic beauty. It is not, however, known for its Internet access - in fact, it has none. Therefore I won't be posting on this blog until after I return to Loyola House on August 12th. Rest assured, however, that when I do return I'll report on the highlights of my time at Omena - hopefully including some commentary on the inaugural Traverse City Film Festival, notes on the probable grave of Jesuit explorer Father Jacques Marquette, something about this unique and unusual attraction and sundry words on anything else noteworthy that might happen. 'Til we meet again, all the best. AMDG.

Father Thomas W. Gedeon, S.J., 1925-2005.

On my return from Marytown I was surprised and saddened to learn of the death of Father Tom Gedeon, one of the many great Jesuits I'd gotten to know up at Colombiere. A veteran retreat director who spent two decades at the helm of Retreats International, after his retirement Father Gedeon took up pottery - and became quite good at it. I always enjoyed viewing Tom's latest creations on my trips up to Colombiere; on my last day working there as part of my hospital experiment, I got to spend some time at the pottery wheel, ultimately producing a small bowl under Father Gedeon's patient direction. Tom Gedeon was a man would could turn working with clay into a spiritual discipline fusing creativity with contemplation. I'll miss him.

At Colombiere, Father Gedeon was also half of an unlikely duo that struck me as fine material for a short-subject documentary. Father Gedeon produced his pottery in a basement workroom which he shared with Brother Bruno Karpinski, a cigar-smoking former missionary who had spent half a century in India and Nepal. While Father Gedeon turned out a succession of glazed clay bowls, cups, jars and the like, Brother Karpinski produced (and, for that matter, continues to produce) shellacked wooden crosses and images of Jesus and Mary mounted on finished plaques. Father Gedeon and Brother Karpinski were as different in personality as they were in artistic medium and style. Where Father Gedeon was soft-spoken and deliberative, Brother Karpinski was talkative and gregarious. Though they differed in life history, artistic sensibility and temperament, Father Gedeon and Brother Karpinski were bound together not simply by the fact that they worked in the same space but by a common vocation as Jesuits. Taken as a pair, the two men and their artistic output offered concrete evidence of the diversity and universality that characterize the Society of Jesus. Though Brother Karpinski continues to produce his wooden creations, without Father Gedeon working nearby at his pottery wheel things won't be quite the same. AMDG.

Novices in the news.

As previously mentioned in this post, a Southern Indiana daily - The Brazil Times, to be precise - did a story on some of the Loyola House novices' visit to the home of our own Mike Singhurse. That story is now available online for your inspection - and, I hope, your edification as well. Some of the details are a bit off - "novices" somehow became "novitiates," for example - but the article takes a commendably positive and upbeat tone throughout. The hometowns listed are taken from our Company bios, which is why I'm listed as "Joe Koczera, of New Bedford, Mass." As a general matter that's fine, considering that more people have heard of commercial seaport New Bedford than have heard of its country cousin Rochester, making New Bedford a more convenient frame of reference. However, it probably doesn't matter much in this case, as I doubt many of the Times' readers have heard of either New Bedford or Rochester.

In any event, there's a funny story behind the photo of Loyola House novices that accompanies the Brazil Times article. Noting that priests and seminarians are a strange and mysterious lot to many people, the Times reporter wanted us to adopt a group pose that would communicate the fact that we're really normal folks. What could be more normal than hanging out in the kitchen, she ventured. Thus she posed us around the island in the kitchen; to lend more verisimilitude to the proceedings, I grabbed a spatula and a plate and acted busy while the reporter snapped photos. Such necessary bits of artifice aside, the Brazil Times article offers a keen sense of what we're about at Loyola House. Good press is always welcome, and I commend this example to your attention. AMDG.

So priketh hem Nature in hir corages . . .

. . . thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages. Unlike in Chaucer's time, my pilgrimage was carried out not in the midst of an English spring but in the middle of a muggy Midwestern summer, and not by way of some direct inspiration from God but through the mediation of my religious superior. However, individual discernment led me to consider a pilgrimage to Marytown, which I'd long wanted to visit on account of its shrine to St. Maximilian Kolbe, whose name I took at my confirmation. I was also intrigued by the possibility of spending a few days living in a non-Jesuit religious house, in this case the friary of Conventual Franciscans who staff the shrine and retreat center at Marytown.

I'm pleased to report that I had a very good experience at Marytown, where I had plenty of time to pray and also pitched in to help in various and sundry ways - notably by cleaning guest rooms and making beds for retreatants and by counting donations left by visitors to the shrine. The Conventuals deserve high praise for their generous and gracious hospitality; they really treated me as one of their own, giving me a room in the friary and inviting me to share in their community meals, prayer and recreation. At the end of my stay, one of the friars gave me a very apt gift - a statue of St. Benedict of Nursia. As you may have gleaned from this post, I have something of a devotion to Benedict. In a particular way, however, I was pleased with the friar's gift because it seemed to symbolize the sense of brotherhood that I had come to feel in my time at Marytown. The Jesuit way and the Franciscan way offer two very different approaches to consecrated life; for all that divides us, however, we have much in common - including St. Benedict. If there had been no Benedict of Nursia, I doubt there would have been a Francis of Assisi or an Ignatius of Loyola. Benedict's influence touches all of Western religious life, giving all of us who seek to follow Christ according to the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience a shared history. On its face, a statue of St. Benedict seems a most unlikely gift for a Franciscan to give a Jesuit. On a deeper level, however, the friar's gift made perfect sense. Whenever I look at this small statue - perched now on the bookshelf in my room at the novitiate - I'll think of my time at Marytown, and of the bonds that tie seemingly disparate religious orders together. AMDG.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Sundry notes on St. Louis, St. Meinrad and the looming demise of Indiana East Time.

Returned to Loyola House last night after an eventful four-day trek covering much of the Midwest. We're basically only home for a day, as tomorrow we all ship out again for another novitiate experiment - "pilgrimage," which for me will mean a five-day stay at Marytown, a Franciscan shrine near Chicago; I'll have details on this experience when I return. In the interim, here's some scattered thoughts on my trip back from Denver.

I really liked St. Louis, and was especially impressed with the beautiful campus of Saint Louis University. Sunday Mass at St. Francis Xavier (College) Church on the SLU campus was a superlative experience, with excellent liturgy and music and a fine homily from noted philosopher, frequent America contributor and Following Christ in a Consumer Society author Father John Kavanaugh. After Mass my traveling companions and I took a look at the eclectic and exhaustive Collection of the Western Jesuit Missions in the Saint Louis University Museum of Art (SLUMA). The Jesuit artifacts at SLUMA represent the nucleus of what used to be the Museum of the Western Jesuit Missions at the old Missouri Province novitiate in the St. Louis suburb of Florissant. Though I would've enjoyed seeing the Jesuit missions collection in the richly evocative setting of the old novitiate, SLU seems to be doing a fine job curating the stuff. If you're ever in St. Louis and want to see loads of 19th century Jesuitica, stop by SLUMA.

On Monday, my traveling companions Jake Martin, Jim Shea and I drove through more of Indiana than any of us had previously seen - which may strike some readers as ironic, given that I lived in Indiana for three years. St. Meinrad Archabbey was every bit as impressive as I had expected, though unfortunately our schedule was such that we weren't able to attend any of the monastic offices in the abbey church. While in the area we took the opportunity to visit with some female Benedictines as well - the Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand, Indiana. The Sisters offered a very warm welcome, and their imposing motherhouse (with a dome visible for miles around) gives stately St. Meinrad a run for its money. Due to limitations of time we weren't able to make it to West Baden as intended, but we did cross a street named "Baden Strasse" on our way through heavily German-American Jasper (focal point of the upcoming Jasper Strassenfest, evidently an annual event). We had a nice dinner at the Terre Haute-area home of our fellow novice Mike Singhurse - an event that, believe it or not, is going to be written up in the local paper; hopefully I'll have a link to the story when it's available online.

We spent Monday night and Tuesday morning at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School in Indianapolis. Before this trip Brebeuf was the only one of the five Chi Prov high schools that I hadn't seen, and I came away from the visit with a very positive first impression. Reading Tuesday's Indianapolis Star, I came across this story reporting the apparent resolution of a long-running political battle over the question of what time zone Indiana should be in. Given that much of Indiana lies in the cultural and economic orbit of Chicago, I can understand why many Hoosiers would want the state to observe Central Standard Time. That said, it's hard not to find a worrying anti-East Coast bias in a headline like "N.Y. time for most of us"; the Eastern Time Zone also happens to include redoubtable Midwestern burgs like Kalamazoo and Toledo, but the Star chooses to go for a starker geographic and social contrast. For my part, I'm sad about about the now-foreseeable demise of "Indiana East Time," the miniature time zone in which much of Indiana - including South Bend - now finds itself. Observing Indiana East Time essentially means not observing Daylight Savings, with the result of effectively spending half the year in the Eastern Time Zone and the other half in Central. Some of my classmates at Notre Dame used to complain that IET made it difficult to figure out exactly what time it was in South Bend relative to the time in various points East and West. I always liked IET, chiefly because it meant I never had to adjust the time on my alarm clock or wristwatch. While Indiana's shift in time zones represents some form of progress, with the loss of the idiosyncratic IET life in Indiana will undoubtedly become a little less unique. AMDG.

Friday, July 15, 2005

The End of History.

The Jesuit novices' history course in Denver ended today. Continuing the great tradition of Jesuit banqueting, we had a nice dinner tonight to formally conclude our month together. Many thanks are due to the excellent dining services staff here at Regis who helped make this fine meal an experience to remember. (If you're ever put in charge of planning a conference in Denver, consider having it here at Regis, where in all respects we have been impeccably well cared for.) As you can probably tell from recent posts, I've thoroughly enjoyed my time here. I'll miss the many great people I've met, though it's consoling to think that I'll be seeing more of them in coming years. As for the immediate future, I leave very early tomorrow morning with my traveling companions Jake Martin and Jim Shea for St. Louis, Missouri - yes, we're planning on covering the distance in one day. If all goes according to plan, we'll spend Sunday scoping out St. Louis (with an accent on Jesuit sites, I'm sure) and then head to Indiana on Monday. There we'll stop at St. Meinrad Archabbey and the old West Baden College (the Chi Prov theologate from 1934 to 1964) followed by dinner with our classmate Mike Singhurse and his family. On Tuesday we'll be back at the novitiate. Expect an update then.

Since I won't be writing here for a few days, I should make note of an important event which will take place this weekend: my mother's birthday, which occurs tomorrow. I'll be on the road for most of Saturday, Mom, but I'll do my very best to give you a call at some point during the day. Happy birthday! AMDG.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Notes on the Memorial of Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha.

Today Catholics in the United States remember Kateri Tekakwitha, the 17th-century "Lily of the Mohawks" who was received into the Church at age twenty by Jesuit missionary Jacques de Lamberville and persevered in her faith despite persecution and exile. (I should note that Catholics in Canada remember Kateri too, but on April 17th.) Kateri was beatified in 1980, and her cause for canonization is currently being considered. Kateri spent much of her short life in the company of Jesuits; after her baptism by Father de Lamberville, the young woman had to flee her home village and found refuge at a Jesuit mission near present-day Montreal. That mission is now a shrine and was administered until relatively recently by the French Canadian Jesuits. In the vicinity of Kateri's home village of Ossernenon (now known as Auriesville, New York), one can visit a chapel and museum dedicated to Kateri at the National Shrine of the North American Martyrs, a ministry of the New York Province Jesuits. I used to stop at the Martyrs' Shrine in Auriesville whenever I happened to be passing through on the New York State Thruway, though I confess I was drawn more by the Jesuit martyrs than by any devotion to Blessed Kateri. (In fairness, I should also note that the Conventual Franciscans run another Kateri shrine near the Jesuit one at Auriesville, but I've never seen the place.) In yet another link between Kateri Tekakwitha and the Society of Jesus, the postulator of Kateri's cause - that is, the principal advocate for her canonization - is Jesuit Father Paolo Molinari, who is himself something of a legend in hagiographical circles. In other words, the relationship between Kateri Tekakwitha and the Jesuits is an enduring and important one.

At a time when collaboration with the laity is a critically important and oft-emphasized theme of Jesuit ministries, we should be mindful of our 17th-century sister Kateri. Today we generally remember Kateri Tekakwitha as the first representative of North America's indigenous peoples and the first North American laywoman to be proposed for sainthood. As we remember her in this light, let us also remember that the Lily of the Mohawks was a friend and collaborator as the Society of Jesus. Thus I'll be using her memorial as a special opportunity to pray for the many laypeople who bring their gifts to ministry as partners in Jesuit apostolates. AMDG.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The new issue of Partners.

The Summer 2005 issue of the Chicago Province magazine is now available online (and in the mail, if you're a Jesuit or friend of the province). Included are a story on this year's Chi Prov ordinations (reported here in June) and some reflections on novitiate life by my classmate Tony Stephens. Some readers may grumble at the fact that the articles are available only in PDF format - in fact, I grumble about it myself. Though PDF can be less than totally user-friendly for Internet readers, the format also preserves the look of the magazine in a way that HTML would not (which is why Partners opts for PDF). If you, like me, enjoy with special savor the old-fashioned experience of handling an actual magazine and not simply reading one online, you can request a free subscription to Partners from the Chi Prov development office. AMDG.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Notes on the Feast of St. Benedict of Nursia.

Today the Church remembers one of its greatest sons, Benedict of Nursia, pioneer of Western monasticism and one of the principal patron saints of Europe. Benedict's life and the Rule attributed to his authorship served not only as the inspiration for the Benedictine order and its various offshoots but also played an instrumental role in the development of organized religious life in the Western Church. In a very real sense, Benedict is the father not only of the order that bears his name but of all Roman Catholic religious orders and congregations. As monasteries following Benedict's Rule proliferated in the Middle Ages, new forms of religious life also arose for those who felt called to serve God's people in different ways. The new religious rules that consequently developed - ultimately including St. Ignatius' Constitutions of the Society of Jesus - represented various responses to Benedict's Rule, each offering new and different ways of living a vowed common life in the Church. Even if the Jesuit ideals of contemplation in action and radical apostolic mobility appear to differ markedly from the cloistered stability characteristic of Benedictine life, we in the Society of Jesus (and people in religious life generally) owe a good deal to the saint we remember today.

The order that Benedict inspired also played an important role in the life of Ignatius of Loyola - and in my own. After a strong conversion experience, the young Inigo sojourned at the Benedictine Abbey of Montserrat, where he made a three-day general confession and spent a full night in prayer before the Virgin of Montserrat before setting off on the fateful pilgrimage that would ultimately lead to the birth of the Society of Jesus. For my own part, though I've embraced a call to Jesuit life I retain a great admiration for and interest in the Benedictine tradition. Shortly before entering the novitiate, I made a too-brief retreat at Portsmouth Abbey in Rhode Island - where one of the monks thoughtfully reminded me that by spending time there I was in some sense following in Ignatius' footsteps at Montserrat. (I should note that I did not make a three-day confession or conduct an all-night prayer vigil in the abbey church.) In my life as a Jesuit I hope I'll continue to have opportunities for dialogue and shared prayer with my Benedictine brethren. Like Ignatius himself, I feel I owe them and their founder a debt of gratitude. AMDG.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Terror in Tavistock Square.

I'm sure you've already heard about this elsewhere, but for good measure check the BBC, Guardian, Independent and Times stories on this morning's London terror bombings. I'm a bit shaken up about these attacks - in fact, the last time I was as shaken up as this was probably on 9/11. This morning's bombings had an immediacy for me that most previous bombings did not, insofar as they took place in a city I've actually lived in. As if that wasn't enough, one of the bombings took place at Tavistock Square - mere steps away from the digs I occupied when I was studying abroad in London in the summer of 2002. Having lived right on the square, I came to feel a strong attachment to the place. In my mind's eye I can still picture architectural details of the Georgian buildings lining the square; with the ears of memory I can still hear the sound of traffic that used to waft through my window; in some sense, too, I can still feel the cool morning air that I would feel as I strode across the square on the way to the Russell Square Tube. In short, Tavistock Square is a familiar enough place to me that news of a bus exploding there hits close to home. At the same time, the bombing strikes me as particularly ironic, given that Tavistock Square is home to a number of peace memorials, including a statue of Mahatma Gandhi, a cherry tree honoring the victims of Hiroshima and a memorial to conscientious objectors. Part of me wonders whether the pacifist symbolism that attaches to Tavistock Square helped make it a target, but I really don't want to give the attackers that much credit. In any event, I'm still too dazed by the news to really analyze this morning's events with any clarity. Today and in the coming days I'll be praying for the victims, their families and friends, and the people of London. I urge my readers to do the same. AMDG.

Monday, July 04, 2005

It feels like Independence Day.

And with good reason, 'cuz it is Independence Day. Though most of the university shut down for the holiday, the Jesuit history course went forward with a lecture this morning from Father Tom Lucas, chair of the Visual and Performing Arts Department at the University of San Francisco. Recently in the news for his role in the restoration of Shanghai's Catholic cathedral, Father Lucas has produced some groundbreaking scholarship at the intersection of art history and urban studies - perhaps most notably his 1997 book Landmarking: City, Church and Jesuit Urban Strategy. This week, he'll be giving a series of heavily visual lectures (reportedly including somewhere between 1000 and 1500 images) on the history of Jesuit art. If today's intro is any indication, the next week should be a lot of fun.

To mark the holiday, the Regis University Jesuit Community hosted all the novices for an ice cream social. After enjoying our choice of vanilla or chocolate ice cream with an assortment of toppings, we had the opportunity to watch surrounding fireworks displays from the porch of the Jesuit residence - a porch that affords an excellent view, saying as how the JR (and the rest of the Regis campus, for that matter) is situated on a rather high hill overlooking a valley with the Rockies in the distance. Given that fireworks are both legal and widely available in Colorado, a lot of regular folks evidently invest in outlays of rocketry that would put your average small-town fireworks display to shame. As a result, all evening the whole horizon has been dotted with fireworks large and small, private displays competing with municipal ones on an apparently equal footing. The sound of fireworks going off all around the area has been audible for most of the day - and still is at this writing, even though it's nearly midnight. Coloradans, it's safe to say, are serious about fireworks. In short, we've had a festive and happy Fourth here - hope my scattered readers can say the same. AMDG.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Theatines and Byzantines.

My liturgical travels today brought me to two very different Denver parishes, mostly Mexican St. Cajetan in the southwestern corner of the city and St. Elizabeth of Hungary on the Auraria Campus downtown. St. Cajetan is Denver's oldest Mexican parish, but I was drawn there not so much byits history but by the fact that the parish is run by the Theatines, an order much discussed in histories of early modern Catholicism and of the early Jesuits but fairly thin on the ground today. Approved by the Holy See sixteen years before the Society of Jesus, the Theatines were in some sense both forerunners and competitors of the early Jesuits. Given the apparent similarity between the apostolic aims of the two orders, some mid-16th century churchmen - including the Theatines' co-founder Cardinal Gianpietro Carafa - suggested that the nascent Society of Jesus merge with the slightly older and better-established Theatines. When Carafa became Pope Paul IV in 1555, some Jesuits feared that he would force a merger between the two communities. This never came to pass, and in subsequent centuries the Society of Jesus grew in size and prominence while the Theatines decreased in numbers and visibility. Today the Theatines number about 200, heavily concentrated in Spain and Latin America and almost exclusively focused on parish work. One of two Theatine parishes in Denver, St. Cajetan has six weekend Masses evenly split between English and Spanish. The 9 am Spanish Mass I attended this morning was packed to the gills and featured lively mariachi-style music. Though I enjoyed the liturgy, I was hard-pressed to detect anything distinctively "Theatine" about the experience. Then again, as a Jesuit novice I'm perhaps ill-qualified to hold forth on the Theatines' unique charism or its modern expression.

Like St. Cajetan's, St. Elizabeth of Hungary has a unique place in Colorado Catholic history, having been only the second parish established in the Colorado capital. And yet again, as with St. Cajetan's, I was drawn to St. Elizabeth's for different reasons. St. Elizabeth's is home to the Russian Byzantine Catholic Community of SS. Cyril and Methodius, one of only four such Catholic communities in the United States; I discussed my experiences with one of the other three, San Francisco's Our Lady of Fatima, in this May post. Though my worshipping experiences with the Our Lady of Fatima and SS. Cyril and Methodius communities were very different from one another, I found both to be quite powerful and I wish there were more Catholic parishes grounded in the Russian liturgical and spiritual tradition. Speaking particularly of SS. Cyril and Methodius (though I could say identical things about Our Lady of Fatima), the quality of the liturgy and preaching and the evident dedication of the small but loyal congregation were nothing short of outstanding. If I had more time to spend in Denver, I suspect I'd return to St. Elizabeth's and its SS. Cyril and Methodius community quite regularly. At the very least, I'll be sure to return there next time I'm in Denver, whenever that is. AMDG.

Adventures in Wyoming.

Yesterday I and several other novices from across the Assistancy made a day trip to a place most of us (including myself) had never so much as laid eyes on: Wyoming. Our stops in Cheyenne and Laramie provided a very positive first impression of the Cowboy State. What I saw of Wyoming yesterday (admittedly very little) suggested a place unlike anywhere I've ever visited, and certainly much different from our summer digs in Colorado. Wyoming's physical landscape, dominated by rolling, treeless plains and jagged rock formations, offers an intriguing contrast with the rather more alpine habitat of metro Denver. Wyoming's sparse population gives the state an appealingly empty, wide-open feel - even in urban areas.

State capital Cheyenne is home to about 54,000 people and feels smaller; you could count on one hand the number of people we saw while we ate lunch on a park bench in front of the Wyoming State Capitol. After lunch we made stops at the Wyoming State Museum and the fully restored 19th century Governor's Mansion as well as the downtown business district; in the process we ran into a number of friendly locals, all of whom were curious to know where we were from and what we were up to. Usually we offered evasive replies to the latter question, saying that we were "studying in Denver," but our interlocutors invariably pressed us for more information - and expressed uniform delight when they found out we were studying to be priests.

After getting a vivid sense of Cheyenne, we drove about fifty miles to the next city - college town Laramie. With a population of 27,000, Laramie seems to be dominated by the sprawling University of Wyoming campus, where we walked around and took pictures. We also stopped for drinks at a Laramie bar and micro-brew known as The Library (a name I've seen attached to other college town watering holes), an invitingly cool place to relax on a hot summer afternoon. Speaking more generally, Wyoming struck me as a fine place to visit and a state I'd love to return to. If you've never been there and are looking for a very different vacation spot, you may want to check it out too. AMDG.

Obligatory Sandra Day O'Connor post.

Some of my friends in mundo may want to know how I feel about Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's retirement from the United States Supreme Court. I've actually been trying to post some reflections on Justice O'Connor's announcement since she made it public Friday morning, but for reasons both within and beyond my control I've been unsuccessful. Twice I've put together what I considered to be thoughtful, carefully non-partisan posts discussing the Supreme Court nomination process past and present - and twice I've completely lost what I wrote before I could post it, once due to an error of my own (accidental deletion) and once because Blogger inexplicably reverted to an earlier draft and not to the more recent one which previously appeared to have been saved successfully. Perhaps these technical difficulties are God's way of telling me that instead of offering what I thought were very measured words on a topic of general interest I should maintain a prudential silence. On the other hand, maybe this is a case of bad luck compounded by technological ineptitude. Since O'Connor's retirement is only the beginning of a long and interesting process, in the coming weeks I may still produce a post similar in content to the one I wanted to put up this weekend. If that doesn't happen, however, you can assume it's all AMDG.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Happy Birthday, Canada!

Today is the date on which Canadians from coast to coast and around the world celebrate the anniversary of Confederation - the 138th anniversary, in this case. Canada Day is, naturally, big doings in Ottawa, and perhaps a little bigger than usual this year given the official return of the original Maple Leaf flag after many years in storage (interestingly enough, in Belgium). Given that the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War comes this year, today's celebrations also include a special focus on Canadian war veterans. Trans-national neighbors Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan marked the close proximity of Canada Day and American Independence Day with a joint fireworks display reported here. In Denver, rumor has it the Canadians in our group will be having a celebration of their own. For my own part, I don't know how many Canadian readers I have, but if you're out there, take a break from reading my musings and enjoy your nation's birthday. Happy Canada Day, AMDG.