“Not on my shift”

This, from NBC News, is very cool:

Brain surgeon walked six miles during snowstorm for emergency operation

by Becky Bratu, staff writer, NBC News

Not a snowstorm, a traffic jam or a daunting six-mile walk through fresh powder could stop an Alabama neurosurgeon from getting to the hospital where he was needed for emergency surgery.

Dr. Zenko Hrynkiw had to travel from Birmingham’s Brookwood Medical Center to Trinity Medical Center to perform the operation Tuesday, but a sudden snowstorm had snarled all traffic, with thousands of drivers getting stranded for hours.

Authorities in Alabama had declared a state of emergency only for the southern half of the state, leaving out hard-hit Birmingham and sending available equipment the other way.

Getting to the hospital by car would’ve been nearly impossible.

Instead, the neurosurgeon decided to make the trek by foot.

“It really wasn’t that big of a deal,” Hrynkiw said Thursday. “I walk a lot, so it wasn’t that big of a deal.”

He said he left Brookwood  around 10:45 a.m. ET — and by 12:45 p.m. he was already operating on the patient.

And the good doctor said he was even able to receive the patient’s CT scan via text message while walking toward the hospital.

The emergency surgery was for a traumatic brain injury and Hrynkiw is Trinity’s only brain surgeon, according to The Associated Press.

“He had a 90 percent chance of death,” Hrynkiw said. “If he didn’t have surgery, he’d be dead. It’s not going to happen on my shift,” he added.

“Without the surgery, the patient would have most likely died,” Steve Davis, charge nurse in the neuro-intensive care unit at Trinity, told the AP. “But he is doing well.”

Google Maps estimates the distance Hrynkiw walked at around six miles.

“This just speaks volumes to the dedication of the man,” Davis said. “When I saw him, all I could say is ‘you are a good man.’”

Video here.

Proud of my beloved

Central Minnesota Catholic Worker core group member Toni Hudock (near) readies a pan filled with spaghetti as her daughter, Jianna, 13, works on dessert Sunday before the Joetown Table event at St. Joseph American Legion Post 328.My wife, Toni Hudock (née Triana), has been active in the establishment of the Central Minnesota Catholic Worker over the last couple of years, and yesterday the organization, in cooperation with a few other local churches and groups, sponsored the first monthly community meal in the town of St. Joseph. The meal was free, and the emphasis was more on community building than hunger relief; anyone and everyone were welcome.

When Toni signed on as cook for the event as planning ramped up, I knew those folks had no idea how good they were going to have it. That girl knows cookin’.

So for about three weeks now, Toni has been cooking up large batches of spaghetti sauce, her grandmother’s recipe, in our kitchen at home, in preparation for the event. The house has smelled very fine. She also handled all the other food planning and purchasing for the event. She’s been working hard to make sure the meal was a good one. Yesterday, while I was away on business, it happened, and despite the fact that the weather was terrible, it drew a nice-sized crowd. And those folks got a mighty good meal as a reward for the efforts to brave the blizzard.

That’s Toni there, in the photo from the great St. Cloud Times article, serving up spaghetti. (She’s not thrilled with the photo, but service is hard work, right?) And that’s our daughter Gianna in the background, also hard at work.

A snippet from the article:

In the Legion hall kitchen, cook Toni Hudock of Albany and other volunteers stirred vats of salad and spaghetti, with sauce made from Hudock’s homemade recipe. Hudock said she has seven children, so preparing meals for such a huge group doesn’t daunt her.

“It’s not about the cooking; it’s about who comes to eat it,” Hudock said. “These people came and joined the community today.”

From the article and her own account of how it all went, it sounds like this first of what is intended to be a monthly event, was a success. I’m proud of her.

A day of penance and prayer

In all the dioceses of the United States of America, January 22 (or January 23, when January 22 falls on a Sunday) shall be observed as a particular day of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion, and of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life. The Mass “For Peace and Justice” (no. 22 of the “Masses for Various Needs”) should be celebrated with violet vestments as an appropriate liturgical observance for this day.

General Instruction of the Roman Missal, no. 373

Paul Ford on Beyond Pius V: “Remember to sit down before reading”

Professor Paul Ford has offered an enthusiastic post about Andrea Grillo’s Beyond Pius V over at the Pray Tell blog this weekend. He writes:

I’m spending the holiday weekend reading Andrea Grillo’s Beyond Pius V: Conflicting Interpretations of the Liturgical Reform.

What a bracing book! His passion and clear thinking have grabbed me by the lapels. What must the book be like in the original Italian! Thanks, Barry, for translating it so well and for bringing it out.

I made the mistake of starting by drinking a cup of coffee. I may have to pour a Maker’s Mark!

The Preface, Introduction, and first chapter are online. Remember to sit down before reading.

I’m thrilled that reading the book can be as much of a kick as doing the work of translating it was. Professor Grillo’s thinking is not to be missed by anyone interested in Catholic liturgy today.

Good news for JP2 fans

Good news for admirers of (soon to be) St. John Paul II. His personal notes, written over several decades of his life, will be published in book form on February 5 by Polish publishing house Znak. La Stampa reports that the book will be called I Am in God’s Hands: Personal Notes 1962-2003, and that “the book contains ‘the most important personal, innermost questions and moving reflections and prayers that marked [the Pope’s] everyday life.’ This includes ‘notes that show his concern for those dear to him – friends and collaborators – and for the Church that was entrusted to him.'”

These are the very notes that John Paul’s last will and testament called for Stanislaw Dziwisz to burn after his death, but who could argue that that would have been a good idea?

The book is on the Znak webpage here. I hope publication of the English translation will not be far behind.

“Do you want to honor Christ’s body?”: St. John Chrysostom on liturgy and care for the poor

I’m busy wrapping up my work translating Goffredo Boselli’s The Spiritual Meaning of the Liturgy, set for publication by Liturgical Press in the fall. It’s an exciting and beautiful book in many ways, one of them being Boselli’s rich appreciation of the theology of the early Church. The book draws from many of the greatest thinkers and pastoral leaders of that era in fruitful ways.

Here’s a great passage from St. John Chrysostom that Boselli quotes at some length in chapter nine, which is on “Liturgy and Love for the Poor”:

Do you want to honor Christ’s body? Do not neglect him when he is naked; do not, while you honor him here with silken garments, neglect Him perishing outside of cold and nakedness. For He that said “This is my body,” and by His word confirmed the fact, also said, “You saw me hungry and you did not feed me” and “Whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me.” This [the body of Christ on the altar] has no need of coverings, but of a pure soul; but that requires much attention. Let us learn therefore to be strict in life, and to honor Christ as He Himself desires….

For what is the profit, when His table indeed is full of golden cups, but He perishes with hunger? First fill Him, being hungry, and then abundantly deck out His table also. Do you make for Him a cup of gold, while you refuse to give him a cup of cold water? And what is the profit? Do you furnish His table with cloths bespangled with gold, while you refuse Him even the most basic coverings? And what good comes of it?

And these things I say, not forbidding munificence in these matters, but admonishing you to do those other works, together with these, or rather even before these. Because for not having adorned the church no one was ever blamed, but for not having helped the poor, hell is threatened, and unquenchable fire, and the punishment of evil spirits. Do not therefore while adorning His house overlook your brother in distress, for he is more properly a temple than the other.

That’s from a homily that Chrysostom preached on the Gospel of Matthew (not my translation, but one that’s more than a bit outdated; I cleaned up some of the most archaic style). Chrysostom was archbishop of Constantinople at the beginning of the fifth century.