Thursday, July 21, 2022

A Few Words About My Time With My Former Patristics Professor, Dr. George Bebis

I was sad to hear of the passing a few days ago of Dr. George Bebis, Professor Emeritus of Patristics at Holy Cross School of Theology.

For many years I had seen Dr. Bebis around campus when I was a student there, beginning in 1994 when I arrived, but I never actually got to have conversations with him until 2004, during my last year for the Masters of Theological Studies program. It was then that I was in need of credits to finish the program, but since I had taken every class offered at Holy Cross, and I maxed all the courses I could take in other theological institutions in the Boston area, I was required to approach the various professors on campus and ask them if they would allow me to take a special course with one of them not offered in the program. Since I was most interested in patristics and never had the opportunity to take a course with Dr. Bebis, who was mostly retired at the time and because Fr. George Dragas was the formal Patristics professor, I approached him and asked him if he would allow me to take a course with him that he had written a syllabus for but had yet to really teach, which was basically an advanced patristics course that was to cover all the Greek Fathers of the Church from after the fall of Constantinople in 1453 to the present. The reason he never really got to teach it was because his requirement was that the entire course had to be in Greek, and most students at Holy Cross didn't know enough Greek to take this course except the students who had actually come from Greece. For me, this was a welcome change and I actually preferred a course all in Greek, even though it is my second language. Having thus agreed, he told me to come to his office once a week at which time over the course of three hours the both of us would discuss the various Greek Fathers from 1453 to the present.

Friday, February 4, 2022

Killed by Indifference: A Challenge to our Collective Conscience

It was my last day in Paris in October of 2016, and before I left for the airport to return home to Boston, it was my goal to walk from my hotel across the street from Sorbornne University to the Saint-√Čtienne-du-Mont Church near the Pantheon in order to venerate the relics of Saint Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris. I had to leave early in the morning if I was to make it on time. By my calculations, it should have taken around 10 minutes to walk, but I didn't take into account that most of the walking would be uphill. And another surprise awaited me that early Tuesday morning. Along my path I had to walk over the bodies of a family of sleeping refugees or homeless people (husband, wife and two children). The busy street was too narrow to walk without risk, so when I saw this family sleeping on the sidewalk, I had no choice but to walk over them to arrive at my destination. For all I knew they could have been dead, they were so motionless and spread out over the sidewalk. But assuming they were sleeping, I walked on, and decided that upon my return I would drop off whatever euros I had to spare before my European departure. I arrived at the church, venerated the relics, and when I returned to the spot where the homeless family was, they were gone. At least I knew they were alive.