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Gas prices and tempers are rising

By Peggy Weber

Lately, the news pages and television screen have been filled with stories of chaos, rebellion, uncertainty and sorrow.

The unrest in the Middle East has sent gasoline prices soaring and the minds of most people worrying about what the future holds in that volatile region.

And a recent story reported that two American couples were killed  by their Somali captors on the high seas off the coast of East Africa.

While closer to home, unemployment rises, food costs increase and workers march on their governments and legislators flee over bargaining rights.

Revolts, piracy, inflation, unrest….yikes! Some say this is just the prelude to the end of the world in December, 2012, as predicted by the Mayan calendar.

It would be fair to say that it is a scary world.

However, I am an eternal optimist.

And amid all of these difficulties I see so many pockets of hope that do not make the front pages of newspapers or the screens of television sets and computers. One of them happened in a quiet classroom in Washington, D.C.

Just a day ago, I learned of the death of  the beloved dean of  the philosophy school at the Catholic University of America (CUA)  in Washington, D.C. Father Kurt Pritzl, O.P., went home to God after a battle with cancer. He had just turned 59. My daughter, Elizabeth, a graduate student at CUA, told me that in one of her classes, the teacher invited the class to stand, face the crucifix and say a prayer in honor of Fr. Pritzl.

Fr. Kurt Pritzl, O.P.

She said they all jumped to their feet like kids in a Catholic grammar school and prayed for the late dean.

A friend of hers also honored Fr. Pritzl by having his Latin class,  at a Catholic high school in Washington, D.C., pray and sing the “Salve Regina” in Latin. This hymn is traditionally sung at the funerals of priests.

On a day when the world was swirling with angry voices and violent talk, there were these moments of prayer and song.

It gives me hope.