Family History Published
For the past 25 plus years, I have been collecting and organizing information on my ancestors. Nine years ago, I began writing narratives based on that information. COVID provided me with the impetus and opportunity to expand those narratives and gather them into a book. I completed that work by end of 2022 and began work on preparing it for printing. Finally, it is completed and is available for purchase either as a paperback ($15.57) or an e-book (.99).
Thomas M. McFadden Eulogy
Tom McFadden was my closest friend. His passing on December 6 left me, his family and his many friends bereft of a remarkable human being. As his request, his wife Monica, also a dear friend, asked me to make some remarks at his memorial service on December 17.
You can click here to download a copy of the eulogy which you can read below.
Thomas More McFadden 1935-2022
Eulogy delivered by William Pickett
December 17, 2022
Good morning. I’m Bill Pickett, and I’m the person who had the good sense to hire Tom at St. John Fisher College as our chief academic officer. I had the pleasure of working with him for the five years he was there. Then like everybody else, when Tom was a part of your life, he never let go. He’s been a part of my life ever since that time. Click here to read more.
Why "Black Lives matter" matters to me.
Black Lives Matter began in July 2013 as a hashtag #blacklivesmatter in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in 2011. It gained national attention in 2014 with the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in New York City. While there is a national organization of sorts, BLM is best described as a “decentralized network of activists with no formal hierarchy.” (Wikipedia) For me and many others, however, the phrase is a simple expression of a powerful truth: All human lives matter.
Latest Instagram Photos
On Pilgrimage with Bill
This is a blog for my thoughts about religion. Sometimes I share my reflections on the Old and New Testaments through the daily lectionary readings. Other times I share reflections on theological issues and the role of religion in our lives. Currently, I am trying to come to an honest understanding of my own religious convictions. Click here to view the complete blog and use the email link to sign up for notices of new postings. The following is the most recent posting.
God’s will or the will of my Father in heaven is something we find throughout the gospels. If God is a mysterious figure, surely God’s will is even more mysterious. But however mysterious it might be, God’s will is essential to the Kingdom of heaven, the world to which Jesus called his followers. The Our Father is a prayer that all Christians say. In it they say to God “your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” So what is God’s will, in general and in specific circumstances?
Is ten percent of my heart enough? Not even close.
When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people
putting their offerings into the treasury
and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins.
He said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest;
for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.” Luke 21:1-4
This is a familiar gospel story, one I remember from my years in a Catholic grade school under the care and supervision of the Sisters of Mercy from Omaha. Until recently, its meaning for me had not changed much. It speaks to generosity in giving. Even though the rich people may have given more than the widow in absolute terms, her gift of two small coins represents a great percentage of her limited, if any, wealth and thus she was the more generous. So if I donate to charity a recommended ten percent of my income, should I be satisfied that I am being all that generous when others with substantially less resources give a smaller amount but one which may far exceed that ten percent benchmark? Who is the more generous? The answer is obvious.
I began recording my blog posts and made them available on several platforms including Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Just go to wherever you get yours and search for “The World According to Bill Pickett” and subscribe. You can click here to see nine platforms currently carrying my podcasts. Click below to listen to the most recent podcasts.
Our Trip Blog
With eight children and twenty grandchildren living in six states and two countries, we tend to travel a lot. In addition we enjoy winter vacations in sunny and warm places, cruises to the same and trips to other interesting places. Since 2010, I have been documenting these trips in both words and photos. You can find links to all those blogs on the blog page. Below you will find summaries and links to our most recent trips..
Final Days: Cologne, Kinderdijk, and Amsterdam
Our final three days began in Cologne, a large city (1.1 million people) on both sides of the Rhine. In 39 BCE a a Germanic tribe, Ubii, entered into an agreement with the Romans to establish a military camp in this location. In 50 AD the Agrippina the Younger, wife of the Emperor Claudius and native of this area, asked for her home village to be raised to the status of a colonia — a city under Roman law. It was then renamed Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensis (colony of Claudius and the altar of Agrippina), shortened to Colonia Agrippina (Colony of Agrippina). It was the Colony part of that long name that stuck and hence Cologne. The central city was effectively destroyed during World War II. It has been rebuilt to create the look and feel of what was there before the war including several Roman ruins scattered around the city.
Days Four and Five: Speyer, Rudesheim, Middle Rhine, and Koblenz
As we cruised overnight from Strasbourg, the Rhine stopped being a boundary between France and Germany. As we docked at Speyer, the Rhine was the boundary between two German states: Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Wurtemberg. Being on the left or east bank, Speyer is a city in the first. Between the cathedral and the Bishop’s Palace on the right, the Romans established a camp in 10 BCE. Its name, Noviomagus, was a Latinization of a common Celtic placename, New Market. Speyer and its cathedral are important for several reasons. First is a UNESCO World Heritage Site And is one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture.