26 November 2014

Franz Joseph Haydn: Symphony No. 45 in F-sharp minor

It’s time for some classical music. This is a presentation of Franz Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 45 in F-sharp minor ("Farewell"):

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of various types of family gatherings.

Br. John Sica, O.P., on Prayer Tips from St. Thomas Aquinas

"Prayer, St. John Damascene says, is the unveiling of the mind before God. When we pray we ask Him for what we need, confess our faults, thank Him for His gifts, and adore His immense majesty."

In a recent commentary, Brother John Sica, O.P., reflected on some guidance from Saint Thomas Aquinas on prayer (including reminders of the importance of being humble and having faith).

To access Br. John’s complete post, please visit:

Dominicana: 5 Tips on Prayer with St. Thomas Aquinas (25 NOV 14)

Reflection Starter from John Henry Newman

“Nothing would be done at all if one waited until one could do it so well that no one could find fault with it.” - John Henry Newman

25 November 2014

Small Business Saturday

A number of communities throughout this region and the rest of the nation are urging residents to save some energy (and money) by turning out to support locally-based, small businesses on Saturday, 30 November – Small Business Saturday (the business day between Black Friday and Cyber Monday).
This promotion has been initiated for a number of reasons:

§  It supports the type of independent, unique businesses that make local communities vibrant and distinct places.

§  It keeps spending and tax revenue local, verses having them “leaking” out to neighboring jurisdictions.

§  Profits go to local owners instead of national headquarters located somewhere else.

§  It helps demonstrate that local government is supportive and invested in local business success.

Small Business Saturday, which was established by American Express in 2010, is an effort to help small businesses get more exposure during one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year. According to American Express, over 100 million people came out last year to shop at independently-owned small businesses during Small Business Saturday.
For more information about this observance, please visit:

Media reports:

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for libraries and for the services that they provide.

Appreciate and Embrace Life This Thanksgiving

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, I can’t help but think of a TV show I watched over the summer: season two of the documentary TV series NY Med (season one won a 2013 Christopher Award).  In case you’re not familiar with it, producers took cameras into New York Presbyterian Hospital and Newark’s University Hospital. There, they acted as invisible observers, providing a window into the perils, tensions, and comic moments that constitute everyday life for doctors, nurses, and patients.

So what does that have to do with Thanksgiving? Well, the holiday’s purpose is expressing gratitude for our blessings. But with the busyness of modern life, we sometimes need reminders of how precious our loved ones really are. And boy, does NY Med bring that truth home!

Consider the case of Chris Molnar, a 19-year-old who went through basic training as a Marine only to come home on leave and suffer a stroke. Doctors discovered that Molnar suffers from a severe cardiac disease that enlarged his heart to five times its normal size. As a stopgap measure, they surgically implanted a pump that would help his heart function, but recovery was so uncertain that doctors and the hospital chaplain told his parents and sisters to prepare themselves for his passing.

Though Molnar survived that incident, he was told he needed a heart transplant in order to live. NY Med’s crew followed his family’s journey, and the conflicting emotions of this sad predicament. For instance, Molnar’s mom admitted, “The bottom line is that somebody else has to die so that he can live, and it feels a little selfish.”

Still, the call comes that a heart has become available, and we get to see both the surgery itself and the family’s excruciating wait for news. Watching the Molnars pull together during this time offers a reminder that love becomes more deep and intense when you’re threatened with its loss. Thankfully, this story has a happy ending. Chris pulled through and is doing well with his new heart.

Another example is the story of Rita Respass-Brown, whose kidneys were functioning at only six percent. She would need a transplant in order to stay alive.  When her 24-year-old son Tony heard the news, he got tested to see if his kidney would be a match for his mom.  It was a perfect match, so he told her that he would be her donor. Rita felt reluctant because she didn’t want Tony to make such a big sacrifice for her.  But he asked her, “Mom, what does it mean to you for someone to give you a kidney?”  Rita responded, “Life!”

Tony answered, “That’s why I’m going to give you my kidney.  You gave me life - and you don’t have the right to deny me the ability to do for you what you did for me.” The transplant went well, giving both mother and son a new appreciation for each other.

As you celebrate Thanksgiving with your family this year, remember to look at the people you love through the eyes of gratitude. Our culture may tell you that happiness is grounded in great Black Friday sales. But as NY Med reminds us, happiness is found in much simpler, less financially costly things: showing love to family, friends, and strangers; seeking fulfillment in helping others; being grateful for all your blessings; and using the pain in your life to make you a better, more compassionate person. If you pursue those avenues in your life, with the grace of God, you’ll always have something to be truly thankful for.

(This essay is this week's “Light One Candle” column, written by Tony Rossi, of The Christophers; it is one of a series of weekly columns that deal with a variety of topics and current events.)

Background information:

The Christophers

Reflection Starter from St. Francis de Sales

"Nothing is so pleasing to the heart of God than to see us persevering in the exercise of small virtues. It is just these very virtues that can make us perfect if we persevere in them to the end, rather than the big virtues that we can exercise only from time to time." - Saint Francis de Sales