25 March 2017

Yanni: Aria (Ode To Humanity)

As this blessed week draws to a close, I offer this version of Yanni presenting Aria (Ode To Humanity), recorded live at El Morro (Castillo San Felipe del Morro), Puerto Rico (2012):

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord for the beauty and other attributes of good religious art.

On Catholic Faith Communities Inspiring Catholic Art Work

"Joe Malham's studio is distinctive not only for what's inside it, but also its location - a former convent converted into a parish center. Malham, a professional iconographer, is a permanent artist in residence at St. Gregory the Great, a parish in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago - perhaps the only such arrangement of its kind in the area.

"Since the fall of 2015, Malham has been painting a series of murals in the icon style that depict scenes from the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Another wall displays the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary that Malham has done with another artist. The murals are transforming what was once a large, unused space in the parish into the 'Chapel of Consolation.'

"The idea, Malham says, arose out of a tragedy: A parishioner's wife died while pregnant with twins. 'Her loss was transformed into a vision to create a chapel of healing and meditation for families of all faiths who have lost children. It is a tremendously powerful and important sacred space that is evolving; a sort of homegrown Sistine Chapel - and to our knowledge, there is nothing like this in the Archdiocese of Chicago, and we hazard the guess that there is nothing like it in the country,' Malham wrote in an email to the Register.

"Malham has done all the work at no charge to the parish. In return, the parish gives him studio space onsite. It's where Malham writes his icons and, most recently, wrote a book about the art and theology of icons. But Malham says St. Gregory's has given him much more than just material goods."

A recent National Catholic Register article reported on Saint Gregory's "Evangelization Through the Arts" initiative and the community support it has given to Mr. Malham and other artists, The article also reported on the effect of an art project at Xavier College Preparatory High School, Phoenix, AZ, on artist Ruth Stricklin.

To access the complete National Catholic Register report, please visit:

National Catholic Register: How Community Inspired Two Catholic Artists (25 MAR 17) 

Background information:

Saint Gregory the Great Parish, Chicago, IL

Trinity Icons, Chicago, IL

Xavier College Preparatory High School, Phoenix, AZ

New Jerusalem Studios, Phoenix, AZ

Reflection Starter from Fr. James Keller

"What this country needs is more people to inspire others with confidence, and fewer people to discourage any initiative in the right direction; more to get into the thick of things, fewer to sit on the sidelines merely finding fault; more to point out what’s right with the world, and fewer to keep harping on what’s wrong with it, and more who are interested in lighting candles, and fewer who blow them out." - Father James Keller, M.M. (founder of The Christophers)

21 March 2017

On One Way to Save Some Local Jobs

"Here’s a suggestion for practical and almost painless charity: In the grocery store, go to the checkout line with a real person at the cash register. It costs you only a little time and it may help save the job of someone who'll otherwise be thrown out into a difficult labor market.

"About 10 years ago, our local grocery store, part of a big local chain, installed several self-checkout machines. We live northwest of Pittsburgh, and because this is still a union, Reagan Democrat area, people lined up for the few checkout counters with a person. Very long lines formed. People complained about the store not putting enough people on duty.

"A few days later, the management put up signs saying that people weren’t losing jobs because of the machines. They claimed they couldn’t get enough people to work the checkout counters. That was generally thought to be a lie and, given how many people I knew who wanted jobs and would happily have worked a cash register, I have no reason to think it wasn’t. . . . "

"Many people still go to a person. I do, because the demand helps people keep their jobs - the chain would cut them without a second thought if it could. It costs so little, just a few extra minutes at the most crowded times. Those minutes one can spend fruitfully thinking or observing or praying. And, as a friend said, if you don't want to think or observe or pray, you have your cell phone."

In a recent commentary, writer David Mills reflected on a simple step each of us can do to help save jobs.

To access his complete post, please visit:

Aleteia: Want to save some local jobs? Get in line! (15 MAR 17)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the coming of the season of spring.

On the Catholic Churches of Hollywwod

"I'm as jaded a New Yorker as they come, and it takes a great deal for me to look up from my weekend bagel, coffee and newspaper. Though my out-of-town friends are thrilled whenever they spot a star pounding the pavement along with us, their pedestrianism doesn't impress me as much. However, I am thrilled to find out a star of stage, screen or tube is a devout Catholic - or, even better, a convert to the one, true, holy, catholic and apostolic faith.

"The list of Catholic actors is seriously impressive, even if we missed a couple here and there. For example, it's too bad Groucho Marx wasn't Catholic. Just imagine how funny that'd be! With Oscar season upon us, here's a look at Hollywood's famous Catholic churches, where stars and their fans pray side by side."

In a recent article, writer Angelo Stagnaro offer a quick look at seven Hollywood area parishes (and some of their parishioners).

To access her complete article, please visit:

National Catholic Register: Where the Stars Go to Pray: The Churches of Hollywood (26 FEB 17)

Reflection Starter from Mother Teresa

"We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop." - Saint Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa)