29 October 2014

As End of Daylight Saving Time Approaches, “Change Your Clock Change Your Battery” Reminder Issued

Daylight saving time will end on Sunday, 2 November. As families change their clocks, the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) advises that it is a good time also for them to replace smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector batteries and to make fire safety an ongoing priority.

change clock change battery logo

Background information and resources:

International Association of Fire Chiefs

IAFC: Simple Home Fire Safety Tips

Energizer: Change Your Clock Change Your Battery®

Paul Abraham Dukas: The Sorcerer's Apprentice

It’s time for some classical music. This is a presentation of Paul Abraham Dukas’ The Sorcerer's Apprentice (L'apprenti sorcier) as played by the Moscow City Symphony - Russian Philharmonic (conducted by Michail Jurowski):

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for Your gift of laughter.

Powerful in Their Simplicity

I usually use this column to share with you the stories of people who I’ve interviewed on our Christopher Closeup radio show, but today I’m changing my approach. You see, we’ve got other projects that encourage people to light a candle rather than curse the darkness - and we receive mail about them on a daily basis.

For instance, our longest running ministry is our Christopher News Notes. These pamphlets address a variety of social and spiritual issues that are relevant to people’s lives: from overcoming loneliness to building an active prayer life.  Single issues are mailed out free-of-charge 10 times a year, and readers find they often bring the right words at just the right time.

A longtime subscriber named Marylou recently wrote to us saying, “Thank you for your faithfulness in sending the Christopher News Notes. They transform what is ‘ordinary’ to ‘extraordinary,’ from the secular to the sacred. They are powerful in their simplicity.”

Then, there’s also our annual Three Minutes a Day book, the latest of which - Volume 49 - has just been published and sells for $10. This collection of daily stories and reflections is so popular that people called our office in August asking if the new book was done yet! We appreciate the enthusiasm and are grateful that you, our readers, rely on the book to provide you with a daily dose of moral and spiritual guidance.

Consider this story which serves as our January 1st entry: When TV host Mike Rowe met retired Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills at the Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C., he was astonished at the condition of the man standing in front of him.  It wasn’t just the fact that Mills was a quadruple amputee with two prosthetic arms and two prosthetic legs, but also that his spirit was shockingly upbeat.

When Rowe inquired what happened to him, Mills said an IED in Afghanistan had destroyed his limbs.  Despite that, Mills said, “I’m not a victim, Mike, and I refused to be portrayed that way.”  Instead, Mills focuses on his wife, his child, and on helping wounded veterans adjust to life with their injuries.

On Facebook, Rowe wrote, “Travis is missing more than a few original parts; he’s missing all traces of self-pity. And that presents a challenge for mortals like me…[to] listen to a guy with no arms or legs tell me how lucky he is.  That’s called a gut-check, and I could use one from time to time.”

The power of stories like that even extend behind prison walls, as our friend Sister Rosemary let us know a few weeks ago. In case you’re not aware, The Christophers send free donations of our News Notes and books to various diocesan prison ministries around the country. Sister Rosemary, who ministers to inmates in Chicago, wrote us a note saying the following:

“This week, an older man asked if I could give him anything to read that would ‘lift his spirits.’ I was able to find a [Three Minutes a Day] book to bring him (they are so popular that they aren’t always available)…I am so grateful for the goodies you send. The men love everything I put out for them on a ‘Take if you wish’ table when we have our twice-weekly Communion services. [They say], ‘If it is from The Christophers, it is good!’”

Thank you to everyone who sends us words of encouragement like that. We’re happy that you allow us to play some small part in bringing Christ’s light to the world.

(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 Pope Paul VI

"Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows." - Pope Paul VI

28 October 2014

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It is designed to be a time of raising awareness of domestic violence throughout the United States and its devastating effects on families and communities. It is also a time to remember those who have died because of domestic violence and to recommit to efforts to end violence within homes and communities.

Domestic violence refers to a violent confrontation between family or household members involving physical harm, sexual assault, and/or fear of physical harm. Family or household members include spouses, former spouses, those in (or formerly in) a dating relationship, adults related by blood or marriage, and those who have a biological or legal parent-child relationship.

Domestic violence may include acts of violence intimidation, threats, psychological abuse, and/or isolation to coerce and to control the other person. Violence itself may not happen often, but it may remain a hidden and constant terrorizing factor. Domestic violence may also include psychological violence, such as intense and repetitive degradation, creating isolation, and controlling the actions or behaviors of the spouse or other individual through intimidation or manipulation to the detriment of that individual.

Although a look at statistics indicates that domestic violence is a major problem, we don’t really know how common it is because people often do not report it. Domestic violence occurs among women and men of all ages and all levels of income and education. Many times victims of violence suffer in silence because they do not know where to turn, where to find guidance and support.

Presidential Proclamation:

Presidential Proclamation – National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, 2014

In a related initiative, a number of celebrities, athletes, corporate leaders, and advocates are collaborating, via a series of public service announcements, to generate awareness for domestic violence and sexual assault and encourage bystanders to help. This NO MORE campaign is designed to galvanize greater awareness and action to end domestic violence and sexual assault.

For more information about this initiative, please visit:


Background information and resources:

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

National Network to End Domestic Violence

National Resource Center on Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence Awareness Project

National Domestic Violence Hotline

Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Maine Coalition To End Domestic Violence

Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence

New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Vermont Network Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the beautiful gift of poetry.

Christopher White on Father Groeschel

"On Friday, Oct. 3, the eve of St. Francis Assisi’s feast day, Father Benedict Groeschel passed away, completing his earthly work that was so motivated by St. Francis himself.

"While his professional resume includes a doctorate in psychology from Columbia University and his longtime service as spiritual director for the Archdiocese of New York, he will probably best be remembered for his instrumental work in founding the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, a community of men who live and work among the poor and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to those most in need. Yet he also was known widely by many Catholic faithful for his many books on the spiritual life, his work as a retreat master and conference speaker, and his popular 'Sunday Night Prime' television broadcast on EWTN."

In a recent commentary, Christopher White reflected on on the life and ministry of Father Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R. (May he rest in peace.).

To access Mr. White's complete post, please visit:

Catholic Pulse: Father Benedict Groeschel and the Joy of the Gospel (23 OCT 14)