01 September 2014

Farming on Increase in New England

There are now 3.2 million farmers operating 2.1 million farms on 914.5 million acres of farmland across the United States, according to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, recently released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. While the total number of farms has been decreasing throughout the nation, New England has seen an increase in the number of farms – especially small farms.

Media reports:

NECN: New England Goes Against Grain in Farming Data (29 AUG 14)

WCSH-TV: New England farms growing stronger with younger farmers

Providence Journal: New go-to career for New England’s young: Farming (22 AUG 14)

Hartford Courant: Let It Grow: Connecticut Leads Farm Growth In New England (23 MAR 14)

The Valley Breeze: Local man’s sticker-shock leads to farm purchase (26 AUG 14)

Background information:

New England Small Farm Institute

Fresh New England

New Hampshire Farms Network

U.S. Department of Agriculture: 2102 Census of Agriculture: United States Summary and State Data

U.S. Department of Agriculture: 2102 Census of Agriculture: Connecticut State and County Data

U.S. Department of Agriculture: 2102 Census of Agriculture: Maine State and County Data

U.S. Department of Agriculture: 2102 Census of Agriculture: Massachusetts State and County Data

U.S. Department of Agriculture: 2102 Census of Agriculture: New Hampshire State and County Data

U.S. Department of Agriculture: 2102 Census of Agriculture: Rhode Island State and County Data

U.S. Department of Agriculture: 2102 Census of Agriculture: Vermont State and County Data

Holy Father’s Prayer Intentions for September

The Holy Father’s prayer intentions for September are:

General intention (Mentally Disabled): “That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.”

Mission intention (Service to the Poor): “That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.”

Happy Labor Day!

As we observe Labor Day, I offer my thanks to the working people in this region and throughout the nation.

Whether you work in government, in the building trades, in manufacturing, in agriculture, in transportation, in religious institutions, in education, in retail, in wholesale, in health care and social assistance, in utility services, in publishing or other information services, in arts and entertainment and recreation, in food and accommodation, in finance and insurance, or in any other service, thank you for the work you do and for the good effort you put into it.

Presidential Proclamation:

Presidential Proclamation – Labor Day, 2014

To continue my thanks in musical form, I offer this version of Alabama singing “40 Hour Week”:

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the work You have entrusted to us and for all you are doing for us and through us via this work.

Br. Luke Hoyt, O.P. on Work - with God

"The world we live in is a land of sweat and toil. Indeed, right from the start of the Scriptures, right after the Fall, God says that our life here will be a bit of a grind (By the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread!).

"This is often seen as an indication that mankind’s life before the Fall would have been one of just loafing around (like in a shady glen, a sleeping tiger for a pillow, nibbling on pomegranates…).

"But this isn’t the case. Genesis describes man’s life before the Fall as pretty active too. God’s instructions in 1:28 are basically, Have babies! Take charge of the world! Care for all the crazy creatures I just made! There’s a sense of joyful industry here, the kind of excitement that Home Depot tries to instill in proud homeowners with its slogan, Let’s do this!

"So, with or without the Fall, God had always invited man to participate in the great work which he began in Creation, and which will be complete in the last day. Work is not a punishment. The job got a little harder after the Fall. But either way, our time here on earth was always going to be one of labor, where we join God in bringing his creation to perfection."

In a recent commentary, Brother Luke Hoyt, O.P., reflected on how, through the work we are entrusted with, God has "raised us up, giving us the opportunity to share in his life as caretaker of the Universe."

To access Brother Luke's complete post, please visit:

Dominicana: At Work With the Father (1 SEP 14)

Reflection Starter from Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Whatever your life's work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better." - Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

31 August 2014

John Michael Talbot: "Take Up Your Cross"

As our Sunday celebration continues, I offer this version of John Michael Talbot singing "Take Up Your Cross":

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are Jeremiah 20:7-9, Romans 12:1-2, and Matthew 16:21-27. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 63 (Psalm 63:2-6, 8-9).

For one version of the Responsorial Psalm set to music, please visit:

YouTube: Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 63 Our Souls Yearn for God

The Gospel reading is as follows:

Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay all according to his conduct.”

Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.”

He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (August 31, 2014)

Msgr. Charles Pope: Every Round Goes Higher, Higher – A Homily for the 22nd Sunday of the Year (30 AUG 14)

The Deacon's Bench: Homily for August 31, 2014: 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (30 AUG 14)

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio: Peter the Rock - Devil Get Behind me?

The Sacred Page: The Cost of Discipleship: 22nd Sunday of OT (30 AUG 14)

Word on Fire: "BUT FOR WALES...?" (Cycle A * Ordinary Time * Week 22)

Dr. Scott Hahn: For Your Life (August 31st 2014 - Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time)

Spirituality of the Readings: What’s in a Name? (22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time A)

The Word Embodied: Not Conforming to the Age (22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time A)

The Perspective of Justice: My Ways Are Not Your Ways (22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time A)

Historical Cultural Context: True Honor (22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time A)

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary by Augustine (22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time A)

Word to Life Radio Broadcast: Word to Life Radio Broadcast: Twenty-second Sunday of Ordinary Time (29 AUG 14)