19 October 2019

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for blessings You bestow on Your people through the martyrs of our faith.

Annemarie Scobey-Polacheck on Helping Others Through a Crisis of Faith

"When Lisa Marie, now in her 40s, was a teenager, she began to experience doubts about God. Raised in a faithful, churchgoing Catholic family and attending a Catholic high school, Lisa Marie found these doubts unsettling. 'I wasn't sure if all this I was learning about God was real,' she explains. 'So I asked God to give me faith the size of a mustard seed. I basically prayed that God would give me the faith that I didn't have.'

"The result, Lisa Marie says, was a profound experience of conversion. She began to feel God's presence as she never had before. Her prayer life took on a new meaning and became a focus. Now married and a mother to Josh, 13, and Eliana, 7, Lisa Marie leans on her own personal experience with feeling doubtful when she talks to others about matters of faith. 'I feel so passionately that all you need to do if you want faith is to ask for it - be open to it. God will do the rest,' she says.

"Many of us may feel unqualified to counsel anyone about their faith. It's an easy topic to avoid - those feeling doubt may not want to admit their questions. People with strong faith may be afraid of coming off as spiritually arrogant when speaking to someone who is struggling."

In a recent essay in U.S. Catholic, writer Annemarie Scobey-Polacheck reflected on how we can share our faith with others (including family members).

To access Ms. Scobey-Polacheck's complete essay, please visit:

U.S. Catholic: How to help others through a crisis of faith October (2010)

Reflection Starter from Viktor Frankl

"Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated, thus, everyone's task is unique as his specific opportunity to implement it." - Viktor E. Frankl

18 October 2019

Jaffrey, NH, Stone Mason Creates Stone People in Yard

"Drive by John Given's house, not far from the center of Jaffrey on Main Street, and you'll always get a wave.

"No, Given doesn't spend his days greeting people as they go to and from downtown, but one of his creations, known as stone man, always does.

"Stone man was the first sculpture that Given, a stone mason, created for what has slowly turned into his personal stone oasis for everyone traveling the major route between Jaffrey and Marlborough. He came up with the idea when his daughters, Lily and Carly, were young and thought it would be a fun project for them to do together."

A recent Monadnock Ledger-Transcript (Peterborough, NH) article profiled Mr. Given and his stone art work.

To access the complete Monadnock Ledger-Transcript report, please visit:

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript: Jaffrey Stone mason creates people for his yard (26 AUG 19)

On Teens and Religion, Stages of Strategic Leadership, the Gaining Popularity of Socialism, and Other Topics

A number of articles/posts have recently been published on a variety of subjects worth considering.

To access some of these, please visit:

CityLab : Can You Buy Your Own Train? Here's What It Takes (25 MAR 19)

National Catholic Register: Blogs: John Clark: Why is Socialism Gaining Popularity? (2 APR 19)

Catholic Herald: The Charlie Brown cartoon that haunted Reagan (14 MAR 19)

Public Discourse: The Coming Anti-Catholicism (1 MAY 19)

YouTube: How to Psychoanayze Yourself | Bishop Fulton J.Sheen

The Bulletin (Norwich, CT): Army veteran on the road to raise money and save lives (23 JUN 19)

Medium: What happens when a survey estimate doesn't match a known benchmark (30 APR 19)

strategy+business: Leadership: The seven stages of strategic leadership (26 JUL 19)

Knowing Is Doing: What happens when Christian dialogue ignores the Creed? (19 AUG 19)

Providence Journal: Bill Reynolds: This was a price tag worth paying (25 MAY 19)

Pew Research Center: For a Lot of American Teens, Religion Is a Regular Part of the Public School Day (3 OCT 19)

National Review: Masterpiece Cakeshop: Look Past Harassment Toward Kindness (24 JUN 19)

Joseph Haydn: "Symphony in E flat major"

It's time for some classical music. This is a presentation of Joseph Haydn's Symphony No. 43 in E flat major ("Mercury"), as played by the Wiener Kammer Orchester (Vienna Chamber Orchestra), conducted by Jurek Dybal:

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the phrases/sentences You send our way and that touch our hearts deeply.

The Chicken Runs at Midnight

"The chicken runs at midnight" isn't a sentence you'll find in your Bible, but it is a divinely inspired statement that brought proof of heaven to Rich Donnelly, a grieving father who needed to find his way back to God. Rich grew up as a devout Catholic kid in Steubenville, Ohio, where he "was taught the right way," he told me during an interview. And for a while, Rich followed that "right way." He married his college sweetheart, Peggy, and they had four children: Bubba, Amy, Mike, and Tim.

Rich also found work in the field he loved best: baseball. He explained, "My dream was to be in the big leagues, and I thought . . . you had to do what big leaguers did. They drank, smoked, ran around at night . . So that's what I did."

Rich's infidelity destroyed his marriage and damaged his relationships with his kids. Amy took it especially hard. It was Rich's second wife, Roberta, who started to get him back on track, and Amy came to forgive him. Then, in 1992, when Rich was third base coach with the Pirates, Amy was diagnosed with a brain tumor and given only nine months to live. Rich felt devastated. Surprisingly, Amy handled the news better than anyone. Rich said, "She had some kind of faith from God . . . She packed more caring, happiness, and consideration into nine months than I have in my 72 years."

The sentence that changed the Donnellys' lives came after Amy, her brothers, and her best friend were driving home with Rich after a playoff game. Amy said to her father, "When you get down in that crouch with a man on second, what are you telling those guys? The chicken runs at midnight or what?"

Everyone in the car cracked up laughing and asked Amy where she came up with that line. "I don't know, it just came out," she answered. From that point on, "the chicken runs at midnight" became the family's motto. And when Amy passed away, that was the epitaph they had etched on her tombstone.

In 1997, Rich was third base coach for the Marlins, and his sons, Mike and Tim, were batboys. The kids noticed that second baseman Craig Counsell had a strange batting stance that involved him flapping his left arm like a chicken. Secretly, they called him "the chicken." The Marlins made it to game seven of the World Series that year. In the 11th inning of a tie game, Counsell was on third base hoping to score the winning run. Rich was right next to him. The Marlins got a base hit and Counsell scored, winning the Series.

The team erupted in celebration! Then, Rich saw his son Tim screaming and pointing at the stadium clock. Rich turned around to see the time as 12:02am. Rich said, "Craig Counsell, the chicken, scored the winning run at midnight. A silly phrase that meant nothing five years ago had come to pass. Amy was there that night. There's no doubt in my mind. I never believed in miracles. I do now."

Rich now travels the country sharing this miraculous story. "At the same time," he concluded, "[I tell] people how dumb and egotistical I was, and tell them not to put their personal goals in the way of your family. I always wanted a wife, kids, and to be in the big leagues. I got everything I ever dreamed about. And I messed it all up. [The experience with Amy] made me want to go back to church every day."

This essay is a recent "Light One Candle" column by Tony Rossi, Director of Communications, 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