25 January 2020

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of Christian family life.

Tom Hoopes on Catholic Families Inspiring Random Acts of Charity

"Never underestimate the power of the witness of Christian charity - or the attractiveness of Christian family life."

In a recent commentary, Tom Hoopes (Vice President for College Relations, Benedictine College, Atchison, Kansas) reflected on some of the ways in which Christian family life inspires/touches the live of others..

To access his complete essay, please visit:

The Gregorian Institute at Benedictine College: Catholic Families Inspire Random Acts of Charity (21 JAN 20)

Reflection Starter from St. Francis de Sales

"What we need is a cup of understanding, a barrel of love, and an ocean of patience." - Saint Francis de Sales, whose memory the Church celebrated yesterday, 24 January)

24 January 2020

On the Truth that Every Life Matters and Other Topics

With the focus on life issues as the nation remembers, through the March for Life and other activities, the 47th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion at any stage of the preborn baby's life in his/her mother’s womb, a number of commentaries have been published reflecting on different aspects of these life issues.

These include:

Townhall: James Gottry: Abortion and the Perfect Life (23 JAN 20)

Public Discourse: Aborting the Wanted Child (22 JAN 20)

Respect Life: Another Look at Abortion

Rhode Island Catholic: Editorial: Being Pro-Life: Not a Zero-Sum Game (23 JAN 20)

Public Discourse: Why Roe Must Go (23 JAN 20) 

Townhall: Thomas Glessner: What Would a Post-Roe America Look Like? (24 JAN 20)

Public Discourse: The Lazy Slander of the Pro-Life Cause (Re-publication from 17 JAN 11)

NRPA Launches Mentoring in Parks and Rec During National Mentoring Month

In line with the January observance of National Mentoring Month, the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is initiating Mentoring in Parks and Rec: Connecting Communities, Cultivating Leaders. According to NRPA, local park and recreation agencies provide many opportunities for youth to engage in positive social experiences and form strong, healthy connections with adults. Through this initiative, the association plans to support local park and recreation agencies in their efforts to build effective and evidence-based mentorship programs that connect youth with caring and compassionate mentors while strengthening connections across communities.

Accoring to NRPA, "[m]entoring plays a key role in preventing young people from engaging in risky and harmful behaviors, while keeping them engaged in positive activities that build confidence, empower decision making, and enhance relationships with peers, adults and community. At-risk youth who have a mentor are 55 percent more likely to enroll in college and 52 percent less likely to skip a day of school than their peers. Youth with mentors also are 46 percent less likely than their peers to start using drugs. Unfortunately, one in three young people in the United States reaches age 19 without a mentor of any kind. This includes the nine million at-risk youth who are missing critical support and connections that mentoring can provide."

"Park and recreation agencies are well-suited to help close this gap by offering one-on-one and group mentoring programs that support and nurture youth. As agencies continue to evolve into hubs for health, recreation and social-emotional development services, park and recreation professionals often fill this critical role as mentors and role models, especially for high-risk youth."

Through Mentoring in Parks and Rec, NRPA plans to work with partners to develop resources that agencies and their staff can use to develop or expand programs and help youth gain access to quality mentors.

To support local park and recreation agencies in the development and implementation of effective mentoring programs, NRPA has launched Mentoring in Parks and Rec, a website designed to provide access to numerous resources, including:
  • NRPA's Youth Mentoring Framework
  • Mentoring to Address Trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences
  • Resource and research database:
    • The National Mentoring Partnership's Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring,
    • Family engagement resources,
    • Law enforcement engagement resources, and
    • Substance use prevention resources.
These resources are partially funded through a three-year program (grant #2018-JU-FX-0036) supported by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), a component of the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

Saint Francis De Sales

As a number of people are aware, one of my favorite saints is Saint Francis de Sales (1567-1622), whose feast day is celebrated today.

Bishop of Geneva,  he was the author of a number of books and pamphlets (including An Introduction to the Devout Life and Treatise on the Love of God). He also wrote a number of letters (mainly to give spiritual direction to one or more individuals).

He was noted for his goodness, patience, and mildness. He also tried to live with the greatest economy (including eating plain food and keeping his household simple), in order to be able to provide more abundantly for the wants of the needy.

Besides his being patron saint of journalists and writers, one of the things that drew me to him and his spirituality was that he believed holiness was something for every one, no matter what his/her status in life.

"Go courageously to do whatever you are called to do. If you have any fears, say to your soul: 'The Lord will provide for us.' If your weakness troubles you, cast yourselves on God, and trust in him. The apostles were mostly unlearned fishermen, but God gave them learning enough for the work they had to do. Trust in him, depend on his providence; fear nothing." - Saint Francis de Sales

For additional information, please visit:

Saint Francis de Sales: An Introduction to the Devout Life

The Vatican: Pope Benedict XVI on St. Francis de Sales (2 MAR 11)

"I wish to recall the figure of St Francis de Sales, whom the Liturgy commemorates on 24 January. Born in Savoy in 1567, he studied law in Padua and Paris and then, called by the Lord, became a priest. He dedicated himself to preaching and to the spiritual formation of the faithful with great success. He taught that the call to holiness was for everyone and that each one as St Paul says in his comparison of the Church to the body has a place in the Church. St Francis de Sales is the patron Saint of journalists and of the Catholic press.” – Pope Benedict XVI (during the Angelus, Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, 24 January 2010)

(Note: For the past several years, the Pope has signed the annual papal message for World Communications Day on the feast day of Saint Francis de Sales. and entrusted the message to his prayers.)

Georg Philipp Telemann: Viola Concerto in G major

It's time for some classical music. This is a presentation of Georg Philipp Telemann's Viola Concerto in G major, as presented by the Midwest Young Artists Conservatory Early Music Academy, with Rose Armbrust Griffin on viola and conducted by Robert Bassill:

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of uplifting music.