31 January 2011

This Week’s New England City & Town Weekly Dispatch

To access this week’s issue of New England City & Town Weekly Dispatch, please visit:

New England City & Town Weekly Dispatch - 31 January 2011

Excerpt from a Letter by Saint John Bosco

One of the readings from today’s Office of Readings is from a letter by Saint John Bosco:

“First of all, if we wish to appear concerned about the true happiness of our foster children and if we would move them to fulfill their duties, you must never forget that you are taking the place of the parents of these beloved young people. I have always labored lovingly for them, and carried out my priestly duties with zeal. And the whole Salesian society has done this with me.

“My sons, in my long experience very often I had to be convinced of this great truth. It is easier to become angry than to restrain oneself, and to threaten a boy than to persuade him. Yes, indeed, it is more fitting to be persistent in punishing our own impatience and pride than to correct the boys. We must be firm but kind, and be patient with them.

“I give you as a model the charity of Paul which he showed to his new converts. They often reduced him to tears and entreaties when he found them lacking docility and even opposing his loving efforts.

“See that no one finds you motivated by impetuosity or wilfulness. It is difficult to keep calm when administering punishment, but this must be done if we are to keep ourselves from showing off our authority or spilling out our anger.

“Let us regard those boys over whom we have some authority as our own sons. Let us place ourselves in their service. Let us be ashamed to assume an attitude of superiority. Let us not rule over them except for the purpose of serving them better.

“This was the method that Jesus used with the apostles. He put up with their ignorance and roughness and even their infidelity. He treated sinners with a kindness and affection that caused some to be shocked, others to be scandalized, and still others to hope for God’s mercy. And so he bade us to be gentle and humble of heart.

“They are our sons, and so in correcting their mistakes we must lay aside all anger and restrain it so firmly that it is extinguished entirely.

“There must be no hostility in our minds, no contempt in our eyes, no insult on our lips. We must use mercy for the present and have hope for the future, as is fitting for true fathers who are eager for real correction and improvement.

“In serious matters it is better to beg God humbly than to send forth a flood of words that will only offend the listeners and have no effect on those who are guilty.”

Saint John Bosco

As some people are aware, another favor saint of mine is Saint John Bosco (1815-1888), whose feast day is celebrated today.

A priest in the Archdiocese of Turin, Italy, he had a special ministry to urban boys – initially teaching them their faith. This ministry expanded to teaching other academic subjects, including the skills needed in a few trades (initially shoemaking and tailoring, and then expanding to printing and other trades).

Father John Bosco worked to educate the whole person body and soul. He believed that one’s faith, rooted in Christ, should permeate everything one does, including work, learning, and recreation.

When I was teaching, I tried to follow his education philosophy, which (among other things)was a preventive system, placing students in surroundings removed from the likelihood of committing sin and encouraging frequent reception of the sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist. He encouraged his teachers to follow the example of Jesus, teaching the boys with patience, kindness, and calmness.

John Bosco was noted for the ministry of reaching out through the printed word. He wrote a number of booklets and other printed pieces to teach aspects of the faith, to combat false teachings, and to encourage his readers in a number of areas. In his writings, he worked to communicate information so recipients could readily understand the information or concepts involved.

With the encouragement of Pope Pius IX, John Bosco founded a religious order to focus on education and missionary work, with a special focus on young people. This order was the Society of Siant Francis de Sales, better known as the Salesians.

Saint John Bosco is a patron saint of editors.

For more information about Saint John Bosco, please visit:

Catholic Forum: St. John Bosco

Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Giovanni Melchior Bosco (1907)

Da Mihi Animas: An Interview with Saint John Bosco (30 JAN 11)

30 January 2011

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today is the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are Zephaniah 2:3; 3:12-13; 1 Corinthians 1:26-31; and Matthew 5:1-12. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 146 (Psalm 146: 6-10).

Today’s Gospel reading is as follows:

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”

Some reflections on today’s readings:

The Deacon's Bench: Homily for January 30, 2011: 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time (29 JAN 11)

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio: Poverty, Sloth and the Beatitudes

The Word Embodied (John Kavanaugh, S. J.): Nietzsche’s Nemesis

A Concord Pastor Comments: The Beatitudes (28 JAN 11)

Father Fleming on Facing Mid-season Challenges

Father Austin Fleming, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Concord, MA, recently offered some thoughts for those who are being affected by the mid-winter challenges facing this region:

A Concord Pastor Comments: Praying in between the seasons (27 JAN 11)

Thought Starter about Words

"The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right time, but also to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment." - Source Unknown

(Thank you, Pastor Tim Davis, for the tip.)

Additional Reflections on Sargent Shriver

Deacon Greg Kendra recently wrote this reflection on Sargent Shriver, whose funeral was last weekend:

The Deacon's Bench: For Sargent Shriver: “Soon and Very Soon” (22 JAN 11)

Sargent Shriver website:

Sargent Shriver Commemorative Website

“What is going to change the world today is the same thing that has changed it in the past: an idea, and the service of dedicated individuals committed to that idea.” - Sargent Shriver

Other reflections and related items on Sargent Shriver:

Sargent Shriver Peace Institute

Peace Corps Tribute to Sargent Shriver

Shriver Center at UMBC: Robert Sargent Shriver, Jr., Doctor of Public Service

The Atlantic: Scott Stossel: The Good Works of Sargent Shriver (18 JAN 11)

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum: R. Sargent Shriver

Knights of Columbus: Sargent Shriver “personified Catholic public service” (19 JAN 11)

Photos Related to Events of Last Weekend

Last weekend, 22-24 January (Saturday-Monday) was an eventful weekend concerning the Church in our area. Events included the National March for Life and related activities, as well as the funeral of Sargent Shriver. Here, from the Boston Pilot, are a number of photos of the weekend’s events:

Boston Pilot: The day in photos (Monday, January 24, 2011)

29 January 2011

A Reflection Starter from Frodo

Lately I have been re-reading The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, and I'm currently towards the end of The Two Towers. In the book version of this, the second part of the trilogy, when Sam, Gollum, and he were parting ways with Faramir to continue their quest, Frodo spoke some words of appreciation to Faramir for his assistance. Included in these words, Frodo told him "it was said to me by Elrond Halfelven that I should find friendship on the way, secret and unlooked for. Certainly I looked for no such friendship as you have shown. To have found it turns evil to great good."

I was reflecting on this passage today while I was walking back from the supermarket with a load of groceries, and while I was doing so I was remembering a number of times when I was in the middle of one challenge or another and, without any asking on my part, someone "just happened" to offer me some needed assistance (and I did not always know I needed that bit of help).

I am very grateful to the good Lord for taking such good care of me in these circumstances As always, He knows what my needs are (much better than I do), and I appreciate His many blessings (whether I am aware of them or not). I am grateful that He is an active participant in my life. (May I never forget this.)

River Dance Segment:

As a break from the snow, I offer this River Dance Irish step dancing segment:

New Keene, NH, Fire Station Design Faces State-mandated Upgrade

The Keene, NH, Fire Department is in the process of designing a new central fire station, and they recently found out that, due to recent changes in the state’s building code, the structure will be a more expensive project than anticipated.

To access a Keene Sentinel article about to this development and some related concerns, please visit:

Keene Sentinel: State code adds to cost of Keene’s new fire station (28 JAN 11)

Background Information:

Keene Fire Department

City of Keene

Wikipedia: Keene, New Hampshire

Keene Public Library: Keene NH Fire Station, 1966

Keene Public Library: Keene NH Fire Station, ~1931

Keene Public Library: Keene NH Fire Station, pre 1914

Keene Public Library: Keene NH Fire Station, ~1890

Advice from Buffalo Residents to Southern New England Residents

In an interesting article related to the amount of snow we have recently been receiving in Southern New England, the Connecticut Post carries the following words of wisdom from the people of Buffalo, NY: “Deal with it.”

To access this article, please visit:

Connecticut Post: Buffalonians to Nutmeggers: Tons of Snow? Deal with it (28 JAN 11)

Father Dwight Longenecker on the Collapse of Cultural Catholicism

In a reflection about the small percentage of Catholics who regularly participate in Mass, Father Dwight Longenecker writes, “. . . we must return to the supernatural realities of the historic faith and evangelize like the Apostles of old. The big difference is that the Apostles knew their targets were pagans and the pagans knew they weren't Christians. We're dealing with a huge population of Americans (Catholics and Protestants alike) who are pagan but who think they're 'good Christians.' It is very difficult to evangelize people who already think they're fine just as they are.”

To access Father Longenecker’s complete reflection, please visit:

Fr. Dwight Longenecker: The Collapse of Cultural Catholicism (27 JAN 11)

Father Dwight Longenecker is chaplain at Saint Joseph’s Catholic School and also serves at Saint Mary’s Parish, both in Greenville, SC.

Psalm 107

Today’s Office of Readings included Psalm 107 – a good reminder that is God is with us and takes care of us. It is also a reminder of the gratitude we should be expressing and of the need for us to appropriately respond to the Lord’s call in our lives:

Psalm 107 (New American Bible)

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Yesterday the Church celebrated the memory of Saint Thomas Aquinas, priest and Doctor of the Church. A Dominican priest and professor, he is considered a patron saint of Catholic Schools, of students, and of universities. He is considered to be one of the greatest and most influential theologians of all time.

At one time a student of Saint Albert the Great, among his other accomplishments he helped people realize that, just because Aristotle was a pagan, any truth that he spoke should not be disregarded. Thomas Aquinas said that truth cannot contradict truth. There was a bit of controversy at the time because of a faulty translation of Aristotle’s writings, and one thing Thomas Aquinas focused was finding out what Aristotle really wrote (perhaps a good lesson for us at a time when so many written and spoken words are taken out of context or mistranslated or otherwise misunderstood).

For background information about Saint Thomas Aquinas, please visit:

Doctors of the Church: Saint Thomas Aquinas

Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Thomas Aquinas (1912 Edition)

G.K. Chesterton: St. Thomas Aquinas (1932)

On Thursday evening at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Archbishop Augustine DiNoia, O.P., Secretary of the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, gave a homily about Saint Thomas Aquinas. This homily focused on St. Thomas’ great love for the Mass and our Lord’s Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament.

To access this homily, please visit:

Friar Blog: Consumed by the Holy Mysteries of this Great Sacrament (27 JAN 11)

To access a video of this homily, please visit:

Friar Blog: Abp. Di Noia preaches on Aquinas (28 JAN 11)

28 January 2011

Fr. Michael Najim on Snow and the Spiritual Life

In a video message, Father Michael Najim (Vocation Director, Diocese of Providence) recently offered a reflection on one aspect of snow and its relationship to a person's spiritual life.

To access this reflection, please visit:

Live Holiness: Snow and the Spiritual Life (26 JAN 11)

27 January 2011

Reflection Starter from C. S. Lewis

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else".” – C. S. Lewis

26 January 2011

Watching the Falling Snow

While heading to work yesterday, I stopped for a little while to watch the lightly falling snow. (Near the office is a small wooded area with a brook, and this is a great place to observe nature throughout the changing seasons of the year.)

While watching the snow, some words of (I believe) Robert Frost came to mind, but I could not quite place them. Later reflection brought up the following poem (not exactly what I had in mind, but it fits very well):

Robert Frost: Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening

How Not to Use Social Media

Darren Hardy, publisher of Success Magazine, recently wrote a reflective commentary about the use of social media - focusing on how not to use it (things one should not do or say).

To access this post, please visit:

Darren Hardy: 8 Shocking (and Hilarious) Social Media Gaffes (25 JAN 11)

Media Follow-up to National March for Life

Here are a number of news reports and commentaries (inspirational and/or reflective) related to the recent National Prayer Vigil for Life and National March for Life:

Catholic News Service: Young people lauded for pro-life efforts as shrine vigil begins (24 JAN 11)

National Catholic Register: Pro-Lifers Walk and Pray Across the Country (24 JAN 11)

Friar Blog: P.C. Marches for Life (25 JAN 11)

Friar Blog: March for Life (2011 Slide Show)

CitizenLink: Good News: Hundreds of Thousands March for Life (24 JAN 11)

Coming Home: The Counter Counter-Culture (25 JAN 11)

Faith & Family Live!: President Buchanan Celebrates Dred Scott Anniversary (25 JAN 11)

The Deacon's Bench: This rocks: a great video of the March for Life (27 JAN 11)

The Anchoress: Pro-Life Marchers Roundup – UPDATED

Faith & Family Live!: State of the Unborn Address (24 JAN 11)

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

Alveda King's Blog: Mr. Santorum: Leaders of the Black Prolife Movement Agree that too Many Black Babies are Aborted (25 JAN 11)

Faith & Family Live!: The Abortion Economy (24 JAN 11)

USCCB: Bishops Support Three Bills to Strengthen Protections for Life and Conscience (24 JAN 11)

Faith & Family Live!: Lift It High (24 JAN 11)

LifeSiteNews: Must-watch abortion speech by Ronald Reagan (21 JAN 11)

Fallible Blogma: Pro-life Gem on American Idol

Reflection Starter from Saint Francis de Sales

There is nothing small in the service of God. Be faithful in small things and God will see that you will succeed in those of greater importance. – Saint Francis de Sales

25 January 2011

This Week’s New England City & Town Weekly Dispatch

To access this week’s issue of New England City & Town Weekly Dispatch, please visit:

New England City & Town Weekly Dispatch - 24 January 2011

New UConn President: Teach People to Discuss and Debate with Passion and Civility

In a recent interview published by the Hartford Courant, incoming University of Connecticut president Susan Herbst discusses the current level of political discourse in the United States and advocates giving people the analytic tools to discuss and debate with passion and in a civil way, starting as early as elementary and middle school.

To access this interview, please visit:

Hartford Courant: Incoming UConn President: Americans Don't Know How To Debate Political Differences Constructively (25 JAN 11)

24 January 2011

Saint Francis De Sales

As a number of people are aware, one of my favorite saints in 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:

Doctors of the Church: Saint Francis de Sales

Saint Francis de Sales: An Introduction to the Devout Life

“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.)

23 January 2011

Additional Pro-life Items in the Media

A number of news and/or commentary items related to this weekend’s pro-life activities have been published recently. These items include:

National Catholic Register: The 12-Year-Old That Bishops Admire (22 JAN 11)

The Deacon's Bench: “American Idol” star sings for life, talks about her conversion (21 JAN 11)

Catholic Phoenix: Walker Percy on Abortion (1981) (posted 22 JAN 11)

Fr. Richard Ho Lung & Friends: "The Lord Almighty"

Father Richard Ho Lung and Friends present "The Lord Almighty":

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today is the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are Isaiah 8:23–9:3; 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17; and Matthew 4:12-23. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 27 (Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14).

The Gospel reading is as follows:

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled: “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.”

From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father
and followed him.

He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people.

In a reflection related to this Gospel reading, Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio writes about how belonging to the Church does not just mean that one accepts Jesus as Savior or welcomes Him as part of one's life, but that it means accepting Him also as Lord and as the center of one's life:

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio: Meaning of the Church: Are You Called?

Monsignor Charles Pope offers this reflection on today’s Gospel reading:

Msgr. Charles Pope: Come and Go With Me to My Father’s House: A Meditation on the Gospel for the 3rd Sunday of the Year

22 January 2011

Andrae Crouch: "My Tribute" ("To God Be The Glory")

Andrae Crouch sings "My Tribute" ("To God Be The Glory"), which he composed, at one of the "Great American Gospel Sound" concerts:

2011 National Prayer Vigil for Life and National March for Life

It has been three years since I have been able to participate in the Solemn Vigil Mass for Life/National Prayer Vigil for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and in the National March for Life in Washington, DC, and, although I am no longer in a position to be able to participate in these events, I am very blessed to have been able to take part on a number of occasions.

May those who are taking part this year be truly blessed in a special way.

For planning purposes, EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network) will be broadcasting (live) the Solemn Vigil Mass for Life tomorrow (23 JAN 11), beginning at 6:30 PM (ET). Daniel Cardinal DiNardo is to be the main celebrant and homilist. Hundreds of bishops and priests are expected to concelebrate the Mass with him.

On Monday (24 JAN 11), the CatholicTV Network will broadcast (live) the Mass For Life from the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., beginning at 10:00 AM (ET). Cardinal Donald Wuerl is to be the main celebrant, and a number of other bishops and priests are expected to concelebrate with him.

CatholicTV will also broadcast (taped) the Youth Rally For Life at the Verizon Center immediately after Mass. This rally, scheduled to begin at 7:30 AM, is to include musical performances by Steve Angrisano, Ike Ndolo, Maddie Curtis and an audience of thousands of young Catholics from around the country. (Both events will be rebroadcast at 8:00 PM the same day, beginning with Mass.)

EWTN will broadcast (live) the 2011 March For Life, beginning with the Rally for Life and continuing with the march up Constitution Avenue. EWTN’s planned coverage includes interviews, panel discussions, and speeches by pro-lifers around the country. Coverage is scheduled to begin at 11:30 AM (ET) on Monday (24 JAN 11), with an encore presentation on Saturday, 29 January, beginning at 2:00 PM.

For more information about these events, please visit:

2011 National Prayer Vigil for Life

2011 Youth Rally and Mass for Life

2011 National March for Life

Related News Items:

National Catholic Register Editorial: State of the Unborn (21 JAN 11)

Knights of Columbus: Headline Bistro: Abortion in the news (21 JAN 11)

New York Times: Lawmakers in Many States Pushing for Abortion Curbs (21 JAN 11)

Catholic San Francisco: Former Planned Parenthood director to convert to Catholicism (19 JAN 11)

Mother Jones: The Man Who Loved Women Too Much (Jan/Feb 2011)

Brown U. Student from NH Learns about Microcredit

The Keene Sentinel recently ran an interesting article about Joschka Tryba, a Brown University business economics student who comes from Harrisville, NH.

Mr. Tryba recently spent a month interning at Grameen Bank in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. Grameen Bank is a not-for-profit microlender that specializes in lending to Bangladesh’s poor, primarily women. The bank's model, which has made a significant difference in easing poverty in Bangladesh, has been repeated around the world by other banks and nonprofits.

To access this article, please visit:

Keene Sentinel: Learning the Ropes (22 JAN 11)

Background Information:

Grameen Bank

Grameen Bank: What is Microcredit?

Yunus Centre

Grameen America

Success Magazine: Banker to the Poor

CNN Report Examines Failing U.S. Water Distribution Systems

A recent CNN video report looks at water distribution systems in the United States that are in very poor condition, with water main breaks occurring on an average of every two minutes.

To view this report, please visit:

CNN: America's crumbling water infrastructure (21 JAN 11)

Background Information:

American Water Works Association

New England Water Works Association

Water Infrastructure Network

American Society of Civil Engineers: 2009 Report Card for America's Infrastructure: Drinking Water

Urban Land Institute/Ernst & Young: Infrastructure 2010: Investment Imperative

EPA: Clean Water and Drinking Water Infrastructure Sustainability Policy

Profile of U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican

The Catholic News Agency recently published a profile of Miguel H. Diaz, U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See:

CNA: Profile: US ambassador seeks to 'build bridges' with Vatican (20 JAN 11)

Seekonk, MA, Goes to Full-time Fire Department

Seekonk, MA, Selectmen have voted to eliminate the remaining nine call firefighters and go to a full-time fire department. These call firefighters would be offered the new positions first.

To access a recent Sun Chronicle article on this process, please visit:

Sun Chronicle: Seekonk scraps call firefighters (20 JAN 11)

Background Information:

Seekonk Fire Department

Town of Seekonk

Wikipedia: Seekonk, Massachusetts

There are a number of communities in this region (and beyond) that formerly depended upon call or volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel. However, due to a number of economic and other factors, are no longer able to do so. Consequently there has been a gradual change to full-time personnel.

There are communities, though, that still have an active volunteer or call force. For example, Rehoboth (which borders Seekonk) was recently able to muster approximately 40 call firefighters to battle a recent daytime structure fire on Route 44.

To access a Sun Chronicle article on this fire, please visit:

Sun Chronicle: Rehoboth home damaged in fire (22 JAN 11)

Background Information:

Rehoboth Public Safety Department

Town of Rehoboth

Wikipedia: Rehoboth, Massachusetts

Attleboro, MA, Utilizes “Plow Cop” to Assist Snow Plow Crews

The city of Attleboro, MA, has begun hiring an off-duty police officer on a detail to focus specifically on assisting snow plow drivers with cars left in the street and other potential problems with residents.

Hiring a detail officer for the duration of a storm allows the on-duty police shift to focus on other matters facing the department during that time.

To access a recent Sun Chronicle article on this initiative and some of its related issues, please visit:

Sun Chronicle: Attleboro has 'plow cop' for snowstorms (22 JAN 11)

21 January 2011

Bono on Sargent Shriver

Bono, lead singer of the band U2, recently wrote a thoughtful reflection on Sargent Shriver, who passed away earlier this week:

Bono: What I Learned From Sargent Shriver (19 JAN 11)

20 January 2011

This Week’s New England City & Town Weekly Dispatch

To access this week’s issue of New England City & Town Weekly Dispatch, please visit:

New England City & Town Weekly Dispatch - 18 January 2011

January Issue of iCatholic

The CatholicTV Network has published the latest (January) issue of its digital magazine, iCatholic.

This issue may be accessed by visiting:

     iCatholic (January 2011 issue)

19 January 2011

The Work of Railroad Police in Maine

The Morning Sentinel recently ran an interesting profile that highlighted the work of Maine’s railroad police:

Morning Sentinel: THE CROSSING GUARDS: Railroad police step up patrols (12 JAN 11

The Beauty of Winter

Father Austin Fleming (pastor of Holy Family Parish, Concord, MA) recently wrote a good reflection on the beauty of a winter’s day:

A Concord Pastor Comments: A Cold Beauty (17 JAN 11)

Reflection Starter from Harriet Tubman

"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world." - Harriet Tubman

Sandown, NH, Volunteer Firefighter Dies After Drill

Firefighter Harold Frey, 46, died after taking part in an ice rescue drill on Saturday, 15 January. Frey was an experienced Sandown, NH, volunteer firefighter.

Media Reports:

Boston Globe: N.H. firefighter dies after ice rescue lesson (17 JAN 11)

NECN: N.H. firefighter dies after training session (17 JUL 11)

WMUR-TV: Firefighter Dies During Training In Sandown (16 JAN 11)

Background Information:

Sandown Fire Department

Wikipedia: Sandown, New Hampshire

17 January 2011

Another Random Act of Culture

In another "Random Act of Culture," the Opera Company of Philadelphia performed "The Toreador Song" from Bizet's Carmen at the city's Reading Terminal Market on Saturday, 8 January.

The performance is one of 1,000 Random Acts of Culture, funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, taking place nationally over the next three years. The Knight Foundation's Random Acts of Culture are designed to bring artists out of the performance halls and into the streets and everyday lives of the people of the U.S.

For more information about the Random Acts of Culture initiative, please visit:

Knight Arts: Random Acts of Culture

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

This week (18-25 January) is being observed as the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, an observance that dates back to 1908 (when it was observed as the Church Unity Octave). It is a time for the Christian community throughout the world to pray in communion with the prayer of Jesus “that they all may be one” (John 17:21).

This year’s theme, as announced by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches, is “One in the Apostles’ Teaching, Fellowship, Breaking of Bread and Prayer” (from Acts 2:42).

For Week of Prayer for Christian Unity background information and for related prayer and meditation starters, please visit:

Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2011

16 January 2011

The Law of the Garbage Truck

While cleaning out some files today, I ran across this thought-provoking piece that Jerry Dandeneau shared some time ago:

The Law of the Garbage Truck

One day I hopped in a taxi, and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us.

My taxi driver slammed on his breaks, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was really friendly.

So I asked, "Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!" This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, "The Law of the Garbage Truck."

He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they'll dump it on you.

Don't take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don't take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home or on the streets.

The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day. Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so . . . love the people who treat you right. Pray for the ones who don't.

Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it!

Have a wonderful garbage-free day!

Author Unknown

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrate the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are Isaiah 49:3, 5-6; 1 Corinthians 1:1-3; and John 1:29-34. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 40 (40:2, 4, 7-10).

The Gospel reading is as follows:

John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. He is the one of whom I said, ‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’ I did not know him, but the reason why I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known to Israel.”

John testified further, saying, “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven and remain upon him. I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”

In a reflection on this Gospel reading, Monsignor Charles Pope focused on who this Jesus Christ is:

Msgr. Charles Pope: Who is Jesus Christ? A Meditation on the Gospel of the Second Sunday of the Year

Southeastern Singers: Psalm 150

As a song of praise to begin this week, I offer the Southeastern Singers, a student choir from Southeastern University (Lakeland, FL), singing Psalm 150:

Another Major Winter Storm Hits Most of New England

This week’s edition of the Durham, NH, town newsletter, Friday Updates, called the major winter storm that hit New England on Wednesday, 12 January, a  “Perfect storm”: “This Wednesday's snow storm was a ‘perfect storm’; plenty of notice, snowfall as predicted, contained within a day, no power outages or flooding, and adequate snowfall for sledding and outdoor winter activities.”

The storm significantly affected most of the residents of New England. Many people had the day off. Schools were cancelled, in several cases for two days. Many businesses were closed. Many of us spent a lot of time plowing, shoveling, and, in general, just cleaning up. Many of us also found time to get out and enjoy the snow in some way.

Here are some media reports related to the storm and its effects:

Providence Journal: Near-blizzard hammers Rhode Island (13 JAN 11)

Boston Globe: Keep on slogging (13 JAN 11)

Boston Globe: Moments frozen in a Back Bay morning (13 JAN 11)

Hartford Courant: After A Big Snow, A Big Headache (13 JAN 11)

Stamford Advocate: Work crews continue city snow removal efforts (13 JAN 11)

Boston Globe: For many, snow day is business as usual (13 JAN 11)

News Times: Danbury firefighters uncover fire hydrants buried in snow (14 JAN 11)

New Haven Register Videos: From sleds to snowshoes to a stuck mail truck, scenes from Greater New Haven's winter wonderland (13 JAN 11)

NASA: Earth Observatory: Winter Storm along the U.S. East Coast (13 JAN 11)

New Haven Register: STORMS of the CENTURY: Which was the nastiest snowstorm: 1888, 1978 or 2011? (16 JAN 11)

National Weather Service: NWS Taunton, MA - Significant Weather Event: Jan 12, 2011

Waking Late and Keeping Calm

I woke up late today (around 5:30 AM - late for me). In times past, I would have been upset and/or somewhat discombobulated, but this time I just “went with the flow” and continued on as normal (skipping a few things I would have done).

Then I checked today’s “Daily Quote from St. Francis de Sales” (published by the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales): “Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” It fit, and, fortunately, I was already operating in that mode.

A link to access this daily quote is on the right-hand side of this page, under “Check Out These Links”).

15 January 2011

André Rieu and the European Pipe Band: "Amazing Grace"

Many people throughout this region, throughout the nation, throughout the world, are currently facing serious challenges at this time: spiritual, moral, health, economic (to name just a few).  We truly need God's grace - which He offers to us in abundance (although we are often not aware of it).

As a reminder of and in gratitude for His grace, I offer André Rieu and The European Pipe Band performing "Amazing Grace" (from the Waldbühne in Berlin):

Three-alarm Fire During Snowstorm Destroys Yacht Club in Cranston, RI

As a major winter storm was hitting Rhode Island on Wednesday, 12 January, an early morning fire destroyed the clubhouse of the Edgewood Yacht Club, 3 Shaw Avenue, Cranston, RI.

The initial alarm was dispatched at approximately 3:40 AM. A number of mutual aid companies assisted at the fire, as well as covering Cranston stations.

Media Reports:

Providence Journal: Fire destroys Edgewood Yacht Club (13 JAN 11)

Cranston Herald: Early morning blaze destroys iconic Edgewood Yacht Club (12 JAN 11)

WPRI-TV: Fire engulfs 106-year-old yacht club (12 JAN 11)

WJAR-TV: Fire destroys historic yacht club (12 JAN 11)

Cranston Patch: Clubhouse Destroyed but Spirit Unbroken (14 JAN 11)

Boating Local: Rhode Island Yacht Club Destroyed by Fire (12 JAN 11)

Providence Journal: Edgewood Yacht Club fire apparently not suspicious, officials say (14 JAN 11)

Providence Journal Video: Fire destroys historic Edgewood Yacht Club

Background Information:

Cranston Fire Department

Wikipedia: Cranston, Rhode Island

Edgewood Yacht Club

Google Map: 3 Shaw Avenue, Cranston, RI

Gerald R. Hill on "The Common Man"

Here is a good reflection on "The Common Man" by Gerald R. Hill:

Gerald R. Hill: "The Common Man"

Thank you to the DeerLake Weekly Letter (from Steven and Becca Rapelje, Kalispell, MT) for the tip.

14 January 2011

New England Communities Face Snow Removal Budget Challenges

Throughout the six New England states, communities are taking a look at the effects of recent winter storms on municipal snow removal budgets. While a number of communities are doing okay at this time, others are facing serious budget challenges.

A recent Hartford Courant article looks at the snow removal challenges being faced by a number of communities in Connecticut:

Hartford Courant: Storm Socks Towns In The Wallet (14 JAN 11)

13 January 2011

Reflection Starter from Norman Vincent Peale

"The 'how' thinker gets problems solved effectively because he wastes no time with futile 'ifs.'" - Rev. Norman Vincent Peale

Eric Sammons on the Flow of Persons Into and Out of the Church

In a recent commentary, author (and convert) Eric Sammons recently reflected on the number of recent converts to Catholicism (who tended to took time to study the faith and its background) vis-à-vis the larger number who have left the Church (often becoming Evangelical). In his short essay, Mr. Sammons briefly noted, in a general way, the steps typically involved in the process.

To access this essay, please visit:

Eric Sammons: Is my egg-head scrambled or sunny side up? (12 JAN 11)

For more information about Eric Sammons, please visit:

Eric Sammons

12 January 2011

Meditation Starter from Jeremiah

The mid-morning reading from yesterday's Divine Office, from Jeremiah (Jeremiah 17:7-8), is a good reminder for those of us who are going through any of the challenges life is throwing at us:

Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose hope is the LORD.
He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: It fears not the heat when it comes, its leaves stay green; In the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit.

10 January 2011

This Week’s New England City & Town Weekly Dispatch

To access this week’s issue of New England City & Town Weekly Dispatch, please visit:

New England City & Town Weekly Dispatch - 10 January 2011

Reflection Starter: “Look Well to This Day”

Look Well to This Day
(This is a poem dating back many centuries. A number of sources attribute it as coming from Sanskrit, an ancient language of India.)

Look well to this day,
For it and it alone is life.
In its brief course
Lie all the essence of your existence:

The Glory of Growth
The Satisfaction of Achievement
The Splendor of Beauty

For yesterday is but a dream,
And tomorrow is but a vision.
But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness,
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.

09 January 2011

"God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"

As the Christmas celebration concludes, I offer Aly and AJ singing "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen":

The Baptism of the Lord

Today the Church celebrates the Baptism of the Lord. The assigned readings are Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7; Acts of the Apostles 10:34-38; and Matthew 3:13-17. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 29 (29:1-4, 9-10).

The Gospel reading is as follows:

Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. John tried to prevent him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?”

Jesus said to him in reply, “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed him.

After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

For a reflection by  Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio on why Jesus needed to be baptized, please visit:

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio: The Baptism of the Lord and the Sacrament of Confirmation

To access a reflection by Father John Kavanaugh, S. J., abou the Baptism of Jesus, please visit:

John Kavanaugh, S. J.: Transformations of the Body

A Look at the Value of Research Papers

Noting that researching a history paper is “not just about accumulating facts, but about developing a sense of historical context, synthesizing findings into new ideas, and wrestling with how to communicate them clearly,” William H. Fitzhugh, publisher of The Concord Review, is concerned about the declining standards of writing across the U.S.

The Concord Review is a quarterly academic journal that publishes the academic research papers of secondary students. It is published in Sudbury, MA.

Although he has his share of critics, a number of educators and other community leaders appreciate Mr. Fitzhugh’s efforts to encourage more writing in schools.

To access a recent New York Times profile of Mr. Fitzhugh and the Review, please visit:

New York Times: Journal Showcases Dying Art of the Research Paper (7 JAN 11)

For more information about The Concord Review, please visit:

The Concord Review

On a personal note, I do believe in the value of research papers. As a student, I actually enjoyed the research that went into the papers I was working on. When I was teaching 7th and 8th grade students, I assigned 8-10 page papers in the last marking period of the school year (which were designed to give the students an opportunity to use the skills they had been developing throughout the school year).

08 January 2011

Reflection Starter from Eleanor Porter

"Instead of always harping on people's faults, tell them of their virtues." - Eleanor Hodgman Porter (1868-1920)

Ms. Porter, a novelist who wrote mostly children's stories (including Pollyanna), was born in New Hampshire and later moved to Massachusetts.

For more information about Ms. Porter, please visit:

Eleanor Hodgman Porter -- Littleton's remarkable woman of history

For more information about the novel, please visit:

Wikipedia: Pollyanna

Bing Crosby: "Do You Hear What I Hear"

As the Christmas celebration continues, I offer a video Christmas card with Bing Crosby singing "Do You Hear What I Hear":

USA Today: States Losing Billions in Unspent Highway Funding

USA Today recently published an article about billions of federal dollars that have, over the years, been earmarked for specific highway projects, but have remained unspent due to a variety of reasons (including $758.7 million in New England). Much of this money is counted against a state's share of federal gas tax revenue, and, if the money goes unspent, the state loses a proportionate share of federal revenue.

To access this article, please visit:

USA Today: 'Earmarks' to nowhere: States losing billions (4 JAN 11)

Dale O'Leary on Art in Catholic Churches

Lecturer and author Dale O'Leary recently offered some thoughts about the state of art (or lack of it) in modern Catholic churches:

Dale O'Leary: Where are the angels? (7 JAN 11)

07 January 2011

Saint Raymond of Peñafort

Today the Church celebrates the memory of Saint Raymond of Peñafort (c.1175 - 1275), a Dominican friar who, under Pope Gregory IX, organized, codified, and edited canon law. This was completed in 1234 and was the first time such an organization was done.

To access the current Code of Canon Law, please visit:

    Code of Canon Law

Las Vegas Master Singers/Las Vegas Philharmonic: "Angels We Have Heard on High"

As the Christmas celebration continues, I offer the Las Vegas Master Singers with the Las Vegas Philharmonic performing "Angels We Have Heard on High":

Reflection Starter from Horace

"No man ever reached to excellence in any one art or profession without having passed through the slow and painful process of study and preparation." - Horace

Paul Greenberg on Robert Macauley

Author and essayist Paul Greenberg recently wrote a thoughtful commentary about Robert Macauley, the founder of AmeriCares.  Mr. Macauley, who recently passed away, initially hit the news in a big way when he assisted with transporting Vietnamese children to the United States in 1975.

To read Mr. Greenburg’s essay, please visit:

Paul Greenburg: When the Times Turn Awful (6 JAN 11)

For more information about AmeriCares, please visit:


06 January 2011

Mahalia Jackson: "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear"

As the Christmas celebration continues, I offer a video Christmas card with Mahalia Jackson singing "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear":

A Reflection on the Decreasing Opportunites for Daily Mass

"I am not (sad to say) a daily Mass-goer, but yesterday I decided to hit the 12:15 p.m. Mass at my parish, in part because I'd promised another Catholic writer I would offer my Communion for her intentions. I pulled on the door. Locked. I went around to the other side. Locked. I went back to my car to call my husband and ask him to look up our parish online and find out what was going on. While I waited, an old man pulled up beside me and looked confused. 'I thought they have 12:15 Mass today,' he said, adding, 'I was here for Friday's 12:15 Mass and it was locked then, too.'"

So begins a reflection by writer Mary DeTurris Poust about the decreasing opportunities for a person to go to daily Mass - a trend that, sad to say, I've also observed in this part of New England.

To read the full commentary, please visit:

OSV Daily Take: When is daily Mass like the U.S. mail? (4 JAN 11)

Reflection Starter from Saint Francis de Sales

"True progress quietly and persistently moves along without notice." -
Saint Francis de Sales

05 January 2011

Natalie Cole: "The First Noel"

As the Christmas celebration continues I offer a video Christmas card with Natalie Cole singing "The First Noel":

Reflection Starter from William Arthur Ward

"Another fresh new year is here . . .
Another year to live!
To banish worry, doubt, and fear,
To love and laugh and give!

This bright new year is given me
To live each day with zest . . .
To daily grow and try to be
My highest and my best!

I have the opportunity
Once more to right some wrongs,
To pray for peace, to plant a tree,
And sing more joyful songs!"

- William Arthur Ward (author, educator, and motivational speaker)

Shapleigh, ME, Firefighter Dies on Way to Emergency

A Shapleigh, ME, volunteer firefighter was killed in an automobile accident on Monday (3 JAN 11) while responding to an emergency.

Media Reports:

Portland Press Herald: Shapleigh firefighter killed responding to rescue call (4 JAN 11)

WGME-TV: Firefighters visit crash scene where one of their own was killed (4 JAN 11)

Background Information:

Shapleigh Fire Department

Wikipedia: Shapleigh, Maine

04 January 2011

Oak Ridge Boys: "Jesus Is Born Today"

As the Christmas celebration continues, I offer the Oak Ridge Boys singing: "Jesus Is Born Today":

This Week’s New England City & Town Weekly Dispatch

To access this week’s issue of New England City & Town Weekly Dispatch, please visit:

New England City & Town Weekly Dispatch - 4 January 2011

Dr. Peter Kreeft on the Meaning of Christmas

Peter Kreeft, Ph.D., professor of philosophy at Boston College, recently wrote a thought-provoking commentary on various aspects of the Christmas story in our lives:

Dr. Peter Kreeft: The Meaning of Christmas: Look Deeper (2 JAN 11)

Hollis, NH, Transfer Station Serves as Local Recycling Center

The Nashua (NH) Telegraph recently ran an interesting article about the Hollis Transfer Station and the resource it has become for local residents who come there to pick up items that are available to be recycled (into homes or for nonprofit organizations).

To access this article, please visit:

Nashua Telegraph: Residents find treasures at transfer station (26 DEC 10)

03 January 2011

Saint John's College Choir: "Away in a Manger"

As the Christmas celebration continues, I offer Saint John's College Choir (Cambridge, England) singing "Away in a Manger" (from a 2006 appearance on Dutch television):

Sandra Miesel on the Wise Men from the East

Sandra Miesel (medievalist and writer) has written a background of the three Magi. This article is designed to address who these Wise Men of the East were and what their mission has meant to Christians across the ages.

This originally, which appeared in Ignatius Insight (an online resource of Ignatius Press), may be accessed by visiting:

Sandra Miesel: Wise Men from the East (Janaury 2008)

Reflection Starter from Saint Basil the Great

"The bread which you do not use is the bread of the hungry; the garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of him who is naked; the shoes that you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot; the money that you keep locked away is the money of the poor; the acts of charity that you do not perform are so many injustices that you commit." - Saint Basil the Great (Bishop and Doctor of the Church)

02 January 2011

Robert Shaw: "We Three Kings of Orient Are"

As the Christmas celebration continues and as (here in the United States) we celebrate the Epiphany today, I offer "We Three Kings of Orient Are":

The Epiphany of the Lord

Today the Church celebrates the Epiphany of the Lord. The assigned readings are Isaiah 60:1-6; Ephesians 3:2-3, 5-6; and Matthew 2:1-12. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 72 (72:1-2, 7-8, 10-13).

The Gospel reading is as follows:

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.”

When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet: And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.”

Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.”

After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.

Monsignor Charles Pope has a thoughtful reflection on the Epiphany - a reflection in which he strives to follow these wise men in their journey of faith:

Msgr. Charles Pope: Walking with the Wise Men: A Meditation on the Feast of Epiphany (1 JAN 11)

Father John Foley, S.J., (of the Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University) has an interesting reflection on Christ as the Light of the world:

Fr. John Foley, S. J.: Light to the Nations

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio writes about the meaning of the term epiphany and explains why the Magi are found in every nativity scene.

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio: The Epiphany Revealed!

Msgr. Charles Pope on Why New Years is Not Simply Secular

Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) has an interesting historical reflection on our designation of years (e.g., 2011) as a reference to Jesus and some of its related consequences.

To access this commentary, please visit:

Msgr. Charles Pope: Why is it 2011? (or) Why New Years is Not Simply Secular (31 DEC 10)

01 January 2011

Charlotte Church: "What Child Is This"

As the Christmas celebration continues, I offer Charlotte Church singing "What Child Is This":

Bill O’Reilly on True Grit and American Heroes

I do not see a lot of movies in the theater. One of the ones I have seen was the first showing of True Grit ( a ”few” years ago).

Bill O’Reilly has written an interesting comparison between the first movie and the recently released version of True Grit. This comparison has generated some conversation (pro and con), but the point he is making - about the need for heroes/persons who are symbols of what may be called the American spirit - contains a lot of truth.

To read Bill O’Reilly’s commentary, please visit:

Bill O'Reilly: The Truth About Grit (1 JAN 11)

Mike Aquilina on the Senses of Christmas

Mike Aquilina (author, editor, and executive vice president of the Saint Paul Center for Biblical Theology) recently wrote a good reflection on the many ways that Christmas touches our senses and why it is appropriate that this is so.

To read his commentary, please visit:

Mike Aquilina: The Senses of Christmas (24 DEC 10)

The Holy Father’s Prayer Intentions for January

Pope Benedict’s general prayer intention for January, 2011, is: “That young people may learn to use modern means of social communication for their personal growth and to better prepare themselves to serve society.”

His mission intention for this month is: “That every believer in Christ may be conscious that unity among all Christians is a condition for more effective proclamation of the Gospel.”