31 May 2011

Christian Music in New England - Upcoming Concert of Sacred Music

The Gregorian Concert Choir and Festival Orchestra (with Rev. Msgr. Anthony Mancini, conductor, and Philip Faraone, organist) will hold a Concert of Sacred Music to benefit the Haitian Project. The concert will include the "Lord of Life" Liturgy by Dr. C. Alexander Peloquin and the premier of "Requiem Canticle" by Monsignor Anthony Mancini (dedicated to the memory of the late Dr. Peloquin).

The concert will take place Sunday, 5 June, at 3:00 PM, at the Cathedral of Saints Peter & Paul, Cathedral Square, Providence, RI.

Tickets are $10.00 per person. For more information or to order tickets, please call the Cathedral office at (401) 331-2434. Tickets will also be available at the door.

Dr. Beach Rates Coast Guard Beach in Top Ten List

Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman (a.k.a., Dr. Beach), Professor and Director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University, annually rates the nations public beaches. He recently released his top ten list for 2011, and one New England beach, Coast Guard Beach on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, was listed at #8.

For more information about Dr. Beach and to access his complete top ten list as well as his criteria for evaluating beaches, please visit:

Dr. Beach

For additional information about the National Healthy Beaches Campaign founded by Dr. Leatherman, please visit:

National Healthy Beaches Campaign

New England Treasure: Fort Taber-Fort Rodman Military Museum, New Bedford, MA

The Fort Taber ~ Fort Rodman Military Museum is a municipal museum dedicated to memorializing the contributions of New Bedford, MA, residents in every war from the Civil War to the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The museum is staffed entirely by volunteers.

Because of the museum's popularity and because of its limited space, it recently was expanded, and the addition was formally opened in a Memorial Day ceremony.

For more information about the museum and its expansion, please visit:

Fort Taber ~ Fort Rodman Military Museum

The Standard-Times: A fitting tribute: Veterans do the honors as addition to 'biggest small museum' in U.S. unveiled (31 MAY 11)

Background information:

Fort Taber ~ Fort Rodman Historical Association

City of New Bedford

Wikipedia: New Bedford, Massachusetts

Johann Sebastian Bach: Magnificat (01)

As today we celebrate the Visitation, I offer this excerpt of Johann Sebastian Bach's Magnificat, as performed by Ton Koopman and the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Soloists:

Background information:

Wikipedia: Magnificat (Bach)

British Choirs on the Net: Magnificat - Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750)

Bach Choir of Bethlehem: Bach 101: Magnificat in D Major, BWV 243

The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today the Church celebrates the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The assigned readings are Zephaniah 3:14-18 and Luke 1:39-56. The Responsorial Psalm is from Isaiah 12 (Isaiah 12:2-3, 4-6).

Today’s Gospel reading is as follows:

Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, "Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled."

And Mary said: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever."

Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

For a reflection on this celebration, please visit:

American Catholic: Saint of the Day: Visitation

Catholic Man Completes Prayer-filled Journey Across U.S.

Jeff Grabosky, a 28-year-old native of New Jersey, recently completed a 3,700-mile run across the United States. Deciding to run in order to inspire others and to use his talents to serve God, he says the experience gave him a new perspective on America and on his Catholic faith.

Jeff received prayer intentions from others and prayed for them on his Rosary ring while he ran. He estimated he prayed 35,000 Hail Marys during a journey that began on 20 January in Oceanside, California, and ended on 21 May at Smith Point on Long Island, New York.

For more information about Jeff and his run, please visit:

CNA: Catholic man finishes run across America with deepened faith (24 MAY 11)

Jeff Runs America

Facebook: Jeff Runs America 

Reflection Starter from Archbishop Fulton Sheen

"Life is like a cash register, in that every account, every thought, every deed, like every sale, is registered and recorded." - Archbishop Fulton Sheen

30 May 2011

The Gaither Vocal Band: "God Bless America"

As the Memorial Day observance continues, I offer the Gaither Vocal Band singing "God Bless America:

Brookings Institution on Transit and Jobs in Metropolitan America

Public transit is a critical part of the economic and social fabric of metropolitan areas in New England and throughout the rest of the U.S. Nearly 30 million trips are made every day using public transit. Almost all of these trips occur in the nation’s 100 largest metro areas, which account for over 95 percent of all transit passenger miles traveled. People take transit for a variety of reasons, but one of the most common is to get to work.

The Metropolitan Policy Program of the Brookings Institution recently took an in-depth look at how effectively transit connects people and jobs within and across these metropolitan areas (which include the Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH; Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT; Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT; New Haven-Milford, CT; Portland-South Portland-Biddeford, ME; Providence-New Bedford-Fall River, RI-MA; Springfield, MA; and Worcester, MA metropolitan areas).

Key findings of this study include:

  • nearly 70 percent of large metropolitan residents live in neighborhoods with access to transit service of some kind;
  • in neighborhoods covered by transit, morning rush hour service occurs about once every 10 minutes for the typical metropolitan commuter
  • the typical metropolitan resident can reach about 30 percent of jobs in their metropolitan area via transit in 90 minutes
  • about one-quarter of jobs in low- and middle-skill industries are accessible via transit within 90 minutes for the typical metropolitan commuter, compared to one-third of jobs in high-skill industries; and
  • fifteen of the twenty metro areas that rank highest on a combined score of transit coverage and job access are in the West (none are in New England).

For more information, please visit:

Brookings: Missed Opportunity: Transit and Jobs in Metropolitan America (12 MAY 11)

Brookings: Move It: How the U.S. Can Improve Transportation Policy (23 MAY 11)

Brookings: Explaining the Findings of Transit Accessibility Research (23 MAY 11)

Brookings: Metropolitan Transit Access: Coverage (interactive mapping application)

New England Metropolitan Transit Accessibility Profiles:

Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH Metro Area

Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT Metro Area

Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT Metro Area

New Haven-Milford, CT Metro Area

Portland-South Portland-Biddeford, ME Metro Area

Providence-New Bedford-Fall River, RI-MA Metro Area

Springfield, MA Metro Area

Worcester, MA Metro Area

Full report:

Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings: Missed Opportunity: Transit and Jobs in Metropolitan America (May 2011)

Background information:

The Brookings Institution

Father Richard Partika - the "Man Behind Many Letters"

The Duluth News Tribune (Duluth, MN) recently ran an interesting profile about Father Richard Partika, 85, who has been writing monthly letters to the editor for decades, always defending the Catholic faith and his principles.

To access this commentary, please visit:

Duluth News Tribune: Meet the man behind the many letters (29 MAY 11)

Background information:

Diocese of Duluth

New England Treasure: "Cape Cod Cares for Our Troops" Memorial Day Event

In the seventh annual Cape Cod Cares for Our Troops "Troops in the Spotlight" Memorial Day event, designed to get people to remember the service of all veterans and to collect goods for those currently serving overseas, military members are standing in one hour shifts for 24 hours at the Kmart plaza parking lot on Route 132 in Hyannis.

To access a Cape Cod Times article on this initiative, please visit:

Cape Cod Times: Standing for the troops (30 MAY 11)

Background information:

Cape Cod Cares for Our Troops

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day, a day designated to commemorate the men and women who died while in the military service.

We lift up to the Lord the souls of each of these men and women. We also thank Him, and them, for their sacrifice.

Your silent tents of green
We deck with fragrant flowers;
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours.
                  – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

YouTube: Taps

YouTube: Memorial Day 2011 - Freedom Isn't Free

Presidential Proclamation: Prayer for Peace, Memorial Day, 2011

Paul Greenberg: Remembering, We Forget (30 MAY 11)

Related posts:

Lop Notes: A Third Grade Song (3 MAY 10)

Lop Notes: Memorial Day Tribute (29 MAY 10)

Lop Notes: Additional Memorial Day Reflections (30 MAY 10)

Reflection Starter from Billy Graham

"Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened." - Rev. Billy Graham, Christian evangelist

Background information:

Wikipedia: Billy Graham

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

29 May 2011

"The Battle Hymn of the Republic"

Tomorrow (Monday, 30 May), we observe Memorial Day, which commemorates the men and women who died while in the military service. Memorial Day grew out of the observance of Decoration Day, a day designated to decorate the graves of the Civil War dead with flowers.

With that in mind, I offer:

Christian Music in New England: The Moore Family Gospel Singers

A number of people throughout the six New England states participate in activities involving Christian music. Many of these are musicians or other artists who primarily serve their local church community. Other artists play at a variety of different venues and special events (as well as possibly playing at their local church).

Included among these artists is the Moore Family Gospel Singers, from New Hampshire. The Moore Family's presentations include a variety of country, bluegrass, contemporary, R&B, and traditional styles of gospel music.

For more information about the Moore Family Gospel Singers, including a schedule of their upcoming events, please visit:

The Moore Family Gospel Singers

New England’s Fire Service Heritage: Fire Marks

At one time, in the 1700’s and early 1800’s, fire marks (also known as fire insurance marks or firemarks) were affixed to various buildings in a number of this region’s communities. These plaques (made of lead or copper) were an indication that the building was insured, and the plaque (the fire mark) signified the insuring company.

For additional information about fire marks, please visit:

Wikipedia: Fire insurance marks

American Fire Marks - A Good Story

Firemark Circle of the Americas

Old And Sold: Fire Marks From The Days Of Yesteryear (1962)

Independent Insurance Center: Historic Firemarks

Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, Providence, Rhode Island

New England is the home of a number of beautiful cathedrals, the cathedrae of the various Roman Catholic dioceses located in this region.

One of these cathedrals is the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Providence, Rhode Island, seat of the Diocese of Providence. The parish itself dates back to 1832. It became the cathedral parish for the Diocese of Hartford in 1847 (Providence was chosen because of the number of Catholics living in Providence). SS. Peter and Paul became the cathedral parish for the Diocese of Providence when the diocese was created in 1872.

For more information about the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, please visit:

Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul

Wikipedia: Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, Providence

Brightridge 360: Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul

Background information:

Diocese of Providence

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Today is the Sixth Sunday of Easter. The assigned readings are Acts 8:5-8, 14-17; 1 Peter 3:15-18; and John 14:15-21. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 66 (Psalm 66:1-7, 16, 20).

YouTube: Psalm 66: Let All The Earth

Today’s Gospel reading is as follows:

Jesus said to his disciples: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows him. But you know him, because he remains with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”

Reflections on these readings:

The Quiet Corner: Despite secularism, earnest Christians will stand for the truth (26 MAY 11)

The Deacon's Bench: Homily for May 29, 2011: 6th Sunday of Easter (28 MAY 11)

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio: The Holy Spirit - The Paraclete

Msgr. Charles Pope: Living the Lessons of Love – A Meditation on the Gospel for the 6th Sunday of Easter (28 MAY 11)

The Lectionary: Whoever loves Jesus will be loved by his Father (26 MAY 11)

Dr. Scott Hahn: May 29th, 2011 - 6th Sunday of Easter: Alive in the Spirit

The Word Embodied: Baptism in the Spirit

Nashua, NH, Lions Club Bestows Teacher of the Year Award

One of the treasures of New England are the many fine teachers we have in our public, parochial, and other private schools.  Here is an example of one of these teachers:

Since 2003, the Gate City Lions Club in Nashua, NH, has been presenting Teacher of the Year awards. This year's award went to Pat Riley, the librarian at Saint Christopher School, a K-6 elementary school in Nashua. Ms. Riley was nominated by one of her fourth grade students, who noted (among other attributes) she "encouraged me to read and be the best person I could be."

As is the case with all people, there is more to the story. To access a Nashua Telegraph article on Pat Riley and the Teacher of the Year award, please visit:

Nashua Telegraph: Librarian given Lions Teacher of Year award (23 MAY 11)

Background information:

St. Christopher School

Father Najim on How to Be Joyful

In this video blog entry, Father Michael Najim, Vocation Director for the Diocese of Providence, offers a good reflection on how to have joy in our lives:

 Live Holiness: Be Joyful! (27 APR 11)

Reflection Starter from Robert Schuller

"Joy is not the absence of suffering. It is the presence of God." - Rev. Robert Schuller

28 May 2011

93rd Providence College Commencement Honors World War II Veterans

Providence College recently held its Ninety-Third Commencement Exercises at the Dunkin' Donuts Center. In all, the P.C. awarded 1,135 degrees - 906 baccalaureate, 184 graduate, 38 from the School of Continuing Education, and seven honorary - including bestowing the first honorary bachelor's degrees in school history on two World War II veterans.

The College awarded the honorary bachelor's degrees to George Fisher and Paul V. Salley, two members of Unit #1188 of the U.S. Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP). The ASTP was a rigorous military training program instituted in 1943 by the U.S. Army at more than 120 American higher-education institutions. The members of this unit were enrolled as undergraduate students at the college in 1943, but were called to service in March 1944 and never returned to complete their education.

Following the reading of the citation given to Fisher and Salley on behalf of the nearly 400 ASTP students who studied and trained in the ASTP at PC, the audience of approximately 10,000 stood and gave the two honorary degree recipients a minute-plus standing ovation.

Thirty-seven of these members of Unit #1188 of the U.S. ASTP were killed in action in Europe. A memorial plaque was dedicated to them at P.C.'s War Memorial Grotto in 1998.

For more information about Providence College and the ASTP, please visit:

Providence College: PC to Honor WW II Student-Soldiers at Commencement (18 APR 11)

Providence Journal: Providence College honors ‘Lost Class of 44’ pulled from school to fight war (14 MAY 11)

For more information about the commencement and the principal address given by John Ratzenberger in the commencement exercise, please visit:

Providence College: Ratzenberger: Road to Success Paved by Responsibility, Hard Work (16 MAY 11)

Providence Journal: Providence College celebrates 1,128 graduates (16 MAY 11)

Valley Breeze Newspapers: Tom Ward: The motto - Veritas - that must stand the test of time (17 APR 11)

To access a video presentation of the entire Commencement 2011 program, please visit:

Providence College: Commencement 2011

Background information:

Providence College

Vermont Flooding: The Saga Continues

Flooding is continuing in the Lake Champlain and other areas of Vermont as rain storms continues to hit the state. Lake Champlain has been above flood stage for weeks.

Media reports:

Burlington Free Press: Central Vermonters join hands to fight flood, mud (28 MAY 11)

Burlington Free Press: Lake Champlain to rise with new storms (28 MAY 11)

Burlington Free Press: Vermont struggles to dig out from some of the most serious flash flooding in decades (27 MAY 11)

Burlington Free Press: Heavy storms rake Vermont (27 MAY 11)

WCAX-TV: Flash flooding swamps Central Vermont villages (27 MAY 11)

WCAX-TV: Much of Montpelier underwater (27 MAY 11)

WCAX-TV: Barre braces for cleanup (27 MAY 11)

WCAX-TV: The emergency response to the floods (27 MAY 11)

WCAX-TV: Will flooding mean pollution problems in Lake Champlain? (27 MAY 11)

Burlington Free Press Photo Gallery: Powerful thunderstorms trigger major flooding in Vermont

YouTube: Montpelier, Vermont Flood May 27, 2011

YouTube: W8 Flood May 2011

Previous posts:

Lop Notes: Vermont Flooding Update (14 MAY 11)

Lop Notes: Record Lake Champlain Flooding Update (7 MAY 11)

Lop Notes: Flooding Hits Northern Vermont (29 APR 11)

Twila Paris: "He Is Exalted"

"Just because," I offer Twila Paris singing "He Is Exalted" in a live performance:

Northwest Park, Windsor, CT

One of the treasures of New England is its variety of municipal, state, national, and other parks. One of these parks was recently profiled (in a very positive way) in the Hartford Courant.

Northwest Park, a 473-acre municipal park in Windsor, CT, includes a variety of habitats and trails, as well as gardens, barns and corrals with domestic animals, and a Nature Center. A number of educational and recreational events (including concerts) are scheduled at the park each year. The park is open daily from dawn to dusk, and there is no admission charge.

To access the Hartford Courant article, please visit:

Hartford Courant: Northwest Park: A Place To Spark A Child's Flight Of Fancy (28 MAY 11)

For more information about Northwest Park, please visit:

Northwest Park

Background information:

Town of Windsor

Wikipedia: Windsor, Connecticut

2011 Click It or Ticket Campaign

State and local police departments throughout this region (and the rest of the U.S.) are participating in the the 2011 Click It or Ticket campaign, an initiative designed to remind motorists about the severe risks of driving unbelted, day or night.

2011 Click It or Ticket Logo

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research shows that fewer people buckle their seat belts at night, making evening hours especially dangerous. In 2009, 62 percent of nighttime vehicle occupants who were killed in crashes were unbelted. In contrast, 44 percent of daytime occupants who were killed were unrestrained.

Young people and males are especially at risk of dying in a traffic crash in which they’re unbelted. In 2009, the age groups 21 to 24 and 25 to 34 each had 64 percent passenger vehicle occupant fatality rates, among the highest percentages of unrestrained fatalities. Fifty-eight percent of males who died in a crash were unrestrained versus 44 percent for females.

NHTSA researchers estimate that in 2009 seat belts saved 12,713 lives. But if all passenger vehicle occupants involved in crashes had worn seat belts, an additional 3,688 lives could have been spared.

This year's Click It or Ticket campaign runs through 5 June. The mobilization, expected to involve more than 10,000 police agencies nationally, is supported by $8 million in national advertising funded through Congress and supported by NHTSA. The ads, which will air in English and Spanish, are designed to generate awareness of the stepped up enforcement efforts and the increased chance of getting a ticket if you’re not buckled up. The ads will be aired on television, radio and online.

To access some of these ads, please visit:

Click It or Ticket TV Spot: Stuck with a Ticket (for primary seat belt States)

Click It or Ticket TV Spot: Stuck with a Ticket (for secondary seat belt States)

Click It or Ticket TV Spot: Friendly Rural Cop

Click It or Ticket TV Spot: Out of Nowhere

Click It or Ticket Radio Spot: Crack of Dawn

Click It or Ticket Radio Spot: Urban

For more information about the Click It or Ticket campaign, please visit:

NHTSA: Click It or Ticket

St. Augustine on the Easter Alleluia

Today’s Office of Readings includes an excerpt from a discourse on the Psalms by Saint Augustine of Hippo. In this reflection, St. Augustine focuses on the joy of the Easter season and on living a life of praise.

To access this reflection, please visit:

Crossroads Initiative: The Easter Alleluia - St. Augustine of Hippo

CPSC Warns Memorial Day Weekend Among the Deadliest Holidays for ATV Riders

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning all-terrain vehicle (ATV) riders to take steps to stay safe this holiday weekend. CPSC staff is aware of 28 fatalities that occurred during the four-day Memorial Day holiday weekend in 2010 (an average of seven deaths a day). Five victims were under the age of 16.

History has shown that, as temperatures go up and spring turns to summer, the reported number of ATV-related incidents and deaths also increases. Reported incidents compiled by CPSC for 2004 to 2006, show that ATV-related deaths of children younger than 16 years of age jumped more than 65 percent on average from March to April in each of those years. Reported adult deaths increased an average of 85 percent for the same time period. During 2004 to 2006, reported ATV-related deaths peaked in July, when an average of 22 children and 85 adults were killed in ATV-related incidents.

News reports between 1 March and 23 May this year indicate that as many as 62 people may have died in ATV-related incidents. Six of these deaths reportedly involved children younger than 16.

CPSC is encouraging all ATV riders, young and old, to make this riding season safer by following the basic rules of the trail:

  • Take a hands-on safety training course.
  • Always wear protective gear - especially a helmet - when riding ATVs.
  • Do not ride on a single-rider ATV as a passenger or carry a passenger if you drive one.
  • Do not drive ATVs on paved roads.
  • Do not permit children younger than 16 to drive or ride adult ATVs. Always choose an age-appropriate ATV for your child.

In addition, recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs), also known as side-by-sides, have grown in popularity in recent years. Unlike ATVs, ROVs have a steering wheel, bench or bucket seats, seatbelts, foot controls, and a rollover protective structure. However, every year, they are also associated with a number of fatalities and injuries. Rollovers have caused severe injuries and death, even on flat, open areas.

CPSC is encouraging ROV riders and passengers to follow these guidelines from CPSC and the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association:

  • Always fasten seat belts before moving the vehicle.
  • Never transport passengers who cannot place both feet on the floorboard with their backs against the seat.
  • Never carry more passengers than there are seat belts and never carry passengers in cargo beds.
  • Never drive an ROV unless you have a valid driver’s license.
  • Wear a helmet and other protective gear; ensure that your passengers wear theirs.
  • Avoid paved surfaces; ROVs are designed to be operated off-road.
  • Drive only in designated areas, at a safe speed, and use care when turning and crossing slopes.
  • Keep all parts of your body inside the ROV.
  • Never drive or ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Know your vehicle before you drive; read the operator’s manual and labels.
  • Remember: ROVs are not toys.

For more information about ATV safety, please visit:

CPSC: ATVSafety.gov

All-Terrain Vehicle Safety Institute

For state specific information, please visit:

CPSC: ATV State Data: Connecticut

CPSC: ATV State Data: Maine

CPSC: ATV State Data: Massachusetts

CPSC: ATV State Data: New Hampshire

CPSC: ATV State Data: Rhode Island

CPSC: ATV State Data: Vermont

Reflection Starter from Sam Adams

"Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual - or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country." - Samuel Adams, in the Boston Gazette, 1781

27 May 2011

Amazon.com: America’s Most Well-Read Cities

Amazon has released its list of the “Most Well-read Cities in America.” Topping the list (and the only New England city): Cambridge, Massachusetts.

To view a WMTW-TV slide show of the list, please visit:

WMTW-TV: Slide Show: America's Most Well-Read Cities

Related media reports:

Outside the Beltway: America’s Most Well-Read Cities (27 MAY 11)

Mainstreet: The Most Well-Read Cities in America (27 MAY 11)

Three-alarm Stable Fire in York, ME

A three-alarm fire (caused by a lightning strike) heavily damaged a stable at Riverwatch Stables, 273 Cider Hill Road, York, ME, on Tuesday, 24 May. The York Village Fire Department was assisted by companies from York Beach, Kittery, Ogunquit, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, and South Berwick.

Media reports:

York Weekly: Horses, kittens rescued from fire at York stable (25 MAY 11)

Portsmouth Herald: Stable struck by lightning in York (24 MAY 11)

York Village Fire Dept.: 3rd Alarm Barn Fire on Rt. 91

Background information:

York Village Fire Department

Town of York

Wikipedia: York, Maine

Riverwatch Stables

Google Map: 273 Cider Hill Road, York, Maine

New England Treasure: People Helping People

Wheaton College, in Norton, MA, is holding a community yard sale this weekend, and the proceeds of this sale will go to help out the Norton public schools. The sale will feature items donated or left behind by Wheaton students (including recent graduates) who recently left for summer vacation, and these items include dorm refrigerators, furniture, glassware, clothing, and electronics.

Background information:

Wheaton College

Norton Public Schools

Wikipedia: Norton, Massachusetts

U.S. Energy Dept. Offers BetterBuildings Case Studies with Lessons to Improve Energy Efficiency Programs Nationwide

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced the release of five case studies (including one in Rutland County, Vermont) from a series spotlighting some of the most innovative projects funded under the Department's BetterBuildings program.

BetterBuildings is a national program that is designed to transform the marketplace for energy efficiency upgrades in homes, businesses, and institutions. More than 40 state and local governments and partnering organizations received over $500 million to lay the foundation for a sustainable energy efficiency market in the United States. The case studies were released to help "program administrators and their partners “develop and optimize energy efficiency programs to help consumers and businesses save money and reduce their energy use by making affordable energy-saving improvement.”

The "Driving Demand" case study on the program in Rutland County is designed to showcase how the program encouraged partners to think creatively about engaging consumers. By understanding the community and local resources, the program leveraged relationships to deliver its message through local peer and neighborhood networks.

The Dept. of Energy plans to use these case studies as blueprints for future energy efficiency programs. They are also part of the process of achieving DOE's goal of providing energy efficiency upgrades to one million homes by 2013. This release came as a follow-up to the first What's Working in Residential Energy Efficiency Upgrade Programs Conference that recently took place in Washington, DC.

For more information about each of these case studies, please visit:

BetterBuildings Spotlight on Rutland County: How Local Ties Lead to Local Wins

Rutland County Conducts Telethons to Increase Awareness of BetterBuildings Program

BetterBuildings Spotlight on Seattle, Washington: Community Partnerships Work to Extend Program Reach

BetterBuildings Spotlight on Austin, Texas: Best Offer Ever Produces 564 Upgrades in Record Time

BetterBuildings Spotlight on Michigan: Sweeping the State for Ultimate Success

BetterBuildings Spotlight on Austin, Texas: Let Your Contractor Be Your Guide for Big Rewards

Background information:

US DOE: BetterBuildings Program

NeighborWorks of Western Vermont

NeighborWorks of Western Vermont: H.E.A.T. Squad: The Home Efficiency Assistance Team

"Be Exalted O God"

Today's assigned Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 57, and, in the spirit of this psalm, I offer:

Holy See Raises Concerns Related to Least Developed Countries

The Fourth United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries recently completed its meeting in Istanbul Turkey. The result of this conference was an action plan to halve the number of countries classified as Least Developed Countries in the next decade. There are currently 48 countries so designated - they are countries with the lowest socioeconomic development indicators.

Although a number of delegates were satisfied with the results of the conference, there were some concerns raised, including concerns voiced by the Vatican's representative (Archbishop Silvano Tomasi), that were not completely addressed.

To access a Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute report on the conference, please visit:

C-Fam: UN Development Conference Provides Teaching Moments for Holy See (26 MAY 11)

To access Archbishop Tomasi's conference statement, please visit:

Statement by Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi at the Fourth United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries

To access the closing statement at the United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries, please visit:

Statement by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (13 MAY 11)

Background information:

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

Pope Benedict XVI: Encyclical Letter: Caritas in Veritate (29 June 2009)

Reflection Starter from Saint Francis de Sales

"Be careful and attentive to all the matters God has committed to your care. Since God has confided them to you, God wishes you to have great care for them. However, do not be worried, that is, don't overexert yourself on them with uneasiness, anxiety and forwardness." - Saint Francis de Sales

26 May 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 - 25 May 2011

National Preservation Month

May is National Preservation Month, and this year’s theme is “Celebrating America’s Treasures” (of which we have an abundance of in each of the New England states).

Since the National Trust for Historic Preservation created Preservation Week in 1971 to spotlight grassroots preservation efforts in America, it has grown into an annual celebration observed by small towns and big cities with events ranging from architectural and historic tours and award ceremonies, to fundraising events, educational programs and heritage travel opportunities. Due to its overwhelming popularity, in 2005, the National Trust for Historic Preservation extended the celebration to the entire month of May and declared it Preservation Month to provide an even longer opportunity to celebrate the diverse and unique heritage of our country’s cities and states and enable more Americans to become involved in the growing preservation movement.

For more information about National Preservation Month, please visit:

National Trust for Historic Preservation: Preservation Month May 2011

National Park Service: National Preservation Month

Background information:

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Register of Historic Places Database

EPA Releases Three New Local Government Climate and Energy Strategy Documents

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Local Government Climate and Energy Strategy Series is a set of documents designed to give a  straightforward overview of greenhouse gas emissions reduction strategies that local governments can use to achieve economic, environmental, social, and human health benefits. The series covers energy efficiency, transportation, community planning and design, solid waste and materials management, and renewable energy.

As part of this series, EPA has released three new documents. These documents may be accessed by visiting:

EPA: Energy Efficiency in K-12 Schools (May 2011)

EPA: Energy Efficiency in Affordable Housing (May 2011)

EPA: Smart Growth - A Guide to Developing and Implementing Greenhouse Gas Reductions Programs (May 2011)

For more information about the Local Government Climate and Energy Strategy Series, including a complete list of the documents in the series, please visit:

EPA: Local Government Climate and Energy Strategy Series

"Proclaim His Marvelous Deeds"

Today the Church celebrates the memory of Saint Philip Neri, priest. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 96 ("Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.") With this in mind I offer participants in the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals Manila Breakfast (on 3 April 2009) singing "Proclaim His Marvelous Deeds":

NOAA: 2011 Tornado Information

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently released preliminary 2011 tornado statistics, including records set this year.

To access this NOAA report, please visit:

NOAA: 2011 tornado information

For additional information, please visit:

National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office - Springfield, MO: Storm Event Summary May 22, 2011

Pope Benedict on Jacob's Prayer - Battle of Faith, Perseverance Needed

Recently, in his weekly general audiences, Pope Benedict XVI has been conducting a catechesis on prayer. Yesterday, as part of this catechesis, he spoke about the Patriarch Jacob and his fight with the unknown man at the ford of the Jabbok. The audience was held in St. Peter's Square with 15,000 people in attendance.

The Bible, explained the Pope, describes Jacob as an astute man who obtains things through deception. At a certain point, he sets out to return to his homeland and face his brother, whose firstborn birthrights he had taken. Jacob waits overnight in order to cross the ford safely but something unforeseen occurs: he is suddenly attacked by an unknown man with whom he struggles the entire night. The story details their struggle, which has no clear winner, leaving the rival a mystery. "Only at the end, when the struggle is finished and that 'someone' has disappeared, only then will Jacob name him and be able to say that he had struggled with God".

Once the fight is over Jacob says to his opponent that he will only let him go if he blesses him. Jacob "who had defrauded his brother out of the first-born's blessing through deceit, now demands [a blessing] from the unknown man, in whom he perhaps begins to see divine traits, but still without being able to truly recognize him. His rival, who seems restrained and therefore defeated by Jacob, instead of bowing to the Patriarch's request, asks his name. . . . In the Biblical mentality, knowing someone's name entails a type of power because it contains the person's deepest reality, revealing their secret and their destiny. . . . This is why, when Jacob reveals his name, he is putting himself in his opponent's hands. It is a form of surrender, a complete giving over of himself to the other".

Paradoxically, however, "in this gesture of surrender, Jacob also becomes the victor because he receives a new name, together with the recognition of his victory on the part of his adversary". The name "Jacob", Benedict XVI continued, "recalls the verb 'to deceive' or 'to supplant'. After the struggle, in a gesture of deliverance and surrender, the Patriarch reveals his reality as a deceiver, a usurper, to his opponent. The other, who is God, however, transforms this negative reality into a positive one. Jacob the deceiver becomes Israel. He is given a new name as a sign of his new identity . . . the mostly likely meaning of which is 'God is strong, God wins'. When, in turn, Jacob asks his rival's name, he refuses to say it but reveals himself in an unmistakable gesture, giving his blessing. . . . This is not a blessing obtained through deceit, but one given freely by God - which Jacob can now receive because, without cunning or deception, he gives himself over unarmed, accepts surrender and admits the truth about himself".

In the episode of the fight at the ford of Jabbok, the Pope observed, "the people of Israel speak of their origin and outline the features of a unique relationship between God and humanity. This is why, as also affirmed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 'from this account, the spiritual tradition of the Church has retained the symbol of prayer as a battle of faith and as the triumph of perseverance'".

"Our entire lives", concluded the Holy Father, "are like this long night of struggle and prayer, passed in the desire of and request for God's blessing, which cannot be ripped away or won over through our strength, but must be received with humility from Him as a gratuitous gift that allows us, finally, to recognize the face of the Lord. And when this happens, our entire reality changes: we receive a new name and God's blessing".

(from the Vatican Information Service)

Reflection Starter from Theodore Roosevelt

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." - Theodore Roosevelt

25 May 2011

New England Treasure: Coast Guard Auxiliary

Working primarily to assist with recreational boater safety, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary works to support the overall Coast Guard mission in a number of other ways as well.

Districts Covering New England:

First District Northern Region (Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts & Rhode Island))

First District Southern Region (Connecticut & Southern Vermont, as well as Northern New Jersey & Eastern New York)

Background information:

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary

United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Strategic Plan 2011-2012

A Thought Related to Today's First Reading

Today's assigned first reading is from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 15:1-6):

Some who had come down from Judea were instructing the brothers,“Unless you are circumcised according to the Mosaic practice, you cannot be saved.” 

Because there arose no little dissension and debate by Paul and Barnabas with them, it was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some of the others should go up to Jerusalem to the Apostles and presbyters about this question. They were sent on their journey by the Church, and passed through Phoenicia and Samaria telling of the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the brethren.

When they arrived in Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the Church, as well as by the Apostles and the presbyters, and they reported what God had done with them. But some from the party of the Pharisees who had become believers stood up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and direct them to observe the Mosaic law.”

The Apostles and the presbyters met together to see about this matter.

As I was reflecting on this reading, I thought about how fortunate that we are during these times - matters such as these have been resolved. However, during the time it was happening, it must have been somewhat tumultuous in many ways. We do have our own challenges during these times, and, as in the early Church, the Holy Spirit will continue to guide us. May we be open to this inspiration.

Mark Shea on the Blessing of the People in the Church

"One of the things our faith teaches us is that grace builds on nature - that God begins with the human 'raw material' He creates and, if you will, co-creates us via the risky business of giving us free will. Accordingly, human beings have spread out across the globe in a vast array of cultures (including religious cultures) that respond to Christ in a vast assortment of ways."

In a recent commentary, Mark Shea (senior editor at Catholic Exchange and a columnist for Crisis Magazine) reflects on the blessing that is found in the variety of persons and cultures that make up the Church.

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

Crisis Magazine: Building on Nature (24 MAY 11)

Reflection Starter from a Bumper Sticker

I saw this on a bumper sticker yesterday: "Many who plan to seek God at the 11th hour die at 10:30."

24 May 2011

This Is Safe Boating Week 2011

This week, the week of 21-27 May, National Safe Boating Week. National Safe Boating Week is to educate and inform the boating public about boating safety. Focusing on the safety and comfort of inflatable life jackets, this year’s theme (“Ready, Set, Inflate!”) is designed to encourage boaters to wear life jackets to save lives.

2011 National Safe Boating Week Logo

For additional information about National Safe Boating Week, please visit:

National Weather Service: National Safe Boating Week

National Safe Boating Council: Wear It Campaign

Coast Guard Compass: National Safe Boating Week 2011

National Safe Boating Council

Presidential Proclamation: National Safe Boating Week

Safe Boating Week PSA

Jennifer Fulwiler on the Faces of "Overpopulation"

 A friend of mine who is an immigrant from Mexico was recently telling me about a movie called A Day Without a Mexican. The film takes a humorous look at what would happen if all the Mexicans in California were to suddenly disappear back to their home country, showing scenes of rich people having to do their own gardening, farmers unable to afford laborers, etc. Though I haven’t seen it, it sounds like an amusing conversation starter on the topic of immigration.

"I keep thinking I’d love to see some enterprising Catholic filmmakers create a similar short film about overpopulation. I have the storyboard all worked out. . . ."

In a recent commentary related to overpopulation in her National Catholic Register blog (a short essay that sparked a number of comments), Jennifer Fulwiler speculates about what would happen if every child higher than third in their family’s birth order would disappear.

To access Ms. Fulwiler's complete post, please visit:

Jennifer Fulwiler: A Day Without "Overpopulation" (23 MAY 11)

Reflection Starter from Caryll Houselander

"We must carry Jesus in our hearts to wherever He wants to go, and there are many places to which He may never go unless we take Him to them. None of us knows when the loveliest hour of our life is striking. It may be when we take Christ for the first time to that grey office in the city where we work, to the wretched lodging of that poor man who is an outcast, to the nursery of that pampered child, to that battleship, airfield, or camp . . . ." - Caryll Houselander (Catholic writer and mystic)

Background information:

Peregrina: Caryll Houselander (1901-1954)

EWTN: Caryll Houselander: An Appreciation

CatholicCulture: Seeing Christ in All People

23 May 2011

Armed Forces Medley (from the 2010 National Memorial Day Concert

Looking back on Saturday's observance of Armed Forces Day and also looking ahead to the upcoming observance of Memorial Day, I offer the "Armed Forces Medley" as performed at last year's National Memorial Day Concert:

Liquid Cow Manure Used to Extinguish New Hampshire Truck Fire

When a Grafton County Farm truck recently caught fire near his farm, North Haverhill, NH, Assistant Fire Chief Preston Hatch came up with a different way to extinguish it. Because of its location a regular piece of fire apparatus could only get to about 1000 feet away from it, so Chief Hatch dumped about 15,000 gallons of liquid manure on it. The strategy worked.

Media reports:

New Hampshire Union Leader: Quick-thinking dairy farmer finds unique way to douse truck fire (20 MAY 11)

Firehouse: Cow Manure Extinguishes N.H. Truck Fire (16 MAY 11)

Background information:

Facebook: North Haverhill Fire Department

Town of Haverhill

Wikipedia: Haverhill, New Hampshire

This Is National Hurricane Preparedness Week

The week of 22-28 May has been designated as National Hurricane Preparedness Week, a time for all Americans, those in hurricane prone areas as well as inland areas, to learn more about how to protect themselves against hurricanes and to work together, as a whole community, to respond to and recover from them. The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from 1 June – 30 November.

“We never know where the next hurricane or disaster will strike, but what we do know is that being prepared can make a world of difference, for individuals and their larger communities,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate in a prepared statement. “In hurricane prone areas as well as inland areas, we urge the entire community to prepare now. There are a number of steps individuals, families, communities, churches and businesses can take to better protect themselves against hurricanes and other disasters.”

For more information about National Hurricane Preparedness Week, please visit:

NOAA: National Hurricane Center: National Hurricane Preparedness Week

Presidential Proclamation: National Hurricane Preparedness Week

Promoting Agriculture in New England

One of the treasures of New England dating back to the first colony, although often unheralded, is its agriculture. Although farming has a long history in this region, it has also had its share of friction. There have been a number of occasions in which people moved into a community and chose to live near a farm because of the bucolic nature of the neighborhood. Then the reality of the other environmental aspects of agriculture became noticeable, and the new residents started complaining about about the smell, noise, and other concerns related to farms. Communities have handled these complaints in various ways, but they so continue to appear.

There are a number of efforts throughout the region to increase public awareness of agriculture’s presence and importance. For information about some of these efforts, as well as background information about some of the challenges facings the region’s agriculture industry, please visit:

American Farmland Trust: Connecticut

American Farmland Trust: Maine

American Farmland Trust: Massachusetts

American Farmland Trust: New Hampshire

American Farmland Trust: Rhode Island

American Farmland Trust: Vermont

Keep Local Farms

Farm Fresh Rhode Island

Rhody Fresh

American Farmland Trust & Connecticut Conference of Municipalities: Planning for Agriculture: A Guide for Connecticut Municipalities

Boston Globe: Reaping what they sow (22 MAY 11)

Nashua Telegraph: Region ripe with locally grown fruits and vegetables (15 MAY 11)

Related post:

Lop Notes: Rhode Island Agriculture Day (10 MAY 11)

George Weigel on the Results of a Recent Study on the Church’s Abuse Crisis

“The American narrative of the Catholic Church’s struggles with the clerical sexual abuse of the young has been dominated by several tropes firmly set in journalistic concrete: that this was and is a “pedophilia” crisis; that the sexual abuse of the young is an ongoing danger in the Church; that the Catholic Church was and remains a uniquely dangerous environment for young people; that a high percentage of priests were abusers; that abusive behavior is more likely from celibates, such that a change in the Church’s discipline of priestly celibacy would be important in protecting the young; that the Church’s bishops were, as a rule, willfully negligent in handling reports of abuse; that the Church really hasn’t learned any lessons from the revelations that began in the Long Lent of 2002.

“But according to an independent, $1.8 million study conducted by New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, commissioned by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and released on May 18, every one of these tropes is false.”

In a recent National Review commentary, George Weigel (author and Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center) reviews this study and explains some of its conclusions.

To access this essay, please visit:

National Review Online: Priests, Abuse, and the Meltdown of a Culture (19 MAY 11)

To access the complete report by the John Jay College research team, please visit:

John Jay College Research Team: The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010 (May 2011)

Background information:

Ethics and Public Policy Center: George Weigel

George Weigel (blog)

John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Reflection Starter from Saint Francis de Sales

"We all have a vocation. We believe that God has placed us in this life to fill a special need that no one else can accomplish." - Saint Francis de Sales

22 May 2011

Sea Chanters: Eternal Father (Strong to Save)

As we wrap up this weekend and remembering yesterday’s observance of Armed Forces Day, I offer the Sea Chanters chorus of the U.S. Navy Band singing the Navy Hymn, “Eternal Father (Strong to Save)”:

Background information:

Department of the Navy: Naval Historical Center: "Eternal Father, Strong to Save": The Navy Hymn

CyberHymnal: Eternal Father, Strong to Save

(Although my branch was the Army, Dad and two of my brothers [Alan and David] joined the Navy. David is still on active duty.)

Christian Music in New England: Prism of Praise

A number of people throughout the six New England states participate in activities involving Christian music. Many of these are musicians or other artists who primarily serve their local church community. Other artists play at a variety of different venues and special events (as well as possibly playing at their local church).

One such artist is Prism of Praise Community Gospel Choir, from Rhode Island. Prism of Praise ministers in a number of locations with the goal of spreading Christ’s message of salvation through music and assisting other ministries and organizations in their fundraising efforts. Past benefit concerts have included the Rhode Island Adult Correctional Institution,  Bannister House Nursing Center, Rhode Island Training School for Youth, Women in Transition, and Bristol County, MA, House of Corrections.

For more information about Prism of Praise, please visit:

The Resident: Gospel Choir To Perform Concert (14 OCT 09)

YouTube: You are Alpha and Omega - Prism of Praise Community Chorus

Cathedral of Saint Joseph, Manchester, NH

New England is the home of a number of beautiful cathedrals, the cathedrae of the various Roman Catholic dioceses located in this region.

One of these cathedrals is the Cathedral of Saint Joseph in Manchester, New Hampshire, seat of the Diocese of Manchester. Saint Joseph was dedicated as a parish church in 1869. It became the Cathedral Parish in 1884.

For more information about Saint Joseph Cathedral, please visit:

Saint Joseph Cathedral

Facebook: Cathedral of Saint Joseph, Manchester, NH

Waymarking: St. Joseph Cathedral - Manchester, NH

Background information:

Diocese of Manchester

New England’s Fire Service Heritage: Norwich Fire Department (VT)

Over the past couple of centuries or so, a number of fire companies were established to protect cities, towns, villages, and other districts throughout this region from the dangers of fire. This was a gradual process, and many times it was an action taken after a serious fire had affected the community.

As an example, the Norwich, VT, Fire Department was organized in 1920. The first piece of apparatus was a hand drawn chemical engine that was eventually mounted on a truck chassis. In 1925, a garage was converted into a fire station.

For more information about the Norwich Fire Department, please visit:

Norwich Fire Department: Fire Department History

Chipmunks in New England

Near the Benefit Concepts workplace, there is a brook that flows through a small wooded area (the brook is a tributary of the Running River). I often spend a short quiet prayerful time by this brook (which I often refer to as a chapel substitute) before I continue on to the work facing me.

Recently, as I finished my prayer, I had the opportunity to watch a couple of chipmunks scamper around on their business of the day.  We have a great abundance of wildlife in this region, and these chipmunks are a good example of it.

Background information:

Wikipedia: Chipmunk

The Chipmunk Place

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Today is the Fifth Sunday of Easter. The assigned readings are Acts 6:1-7, 1 Peter 2:4-9, and John 14:1-12. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 33 (Psalm 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19).

Today’s Gospel reading is as follows:

Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way.”

Thomas said to him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?”

Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip said to him, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,
and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.”

Reflections on these readings:

The Quiet Corner: Attempts to seek truth apart from Jesus will lead to disappointment (19 MAY 11)

The Lectionary: We should always place our trust in the Lord (19 MAY 11)

Msgr. Charles Pope: From Tombstone to Living Stone –  Meditation on the Epistle for the 5th Sunday of Easter (21 MAY 11)

Dr. Scott Hahn: May 22nd, 2011 - 5th Sunday of Easter: Building His House

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary: Ambrose

An Evangelical Looks at Today's Seminarians

In a recent thoughtful commentary, Peter Hamm (an Evangelical worship arts pastor who grew up in the Roman Catholic tradition) writes about his experience visiting Mount Saint Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland (his brother is a seminarian there).

To access Peter's post, please visit: 

P-Squared: A Visit to Heaven (1 MAY 11) 

Mount St. Mary's has a 200 year history in the formation of candidates for the Catholic priesthood. Alumni include a number of diocesan priests in this region, including several from the Diocese of Providence.

Background information:

Mount St. Mary’s Seminary

Reflection Starter from Romans

"None of us lives as his own master and none of us dies as his own master. While we live we are responsible to the Lord, and when we die we die as his servants. Both in life and in death we are the Lord’s. That is why Christ died and came to life again, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living." - Romans 14:7-9

21 May 2011

Lenox, MA, Ambulance Crash Injures Four, Heavily Damages Town’s Only Ambulance

Four people were injured when a pickup truck into the Lenox, MA, Volunteer Emergency Medical Service ambulance as it was transporting a patient to Berkshire Medical Center. The injured included the 83-year-old patient being transported, two firefighter-EMTs, and the driver of the pickup.

This collision is one of a number of recent accidents in this region that have involved ambulances.

Media reports:

Berkshire Eagle: Lenox's sole ambulance damaged in crash (21 MAY 11)

WWLP-TV: Four hurt in Lenox ambulance crash (19 MAY 11)

Background information:

Lenox Ambulance Department

Lenox Fire Department

Town of Lenox

Wikipedia: Lenox, Massachusetts

National Museum of the Marine Corps Honors Heroic Priest

The National Museum of the Marine Corps recently honored Servant of God Father Vincent Capodanno, MM, a chaplain who was killed in action while protecting U.S. marines during the Vietnam War.

The Marine Corps Heritage Foundation dedicated the “Sacrifice Window” in the Semper Fidelis Memorial Chapel at the museum to honor the late priest.

Father Capodanno (1929-1967) posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his actions during this operation, Operation Swift.

To access a Catholic News Agency article and a press release on this tribute, please visit:

CNA: Marine Corps foundation honors heroic Vietnam War priest (20 MAY 11)

Marine Corps Heritage Foundation: "Sacrifice Window" in Semper Fidelis Memorial Chapel Dedicated to Devoted, Fallen Chaplain (13 MAY 11)

Background information:

Father Capadanno Foundation - The Life of the Grunt Padre

Father Capodanno Assembly 2413, K of C: Father Vincent R. Capodanno, MM

Catching the Spirit: Father Capadanno Foundation

Wikipedia: Vincent Robert Capodanno

Marine Corps Heritage Foundation

National Museum of the Marine Corps

Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers

"Keep the Fork"

This week's issue of the DeerLake Weekly Letter offered the following reflection: 

Promise of God: Keep the Fork

Armed Forces Medley for Armed Forces Day

As we observe Armed Forces Day, I offer this version of the Armed Forces Medley:

Here are the lyrics for the Armed Forces Medley:

(U.S. Army)
First to fight for the right,
And to build the Nation's might,
And The Army Goes Rolling Along
Proud of all we have done,
Fighting till the battle's won,
And the Army Goes Rolling Along
Then it's Hi! Hi! Hey!
The Army's on its way.
Shout out your numbers loud and strong
For where e'er we go,
You will always know
That the Army Goes Rolling Along.

(U.S. Marines)
From the Halls of Montezuma
To the shores of Tripoli,
We fight our country's battles
In the air, On the land and sea!
First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean,
We are proud to claim the title
Of United States Marine.

(U.S. Navy)
Anchor's aweigh, my boys, anchor's aweigh,
Farewell to college joys, we sail at break of day.
Through our last night on shore,
Drink to the foam until we meet once more,
here's wishing you a happy voyage home!

(U.S. Coast Guard)
So here's the Coast Guard marching song,
We sing on land or sea.
Through surf and storm and howling gale,
High shall our purpose be.
"Semper Paratus" is our guide,
Our fame, our glory too.
To fight to save or fight to die,
Aye! Coast Guard, we are for you!

(U.S. Air Force)
Off we go into the wild blue yonder,
Climbing high into the sun;
Here they come zooming to meet our thunder,
At 'em boys, Give 'er the gun! (Give 'er the gun now!)
Down we dive, spouting our flame from under,
Off with one helluva roar!
We live in fame or go down in flame. Hey!
Nothing'll stop the U.S. Air Force.

Note: In some versions there are some minor changes.

Another note: apparently there is a Department of Defense Directive indicating the order in which the services are to be listed (U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Coast Guard), many presentations (including National Memorial Day and Veterans Day observances) use a different order.

Armed Forces Day

Today (Saturday, 21 May) is Armed Forces Day, 2011. This year’s theme is “United in Strength”.


President Harry S Truman led the effort to establish a single holiday for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country.

On 31 August 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Days. The single-day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under one department - the U.S. Department of Defense.

Presidential Proclamation: Armed Forces Day

NOAA Hurricane Outlook Indicates Above-normal Atlantic Season

The Atlantic basin is expected to see an above-normal hurricane season this year, according to the seasonal outlook issued by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (a division of the National Weather Service).

Across the entire Atlantic Basin for the six-month season, which begins 1 June, NOAA is predicting the following ranges this year:

  • 12 to 18 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which:
  • 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including:
  • 3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher).

Each of these ranges has a 70 percent likelihood, and indicate that activity will exceed the seasonal average of eleven named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.

“The United States was fortunate last year. Winds steered most of the season’s tropical storms and all hurricanes away from our coastlines,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, in a prepared statement. “However we can’t count on luck to get us through this season. We need to be prepared, especially with this above-normal outlook.”

Climate factors considered for this outlook are:

  • The continuing high activity era. Since 1995, the tropical multi-decadal signal has brought ocean and atmospheric conditions conducive for development in sync, leading to more active Atlantic hurricane seasons.
  • Warm Atlantic Ocean water. Sea surface temperatures where storms often develop and move across the Atlantic are up to two degrees Fahrenheit warmer-than-average.
  • La Niña, which continues to weaken in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, is expected to dissipate later this month or in June, but its impacts such as reduced wind shear are expected to continue into the hurricane season.

NOAA’s seasonal hurricane outlook does not predict where and when any of these storms may hit. Landfall is dictated by weather patterns in place at the time the storm approaches. For each storm, NOAA’s National Hurricane Center forecasts how these weather patterns affect the storm track, intensity and landfall potential.

“The tornadoes that devastated the South and the large amount of flooding we’ve seen this spring should serve as a reminder that disasters can happen anytime and anywhere. As we move into this hurricane season it’s important to remember that FEMA is just part of an emergency management team that includes the entire federal family, state, local and tribal governments, the private sector and most importantly the public,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate in a prepared statement.

Next week, 22-28 May, is national Hurricane Preparedness Week. To help prepare residents of hurricane-prone areas, NOAA is unveiling a new set of video and audio public service announcements featuring NOAA hurricane experts and the FEMA administrator that are available in both English and Spanish. These are available at http://www.hurricanes.gov/prepare.

May is Older Americans Month

May is Older Americans Month. Since 1963 Older Americans Month has recognized and celebrated the
contributions that seniors make in their communities.

Older Americans Month 2011 Logo

This year’s theme, “Connecting the Community, ” is designed to pay tribute to citizens for their significant contributions to our history, culture and tradition and to remind us that seniors need to stay connected to the community to enhance their physical and emotional well-being.

For more information related to Older Americans Month, please visit:

U.S. Administration on Aging: Older Americans Month 2011

New England Treasure: Cape Cod National Seashore

One of the many natural treasures of New England is Cape Cod National Seashore in Massachusetts, which this year is celebrating it's 50th anniversary. This park contains approximately 43,000 acres of land along a stretch of approximately 40 miles of the Atlantic-facing eastern edge of Cape Cod. It is located within the towns of Chatham, Eastham, Orleans, Provincetown, Truro, and Wellfleet.

For more information about Cape Cod National Seashore, please visit:

U.S. National Park Service: Cape Cod National Seashore

U.S. National Park Service: Guide's Guide to Cape Cod National Seashore

U.S. National Park Service: Cape Cod National Seashore Map

Wikipedia: Cape Cod National Seashore

Great Outdoor Recreation Pages: Cape Cod National Seashore Guide

YouTube: CBS Sunday Morning: Cape Cod National Seashore (September 2010)

YouTube: Dune Shack Life: The Cape Cod National Seashore

Cape Cod Times: 'Major omission' addressed at National Seashore (15 MAY 11)

Human and Religious Values Shared by Christians and Muslims

The Vatican Information Service reports that the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies of Amman, Jordan, held their second Colloquium in Rome from 18 to 19 May. The meeting was presided over by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the pontifical council, and by Professor Kamel Abu Jaber, director of the institute.

The theme of the Colloquium was "Human and Religious Values Shared by Christians and Muslims for a Common Education."

According to a communique made public this week, the participants highlighted the following points:

1) Christians and Muslims share basic human values like the sacred character of human life, human dignity, and the fundamental inalienable rights deriving from it.

2) As for the religious values, some of them are common to Christians and Muslims, while others are specific of each community. It is therefore important to point out commonalities and to identify differences. Respect for differences is in fact an important condition for an authentic dialogue.

3) Education, religious in particular, should not form identities in antagonism or in conflict; on the contrary, while helping the youth to be well rooted in their own religious identity, it should favor the formation of identities open to other identities.

4) A privileged space of common education is that of the schools, institutions and universities, private and public, where Christian and Muslim children and youth study together. Such an experience is to be conserved and cherished, also because it gives the occasion to create strong and permanent friendships.

The communique concluded with the information that the two parties agreed to meet again within two years and that a preparatory meeting will precede the colloquium.

Reflection Starter from Saint Thomas Aquinas

"The Church has ever proved indestructible. Her persecutors have failed to destroy her; in fact, it was during times of persecution that the Church grew more and more; while the persecutors themselves, and those whom the Church would destroy, are the very ones who came to nothing. . . . Again, errors have assailed her; but in fact, the greater the number of errors that have arisen, the more has the truth been made manifest. . . . Nor has the Church failed before the assaults of demons: for she is like a tower of refuge to all who fight against the Devil." - attributed to Saint Thomas Aquinas

20 May 2011

Bike to Work Day

Today was observed as Bike to Work Day, an event designed to promote the bicycle as an option for commuting to work.

Media reports:

Huffington Post: Bike To Work Day 2011: What Everyone Should Know About Bicycle Commuting

Background information:

League of American Bicyclists: May is National Bike Month

Wikipedia: Bike-to-Work Day

The Vocal Majority: The "Armed Forces Medley"

In anticipation of this weekend's observance of Armed Forces Day, I offer The Vocal Majority performing the Armed Forces Medley: