31 July 2011

Jars of Clay: "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing"

As our Sunday celebration continues, I offer Jars of Clay singing "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing":

New England’s Fire Service Heritage: Bare Cove Fire Museum, Hingham, MA

Throughout New England, there are a number of fire museums that offer a look into the history of the fire service in a local  community, a state, or beyond.

One such museum is the Bare Cove Fire Museum, located at 45 Bare Cove Park Drive in Hingham, Massachusetts. Its exhibits include Hingham's first motorized ladder truck (a 1922 Maxim), a 1935 Ahrens-Fox pumper, and a 1924 Maxim Pumper.

For more information about the Bare Cove Fire Museum, please visit:

Bare Cove Fire Museum

Facebook: Bare Cove Fire Museum

Patriot Ledger: Bare Cove Fire Museum (18 NOV 10)

Patriot Ledger: Bare Cove Fire Museum a treasure chest of Hingham history (18 NOV 10)

Christian Music in New England: Tapestry

New England is a treasure house filled with many different types of spiritual, cultural, historical, and other resources. Included in this treasure trove is a rich mixture of Catholic and other Christian music ministers - individuals and groups - who serve in churches, Christian coffee houses, and a variety of other venues.

One such ministry is Tapestry, a Gospel Jazz group from Connecticut that strives to minister in the form of Gospel, Gospel and Latin Jazz, and Contemporary Christian Worship music in English and Spanish.

For more information about Tapestry, please visit:


New England Disabled Sports Fishing Program Launches The American

New England Disabled Sports Fishing Program has launched a 26' fishing boat, The American, for Wounded Warriors of the U.S. Military, their caregivers and all individuals with disabilities.

The craft, to be based in Portsmouth, NH, was donated by Work Vessels for Veterans, and a number of individuals worked to prepare it for its new mission. The entire project is, indeed, one of New England's treasures.

Media report:

Portsmouth Herald: The American hits water to help wounded veterans go fishing (30 JUL 11)

Background information:

New England Disabled Sports: Fishing Program

Work Vessels for Veterans

Local Police Forces Face Challenge of Cyber Crime

Although there has been an increase in cyber crime (crime related to computers and computer networks), most New England law enforcement agencies do not have the manpower or other resources to focus on such investigations full-time. However, as a recent New Britain Herald article explains, many agencies are working hard to provide training and personnel to keep up with the rise in computer-related crimes, whether they be crimes against children, fraud, or other criminal activity involving computers.

To access this New Britain Herald report, please visit:

New Britain Herald: Despite new training methods and state help, local towns still struggle with volume of cyber crimes (30 JUL 11)

Background information:

National Institute of Justice: Digital Evidence and Forensics

U.S. Department of Justice: Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section

The Cybercitizen Awareness Program

U.S. Department of Justice: Project Safe Childhood

Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force

U.S. Dept. of Justice OVC Bulletin: Internet Crimes Against Children

Crimes Against Children Research Center

Symantec Corporation: Cybercrime

High Technology Crime Investigation Association

Computer Crime Research Center

Bristol Police Department (CT)

New Britain Police Department (CT)

City of Bristol, CT

City of New Britain, CT

Wikipedia: Bristol, Connecticut

Wikipedia: New Britain, Connecticut

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are Isaiah 55:1-3; Romans 8:35, 37-39; and Matthew 14:13-21. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 145 (Psalm 145:8-9, 15-18).

Today’s Gospel reading is as follows:

When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns. When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick.

When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.”

Jesus said to them, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.”

But they said to him, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.”

Then he said, “Bring them here to me,” and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds.

They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over - twelve wicker baskets full. Those who ate were about five thousand men,
not counting women and children.

Reflections on these readings:

The Deacon's Bench: Homily for July 31, 2011: 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (30 JUL 11)

Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D: The Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes

Msgr. Charles Pope: It is Easier to Wear Slippers than to Carpet the Whole of the Earth. A Meditation on the Gospel for the 18th Sunday of the Year (7/30/11)

The Sacred Page: The Bread of the Berith: The Readings of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time (29 JUL 11)

Dr. Scott Hahn: Food in Due Season (July 31st, 2011 - 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time)

The Word Embodied: The Higher Love

North Dakota Benedictine Monks Discontinuing Cattle Raising

For over 100 years, the Benedictine monks at Assumption Abbey, a monastery in Richardton, North Dakota, have raised cattle as part of their work to be self sufficient. However, because so few of the monks currently have cowboy skills, the monastery will be selling the cattle (approximately 260 head) and renting the pastures to neighboring operations

To access a Dickinson Press article on this change, please visit:

The Dickinson Press: Assumption Abbey in Richardton to sell historic cattle (29 JUL 11)

Background information:

Assumption Abbey

Thank you, Deacon Greg Kandra, for the tip.

Holy Father's Prayer Intentions for August

Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for August is: "That World Youth Day in Madrid may encourage young people throughout the world to have their lives rooted and built up in Christ".

His mission intention is: "That Western Christians may be open to the action of the Holy Spirit and rediscover the freshness and enthusiasm of their faith".

Reflection Starter from Saint Madeline Sophie Barat

"As iron is fashioned by fire and on the anvil, so in the fire of suffering and under the weight of trials, our souls receive that form which our Lord desires them to have." - Saint Madeline Sophie Barat

Background information:

St. Madeleine Sophie Parish: St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

American Catholic: St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

30 July 2011

Burl Ives: "The Little White Duck"

For some unexplained reason, this song popped into my head yesterday (a memory from when I was a lad). Consequently, I present Burl Ives, singing "The Little White Duck":

Logging Museum Festival, Rangeley, Maine

One of the treasures of New England is the variety of festivals related to the economic activity of a community or larger area.

A good example of such a festival is the Rangeley Lakes Region Logging Museum Festival, which is going on this weekend in Rangeley, Maine.

The 31st annual Rangeley Lakes Region Logging Museum Festival Days includes a variety of special activities, including a parade (with over fifty floats), French fiddling music, a woodsmen's competition, chain saw carving demonstrations, children's games, a craft fair, museum and forest displays, and an old-fashioned bean-hole supper.

For more information about these and other festival events, please visit:

Sun Journal: Rangeley’s Logging Festival greatly expanded this year (22 JUL 11)

Sun Journal: 31st annual Logging Festival in Rangeley Saturday (30 JUL 11)

Rangeley Lakes Region Logging Museum

New England Municipal Government News Headlines

Recent news stories related to municipal government in New England include these articles:

CT: Derby must pay $750G in special needs housing suit (New Haven Register)

ME: Greater Portland towns scramble to keep 'no-whistle' railroad crossings (The Forecaster)

MA: Inspection pact to take effect (Worcester Telegram & Gazette )

NH: Stoddard business disrupted (Keene Sentinel)

RI: Providence begins cleanup of hundreds of trees hit by squall (Providence Journal)

VT: Electronic publishing changing the face of libraries (Addison Independent)

Background information:

Derby, CT

City of Portland, ME

Town of Falmouth, ME

Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority

Town of Westborough, MA

Town of Ashland, MA

Town of Stoddard, NH

City of Providence, RI

Ilsley Public Library, Middlebury, VT

Town of Middlebury, VT

Manual Typewriters Making a Comeback?

In a recent editorial, the Valley News (of White River Junction, VT) noted, "It's astonishing to learn that typewriters are making a bit of a comeback in this age of the near ubiquitous computer."

The editorial went on to come some typewriter vs. computer benefits in different scenarios (and came out with a strong plus for the computer in situations that require a bit of rewriting - like journalism).

To access the complete editorial, please visit:

Valley News: Key Notes: The Return of Manual Typewriters (28 JUL 11)

New England Buildings Battle for Title of Energy Efficiency

Ten New England buildings have joined the Energy Star “Battle of the Buildings” challenge, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency program designed to encourage energy efficiency in buildings around the country.  Teams from 245 buildings across the country are battling it out to see who can save the most energy with help from EPA’s Energy Star program.

Buildings use a lot of energy, and this use includes lighting, climate control, office equipment (among other items).  Nearly 20 percent of the energy consumed in the U.S., at a cost of more than $100 billion a year, occurs in buildings other than residential buildings. Of that amount, nearly a third of that energy goes to waste (according to EPA).

At the halfway point of this year’s competition, EPA has recognized the Top Contenders who have reduced their energy use the most in the twelve building categories in the competition. Of the top national contenders, the Colonnade Hotel in Boston Mass. is the highest ranking hotel in the competition.

Other New England buildings participating in this challenge include:
Winchester Unitarian Church, Winchester, Massachusetts;
Medford High School, Medford, MA;
Middleboro Childhood Early Education Center, Middleboro, MA;
300 Apollo Drive, Chelmsford, MA;
Hauser Hall, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA;
ALU Westford, Westford, MA;
99 High Street, Boston, MA;
Planet Subaru, Hanover, MA; and
G Tech Center, Providence, Rhode Island.

“By taking part in the Battle of the Buildings, these property owners are not only reducing their energy use, they are also helping to reduce emissions to the air, saving money and protecting our environment,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England regional office, in a prepared statement.  “Any building operator can apply many of the same common-sense steps we take at home do their part to save energy in the buildings in which we work, learn and play.”

Energy Star was started by EPA in 1992 as a market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency.  Today, the Energy Star label may be found on more than 60 products as well as new homes and commercial and industrial buildings that meet strict energy-efficiency specifications set by the EPA.  Last year alone, EPA estimates that Americans, with the help of Energy Star, saved $18 billion on their energy bills while reducing the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of 33 million vehicles.

For more information about the Energy Star “Battle of the Buildings” challenge, please visit:

Energy Star “Battle of the Buildings” Challenge

World Youth Day 2011

World Youth Day 2011 is quickly approaching. More than one million young people from around the world are expected to attend the event in Madrid, Spain, which runs from 16 to 21 August.

In January, Pope Benedict announced that John Paul II, the creator of the World Youth Days, has been named the patron for This year's World Youth Day.

Media reports:

Rome Reports: Inside look at the main places for WYD 2011 in Madrid (26 JUL 11)

Rome Reports: World Youth Day's Cross is back in Madrid (20 JUL 11)

Background information:

2011 World Youth Day

Catholic News Agency: World Youth Day sponsors sacred art exhibit, 'The Word Made Image' (23 JUL 11)

Boston Pilot: Pope Benedict's WYD: Space made for silence, solemnity (29 JUL 11)

Rome Reports: World Youth Day Hymn Released (9 NOV 10)

WYD 2011 Hymn (Pop-soul version)

WYD 2011 Hymn (International Version)

Reflection Starter from Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

"Peace begins with a smile." - Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa)

29 July 2011

Life Jacket Loaner Program for Kids

In an effort to help keep kids safe while on the water, the Wareham, MA, Harbormaster/Shellfish Department participates in the BoatU.S. Foundations Life Jacket Loaner Program for Kids.  This program, funded by the BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water, allows boaters to borrow (at no charge) a child’s life jacket for the day or a weekend.

In this program, if a boating family discovers they don’t have enough properly fitting children’s life jackets on board, they may visit or call the Wareham Harbormaster/Shellfish Department and sign out an infant, child, or youth life jacket.  When they’ve finished boating for the day, they may return the jackets.   The Harbormaster/Shellfish Department was awarded a kit of twelve life jackets. 

There are over 500 BoatU.S. Foundation Life Jacket Loaner sites throughout the United States.  The BoatU.S. Foundation Life Jacket Loaner program, the first program of its kind in the U.S., was launched in 1997.

For more information about this initiative, please visit:

BoatUS Foundation: Life Jacket Loaner Program

Background information:

BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety & Clean Water

Wareham Harbormaster/Shellfish Department

Town of Wareham

Wikipedia: Wareham, Massachusetts

New England Municipal Government News Headlines

Recent news stories related to municipal government in New England include these articles:

CT: New Haven firefighters get $2 million in bias case (New Haven Register)

ME: Brunswick council OKs Longfellow-McLellan trade talks with college (Times Record)

MA: Chief calls for full staffing (Sun Chronicle)

NH: State plans database of shelters (Concord Monitor)

RI: New night spots on Federal Hill coming under fire (Providence Journal)

VT: Towns grappling with office space (Bennington Banner)

Background information:

City of New Haven, CT

Town of Brunswick, ME

Town of Norton, MA

New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

City of Providence, RI

Town of Pownal, VT

Town of Shaftsbury, VT

Volunteers Act to Keep Central Falls, RI, Library Open

After the Adams Memorial Library in Central Falls, RI, was ordered closed by the state receiver due to the city’s severe budget crisis, a number of volunteers have stepped in to reopen the library. Even though it is not able to provide all of the services it previously did, books and other materials on hand will be able to be borrowed by local residents, and there are a few other services available.

Media report:

Pawtucket Times: Volunteers keep CF library alive (27 JUL 11)

Background information:

City of Central Falls

Wikipedia: Central Falls, Rhode Island

Henry Shelton Honored as Act Signed into Law

Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee recently signed into law the Henry Shelton Act, a state statute designed to allow low-income Rhode Islanders to pay a percentage of their income for gas and electric utility bills instead of the full metered amount and to restrict the ability of utilities to shut off service for non-payment.

Henry Shelton is a longtime anti-poverty and social justice activist and founder of the George Wiley Center in Pawtucket. In years past, I have had the opportunity to work with him on a number of occasions (usually in in something related to housing issues). I consider him a true treasure of New England.

Media reports:

Pawtucket Times: Henry Shelton applauded as bill signed into law (28 JUL 11)

WPRI-TV: Henry Shelton Act signed into law (28 JUL 11)

RI General Assembly Press Release: Ceremonial signing held for ‘Henry Shelton Act’ (28 JUL 11)

Background information:

George Wiley Center

Providence Journal: At 78, Henry Shelton remains a tireless advocate for the poor (12 APR 09)

Fourth Edition of OSV’s Guide to the Internet

Our Sunday Visitor has recently released its fourth annual edition of OSV’s Guide to the Internet.

This edition is designed to offer apps, e-books, e-newsletters, Twitter feeds, and other electronic features that convey news and information, offer a good laugh, and overall help one to better understand the world as Catholics.

For more information about the guide, please visit:

OSV Newsweekly: OSV Guide to the Internet 4.0

To access the guide, please visit:

OSV's Guide to the Internet 4.0 

Reflection Starter from Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

"Have a great compassion for people. To be able to have a heart full of compassion, we need to pray. Especially be kind, be loving to the poor. We think we do so much for the poor, but it is they who make us rich. We are in debt to them. Do you want to do something beautiful for God? There is a person who needs you. This is your chance." - Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa)

28 July 2011

Pawtucket, RI, 3-Alarm Fire Heavily Damages Vacant Commercial Building

On Monday evening, 25 July, a three-alarm fire heavily damaged the former Morris Novelty, a three-story brick and wood frame building located at 523 Main Street, Pawtucket, RI. The initial alarm was struck at 2017 hours.

Media reports:

Pawtucket Times: Morris Novelty fire proves stubborn (26 JUL 11)

Wellinvolved.net: Three Alarm Fire Heavily Damages Pawtucket Mill (25 JUL 11)

SNE Fire News: Vacant commercial building goes up in flames in Pawtucket, RI  (25 JUL 11)

WPRI-TV: Old costume shop engulfed by flames (26 JUL 11)

WJAR-TV: Fire destroys former novelty warehouse (26 JUL 11)

Valley Breeze: Former Morris Novelty destroyed by fire (26 JUL 11)

Providence Journal: Morris Novelty fire being probed (27 JUL 11)

WPRI-TV: Crews probe cause of costume shop fire (27 JUL 11)

Big Dog Fireground Photography: 3rd Alarm Pawtucket RI 523 Main St

Background Information:

Pawtucket Fire Department

City of Pawtucket

Wikipedia: Pawtucket, RI

Google Map: 523 Main Street, Pawtucket, RI

New England Municipal Government News Headlines

Recent news stories related to municipal government in New England include these articles:

CT: Charter School Students Closing Achievement Gap (Hartford Courant)

ME: Tree work part of town's plan to shore up slope (Morning Sentinel)

MA: Downtown proposal imagines a better Framingham (MetroWest Daily News)

NH: Dover calls transition to metered parking smooth (Foster's Daily Democrat)

RI: Burrillville, Glocester fight RIPTA (Woonsocket Call)

VT: Women proudly wear the badge (St. Albans Messenger)

Background information:

Connecticut Charter School Network

New England City & Town: Education Issues: Charter Schools

Town of Winslow, ME

Town of Framingham, MA

City of Dover, NH

Town of Burrillville, RI

Town of Glocester, RI

City of St. Albans, VT

States Begin Reporting Uniform High School Graduation Rate; Rate Is Designed to Be More Accurate

The U.S. Department of Education recently announced that states will begin reporting high school graduation rates for the 2010-2011 school year using a more rigorous, uniform four-year adjusted cohort, first developed by the nation's governors in 2005. Transition to the common rate is designed to reflect states' efforts to generate greater uniformity and transparency in calculating high school graduation data, and to meet requirements of a federal regulation established in October 2008.

Since data reporting requirements were implemented under No Child Left Behind, states have calculated graduation rates using varying methods, creating inconsistent data from one state to the next. The transition to a uniform high school graduation rate requires all states to report the number of students who graduate in four years with a regular high school diploma, divided by the number of students who entered high school four years earlier, and accounting for student transfers in and out of school. States may also opt to use an extended-year adjusted cohort, which allows states, districts, and schools to account for students who complete high school in more than four years.

In addition, schools must maintain documentation for students who have transferred. States will continue to report graduation rates at the high school, district, and state levels including rates for subgroups of students. The new measurement holds schools accountable for students who drop out and others who do not earn a regular high school diploma.

The Education Department anticipates that the more rigorous method will result in lower reported graduation rates, yet it will reflect a more accurate calculation of how many U.S. students complete high school. "Through this uniform method, states are raising the bar on data standards, and simply being more honest," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a prepared statement.

Graduation rates for the 2010-2011 school year will be reported throughout the summer and fall on a state-by-state basis. States are publicly reporting graduation rates using the new four-year adjusted cohort rate now, however rates resulting from this new method will not be used for accountability purposes until the 2011-2012 school year.

Media report:

Bangor Daily News: States brace for graduation rate dips as formula changes (27 JUL 11)

Toe Jam Puppet Band

One of the treasures of New England is the many individuals and organizations (faith-based, municipal, and many others) who strive to minister to children of all ages.

One such group is the Toe Jam Puppet Band, which hands-on children's entertainment designed to include teacher or parent participation. The performances include a combination of original songs, shadow puppetry, storytelling and just plain old good fun. Based in Massachusetts, the band performs throughout New England.

For more information about the Toe Jam Puppet Band, please visit:

Toe Jam Puppet Band

Facebook: Toe Jam Puppet Band

YouTube: Toe Jam Puppet Band

YouTube: 'Moon Rock' by The Toe Jam Puppet Band

Deacon Greg Kandra on Casual Catholics at Sunday Mass

"Remember when people actually used to get dressed up to go to church?

"When people actually showed up early for mass?

"When the pew wasn't the preferred site for a family picnic?"

In a recent commentary, Deacon Greg Kandra reflected on an unfortunate trend in the Church - treating Sunday Mass as a casual get-together.

To access Deacon Kandra's complete post, please visit:

Deacon Greg Kandra: No Flip-Flops in the King's House (26 JUL 11)

Reflection Starter from C. S. Lewis

"The rule for all of us is perfectly simple. Do not waste time bothering whether you 'love' your neighbour; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him." - C. S. Lewis (from Mere Christianity)

27 July 2011

"Worthy Is The Lamb"

"Just because," I offer "Worthy Is The Lamb" (from the Hillsong 2004 Conference):

Saugus, MA, Gasoline Tanker Rollover and Explosion Kills One; Resulting Fire Extends to Autos and Structures

A gasoline tanker truck traveling northbound on Route 1 in Saugus, MA, rolled over and exploded in the early morning hours of Saturday, 23 July. The truck driver died in the accident and explosion, and seven other vehicles were involved in the accident. A number of these were burned in explosion and fire.

In addition, approximately 40 minutes after the initial explosion, gasoline that had collected in a drainage culvert ignited. This caused an explosion along several hundred feet of the culvert, which abuts a number of backyards on Vine Street and ignited three structures (a dwelling and two greenhouses).

The initial alarm was struck at approximately 0215 hours. The fire eventually went to eight alarms.

Media reports:

NECN: Fiery crash kills truck driver, sets Saugus buildings ablaze (23 AUG 11)

WCVB-TV: Fiery Explosion Kills 1, Spews Fire Into Neighborhood (23 JUL 11)

NECN: Driver identified in deadly crash on Route 1 in Saugus (23 JUL 11)

Boston Globe: 1 dead, fires break out after tanker rolls over in Saugus (23 JUL 11)

Boston Herald: Tanker crash fuels mayhem on Route 1 (24 JUL 11)

WCVB-TV: Friends Help Tanker Victims To Safety (24 JUL 11)

NECN: Firey Saugus crash still causing problems (24 JUL 11)

NECN: Officials search for cause of Saugus crash (25 JUL 11)

YouTube: Tanker Fire 7 23 11

Background information:

Saugus Fire Department


Town of Saugus

Wikipedia: Saugus, Massachusetts

Connecticut Police and Youth Grants

The Criminal Justice Policy and Planning Division of the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management annually offers grants through its Police and Youth Program. This program is designed to promote positive youth development and to increase the numbers of police officers who are experienced and comfortable working and interacting with youth.

To be considered for a grant, a project must conduct non-enforcement activities that:

  • are planned for and with older children (12 to 18 years of age),
  • will identify and serve some at risk youth,
  • appropriately involve patrol officers who do not have regular interaction with youth and who have attended the one-day training entitled “Effective Police Interactions with Youth”,
  • include a community service component,
  • include activities that will appeal to youth and encourage their participation, and
  • involve more than one session and/or have a follow-up component.

This fiscal year’s grants include the following:

Darien Police Department, Cops & Kids Adventures ($10,000): This project is designed to unite 7-9 police officers and 10-15 youth in six outings and at least one positive community project.  Outings might be obstacle courses, adventure center trips, and ropes courses.  The project will be safety awareness, military support, or community outreach support.

Town of Killingworth, H-K Police and Youth Interaction Project ($10,000): The project is planned to consist of different activities focusing on resident trooper and youth interaction, leadership and community service.  Thirty youth will participate in a series of activities taken from the youth’s and trooper’s ideas.

New Britain Police Department, The Klingberg Connection ($9,997): This project is designed to create opportunities for police officers to get to know up to 30 youth at the Klingberg Family Center - two officers will meet with youth for two hours a night, once a week for 20 weeks on Klingberg grounds and smaller groups of police/youth will participate in monthly field trips.

Town of New Milford, Police & Youth Community Enrichment Project ($9,976): This project is designed so that local youth will have the opportunity to socialize with members of the police force at the town’s local teen center (the Maxx).  Eight-ten youth will be recruited for an Enrichment Team that will do leadership training as well as work on the construction of a new fishing dock.

Town of Old Lyme, Operation LOL (Lyme-Old Lyme) ($9,966):  Operation LOL is a program in which twelve to fifteen youth will meet monthly with Old Lyme police and engage in fun friendly competitions.  The community service will consist of several local charitable events planned by the youth with proceeds to Caroline’s Miracle Foundation.

Town of Rocky Hill, Cops & Kids: Fit & Connected ($10,000): This project is designed to connect twenty students and seven police officers on a monthly basis in active physical activities, which will promote health, wellness, leadership, nutrition and encourage physical exercise among middle and high school students.

Simsbury Police Department, Bowling with Badges ($7,418): This project is designed to provide youth with opportunities for personal growth and meaningful connections with police through monthly youth leadership meetings used to plan bi-monthly activities.  Officers will work with small groups of youth.

Town of Tolland, VOICES-Youth and Police, Partnering for a Better Community ($10,000): VOICES will offer 30-35 high school youth an opportunity to partner with Resident State Troopers to address issues that students have identified. Group activities and school/community events will address issues of youth depression/suicide and underage drinking.

Torrington Police Department, Torrington Police and Youth on a Mission ($10,000): This program is designed to involve approximately 35 youth and 12-15 police officers and staff from Family Strides, Inc. The goal is to strengthen relationships between police and youth through collaborative community projects and activities.

Town of Waterford, The Justice League ($10,000): The Justice League is a collaborative effort between the police, schools, and Youth Service Bureau which is designed to afford youth and police officers an opportunity to interact in a non-threatening nurturing environment using the Play By the Rules curriculum in a ten week program.

Town of Windsor, Windsor’s Maroon-Blue Crew ($10,000): Fifteen youth leaders and ten patrol officers are collaborating to focus on two community outreach efforts as their service project: 1) engaging middle school youth in activities with the theme of communication and 2) outreach to parents and adult residents in the Wilson neighborhood.

Background information:

CT OPM: Juvenile Justice & Youth Development Training & Events

Connecticut Office of Policy and Management

Saint Cyril of Jerusalem on the Church as an Assembly of the People of God

"The Church is called Catholic or universal because it has spread throughout the entire world, from one end of the earth to the other. Again, it is called Catholic because it teaches fully and unfailingly all the doctrines which ought to be brought to men’s knowledge, whether concerned with visible or invisible things, with the realities of heaven or the things of earth. Another reason for the name Catholic is that the Church brings under religious obedience all classes of men, rulers and subjects, learned and unlettered. Finally, it deserves the title Catholic because it heals and cures unrestrictedly every type of sin that can be committed in soul or in body, and because it possesses within itself every kind of virtue that can be named, whether exercised in actions or in words or in some kind of spiritual charism."

Today's Office of Readings includes an excerpt from a catechetical instruction by Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, bishop. In this portion of his instruction, St. Cyril writes about the Church as the assembly of the people of God.

To access the complete reading, please visit:

Catholic Radio Dramas: The Church as the Assembly

Background information:

The Crossroads Initiative: St. Cyril of Jerusalem: Biography and Writings

Reflection Starter from Alfred, Lord Tennyson

"More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of." - Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Background information:

Wickipedia: Alfred, Lord Tennyson

26 July 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 - 26 July 2011

Colchester Technical Rescue, Colchester, VT

A recent Burlington Free Press article offered a well-done profile of Colchester Technical Rescue, a team that is part of the Colchester, VT, Rescue Squad.

To access this Burlington Free Press article, please visit:

Burlington Free Press: Colchester squad specializes in search, rescue and recovery missions (17 JUL 11)

For more information, please visit:

Colchester Rescue Squad

Town of Colchester

Wikipedia: Colchester, Vermont

Fomer Greenwich, CT, Intern Forms Committee to Help Conservators

There are a number of people and organizations throughout this region who have made a commitment to assist those in need, often focusing on some very specific needs they are trying to assist with. One of these treasures of New England is Clara Loeffel, a former intern with the Greenwich Department of Social Services, who organized a committee of service providers to support the attorneys, family members, and other individuals who take on conservator roles and who must make legal, medical or financial decisions for residents who are unable to do so themselves.

To access a Greenwich Time article about Ms. Loeffel's initiative, please visit:

Greenwich Time: Former Social Services intern launches committee to help conservators (25 JUL 11)

Background information:

Greenwich Department of Social Services

Town of Greenwich

Wikipedia: Greenwich, Connecticut

Jennifer Fulwiler on Catholic Teachings that Make Sense to Atheists

"Last week I gave a talk about atheism, and in the Q&A afterward there were a lot of questions about how to share our faith with atheists. I emphasized that the most important thing is simply to pray and work on becoming a saint yourself, so that you can show people Christ rather than just talking about him, but people with atheist friends, family members and coworkers wanted to know more. In the case where you’re chatting with a nonbeliever who is open to hearing your perspective and specifically asks for information about what you believe, how should you proceed?"

In a recent commentary, Jennifer Fulwiler (a writer who converted to Catholicism after a life of atheism) offered some thoughts on a few Catholic beliefs that are not stumbling blocks for many atheists.

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

NC Register Blog: Jennifer Fulwiler: 5 Catholic Teachings That Make Sense to Atheists (25 JUL 11)

Reflection Starter from Abraham Lincoln

"Whatever you are, be a good one." - Abraham Lincoln

(This quotation may remind one of frequently quoted words from Saint Francis de Sales: "Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly.")

25 July 2011

The Jamies: "Summertime, Summertime"

Saturday's posts included Sha Na Na singing "Summertime." The initial version was a 1958 hit by The Jamies. Here are The Jamies singing "Summertime, Summertime":

Background information:

Answers.com: The Jamies

Connecticut Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee Releases Report

A study recently released by the Connecticut Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee shows that the state of Connecticut has exemplary responses in helping victims of domestic violence, but the study also highlights areas that need improvement.

Among the areas for which improvement is recommended is awareness and outreach. According to the study, most victims of deadly domestic violence did not reach out to their local family violence agencies for assistance.

To access the study, please visit:

Connecticut Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee: Upon Further Examination (July 2011)

To access media reports related to this study, please visit:

Hartford Courant: Report: Connecticut's Response To Domestic Violence Is Exemplary, But There Is Still More Work To Do (22 JUL 11)

Hartford Courant: State's Domestic Violence Law Leads To High Rate Of Dual Arrests (Commentary) (23 Jul 11)

Background information:

Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence: CCADV Releases Fatality Review Report

Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Facebook: CT Coalition Against Domestic Violence

New England City & Town: Public Safety Issues: Domestic Violence

Bridgeport, CT, Ceremony Honors Two Firefighters Killed in Line of Duty

On Sunday (24 July), at least 400 firefighters from the region, as well as hundreds of other people, participated in a Bridgeport, CT, ceremony dedicating a granite memorial designed to honor Lt. Steven J. Velasquez and Firefighter Michel Baik, the two members of Ladder 11 who died fighting a fire in a three-story wood-frame house one year ago. The ceremony was conducted at the Ocean Terrace fire station, quarters of Engine 7 and Ladder 11.

Media reports:

Connecticut Post: Monument honoring Baik and Velasquez dedicated (25 JUL 11)

Connecticut Post: Firefighters: A day doesn't go by when they don't think of their lost men (25 JUL 11)

WTNH-TV: Firefighters pay tribute to their own (24 JUL 11)

Facebook: Bridgeport Fire Department

Facebook: Support Your Bridgeport CT Fire Department

Background information:

Lop Notes: Two Firefighters Die in Bridgeport Fire (29 JUL 11)

Lop Notes: Bridgeport, CT, Fire Department Charged with Safety Violations in Firefighter Deaths (14 FEB 11)

Bridgeport Fire Department website

Bridgeport Firefighters Local 834

City of Bridgeport

Wikipedia: Bridgeport, Connecticut

The Kelley Library Book Buddies Program in Salem, NH

One of the treasures of New England is the many ways people throughout the region reach out and help other. Some of these are spontaneous efforts, and some of these are organized efforts.

An example of the latter is the Book Buddies program hosted by the Kelley Library in Salem, New Hampshire. Book Buddies is a one-to-one volunteer program that encourages children and teens to discover the joy of books together. The library pairs Big Book Buddies, ages 12 to 18, with Little Book Buddies, ages 4 to 9, for an hour of reading fun.

Background information:

Kelley Library

Town of Salem

Wikipedia: Salem, New Hampshire

Msgr. Charles Pope on the Power of Prayer

"In most cases the full power of prayer is hid from us here. But I suspect one of the joys of heaven will be that we will see what a remarkable difference our prayer really made, even our distracted and poorly executed prayers. Perhaps someone in heaven will come to us and say, 'I am here because you prayed.' Perhaps we will see how our prayers helped avert war, turn back violence, save children from abortion, and convert hearts. We will know that our prayers helped open doors, brought blessings, and contained damage."

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on the power of prayer.

To access Msgr. Pope's complete post, please visit:

Msgr. Charles Pope: Do You Have Candles With You? A Meditation On The Saving Power of Prayer (21 JUL 11)

Reflection Starter from C. S. Lewis

"We meet no ordinary people in our lives."- C. S. Lewis

24 July 2011

New Bedford, MA, Fire Companies at Full Strength Again

For the first time in almost two years, each of the ten New Bedford, MA, Fire Department fire companies (seven engine companies and three ladder companies) are fully manned. Forty-four new New Bedford firefighters graduated with five recruits from the Fall River Fire Department and one from the Somerset Fire Department.

Together, the fifty recruits composed Recruit Class 1 of the Southeastern Massachusetts Fire Academy, an initiative that was begun after New Bedford received a federal Homeland Security grant early this year.

Media reports:

Standard-Times: Retooled New Bedford Fire Department welcomes 44 firefighters (23 JUL 11)

Peter Pereira : Photojournalist: New Firefighters from New Bedford, Fall River and Somerset are sworn in at the graduation of Southeastern Massachusetts Fire Academy

Background information:

New Bedford Fire Department

Fall River Fire Department

Somerset Fire Department

City of New Bedford

Wikipedia: New Bedford, Massachusetts

Massachusetts Department of Fire Services

Maranatha Singers: "Blessed be the Lord God Almighty"

As our Sunday celebration continues, I offer the Maranatha Singers singing "Blessed be the Lord God Almighty":

NECIR: Millions Go Uncollected in Massachusetts Boat Excise Tax Each Year

The New England Center for Investigative Reporting, a non-profit, university-based investigative reporting center that focuses on local and regional issues, recently analyzed Massachusetts boat registration and tax records and found that, because of what they called the state’s outdated boat excise tax system, the system is costing cities and towns millions in potential revenue at a time when communities are struggling to fund critical programs.

To access this report, which was published by a number of newspapers in the region, please visit:

NECIR: A Sinking System: Tracking and Taxing Bay State Boat Owners (23 Jul 11)

Related media reports:

US lacks national boating database (Sun Chronicle)

MA: For local towns, it's simply not worth the time (Sun Chronicle)

Background information:

New England Center for Investigative Reporting

Harwich Harbormaster: How to interpret excise tax law Massachusetts

Fairhaven: Assessors: Boat Excise Tax

One Is a Big Number

One song can spark a moment,
One flower can wake the dream.
One tree can start a forest,
One bird can herald spring.

One smile begins a friendship,
One handclasp lifts a soul.
One star can guide a ship at sea,
One word can frame the goal.

One vote can change a nation,
One sunbeam lights a room.
One candle wipes out darkness,
One laugh will conquer gloom.

One step must start each journey,
One word must start each prayer.
One hope will raise our spirits,
One touch can show you care.

One voice can speak with wisdom,
One heart can know what's true.
One life can make the difference,
You see it's up to YOU!

Author unknown

New England’s Fire Service Heritage: Portland Fire Museum, Portland, ME

Throughout New England, there are a number of fire museums that offer a look into the history of the fire service in a local  community, a state, or beyond.

One such museum is the Portland Fire Museum, located at 157 Spring Street in Portland, Maine (the former quarters of Engine 4). Its exhibits include an 1848 Crockett hand tub & reel, an 1857 Jeffords hand pumper, an 1867 Button hand pumper, and a 1938 McCann pumper (formerly Engine 12).

For more information about the Portland Fire Museum, please visit:

Portland Fire Museum

Christian Music in New England: Second Chances Coffeehouse, New Bedford, Massachusetts

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).

In addition to Sunday and other church services which include music, other venues host regularly scheduled coffeehouses or other events which include the presentation of Christian music. These presentations may include traditional, contemporary, gospel, Christian rock, or other music of any of a variety of other genres.

One Christian music venue in Massachusetts is the Second Chances Coffeehouse, which is located at the South Baptist Church, 745 Brock Avenue, New Bedford.

For more information about the Second Chances Coffeehouse, including a schedule of upcoming events, please visit:

Second Chances Coffeehouse

Today Is Open Farm Day in Maine

One of the treasures of New England is its farms, and there are a variety of them, hundreds of them,  throughout the region.

Related to this: Maine is observing its 22nd annual Open Farm Day today. Open Farm Day is designed as an opportunity for families and visitors to experience life and work on Maine’s farms.

Media reports:

Bangor Daily News: Maine farms open their barn doors to public (23 JUL 11)

Capital Weekly: Bring the whole family to Open Farm Day 2011 (20 JUL 11)

Bangor Daily News: More than 112 Maine farms to open doors to public (19 JUL 11)

Background information:

Maine Department of Agriculture

Maine Department of Agriculture: Open Farm Day

Maine Department of Agriculture: Promotion Website for Farm and Food Products

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today is the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are 1 Kings 3:5, 7-12; Romans 8:28-30; and Matthew 13:44-52. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 119 (Psalm 119:57, 72, 76-77, 127-130).

The Gospel reading is as follows:

Jesus said to his disciples: “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind. When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets. What is bad they throw away. Thus it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. Do you understand all these things?”

They answered, “Yes.”

And he replied, “Then every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.”

Reflections on these readings:

The Deacon's Bench: Homily for July 24, 2011: 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time (23 JUL 11)

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio: Liberal vs. Conservative - Old vs. New

Msgr. Charles Pope: You Can Have All This World, Just Give Me Jesus. A Meditation on the Gospel for the 17th Sunday of the Year (23 JUL 11)

The Lectionary: Searching for the secret of wisdom (21 JUL 11)

Dr. Scott Hahn: 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Treasures of the Kingdom

Roman Catholic Cop: Buried Treasure -17th Sunday of Ordinary Time (23 JUL 11)

The Word Embodied: The Higher Wisdom

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary: Origen

Friar Blog: Sirius XM Radio - July 22, 2011: Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Father Michael Najim on Letting Our Lights Shine

"The other day I was doing some grocery shopping at Shaw's Market.  For some reason I was in a bad mood, feeling rather irritable; but I guess that's the way most men feel when they have to go shopping.  As I was pushing the shopping cart around looking for the items on my list, I heard a man singing.  He wasn't just humming or singing quietly to himself; he was singing joyfully for all to hear."

In a recent thoughtful commentary, Father Michael Najim, Diocese of Providence Vocation Director and chaplain at La Salle Academy in Providence, reflected on the effects we have on others by the way we live.

To access Fr. Najim's complete post, please visit:

Live Holiness: Let Your Light Shine (22 JUL 11)

Reflection Starter from Saint Paschal Baylon

"Meditate well on this: Seek God above all things. It is right for you to seek God before and above everything else, because the majesty of God wishes you to receive what you ask for. This will also make you more ready to serve God and will enable you to love him more perfectly." - Saint Paschal Baylon

23 July 2011

Sha Na Na: "Summertime"

In line with our current summer weather, I offer Sha Na Na singing "Summertime":

Haverhill, MA, Police Chief Begins Implementing Consultant’s Recommendations for the Fire Department

At a recent meeting of the Haverhill City Council's Public Safety Committee, Police Chief Alan DeNaro announced that he has identified $138,000 in unused Fire Department money for which he will ask the City Council’s approval to use to buy new protective clothing for firefighters. That money, combined with $50,000 the mayor has set already aside for turnout gear, is enough to outfit about 90 percent of the department's approximately 90 firefighters, Chief DeNaro said. Firefighters and city officials have said previously said that most of the current turnout gear is old and potentially unsafe.

At the meeting, Chief DeNaro announced that he has been appointed to an administration position above Fire Chief Richard Borden, one of the decisions the mayor made as a follow up of the recent submitted Matrix Report. The Matrix Report was an evaluation of the fire department by the Matrix Consulting Group, and it was submitted to the city in April.

To access an Eagle-Tribune article about Chief DeNaro’s initiatives, please visit:

Eagle-Tribune: Haverhill police chief pitches plan for new fire equipment (21 JUL11)

Background information:

Eagle-Tribune: Report urges Haverhill Fire Department changes (29 APR 11)

Haverhill Fire Fighters, IAFF Local 1011: Fire Department Management Audit – City of Haverhill, Massachusetts (April 2011)

Haverhill Gazette: Chief says he'll try to keep village firehouses open (16 JUN 11)

City of Haverhill, MA

Wikipedia: Haverhill, Massachusetts

Efforst Serve to Prevent Maine's Little River Lighthouse from Falling into Ruin

One of the treasures of New England is the efforts put forth by individuals and various types of organizations to accomplish the goals of a particular cause. One such example is the efforts put forth by Terry Rowden, of Cutler, Maine, to save the Little River Lighthouse in Cutler from falling into ruin.

To access a Bangor Daily News report on Mr. Rowden's efforts, please visit:

Bangor Daily News: Cutler man’s devotion to unwanted lighthouse saves historic site (22 JUL 11)

Background information:

Friends of Little River Lighthouse

American Lighthouse Foundation

Maine Preservation

Wikipedia: United States Lighthouse Service

Wikipedia: Cutler, Maine

Massachusetts Awards Electric Vehicle Charging Stations to 25 Cities and Towns

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs recently announced the award of 105 electric vehicle charging stations for 25 cities and towns across the state.

The following communities are receiving charging stations, which will be sited on downtown streets, in parking garages, at shopping malls, at schools and colleges, and in commercial, medical, and industrial parks: Athol, Barnstable, Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Falmouth, Greenfield, Hanover, Holyoke, Hopkinton, Kingston, Lancaster, Lenox, Lexington, Lowell, Nantucket, New Bedford, New Salem, Newton, Northampton, Orange, Salem, Tyngsboro, and Worcester.

The Commonwealth will also be installing additional charging stations, separate from these municipal installations, at Logan Airport garages, at Logan Express parking lots, and at MBTA commuter parking locations.

The Department of Energy Resources had invited cities and towns to apply for electric vehicle charging equipment grants, funded with approximately $280,000 made available through a settlement obtained by Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office in 2007 for alleged pollution control equipment violations by an Ohio-based power plant. That funding was subsequently augmented through a public-private partnership with Coulomb Technologies of California, which received a U.S. Department of Energy American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant to provide installation of electric charging equipment and re-granted awards in the form of charging stations to Massachusetts cities and towns through the company’s ChargePoint America program.

For more information about this initiative, please visit:

MA Energy and Environmental Affairs: Patrick-Murray Administration Awards Electric Vehicle Charging Stations to 25 Cities and Towns (22 JUL 11)

Background information:

MA Energy and Environmental Affairs: Clean Cities Coalition

U.S. Dept. of Energy: Clean Cities 2010 Vehicle Buyer's Guide

U.S. Dept. of Energy: Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center

U.S. Dept. of Energy: Electric Vehicles (EVs)

Religion & Ethics Newsweekly: St. Mary's Abbey, Glencairn, Ireland

This week's edition of PBS's Religion & Ethics Newsweekly takes a look at Saint Mary's Abbey in Glencairn, County Waterford - Ireland's only Cistercian monastery for women.

PBS: Religion & Ethics Newsweekly: St. Mary’s Abbey (22 JUL 11)

For more information about Saint Mary's Abbey, please visit:

St. Mary's Abbey, Glencairn

To listen to the nuns sing, please visit:

Glencairn Abbey: The Angel Of The Lord

Glencairn Abbey: Arise My Beloved

# # # # #
Saint Mary's Abbey in Wrentham, Massachusetts, is the first monastery of Cistercian Nuns in the United States. The first sisters arrived in 1949 from St. Mary's Abbey in Glencairn. There are currently 48 sisters at Wrentham's St. Mary's.

For more information Saint Mary's Abbey in Wrentham, please visit:

Saint Mary's Abbey, Wrentham, MA

Facebook: Mount Saint Mary's Abbey - Wrentham, MA

Catholics and Anglicans Launch New Effort to Support Christians in Holy Land

This week's edition of PBS's Religion & Ethics Newsweekly takes a look at a conference of Roman Catholic and Anglican leaders at Lambeth Palace in London, England. These leaders have come together to launch a new effort to support Christians in the Holy Land who are caught in the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

To access this PBS story, please visit:

PBS: Religion & Ethics Newsweekly: Lambeth Holy Land Conference (22 JUL 11)

For additional information, please visit:

PBS: Religion & Ethics Newsweekly: Lambeth Conference Extended Excerpts (22 JUL 11)

Background information:

Al-Bushra: Palestinian Christians: Challenges and Hopes


Reflection Starter from Harry S Truman

"America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand." - Harry S Truman, 33rd President of the United States

22 July 2011

Asbestos Exposure Concern Raised After Wilton, ME, Fire

According to an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) official, emergency responders and construction workers may have been exposed to dangerous levels of harmful asbestos at the site of a building demolition, a complex of vacant manufacturing buildings on Depot Street in Wilton, ME. A small fire was extinguished at the scene on Monday, 18 July.

Media report:

Morning Sentinel: Exposure to asbestos after Wilton fire big concern (22 JUL 11)

Background information:

Wilton Fire and Rescue Department

Town of Wilton

Wikipedia: Wilton, Maine

OSHA: Health and Safety Topic: Asbestos

U.S. Department of Labor: Occupational Safety & Health Administration

Maine Department of Environmental Protection

A Look at Shoplifting by Teenagers

Family Circle recently ran an interesting article on shoplifting by teenagers. The article explored some of the causes that lead teens to shoplift, and it addressed some of the consequences of shoplifting.

To access this Family Circle article, please visit:

Family Circle: Teen Shoplifting: Causes and Consequences (June 2011)

Background information:

National Association for Shoplifting Prevention

NASP: Shoplifting and Theft Class Information (Self-Help and Support Services)

A Reflection from Joseph Fogarty, O.P.

Over the past several days, the first reading the Church has assigned for the day has been from Book of Exodus, recalling the flight of the Israelites from Egypt and the giving of the Ten Commandments. In a recent "Daily Inspiration from the Dominican Shrine of Saint Jude," Joseph Fogarty, O.P., uses a scene from this series of events to reflect on attitudes:

"'The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord when I receive glory through Pharaoh and his chariots and charioteers.' Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, 'Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.' Exodus 14:5-18; Matthew 12:38-48

"The scribes and Pharisees demand a sign but no sign will be given to them. The kind of sign they seek is beyond the type of signs that Jesus performed, but some extraordinary wonder such as the one performed by Moses, described in today's first reading. During the flight of the Israelites from Egypt, pursued by Pharaoh's whole army Moses parted the waters so that they could cross the Red Sea. The scribes and Pharisees are hardened in their attitude toward Jesus. They are skeptical about his identity, even though his life and ministry speak for themselves. Still, they look for a sign which will be a definite 'clincher' of who he is. Attitudes are usually formed over a long period of time. Once they are in place, they are hard to dislodge. Since attitudes are so lasting, it's well every so often or stand back and take a look at our own. Which of my attitudes may need to be reevaluated?"

- Joseph Fogarty, O.P.

Phil D'Avanza, Tower Clock Repair and Restoration Specialist from NH

One of the treasures of New England is its skilled craftspeople, and we have a variety of them throughout the region.

On example of such a craftsman is Phil D'Avanza, who is a tower clock repair and restoration specialist from Goffstown, New Hampshire. Among other projects, Phil has worked to restore many of the historic town clocks throughout the state.

For additional information about Phil D'Avanza, please visit:

D'Avanza Clock Repair

The Cabinet: Time for repairs (14 JUL 11)

New Hampshire Union Leader: Clock specialist puts best face forward (15 JUL 11)

Jamie McAdams: More Opportunities Needed for Confession

In a recent reflection in his blog, Roman Catholic Cop, Jamie McAdams reflected on the importance of the sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance) and strongly encouraged parishes to offer more opportunities for a person to go to confession.

To access his complete post, please visit:

Roman Catholic Cop: A Call to Hear Confessions (20 JUL 11)

Background information:

Pope John Paul II: Letter to Priests for Holy Thursday 2002

Roman Catholic Cop: Ten Reasons for Going to Confession (2 SEP 09)

Reflection Starter from Ralph Waldo Emerson

"To see the miraculous within the ordinary is the mark of highest wisdom." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

21 July 2011

"O God Our Help In Ages Past"

Reflecting on a number of challenges facing the people in our region, in the rest of the U.S., and throughout the world, I offer the Festival Choir singing "O God Our Help In Ages Past":

New England Foundation for the Arts

One of the treasures of New England is the variety of artistic endeavors - whether it be painting, sculpture, music, dancing, drama, or any of a number of other creative initiatives - that serve to express ideas and otherwise touch our lives.

The New England Foundation for the Arts strives to connect the people of New England with the power of art to shape our lives and improve our communities. The foundation works to support artists; establish connections between artists, art programmers, and the people living in and visiting New England; and, in a variety of ways, supports the creative economy.

For more information about the New England Foundation for the Arts, please visit:

New England Foundation for the Arts

Vermont Catholic Innkeepers Sued for Refusing To Host Gay Wedding Reception

In a recent post, Deacon Greg Kanda offered an item about a Catholic couple in Vermont who are being sued because they refused to host a wedding reception for two New York City women.

The couple, Jim and Mary O’Reilly, own and operate the Wildflower Inn in Lyndonville.

To access Deacon Greg's complete post, please visit:

The Deacon's Bench: Catholic innkeepers sued for refusing to host gay wedding (20 JUL 11)

Background information:

Burlington Free Press: Lesbian couple: Vermont resort barred reception (19 JUL 11)

The Wildflower Inn

Reflection Starter from James Douglas

"I like to think of thoughts as living blossoms borne by the human tree." - James Douglas (1867-1940), British newspaper editor and author.

20 July 2011

Business Owners Assist Vermont Fire Department in Getting Ladder Truck

Thanks to a collaboration by two local businessmen, a 1982 Peter Pirsch 100’ aerial ladder, recently retired from the St. Albans City, VT, Fire Department, has been delivered to the Fairfax, VT, Fire Department. The St. Albans department recently received a 2011 E-One Cyclone II 100’ quint (with a 2000 GPM pump)through a federal grant.

The Pirsch was purchased by the two business owners, who evaluated the needs of various Franklin County fire departments and decided that Fairfax would be best suited as the new home for the truck.

To access two media reports about this initiative, please visit:

St. Albans Messenger: City truck goes to Fairfax (19 JUL 11)

Henry Raymond; Fairfax News: FXFD Ladder Truck Group Picture and Ladder Training (12 JUL 11)

Background information:

St. Albans Fire Department

Facebook: St. Albans Fire Department

Facebook; Fairfax Fire Department

Desorcie Emergency Products: New Deliveries

City of St. Albans, VT

Fairfax, VT (Unofficial)

New Bike-Share System in Boston

The City of Boston, MA, has implemented a bicycle sharing system , one of the first in a major metropolitan area. The Hubway Street Team, who call themselves the “Revolutionary Riders,” recently hit Boston streets to promote registration for the new bike share system.

For more information about the system, including stations, pricing, and how bike sharing in Boston works, please visit:

New Balance Hubway (Boston’s bike sharing system)

Boston Globe: Bikes will be here, there, but not yet everywhere (20 JUL 11)

Background information:

City of Boston

Bob Steele

When I was growing up (in Southington, CT), I loved to listen to Bob Steele's morning radio show (The Bob Steele Show) on WTIC. I suspect that not a lot of high school kids listened to him, but I loved the mixture of music, news, and commentary.

It turns out that a lot of other people also listened to this show - one of the longest running radio shows in the U.S. Bob is definitely a New England treasure.

Background information on Bob Steele:

Wikipedia: Bob Steele (broadcaster)

Simon Pure Productions: The Real Bob Steele

WTIC Alumni: WTIC Salutes Bob Steele

WTIC Alumni: A Hunt In The Black Forest (Bob Steele's Opening Theme)

A Gospel Reflection from Matthew Warner

"Ever been stressed out? Ever felt like you were giving all that you had and you just couldn’t possibly see how it was going to be enough? Have you ever had some large task before you and had no idea how you were possibly going to tackle it?"

Some time ago in his blog, Fallible Blogma, Matthew Warner reflected on a Gospel reading from Mark (Mark 6:34-44) and on how God works with us in difficult situations.

To access this post, please visit:

Fallible Blogma: Your Five Loaves and Your Two Fish

Reflection Starter from T .S. Eliot

"The World is trying to experiment with attempting to form a civilized but non-Christian mentality. The experiment will fail; but we must be very patient in awaiting its collapse; meanwhile redeeming the time: so that the Faith may be preserved alive through the dark ages before us; to renew and rebuild civilization, and save the World from suicide." - T .S. Eliot (from his 1931 essay "Thoughts After Lambeth")

Background information:

Nobelprize: Literature: T.S. Eliot

Academy of American Poets: T.S. Eliot

Wikipedia: T.S. Eliot

19 July 2011

National Junior Firefighter Program Receives ASAE “Power of A” Gold Award

The Center for Association Leadership (ASAE), recently presented the National Volunteer Fire Council’s National Junior Firefighter Program with a 2011 Power of A Gold Award. The NVFC is one of only nine associations nationwide that received this award.

The Power of A Awards are designed to honor associations that exemplify how the association industry and its professionals are essential to a stronger America and world. The Awards recognize and celebrate the contributions associations make to society by enriching lives, creating a competitive workforce, preparing society for the future, driving innovation, and making a better world.

The National Junior Firefighter Program was given the award for “The Power to Create a Competitive Workforce” category. The program provides fire departments and youth with the resources, tools, and information they need to help develop, grow, enhance, promote, and participate in their local junior firefighter program. The Program is also a recruitment tool for the next generation of firefighters.

The Power of A Gold Award is the highest recognition that a program can receive within one of the five Power of A Award categories. ASAE received nearly 100 entries for this year’s Awards. In addition to the Power of A Gold Award winners, the selection committee recognized six entries with The Power of A Summit Award, the highest recognition, and sixteen with The Power of A Silver Award.

There are over 110 junior firefighter programs in New England.

For more information please visit:

National Junior Firefighter

The Power of A: Awards

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 - 19 July 2011

Jack Marti: "I Will Sing Unto The Lord (Song of Moses)"

The assigned first readings of the past two days have been about the passage of the children of Israel through the Red Sea (Monday: Exodus 14:5-18; Tuesday: Exodus 14:21-15:1).

With that in mind, I off Jack Marti singing "I Will Sing Unto The Lord (Song of Moses)":

Erik Andrus of Boundbrook Farm, Ferrisburgh, VT

One of the treasures of New England is its fabled "New England ingenuity." Examples of this trait abound throughout the region's history and continue through the present.

One current example is the effort of Erik Andrus, a farmer in Ferrisburgh, Vermont, who is attempting to grow cold-hardy rice on his farm, Boundbrook Farm.

For more information on his initiative, please visit:

Burlington Free Press: Vermont farmer experiments with cold-hardy rice (18 JUL 11)

Addison Independent: Commercial rice growing takes root in Vt. (23 MAY 11)

Background information:

Good Companion Bakery

Facebook: Good Companion Bakery at Boundbrook Farm

Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center

Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association: Could Rice be the Northeast’s Newest Grain Crop?

Wikipedia: Ferrisburgh, Vermont

Three-alarm Fire in Hooksett, NH

A early morning three-alarm fire on Sunday, 17 July, at 60 Pleasant Street in Hooksett, NH, destroyed a house, a barn, a former slaughterhouse, and a number of vehicles. The property formerly was known as the Garos Farm and as the Garos Meat Packing Company.

Media reports:

NH Union Leader: Rock through window alerts Hooksett family to fire (18 JUL 11)

WMUR-TV: 3-Alarm Fire In Hooksett Destroys 3 Buildings (17 JUL 11)

Background information:

Hooksett Fire-Rescue Department

Town of Hooksett

Wikipedia: Hooksett, New Hampshire

Google Map: 60 Pleasant Street, Hooksett, NH

Pope Benedict Inaugurates Vatican Art Exhibit

Pope Benedict XVI recently inaugurated an art exhibit in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall. The title of the exhibit is "The Splendor of Truth, Beauty of Charity" ("The splendor of truth, the beauty of charity: Homage of sixty artists to Benedict XVI for the sixtieth anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood").

The idea to hold the exhibition arose from the Pope's meeting with artists in the Sistine Chapel on 21 November 2009. The exhibit will run from 4 July through 4 September. The artists participating in this initiative, most of them Italian, represent different categories: painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, literature, poetry, music, cinema, and jewellery design.

In his address as he opened the exhibit, the Holy Father noted that "the Church and artists are meeting and speaking together again, underlining the need for a discussion which wishes to become, and must become, increasingly intense and intricate. The aim of this is to offer the culture (or rather the cultures) of our time an eloquent example of fruitful and effective dialogue aimed at making this world of ours more human and more beautiful."

"I would like to renew a friendly and impassioned appeal to all artists," he continued. "Never separate artistic creativity from truth and charity, never seek beauty distant from truth and charity, but with your genius and creative drive always seek courageously after truth and bear witness to charity. Make the truth shine forth in your works, ensuring that their beauty arouses in the eyes and hearts of the people who admire them the desire and the need to make life, each individual life, more beautiful and true, enriching it with that treasure which never runs out, which makes life a masterpiece and each man an extraordinary artist: charity, love. May the Holy Spirit, architect of all that is beautiful in the world, illuminate you and guide you towards the definitive and ultimate Beauty."

Pope Benedict concluded his remarks by thanking the artists for "bringing into the world a ray of that Beauty which is God."

(from the Vatican Information Service)

Media reports:

Voice of America News: Vatican Revives Role as Premier Art Patron (18 JUL 11)

Rome Reports (via YouTube): Benedict XVI receives unique gifts from 60 artists to celebrate 60 years of ordination (7 JUL 11)

Rome Reports (via YouTube): Benedict XVI inaugurates exhibition and meets with artists in the Vatican (4 JUL 11)

Whispers in the Loggia: "To Make All Existence Beautiful and True": The Pope, on Art (8 JUL 11)

Background information:

Address of Pope Benedict XVI: Meeting with Artists, Sistine Chapel, 21 November 2009