31 December 2012

“Angels We Have Heard on High”

As our Christmas celebration continues, I offer this version of the Robert Shaw Chamber Singers singing “Angels We Have Heard on High”:

Dives in Misericordia: “Mercy . . . from Generation to Generation” (10)

Chapter 6 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “Mercy . . . from Generation to Generation.” It begins as follows:

“10. We have every right to believe that our generation too was included in the words of the Mother of God when she glorified that mercy shared in ‘from generation to generation’ by those who allow themselves to be guided by the fear of God. The words of Mary’s Magnificat have a prophetic content that concerns not only the past of Israel but also the whole future of the People of God on earth. In fact, all of us now living on earth are the generation that is aware of the approach of the third millennium and that profoundly feels the change that is occurring in history.

“The present generation knows that it is in a privileged position: progress provides it with countless possibilities that only a few decades ago were undreamed of. Man's creative activity, his intelligence and his work, have brought about profound changes both in the field of science and technology and in that of social and cultural life. Man has extended his power over nature and has acquired deeper knowledge of the laws of social behavior. He has seen the obstacles and distances between individuals and nations dissolve or shrink through an increased sense of what is universal, through a clearer awareness of the unity of the human race, through the acceptance of mutual dependence in authentic solidarity, and through the desire and possibility of making contact with one's brothers and sisters beyond artificial geographical divisions and national or racial limits. Today’s young people, especially, know that the progress of science and technology can produce not only new material goods but also a wider sharing in knowledge. The extraordinary progress made in the field of information and data processing, for instance, will increase man’s creative capacity and provide access to the intellectual and cultural riches of other peoples. New communications techniques will encourage greater participation in events and a wider exchange of ideas. The achievements of biological, psychological and social science will help man to understand better the riches of his own being. It is true that too often this progress is still the privilege of the industrialized countries, but it cannot be denied that the prospect of enabling every people and every country to benefit from it has long ceased to be a mere utopia when there is a real political desire for it.”


To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord for the many blessings You have bestowed on us during this past year, 2012 (including those we recognized, those disguised as challenges or problems, and those we unaware of).

Msgr. Pope on the Effects of Jesus on Each Person He Touches

“. . . it is a fact that no one encounters Jesus Christ and goes away unchanged. A blind man went away able to see, the deaf went away able to hear, the lame could walk, the hungry went away satisfied, the ignorant were instructed, the guilty forgiven, and sinners were converted.”

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on how a Coca Cola commercial reflected the light of Christ.

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

Msgr. Charles Pope: No One Goes Away From Jesus Unchanged, As Seen on TV (28 DEC 12)

Reflection Starter from Peter Kreeft

“When you give yourself away you find that a new and more real self has somehow been given to you.” – Dr. Peter Kreeft

30 December 2012

Casting Crowns: “Away In a Manger”

As our Sunday, and Christmas, celebration continues, I offer this version of Casting Crowns singing “Away In a Manger”:

The Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph

Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. The assigned readings are Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14; Colossians 3:12-21; and Luke 2:41-52. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 128 (Psalm 128:1-5).

The Gospel reading is as follows:

Each year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.

After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him,
they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.”

And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”

But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man.

Reflection on this feast:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Holy Family (December 30, 2012)

Msgr. Charles Pope: Recovering God’s Plan for Marriage and Family: A Sermon on the Feast of the Holy Family (29 DEC 12)

The Deacon’s Bench: Homily for December 30, 2012: Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (29 DEC 12)

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio: The Feast of the Holy Family: Piety . . . in the 21st Century?

The Sacred Page: The Joy and Challenge of Family Life: Readings for the Feast of the Holy Family (27 DEC 12)

Word on Fire: Sermon 625: What Makes a Family Holy: Feast of the Holy Family

Dr. Scott Hahn: Our True Home (December 30th 2012 - Feast of the Holy Family)

The New Theological Movement: What Jesus taught Mary when he was "lost", and then found (29 DEC 12)

The Word Engaged: God Made Flesh (Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph C)

Vatican Radio: Feast of the Holy Family - 30 Dec 2012

For additional reflection:

Apostolic Exhortation of Pope John Paul II: Familiaris Consortio (On the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World) (22 NOV 1981)

Dives in Misericordia: “The Paschal Mystery” (9, continued)

Chapter 5 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Paschal Mystery.” It concludes as follows:

“9. . . . It was precisely this ‘merciful’ love, which is manifested above all in contact with moral and physical evil, that the heart of her who was the Mother of the crucified and risen One shared in singularly and exceptionally - that Mary shared in. In her and through her, this love continues to be revealed in the history of the Church and of humanity. This revelation is especially fruitful because in the Mother of God it is based upon the unique tact of her maternal heart, on her particular sensitivity, on her particular fitness to reach all those who most easily accept the merciful love of a mother. This is one of the great life-giving mysteries of Christianity, a mystery intimately connected with the mystery of the Incarnation.

“‘The motherhood of Mary in the order of grace,’ as the Second Vatican Council explains, ‘lasts without interruption from the consent which she faithfully gave at the annunciation and which she sustained without hesitation under the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. In fact, being assumed into heaven she has not laid aside this office of salvation but by her manifold intercession she continues to obtain for us the graces of eternal salvation. By her maternal charity, she takes care of the brethren of her Son who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties, until they are led into their blessed home.’108

108. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen gentium, no. 62: AAS 57 1965), p. 63.


To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of our families and for the blessing each family member is.

Joseph Bottum on the Catholic Carnival of Christmas

“Ban reindeer, if you like. Abolish Santa Claus and Christmas trees. Keep your family wrapped in the starkest of Advent penances. Eradicate eggnog and candy, tinsel and presents, snowflakes and stockings. Exterminate the festival of it all, the nonsense of the season, if you must.

“Lord knows, you have cause. Christmas has become, in the United States, the holiday – which is to say, the holy day – that dare not speak its name. We still have all the extraneous stuff that grew up around Christmas: the gift-giving and those awful Hallmark cards and the mistletoe and the holly. The Muzaked carols, for that matter. But the words of those carols seem to have become a problem for American culture, since – Joy to the world, the Lord is come! – they all too often contain information about the actual reason for the holiday.”

In a recent commentary, writer Joseph Bottum reflected on the meaning of the season of Christmas and on the role of the various elements that make this season what it is.

To access Mr. Bottum’s complete post, please visit:

National Catholic Register: The Catholic Carnival of Christmas (21 DEC 12)

Reflection Starter from Thomas à Kempis

“In life and death keep close to Jesus and give yourself into his faithful keeping; he alone can help you when all others fail you.” – Thomas à Kempis

29 December 2012

“Adeste Fideles” (“O Come, All Ye Faithful”)

As we continue our celebration of Christmas, I offer this version of “Adeste Fideles” (“O Come, All Ye Faithful”), as played on a mountain dulcimer:

Dives in Misericordia: “The Paschal Mystery” (9, continued)

Chapter 5 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Paschal Mystery.” It continues as follows:

“9. . . . The above titles which we attribute to the Mother of God speak of her principally, however, as the Mother of the crucified and risen One; as the One who, having obtained mercy in an exceptional way, in an equally exceptional way ‘merits’ that mercy throughout her earthly life and, particularly, at the foot of the cross of her Son; and finally as the one who, through her hidden and at the same time incomparable sharing in the messianic mission of her Son, was called in a special way to bring close to people that love which He had come to reveal: the love that finds its most concrete expression vis-a-vis the suffering, the poor, those deprived of their own freedom, the blind, the oppressed and sinners, just as Christ spoke of them in the words of the prophecy of Isaiah, first in the synagogue at Nazareth106 and then in response to the question of the messengers of John the Baptist.107

106. Cf. Luke 4:18.
107. Cf. Luke 7:22.


To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for parishes that offer Eucharistic adoration on a regular basis.

Father Barron on the Most Important Thing Needed to Build Up the Life of the Church

“Awhile ago I asked some well-known Catholics (including you all) what they'd like to ask Fr. Barron. Well Fr. Barron answered. . . . Today’s question comes from Fr. Reed at CatholicTV.com. He asks Fr. Barron what he thinks the single most important thing is that we can do to build up the life of the Church - particularly in the parish.”

In a recent National Catholic Register blog post, Matthew Warner offered Father Robert Barron’s answer to this question.

To access Matt’s complete post, please visit:

Matthew Warner: Ask Fr. Barron: Single most important thing to build up the life of the Church? (21 DEC 12)

Reflection Starter from Norman Vincent Peale

“In every difficult situation is potential value. Believe this, then begin looking for it.” – Rev. Norman Vincent Peale

28 December 2012

Boney M: “Mary’s Boy Child”

As we continue our celebration of Christmas, I offer this version of Boney M. singing “Mary’s Boy Child”:

Rhode Island “365 Days of Safety” Drunk Driving Awareness Program

The Rhode Island State Police, Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association, National Highway Safety Traffic Administration, Rhode Island Department of Transportation, AAA Southern New England, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and other community partners have initiated a “365 Days of Safety” awareness program designed to encourage the motoring public to make safe, sober driving their New Year’s Resolution to ensure that the state’s roads are safe 365 days a year.

As of this date, there have been 61 people killed in Rhode Island in motor vehicle crashes. The goal of this program is to reduce this number through increased awareness and education coupled with continued strict enforcement of the state’s traffic laws.

Media reports:

The Times: A dramatic message from the State Police (27 DEC 12)

WJAR-TV: State police kick off campaign to stop drunk drivers (27 DEC 12)

Dives in Misericordia: “The Paschal Mystery” (9, continued)

Chapter 5 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Paschal Mystery.” It continues as follows:

“9. . . . Mary, then, is the one who has the deepest knowledge of the mystery of God’s mercy. She knows its price, she knows how great it is. In this sense, we call her the Mother of mercy: our Lady of mercy, or Mother of divine mercy; in each one of these titles there is a deep theological meaning, for they express the special preparation of her soul, of her whole personality, so that she was able to perceive, through the complex events, first of Israel, then of every individual and of the whole of humanity, that mercy of which ‘from generation to generation’105 people become sharers according to the eternal design of the most Holy Trinity.”

105. Luke 1:50.


To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of chiming bells.

Catholic Voices USA to Offer Training for New England Catholics

Catholic Voices USA is a ministry that strives to put the Church’s case in the public square. As part of this process, it offers training to ordinary Catholics in all walks of life who want to publicly make the case for the Church in truth and love. Based on a successful British model, Catholic Voices do not speak officially for the Church but answer the call for laypeople to publicly witness to their faith as an apostolic project of the New Evangelization.

Catholic Voices is sponsoring a training session 8-10 March for Catholics, primarily from New England, who want to succinctly, compellingly, and reasonably express what it means to be truly Catholic.

Candidates must be baptized Catholics willing to make a time commitment to be available for regular briefings, media training, and spiritual development. The application deadline is 30 January.

Media report:

Boston Pilot: Catholic Voices USA to offer media training for New England Catholics (21 DEC 12)

To access on online application, please visit:

Catholic Voices USA: Application for New England Training Session

Background information:

Catholic Voices USA

Reflection Starter from Leo Tolstoy

“It is within my power either to serve God or not to serve Him. Serving Him, I add to my own good and the good of the whole world. Not serving Him, I forfeit my own good and deprive the world of that good, which was in my power to create.” – attributed to Leo Tolstoy

27 December 2012

ACBJ Report on State Rankings of High School and College Graduation Rates

American City Business Journals recently published a report comparing the high school graduation rates and college graduation rates of the fifty U.S. states, plus the District of Columbia.

The rankings were based on numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau and the 2011 American Community Survey, and they include all adults who are currently age 25 and older.

According to this report, New Hampshire was ranked #5 (91.2%) for the number of persons who were at least a high school graduate. Vermont was ranked #6 (91.0%), Maine was ranked #10 (90.2%), Massachusetts was ranked #18 (88.9%), Connecticut was ranked #20 (88.6%), and Rhode Island was ranked #37 (84.3%).

Furthermore, according to this report, Massachusetts was ranked #2 (38.7%) for the number of persons who were a college graduate with at least a bachelor’s degree. Connecticut was ranked #5 (35.7%), Vermont was ranked #8 (33.8%), New Hampshire was ranked #9 (33.1%), Rhode Island was ranked #14 (30.6%), and Maine was ranked #25 (27.1%).

To access the complete report, please visit:

ACBJ: The Business Journals: State rankings of high school and college graduation rates (27 DEC 12)

Related information:

U.S. Census Bureau: 2012 Statistical Abstract: Public High School Graduates by State: 1980 to 2009

Celtic Woman: “Carol of the Bells”

As our Christmas celebration continues, I offer this version of Celtic Woman singing “Carol of the Bells”:


Dives in Misericordia: “The Paschal Mystery” (9, continued)

Chapter 5 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Paschal Mystery.” It continues as follows:

“9. . . . Mary is also the one who obtained mercy in a particular and exceptional way, as no other person has. At the same time, still in an exceptional way, she made possible with the sacrifice of her heart her own sharing in revealing God's mercy. This sacrifice is intimately linked with the cross of her Son, at the foot of which she was to stand on Calvary. Her sacrifice is a unique sharing in the revelation of mercy, that is, a sharing in the absolute fidelity of God to His own love, to the covenant that He willed from eternity and that He entered into in time with man, with the people, with humanity; it is a sharing in that revelation that was definitively fulfilled through the cross. No one has experienced, to the same degree as the Mother of the crucified One, the mystery of the cross, the overwhelming encounter of divine transcendent justice with love: that ‘kiss’ given by mercy to justice.104 No one has received into his heart, as much as Mary did, that mystery, that truly divine dimension of the redemption effected on Calvary by means of the death of the Son, together with the sacrifice of her maternal heart, together with her definitive ‘fiat.’”

104. Cf. Psalm 85(84):11.


To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for people who continue Your work of creation by working in the building trades, including those who design, build, rehabilitate, and maintain the various structures in which people live, work, and re-create.

Archdiocese of Boston to Offer Online “Catholic Faith Essentials”

The Archdiocese of Boston will be offering Catholic Faith Essentials, a weekly webcast course designed for adults during the Year of Faith. The sessions are scheduled to begin on Monday, 7 January, with the sessions broadcast live from 7:00 to 8:00 PM. The entire course is spread over 30 sessions, which are divided into 5 seasons each of which contains six sessions.

Related video:

Archdiocese of Boston: Catholic Faith Essentials

Media report:

Boston Pilot: Archdiocese to offer online "Catholic Faith Essentials" course beginning Jan. 7 (21 DEC 12)

The archived web streams for these presentations will be available at

Boston Catholic Live: Archived Events

Background information:

Archdiocese of Boston: Year of Faith

Reflection Starter from Mother Teresa

“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” — Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa)

26 December 2012

U.S. Dept. of Education Announces 2012 Promise Neighborhoods Winners

The U.S. Department of Education recently announced seventeen winners (including recipients in Maine and Massachusetts) of the 2012 Promise Neighborhoods $60 million grant fund.

Promise Neighborhoods, first launched in 2010, is a community-focused program that funds local-led efforts to improve educational opportunities and provide comprehensive health, safety, and support services in high-poverty neighborhoods. To help leverage and sustain grant work, 1,000 national, state, and community organizations have signed on to partner with a Promise Neighborhood site, including over 300 organizations supporting 2012 grant winners.

The recently announced awards are split between ten planning grants totaling more than $4.7 million and seven implementation grants totaling nearly $30 million. Planning grantees will each receive one-year awards of up to $500,000 to create targeted plans for combating poverty in the local community. Implementation grantees will receive awards up to $6 million to fund the first year of a 5-year grant to execute community-led plans that improve and provide better social services and educational programs.

Award amounts reflect first-year funding with additional years subject to congressional appropriations. Among the implementation grantees that will build on previous work is the Boston, MA, Promise Initiative, which has been awarded $1,485,001. Among the planning grantees is the Many Flags Promise Neighborhood, which serves Cushing, Owls Head, Rockland, St. George, South Thomaston, and Thomaston, Maine.

Promise Neighborhoods is a programs of the White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, which is designed to support innovative and inclusive strategies that bring public and private partners together to help break the cycle of intergenerational poverty. It encourages collaboration between the U.S. Departments of Education, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Treasury, and Health and Human Services to support local solutions for sustainable, mixed-income neighborhoods with affordable housing, safe streets and good schools.

For additional information on the Promise Neighborhoods program, please visit:

U.S. Department of Education: Promise Neighborhoods

For additional information about the New England grant winners, please visit:

Boston Promise Initiative

Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (Boston)

Facebook: Boston Promise Initiative

City of Boston, MA

Town of Cushing, ME

Town of Owls Head, ME

City of Rockland, ME

Town of St. George, ME

Town of South Thomaston, ME

Town of Thomaston, ME

Wikipedia: Boston

Wikipedia: Cushing, Maine

Wikipedia: Owls Head, Maine

Wikipedia: Rockland, Maine

Wikipedia: St. George, Maine

Wikipedia: South Thomaston, Maine

Wikipedia: Thomaston, Maine

“Good King Wenceslas”

As our celebration of Christmas continues (and as the Church celebrates the memory of Saint Stephen), I offer this version of “Good King Wenceslas” (as sung by the Irish Rovers):

Dives in Misericordia: “The Paschal Mystery” (9)

Chapter 5 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Paschal Mystery.” It continues as follows:

“9. These words of the Church at Easter re-echo in the fullness of their prophetic content the words that Mary uttered during her visit to Elizabeth, the wife of Zechariah: ‘His mercy is...from generation to generation.’101 At the very moment of the Incarnation, these words open up a new perspective of salvation history. After the resurrection of Christ, this perspective is new on both the historical and the eschatological level. From that time onwards there is a succession of new generations of individuals in the immense human family, in ever-increasing dimensions; there is also a succession of new generations of the People of God, marked with the Sign of the Cross and of the resurrection and ‘sealed’102 with the sign of the Paschal Mystery of Christ, the absolute revelation of the mercy that Mary proclaimed on the threshold of her kinswoman’s house: ‘His mercy is...from generation to generation.’103

101. Luke 1:50.
102. Cf. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22.
103. Luke 1:50.


To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of family gatherings as we celebrate Christmas.

Msgr. Pope on a Recent Atheistic Billboard Campaign

“I was asked by the Young Adult group in my parish to address some ads on our local buses and subway trains here in Washington. The members of the Young adult group found the ads offensive and troubling, especially since they were aimed at kids. The ads are posted by the American ‘Humanist’ Association (AHA) and are indeed aimed at kids and teenagers. The focus of the message is ‘Kids without God: You’re not the only one.’ . . .”

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on a recent billboard message that compared belief in God to belief in an ‘imaginary friend’.

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

Msgr. Charles Pope: Rude and Uninformed. A reflection on a recent billboard campaign by Atheist Humanists (20 DEC 12)

Reflection Starter from Eva Logue

“A Christmas candle is a lovely thing;
It makes no noise at all,
But softly gives itself away.”

                                – Eva Logue

25 December 2012

Faith Hill: “Joy to the World”

As we continue our celebration of Christmas Day, I offer this version of Faith Hill singing “Joy to the World” (during the NBC-TV 2008 Christmas in Rockefeller Center special):

Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)

Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas). The assigned readings for the Mass during the night are Isaiah 9:1-6, Titus 2:11-14, and Luke 2:1-14. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 96 (Psalm 96: 1-3, 11-13).

The Gospel reading is as follows:

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Reflections on solemnity:

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio: The Deeper Meaning of Christmas

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Christmas: Mass at Midnight (December 24, 2012)

Msgr. Charles Pope: Today is Born a Savior. And here are some of His saving Gifts (24 DEC 12)

The Deacon's Bench: “Do not be afraid”: a Christmas homily (24 DEC 12)

Dives in Misericordia: “The Paschal Mystery” (8, continued)

Chapter 5 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Paschal Mystery.” It continues as follows:

“8. . . . Here is the Son of God, who in His resurrection experienced in a radical way mercy shown to Himself, that is to say the love of the Father which is more powerful than death. And it is also the same Christ, the Son of God, who at the end of His messianic mission – and, in a certain sense, even beyond the end – reveals Himself as the inexhaustible source of mercy, of the same love that, in a subsequent perspective of the history of salvation in the Church, is to be everlastingly confirmed as more powerful than sin. The paschal Christ is the definitive incarnation of mercy, its living sign in salvation history and in eschatology. In the same spirit, the liturgy of Eastertide places on our lips the words of the Psalm: Misericordias Domini in aeternum cantabo.100

100. Psalm 89(88):2.


To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for, in the fullness of time, coming into the world coming into the world in such a wondrous way.

Pope Benedict’s Christmas Urbi et Orbi Message

In this year’s Christmas Urbi et Orbi Message, Pope Benedict XVI is urging people never to loose hope in peace this Christmas, even in situations of conflict such as Syria, or nations afflicted by terrorism such as Nigeria, because the “Truth has sprung out of the earth”, with the birth of Christ.

To access his complete message, please visit:

Vatican Radio: Pope: Christmas Urbi et Orbi Message (25 DEC 12)

Media report:

Vatican Radio: Pope: There is hope in the world (25 DEC 12)

Reflection Starter from Blessed Pope John XXIII

“Mankind is a great, an immense family. This is proved by what we feel in our hearts at Christmas.” – Blessed Pope John XXIII

24 December 2012

David Archuleta: “The First Noel”

As enter the beginning of our celebration of Christmas, I offer this version of David Archuleta singing “The First Noel”:

A Christmas Reflection

Captain Gallant of the Foreign Legion was a television series broadcast in the mid-1050’s. One of its episodes included a Christmas Eve reminder of what Christmas is all about.

To access a video of this episode, please visit:

YouTube: Captain Gallant of the Foreign Legion - Part 1 of 2

YouTube: Captain Gallant of the Foreign Legion - Part 2 of 2

(As a bonus, the videos include some commercials from that time period.)

Dives in Misericordia: “The Paschal Mystery” (8, continued)

Chapter 5 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Paschal Mystery.” It continues as follows:

“8. . . . The Paschal Mystery is Christ at the summit of the revelation of the inscrutable mystery of God. It is precisely then that the words pronounced in the Upper Room are completely fulfilled: ‘He who has seen me has seen the Father.’96 In fact, Christ, whom the Father ‘did not spare’97 for the sake of man and who in His passion and in the torment of the cross did not obtain human mercy, has revealed in His resurrection the fullness of the love that the Father has for Him and, in Him, for all people. ‘He is not God of the dead, but of the living.’98 In His resurrection Christ has revealed the God of merciful love, precisely because He accepted the cross as the way to the resurrection. And it is for this reason that-when we recall the cross of Christ, His passion and death-our faith and hope are centered on the Risen One: on that Christ who ‘on the evening of that day, the first day of the week, . . .stood among them’ in the upper Room, ‘where the disciples were, ...breathed on them, and said to them: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’’99

96. John 14:9.
97. Romans 8:32.
98. Mark 12:27.
99. John 20:19-23.


To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for Your constant presence and for being active participant’s in our lives, whether we are aware of it or not.

Msgr. Pope on God Being Able to Find Us

“Children often have problems with generalization and conceptualization. For example, when I was very young I was told that Jesus lived in the tabernacle. Fine I thought, then that must mean there is furniture and stuff in there. So when the priest opened the tabernacle up on the high altar, I earnestly looked for the furniture and perhaps the little stair case going to a second floor, much like my sister’s dollhouse was set up. . . .

“Yet another struggle I had was when I was told were going to move from Chicago to Florida. I asked my mother, ‘How will God be able to find me if we move?’ I was actually quite concerned that even if He could find me, He might not want to walk that far to see me. I guess you might say I thought of God in a very localized way, a kind of local deity. Mother of course tried to reassure me but I wasn’t so sure.”

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on how God is more present to us that we are to ourselves, more knowing of us than we know ourselves.

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

Msgr. Charles Pope: Will God Still Be Able to Find Me? A Meditation based on an endearing Christmas Commercial (21 DEC 12)

Reflection Starter from Oren Arnold

“Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.” – Oren Arnold

23 December 2012

Kathy Mattea: “Mary Did You Know”

As we continue our Sunday celebration, I offer this version of Kathy Mattea singing “Mary Did You Know”:

On Charles Dickens and the Spirit of Christmas

“When Charles Dickens wrote ‘A Christmas Carol’ in 1842, the holiday was nearly dead in modern England. Christmas was celebrated by the rural and poor, but frowned upon by employers. It took an American, Washington Irving, to praise Christmas to the highest, mourning the loss of the great traditions in this new modern age.

“Dickens admired Irving. In earlier writings, such as ‘Sketches by Boz,’ Dickens made much of the ‘strain of goodwill and cheerfulness,’ that this holiday did more to spread good will among neighbors than any preaching or homilies.”

In a recent commentary, Jamie Lutton (owner of Twice Sold Tales) reflected on the Spirit of Christmas as presented by Charles Dickens.

To access Ms. Lutton’s complete essay, please visit:

Capitol Hill Times: Why Dickens’ ‘Carol’ is the most important Christmas tale (20 DEC 12)

Background information:

Charles Dickens

Washington Irving

Charles Dickens: ‘A Christmas Carol’

Project Gutenberg: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Today the Church celebrates the Fourth Sunday of Advent. The assigned readings are Micah 5:1-4, Hebrews 10:5-10, and Luke 1:39-45. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 80 (Psalm 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19).

For one version of the Responsorial Psalm set to music, please visit:

YouTube: Responsorial Psalm for Advent (Psalm 80 Lord Make us Turn to You)

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, “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.”

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Fourth Sunday of Advent (December 23, 2012)

Msgr. Charles Pope: A Summary of our Salvation – A Meditation on the Readings from the 4th Sunday of Advent (22 DEC 12)

The Deacon’s Bench: Homily for December 23, 2012: 4th Sunday of Advent (22 DEC 12)

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio: The Blessed Virgin Mary: Model of Faith and First Believer

The Sacred Page: Mary, Queen Mother of the Crown Prince: Readings for the 4th Sunday of Advent (19 DEC 12)

Word on Fire: Sermon 624 : A New Ark for a New Covenant : 4th Sunday of Advent

Fr. James Farfaglia: Christmas Through the Eyes of Mary (12/23/2012)

Dr. Scott Hahn: A Mother’s Greeting (December 23rd 2012 - 4th Sunday in Advent)

The Word Engaged: Stirring in the Womb (Fourth Sunday of Advent C)

Dives in Misericordia: “The Paschal Mystery” (8, continued)

Chapter 5 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Paschal Mystery.” It continues as follows:

“8. . . . Christ, precisely as the crucified one, is the Word that does not pass away,92 and He is the one who stands at the door and knocks at the heart of every man,93 without restricting his freedom, but instead seeking to draw from this very freedom love, which is not only an act of solidarity with the suffering Son of man, but also a kind of ‘mercy’ shown by each one of us to the Son of the eternal Father. In the whole of this messianic program of Christ, in the whole revelation of mercy through the cross, could man’s dignity be more highly respected and ennobled, for, in obtaining mercy, He is in a sense the one who at the same time ‘shows mercy’? In a word, is not this the position of Christ with regard to man when He says: ‘As you did it to one of the least of these...you did it to me’?94 Do not the words of the Sermon on the Mount: ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy,’95 constitute, in a certain sense, a synthesis of the whole of the Good News, of the whole of the ‘wonderful exchange’ (admirable commercium) contained therein? This exchange is a law of the very plan of salvation, a law which is simple, strong and at the same time ‘easy.’ Demonstrating from the very start what the ‘human heart’ is capable of (‘to be merciful’), do not these words from the Sermon on the Mount reveal in the same perspective the deep mystery of God: that inscrutable unity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in which love, containing justice, sets in motion mercy, which in its turn reveals the perfection of justice?”

92. Cf. Matthew 24:35.
93. Cf. Revelation 3:20.
94. Matthew 25:40.
95. Matthew 5:7.


To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the joyful anticipation that fills the air as we prepare for the celebration of Christmas.

Pope Benedict in the Financial Times: Christmas Is a Time for Christians to Engage with the World

The Financial Times recently published a commentary, “A time for Christians to engage with the world,” by Pope Benedict XVI. According to an introductory note from the Holy See Press Office, “The Pope’s article for the Financial Times originates from a request from the editorial office of the Financial Times itself which, taking as a cue the recent publication of the Pope’s book on Jesus’ infancy, asked for his comments on the occasion of Christmas. Despite the unusual nature of the request, the Holy Father accepted willingly.”

Media report:

Whispers in the Loggia: "To Engage the World," B16 Takes Christmas to the Financial Times (20 DEC 12)

Reflection Starter from Mother Teresa

“Life is an opportunity, benefit from it. Life is a beauty, admire it. Life is a dream,realize it. Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is a duty, complete it. Life is a game,play it. Life is a promise, fulfill it. Life is sorrow, overcome it. Life is a song, sing it. Life is a struggle, accept it. Life is a tragedy, confront it. Life is an adventure,dare it. Life is luck, make it. Life is life, fight for it!” — Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa)

22 December 2012

“It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas”

It seems to me, as I travel about this region, that:

This version of “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas” is sung by Johnny Mathis.

Remembering the Sandy Hook Victims

Communities throughout this region and the rest of the nation paused briefly yesterday morning to remember the 26 victims of last week’s shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT (including principal Dawn Hochsprung; school psychologist Mary Sherlach; teachers Victoria Soto, Anne Marie Murphy, and Lauren Rousseau; and behavioral therapist Rachel D’Avino).

Media reports on the remembrance:

Connecticut Post: Statewide, bells toll for victims (22 DEC 12)

Burlington Free Press: In Burlington, in Newtown and across America, bells toll for victims (22 DEC 12)

Washington Post: Bells toll for Conn. shooting victims; churches call for political activism (22 DEC 12)

Boston Pilot: Recently confirmed teen organizes Needham memorial vigil (21 DEC 12)

Media reports related to responses to the emergency:

CNN: Connecticut teachers were heroes in the face of death (18 DEC 12)

Record-Journal: Meriden, other PDs lend a hand in Newtown (20 DEC 12)

CNN: First-responders recount initial chaos of school massacre (19 DEC 12)

EMS World Video: Firefighter: ‘We'll be scarred forever’ (21 DEC 12)

EMS World Video: Chaplain Describes First Responders’ Grief (21 DEC 12)

Center for American Progress Issues Report on Evaluation Measures to Improve Teacher Effectiveness

The Center for American Progress recently issued a report that was designed to review what evidence best reflects teacher effectiveness and how this information can be used to improve the quality of teaching.

To access the complete report, please visit:

Center for American Progress: Using Multiple Evaluation Measures to Improve Teacher Effectiveness (December 2012)

Background information:

Center for American Progress

Dives in Misericordia: “The Paschal Mystery” (8, continued)

Chapter 5 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Paschal Mystery.” It continues as follows:

“8. . . . In the eschatological fulfillment mercy will be revealed as love, while in the temporal phase, in human history, which is at the same time the history of sin and death, love must be revealed above all as mercy and must also be actualized as mercy. Christ’s messianic program, the program of mercy, becomes the program of His people, the program of the Church. At its very center there is always the cross, for it is in the cross that the revelation of merciful love attains its culmination. Until ‘the former things pass away,’90 the cross will remain the point of reference for other words too of the Revelation of John: ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with me.’91 In a special way, God also reveals His mercy when He invites man to have ‘mercy’ on His only Son, the crucified one.”

90. Cf. Revelation 21:4.
91. Revelation 3:20.


To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for inspirations that remind us that You are the source of all that is good.

George Weigel on Cynicism, Irony, and the Christmas Message

“In a sermon broadcast on the BBC on Dec. 25, 1950, Msgr. Ronald Knox observed that ‘we make a holiday of Christmas only if we have the strength of mind to creep up the nursery stairs again, and pretend that we never came down them.’ In my case, the stairs in question led, not to a nursery, but to the children’s bedroom I shared with my brother at 1 Regester Avenue in the Baltimore suburb of Rodgers Forge. And down the stairs we slid, Christmas morning, to discover what had arrived (or, as we later learned, what had been assembled, often with the aid of my grandfather Weigel) the night before. The day that followed was one unmitigated happiness; and from the distance of more than half a century, I still remember the sweet sadness of Christmas night, brought on by the thought that it was now a full year until Christmas came ‘round again.’”

In a recent column, George Weigel (columnist and Distinguished Senior Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington, DC) reflected on how cynicism and irony are serious impediments to receiving the Christmas message from the Gospel and embracing friendship with the Lord Jesus.

To access Mr. Weigel’s complete essay, please visit:

The Catholic Difference: Christmas: cure for cynicism and irony (19 DEC 12)

Reflection Starter from Matthew Talbot

“Three things I cannot escape: the eye of God, the voice of conscience, the stroke of death. In company, guard your tongue. In your family, guard your temper. When alone guard your thoughts.” – Venerable Matthew Talbot

21 December 2012

Sandy Hook Update

In response to Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy’s request for a Day of Mourning today (Friday), a number of communities throughout Connecticut and the rest of New England will be participating with flags at half-staff, a moment of silence at 9:30 AM, and local churches (and others) tolling their bells 26 times in memory of each victim at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Media reports:

Hartford Courant: Good Deeds, Dollars And Kindness Pour Into Newtown

USA Today: School shooting survivor tells her story

The News-Times: Calm area educators reassure students

The News-Times: Newtown teachers traumatized by shooting

Fire Chief: Sandy Hook mass shooting tested mutual-aid, community, chief says

MA: Fall River mayor putting a police officer in every public school (The Herald News)

“O Come Divine Messiah”

As our Advent celebration continues, I offer this version of “O Come Divine Messiah” by the Multi-Lingual Choir of Saint Mary Parish, Fontana, California:

EPA Updates Rule for Pathogens in Drinking Water

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently updated the rule for pathogens in drinking water, including setting a limit for the bacteria E. coli to better protect public health.

The Revised Total Coliform Rule is designed to ensure that all of the approximately 155,000 public water systems in the United States, which provide drinking water to more than 310 million people, take steps to prevent exposure to pathogens like E. coli. These pathogens can cause a variety of illnesses with symptoms such as acute abdominal discomfort or, in more extreme cases, kidney failure or hepatitis.

Under the revised rule, public drinking water systems are required to notify the public if a test exceeds the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for E. coli in drinking water. If E. coli or other indications of drinking water contamination are detected above a certain level, drinking water facilities must assess the system and fix potential sources and pathways of contamination. High-risk drinking water systems with a history of non-compliance must perform more frequent monitoring. The revised rule provides incentives for small drinking water systems that consistently meet certain measures of water quality and system performance.

Public water systems and the state and local agencies that oversee them must comply with the requirements of the Revised Total Coliform Rule beginning 1 April 2016. Until then, public water systems and primacy agencies must continue to comply with the 1989 version of the rule.

The Safe Drinking Water Act requires that EPA review each National Primary Drinking Water Regulation, such as the Total Coliform Rule, at least once every six years. The outcome of the review of the 1989 Total Coliform Rule determined that there was an opportunity to reduce implementation burden and improve rule effectiveness while at the same time increasing public health protection against pathogens in the drinking water distribution systems. EPA’s revised rule incorporates recommendations from a federal advisory committee comprised of a broad range of stakeholders and considers public comments received during a public comment period held in fall 2010.

For more information about the Total Coliform Rule, please visit:

EPA: Water: Total Coliform Rule

Background information:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Water

Dives in Misericordia: “The Paschal Mystery” (8, continued)

Chapter 5 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Paschal Mystery.” It continues as follows:

“8. . . . The cross is the most profound condescension of God to man and to what man-especially in difficult and painful moments-looks on as his unhappy destiny. The cross is like a touch of eternal love upon the most painful wounds of man’s earthly existence; it is the total fulfillment of the messianic program that Christ once formulated in the synagogue at Nazareth 84 and then repeated to the messengers sent by John the Baptist.85 According to the words once written in the prophecy of Isaiah,86 this program consisted in the revelation of merciful love for the poor, the suffering and prisoners, for the blind, the oppressed and sinners. In the paschal mystery the limits of the many sided evil in which man becomes a sharer during his earthly existence are surpassed: the cross of Christ, in fact, makes us understand the deepest roots of evil, which are fixed in sin and death; thus the cross becomes an eschatological sign. Only in the eschatological fulfillment and definitive renewal of the world will love conquer, in all the elect, the deepest sources of evil, bringing as its fully mature fruit the kingdom of life and holiness and glorious immortality. The foundation of this eschatological fulfillment is already contained in the cross of Christ and in His death. The fact that Christ ‘was raised the third day’87 constitutes the final sign of the messianic mission, a sign that perfects the entire revelation of merciful love in a world that is subject to evil. At the same time it constitutes the sign that foretells ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’88 when God ‘will wipe away every tear from their eyes, there will be no more death, or mourning no crying, nor pain, for the former things have passed away.’89

84. Cf. Luke 4:18-21.
85. Cf. Luke 7:20-23.
86. Cf. Isaiah 35:5; 61:1-3.
87. 1 Corinthians 15:4.
88. Revelation 21:1.
89. Revelation 21:4.


To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many good bishops You have sent, and continue to send, to shepherd Your people.

Dr. Troy Hinkel on an Outpouring of Grace on the Church in the U.S.

“Pope Benedict the XVI has taken a radical step this year in his obedience to the obvious promptings of the Holy Spirit when he not only declared this year as the Year of Faith, but further encouraged each Catholic to study the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

“In responding to this call, our Archbishop, Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, asked that the Catechism of the Catholic Church be taught to adults in parishes across the Archdiocese. There were so many requests from the parishes that we had to get creative in order to figure out how to reach at all of the interested parishes. The turn-out has been utterly incredible! There are parishioners from all walks of life who are hungry and excited to received knowledge regarding their Catholic faith.”

In a recent commentary, Dr. Troy Hinkel reflected on some exciting things happening in the Catholic Church in the United States.

To access Dr. Hinkel’s complete post, please visit:

Prayer and Perspective: Where Sin Abounds… (13 DEC 12)

Reflection Starter from Joseph Story

“Let the American youth never forget, that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings, and blood of their ancestors; and capacity, if wisely improved, and faithfully guarded, of transmitting to their latest posterity all the substantial blessings of life, the peaceful enjoyment of liberty, property, religion, and independence.” – Joseph Story (in Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833)

20 December 2012

Dives in Misericordia: “The Paschal Mystery” (8)

Chapter 5 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Paschal Mystery.” It continues as follows:

“8. The cross of Christ on Calvary is also a witness to the strength of evil against the very Son of God, against the one who, alone among all the sons of men, was by His nature absolutely innocent and free from sin, and whose coming into the world was untainted by the disobedience of Adam and the inheritance of original sin. And here, precisely in Him, in Christ, justice is done to sin at the price of His sacrifice, of His obedience ‘even to death.’81 He who was without sin, ‘God made him sin for our sake.’82 Justice is also brought to bear upon death, which from the beginning of man’s history had been allied to sin. Death has justice done to it at the price of the death of the one who was without sin and who alone was able – by means of his own death – to inflict death upon death.83 In this way the cross of Christ, on which the Son, consubstantial with the Father, renders full justice to God, is also a radical revelation of mercy, or rather of the love that goes against what constitutes the very root of evil in the history of man: against sin and death.”

81. Philippians 2:8.
82. 2 Corinthians 5:21.
83. Cf. 1 Corinthians 15:54-55.


To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, For the beauty of the various shades of reflected sunlight off clouds at sunrise and sunset.

Christopher Closeup Offers Reflections on “The Hobbit”

“The new film ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ (opening Dec. 14) has got action and adventure galore, just like ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy that preceded it. But the director and actors who worked on the movie are well aware of the deeper themes that lie at the heart of the work of J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973), who authored all the original books, published between 1937 and 1955.

“At a recent press conference about the film in New York City, Richard Armitage, who portrays the Dwarf warrior Thorin Oakenshield, said, ‘One of the things I find when I look into that book [The Hobbit] is a sense of Tolkien’s Catholicism, his Christianity – not necessarily in a denominational way, but in terms of his chivalric view of the world, his nobility which is expressed through kindness and mercy. It’s present in most of his characters and I find that inspiring.’”

In a recent commentary, Tony Rossi, of The Christophers, reflected on the Catholic themes that are present in the works of J. R. R. Tolkien.

To access the complete post, please visit:

Christopher Closeup: The Director and Stars of “The Hobbit” Share Thoughts on Bravery, Mercy and Tolkien’s Christianity (10 DEC 12)

Reflection Starter from Harry Truman

“A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.” – Harry Truman

19 December 2012

Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 31 in D major (“Hornsignal”)

It’s time for some classical music. This is a presentation of Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 31 in D major (“Hornsignal”), as played by the the Orchestra of St. Luke’s:

Connecticut Governor Asks Residents to Participate in Moment of Silence at 9:30 Friday Morning

Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy has issued a proclamation declaring Friday, 21 December, a “Day of Mourning” in the State of Connecticut and requesting that residents statewide participate in a moment of silence at 9:30 AM.  The Governor is also requesting houses of worship and government buildings, that have the capability, to ring bells 26 times during that moment in honor of each life that was taken at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“Let us all come together collectively to mourn the loss of far too many promising lives at Sandy Hook Elementary School,” Governor Malloy said in his proclamation.  “Though we will never know the full measure of sorrow experienced by these families, we can let them know that we stand with them during this difficult time.”

Governor Malloy has also written a letter to every governor in the United States, asking each state to consider joining the State of Connecticut on Friday during this time of reflection and mourning.

“Mourning this tragedy has extended beyond Newtown, beyond the borders of Connecticut, and has spread across the nation and the world,” Governor Malloy said as he issued these letters.  “On behalf of the State of Connecticut, we appreciate the letters and calls of support that have been delivered to our state and to the family members during their hour of need.”

To access a copy of his proclamation, please visit:

Governor Malloy: Official Statement Asking Residents to Participate in Moment of Silence Friday Morning

Dives in Misericordia: “The Paschal Mystery” (7, continued)

Chapter 5 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Paschal Mystery.” It continues as follows:

“7. . . . What else, then, does the cross of Christ say to us, the cross that in a sense is the final word of His messianic message and mission? And yet this is not yet the word of the God of the covenant: that will be pronounced at the dawn when first the women and then the Apostles come to the tomb of the crucified Christ, see the tomb empty and for the first time hear the message: ‘He is risen.’ They will repeat this message to the others and will be witnesses to the risen Christ. Yet, even in this glorification of the Son of God, the cross remains, that cross which-through all the messianic testimony of the Man the Son, who suffered death upon it – speaks and never ceases to speak of God the Father, who is absolutely faithful to His eternal love for man, since He ‘so loved the world’ – therefore man in the world – that ‘he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.’78 Believing in the crucified Son means ‘seeing the Father,’79 means believing that love is present in the world and that this love is more powerful than any kind of evil in which individuals, humanity, or the world are involved. Believing in this love means believing in mercy. For mercy is an indispensable dimension of love; it is as it were love’s second name and, at the same time, the specific manner in which love is revealed and effected vis-a-vis the reality of the evil that is in the world, affecting and besieging man, insinuating itself even into his heart and capable of causing him to ‘perish in Gehenna.’80

78. John 3:16.
79. Cf. John 14:9.
80. Matthew 10:28.


To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the beauty of the stars as they can be seen on a clear night.

Dr. DeMarco on Belief in the Afterlife

“It is commonly asserted, especially among atheists, that belief in an afterlife cools one’s enthusiasms for this life on earth.  This God-centered or theocentric view allegedly prevents human beings from truly being themselves and living up to their full potential.  As a consequence, they fail to appreciate fully the richness and rewards of this world.”

In a recent commentary, writer Donald DeMarco reflected on the Christian view of life and our heavenly goal and on how this belief helps Christians to embrace the challenges of this earthly life.

To access Dr. DeMarco’s complete post, please visit:

Crisis Magazine: Does Belief in the Afterlife Diminish Man? (11 DEC 12)

Reflection Starter from Confucius

“When we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.” – Confucius

18 December 2012

Sandy Hook Follow Up

As most of the students in Newton, CT, prepare to return to school today, Tuesday, after the Sandy Hook shooting tragedy, communities and school districts in this region and throughout the nation are evaluating their security operations.

Media reports:

CT: Newtown School Staff Prepared For Students' Return (Hartford Courant)

CT: School safety becomes top priority (New Britain Herald)

ME: Schools in Maine, state officials put renewed focus on security measures (Kennebec Journal)

ME: Region's school superintendents discuss responses to Sandy Hook school shooting (Morning Sentinel)

MA: Several school districts lock doors Monday, may become more common (Boston Globe)

MA: Schools tighten security (The Daily News of Newburyport)

NH: District to push security fixes (Nashua Telegraph)

NH: Seacoast schools examine security in wake of tragedy (Portsmouth Herald)

RI/CT: Schools brace for difficult day (Westerly Sun)

RI: Massacre has schools talking about security (Pawtucket Times)

VT/NH: Reassuring Parents Upper Valley Schools Are Safe (Valley News)

VT: In Burlington, a new sense of vulnerability (Burlington Free Press)

National: After shooting, cops take no-tolerance approach to copycat threats (CNN)

Related information:

NASP: Tips for School Administrators for Reinforcing School Safety

Police Magazine: 8 Ways To Make Your Campus Safer (14 DEC 12)

International Association of Chiefs of Police: Guide for Preventing and Responding to School Violence (2nd Edition)

Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Birds of Paradise

In a recently released video as part of its Birds-of-Paradise Project, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology offered a brief look at these birds (found mostly in New Guinea).

To access this video, please visit:

Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Birds-of-Paradise Project

Dives in Misericordia: “The Paschal Mystery” (7, continued)

Chapter 5 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Paschal Mystery.” It continues as follows:

“7. . . . The cross of Christ on Calvary stands beside the path of that admirable commercium, of that wonderful self-communication of God to man, which also includes the call to man to share in the divine life by giving himself, and with himself the whole visible world, to God, and like an adopted son to become a sharer in the truth and love which is in God and proceeds from God. It is precisely beside the path of man's eternal election to the dignity of being an adopted child of God that there stands in history the cross of Christ, the only - begotten Son, who, as ‘light from light, true God from true God,’77 came to give the final witness to the wonderful covenant of God with humanity, of God with man – every human being This covenant, as old as man – it goes back to the very mystery of creation – and afterwards many times renewed with one single chosen people, is equally the new and definitive covenant, which was established there on Calvary, and is not limited to a single people, to Israel, but is open to each and every individual.”

77. The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.


To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank You, Lord, for being our Light and for the many ways You shine Your light in our lives.

Simcha Fisher on the Light We Need

“We don’t celebrate Hanukkah every year.  But this year, my gentile husband and I both agreed, almost without discussion, that we would.  We keep it simple.  After we light the candles on the advent wreath, and pray and sing, we borrow the flame and light the shamash candle and then the rest of the candles for the rest of the days of Hanukkah.  The wreath on the table burns, and the menorah burns on the windowsill, their light doubled and tripled in the insulating glass.”

In a recent commentary, writer Simcha Fisher reflected on the light offered by candles in on the Advent wreath and the light offered by the candles on the menorah.

To access her complete reflection, please visit:

NC Register: Blog: More Light (11 DEC 12)

Reflection Starter from Fr. Brian Cavanaugh

“Even though God is the wind beneath your wings, you still have to do a lot of flapping.” – Father Brian Cavanaugh, TOR