30 June 2012

Sha Na Na: “Remember Then”

It’s time for some Sha Na Na, singing “Remember Then” (with Johnny Contardo singing lead):

Old Grist Mill Tavern Fire

On Sunday, 24 June, the Old Grist Mill Tavern, 390 Fall River Avenue, Seekonk, MA, was destroyed by an explosion and fire.

The blaze was triggered when a tractor trailer truck carrying bananas went out of control while heading west on Fall River Avenue. The truck then crashed into the restaurant and started a fire.

The Seekonk Fire Department was assisted by companies from Rehoboth and Swansea, MA, and Barrington, East Providence, and Pawtucket, RI.

Built in 1745, the original structure was a mill established to grind the grain being raised by farmers in the area.

Media reports:

Providence Journal: Grist Mill restaurant in Seekonk destroyed by blaze (24 JUN 12)

WPRI-TV: Truck fire destroys Old Grist Mill (24 JUN 12)

WJAR-TV: Fire destroys Old Grist Mill in Seekonk (24 JUN 12)

WPRI-TV: Neighbors sad at loss of Old Grist Mill (25 JUN 12)

Seekonk Star: Fire engulfs landmark Grist Mill Tavern in Seekonk (25 JUN 12)

The Sun Chronicle: 'It's unacceptable': Officials questioning gas company's response to Seekonk Grist Mill fire (26 JUN 12)

WPRI-TV: Grist Mill fire prompts roadway review (26 JUN 12)

Attleboro Seekonk Patch: Timelines Differ on Grist Mill Fire (29 JUN 12)

Pawtucket Times: Truck fire destroys historic Grist Mill Tavern in Seekonk

Seekonk Star: Photo Gallery: Old Grist Mill Tavern fire aftermath

Pawtucket Times: Grist Mill Fire Slideshow

WCVB-TV: Photos: Historic restaurant destroyed

Background information:

Seekonk Fire Department

Town of Seekonk

Wikipedia: Seekonk, Massachusetts

Old Gristmill Tavern

Google Map: 390 Fall River Avenue, Seekonk, Massachusetts

WPRI-TV: 1958 Old Grist Mill Tavern Fire

USGS: Sea Level Rise Accelerating in U.S. Atlantic Coast

Rates of sea level rise are increasing three-to-four times faster along portions of the U.S. Atlantic Coast than globally, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) report published in Nature Climate Change.

Since about 1990, sea-level rise in the 600-mile stretch of coastal zone from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, to north of Boston, Massachusetts, – coined a “hotspot” by scientists – has increased 2 - 3.7 millimeters per year; the global increase over the same period was 0.6 - 1.0 millimeter per year.

Based on data and analyses included in the report, if global temperatures continue to rise, rates of sea level rise in this area are expected to continue increasing.

The report shows that the sea-level rise hotspot is consistent with the slowing of Atlantic Ocean circulation. Models show this change in circulation may be tied to changes in water temperature, salinity and density in the subpolar north Atlantic.

“Many people mistakenly think that the rate of sea level rise is the same everywhere as glaciers and ice caps melt, increasing the volume of ocean water, but other effects can be as large or larger than the so-called ‘eustatic’ rise,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt in a prepared statement. “As demonstrated in this study, regional oceanographic contributions must be taken into account in planning for what happens to coastal property.”

Although global sea level has been projected to rise roughly two-to-three feet or more by the end of the 21st century, it will not climb at the same rate at every location. Differences in land movements, strength of ocean currents, water temperatures, and salinity can cause regional and local highs and lows in sea level.

“Cities in the hotspot, like Norfolk, New York, and Boston already experience damaging floods during relatively low intensity storms,” said Dr. Asbury (Abby) Sallenger, USGS oceanographer and project lead, in a prepared statement. “Ongoing accelerated sea level rise in the hotspot will make coastal cities and surrounding areas increasingly vulnerable to flooding by adding to the height that storm surge and breaking waves reach on the coast.”

During the 21st century, the increases in sea level rise rate that have already occurred in the hotspot are projected to yield increases in sea level of 8 to 11.4 inches by 2100. This regional sea level increase would be in addition to components of global sea level rise.

To determine accelerations of sea level, USGS scientists analyzed tide gauge data throughout much of North America in a way that removed long-term (linear) trends associated with vertical land movements. This allowed them to focus on recent changes in rates of sea-level rise caused, for example, by changes in ocean circulation.

To access the complete report, please visit:

Nature Climate Change: Hotspot of accelerated sea-level rise on the Atlantic coast of North America (24 June 2012)

Media reports:

Science News: East Coast faces faster sea level rise (24 JUN 12)

New Scientist: Fast-rising sea levels hit Atlantic coast hardest (24 JUN 12)

CBS Evening News: Fast-rising sea levels hit Atlantic coast hardest (29 JUN 12)

Background information:

U.S. Geological Survey

Lumen Gentium: The Mystery of the Church (20, continued)

Chapter III of Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, is entitled “On the Hierarchical Structure of the Church and in Particular of the Episcopate.” It continues as follows:

“20. . . . Bishops, therefore, with their helpers, the priests and deacons, have taken up the service of the community, (11*) presiding in place of God over the flock,(12*) whose shepherds they are, as teachers for doctrine, priests for sacred worship, and ministers for governing.(13*) And just as the office granted individually to Peter, the first among the apostles, is permanent and is to be transmitted to his successors, so also the apostles' office of nurturing the Church is permanent, and is to be exercised without interruption by the sacred order of bishops. (14*) Therefore, the Sacred Council teaches that bishops by divine institution have succeeded to the place of the apostles, (15*) as shepherds of the Church, and he who hears them, hears Christ, and he who rejects them, rejects Christ and Him who sent Christ.(149)(16*)”

(149) Cf. Luke 10:16.

(11*) S. Ign. M., Philad., Praef.; ed. Funk, I, p. 264.

(12*) S. Ign. M., Philad., 1, 1; Magn. 6, 1; Ed. Funk, I, pp. 264 et 234.

(13*) S. Clem. Rom., 1. c., 42, 3-4, 44, 3-4; 57, 1-2; Ed. Funk. I, 152, 156, 171 s. S. Ign. M., Philad. 2; Smyrn. 8; Magn. 3; Trall. 7; Ed. Funk, I, p. 265 s.; 282; 232 246 s. etc.; S. Iustinus, Apol., 1, 6S G 6, 428; S. Cyprianus, Epist. assim.

(14*) Cfr. Leo XIII, Epist. Encycl. Satis cognitum, 29 iun. 896: ASS 28 (1895-96) p. 732.

(15*) Cfr. Conc. Trid., Sess. 23, ecr. de sacr. Ordinis, cap. 4; enz. 960 (1768); Conc. Vat. I, ess. 4 Const. Dogm. I De Ecclesia Christi, cap. 3: Denz. 1828 (3061). Pius XII, Litt. Encycl. Mystici Cororis, 29 iun. 1943: ASS 35 (1943) p. 209 et 212. Cod. Iur. Can., c. 29 1.

(16*) Cfr. Leo XIII, Epist. Et sane, 17 dec. 1888: ASS 21 (1888) p. 321 s.


To access the complete document, please visit:

Dogmatic Constitution on the Church - Lumen Gentium

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for those who minister to senior citizens.

On Human Trafficking and Politics

“Some problems are more important than politics. Human trafficking should be one of them. As Secretary of State Clinton has said, ‘If this issue doesn’t demand zealous advocacy, it’s hard to figure out what does.’

“In fact, just this week, a new State Department report estimates that some 21 million people around the world are victimized by the horrific practice.

“‘Despite the adoption of treaties and laws prohibiting slavery, the evidence nevertheless shows that many men, women and children continue to live in modern-day slavery through the scourge of trafficking in persons,’ wrote Clinton in her introduction to the report.

“All the more surprising, then, that the Obama administration has blocked funding to a highly effective service provider to trafficking victims just because it does not provide abortion-related services.”

In a recent commentary in the New York Daily News, Steve Wagner (president of the Renewal Forum and former director of the human trafficking program at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) and Kim Daniels (coordinator of Catholic Voices USA) reflected on the blocking of Federal funding for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services which has previously played a major role in the efforts against human trafficking.

To access the complete editorial, please visit:

New York Daily News: Commentary: Modern-day slaves, hostage to abortion (24 JUN 12)

Background information:

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Migration and Refugee Services

Renewal Forum

Catholic Voices USA

Reflection Starter from Henry Ward Beecher

“A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs – jolted by every possible pebble on the road.” – Henry Ward Beecher

29 June 2012

“The Church's One Foundation”

As our celebration of the Solemnity of Saint Peter and Saint Paul continues, I offer this version of the hymn, “The Church's One Foundation”:

Education Trust Report: Working Conditions in High-Poverty Schools Important for Supporting Effective Teaching

In a study recently released by the Education Trust, authors Sarah Almy, director of teacher quality, and Melissa Tooley, a teacher quality data and policy analyst, have determined that conditions for teaching and learning are critical to teacher satisfaction, especially in struggling schools.

In this report, “Building and Sustaining Talent: Creating Conditions in High-Poverty Schools That Support Effective Teaching and Learning,” the authors report that, when it comes to teacher satisfaction at high-poverty, low-performing schools, the conditions for teaching and learning supersede all other factors, including student and salary issues. The report urges school districts to pair efforts to improve outdated, inadequate teacher evaluation systems with policy and culture changes that accompany them. The report also includes strategies some school districts employ to help schools most in need of talented teachers attract, nurture, and keep them once they are identified.

Media report:

Huffington Post: Education Trust Report Emphasizes Need For Culture, Policy Changes In High-Poverty, Low-Performing Public Schools (28 JUN 12)

To access a copy of the complete report, please visit:

Education Trust: Building and Sustaining Talent: Creating Conditions in High-Poverty Schools That Support Effective Teaching and Learning (June 2012)

Background information:

Education Trust

Solemnity of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Apostles

Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Apostles. The assigned readings are Acts 12:1-11; 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 17-18; and Matthew 16:13-19. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 34 (Psalm 34:2-9).

The Gospel reading is as follows:

When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”

They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Reflections on this feast day:

Catholic Digest: St. Peter and St. Paul, Apostles

American Catholic: Saint of the Day: Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul

Lumen Gentium: The Mystery of the Church (20)

Chapter III of Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, is entitled “On the Hierarchical Structure of the Church and in Particular of the Episcopate.” It continues as follows:

“20. That divine mission, entrusted by Christ to the apostles, will last until the end of the world,(147) since the Gospel they are to teach is for all time the source of all life for the Church. And for this reason the apostles, appointed as rulers in this society, took care to appoint successors.

“For they not only had helpers in their ministry,(4*) but also, in order that the mission assigned to them might continue after their death, they passed on to their immediate cooperators, as it were, in the form of a testament, the duty of confirming and finishing the work begun by themselves,(5*) recommending to them that they attend to the whole flock in which the Holy Spirit placed them to shepherd the Church of God.(148) They therefore appointed such men, and gave them the order that, when they should have died, other approved men would take up their ministry.(6*) Among those various ministries which, according to tradition, were exercised in the Church from the earliest times, the chief place belongs to the office of those who, appointed to the episcopate, by a succession running from the beginning,(7*) are passers-on of the apostolic seed.(8*) Thus, as St. Irenaeus testifies, through those who were appointed bishops by the apostles, and through their successors down in our own time, the apostolic tradition is manifested (9*) and preserved.(10*)”

(147) Cf. Matthew 28:20.

(148) Cf. Acts 20:28.

(4*) Cf. Act 6, 2-6; 11, 30; 13, 1, 14, 23; 20, 17; 1 Thessalonians 5, 12-13; Philippians 1, 1 Colossians 4, 11, et passim.

(5*) Cfr. Act. 20, 25-27; 2 Timothy 4, 6 s. coll. c. I Timothy 5, 22; 2 Timothy 2, 2 Titus 1, 5; S. Clem. Rom., Ad Corinthians 44, 3; ed. Funk, 1, p. 156.

(6*) S. Clem. Rom., ad Cor. 44, 2; ed. Funk, I, p. 154 s.

(7*) Cfr. Tertull., Praescr. Haer. 32; PL 2, 52 s.; S. Ignatius M., passim.

(8*) Cfr. Tertull., Praescr. Haer. 32; PL 2, 53.

(9*) Cfr. S. Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. III, 3, 1; PG 7, 848 A; Harvey 2, 8; Sagnard, p. 100 s.: manifestatam.

(10*) Cfr. S. Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. III, 2, 2; PG 7, 847; Harvey 2, 7; Sagnard, p. 100: . custoditur ,., cfr. ib. IV, 26, 2; col. 1O53, Harvey 2, 236, necnon IV, 33, 8; col. 1077; Harvey 2, 262.


To access the complete document, please visit:

Dogmatic Constitution on the Church - Lumen Gentium

Thank You, Lord

Thank You, Lord, for the gift of ice cream.

Tom Hoopes on Confession

In a recent commentary, Tom Hoopes (writer in residence at Benedictine College, Atchison, Kansas) offered a reflection of the importance of confession.

To access his complete essay, please visit:

The Gregorian Blog: Seven Reasons to Return to Confession (23 JUN 12)

Reflection Starter from Saint Thomas Aquinas

“If, then, you are looking for the way by which you should go, take Christ, because He Himself is the way.'” – Saint Thomas Aquinas

28 June 2012

Long Island Sound Mapping Project

Researchers and students from the University of Connecticut, the University of Rhode Island, Wesleyan University, Stony Brook University, Columbia University and the City University of New York will be working with colleagues from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Connecticut and New York Sea Grant College Programs, the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Regions 1 and 2), and other partners to map Long Island Sound, the largest estuary in the Northeast.

The funding has been awarded to the Long Island Sound Mapping and Research Collaborative (LISMaRC), a partnership among the University of Connecticut, the University of New Haven, the University of Rhode Island, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

This multiyear project is designed to create comprehensive biological and geological maps of the Sound, including seafloor characteristics, water currents, and wildlife habitat.

The support for this project comes from a settlement fund established in 2004 after a conflict among utility companies and state governments over the placement and repair of the Cross-Sound Cable, a series of underwater electrical cables linking Connecticut and Long Island.

Media reports:

The Day: Long Island Sound will get closer look from scientists (16 JUN 12)

New Haven Register: Project to map what lies beneath Long Island Sound (16 JUN 12)

Background information:

Northeast Underwater Research Technology & Education Center

Marine Sciences Program, Avery Point Campus, University of Connecticut

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection: Environmental Quality and Conservation

U.S. Geological Survey

Long Island Sound Study

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Long Island Sound Resource Center

Connecticut Sea Grant College Program

Lumen Gentium: The Mystery of the Church (19)

Chapter III of Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, is entitled “On the Hierarchical Structure of the Church and in Particular of the Episcopate.” It continues as follows:

“19. The Lord Jesus, after praying to the Father, calling to Himself those whom He desired, appointed twelve to be with Him, and whom He would send to preach the Kingdom of God;(137) and these apostles(138) He formed after the manner of a college or a stable group, over which He placed Peter chosen from among them.(139) He sent them first to the children of Israel and then to all nations,(140) so that as sharers in His power they might make all peoples His disciples, and sanctify and govern them,(141) and thus spread His Church, and by ministering to it under the guidance of the Lord, direct it all days even to the consummation of the world.(142) And in this mission they were fully confirmed on the day of Pentecost(143) in accordance with the Lord's promise: "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you shall be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and in Samaria, and even to the very ends of the earth".(144) And the apostles, by preaching the Gospel everywhere,(145) and it being accepted by their hearers under the influence of the Holy Spirit, gather together the universal Church, which the Lord established on the apostles and built upon blessed Peter, their chief, Christ Jesus Himself being the supreme cornerstone.(146)(3*)”

(137) Mar 3:13-19; Matthew 10:1-42.

(138) Cf Luke 6:13.

(139) Cf. John 21:15-17.

(140) Romans 1:16.

(141) Cf. Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:45-48; John 20:21-23.

(142) Cf. Matthew 28:20.

(143) Cf. Acts 2:1-26.

(144) Acts 1.8.

(145) Cf. Mark 16:20.

(146) Cf. Revelation 21:14; Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 2:20.

(3*) Cfr. Liber sacramentorum S. Gregorii, Praefatio in Cathedra S. Petri, in natali S. Mathiae et S. Thomas: PL 78, 50, 51 et 152. S. Hilarius, In Ps. 67, 10: PL 9, 4S0; CSEL 22, p. 286. S.Hieronymus, Adv. Iovin. 1, 26: PL 23, 247 A. S. Augustinus, In Ps. 86, 4: PL 37, 1103. S. Gregorius M., Mor. in lob, XXVIII, V: PL 76, 455-456. Primasius, Comm. in Apoc. V: PL 68, 924 BC. Paschasius Radb., In Matth. L. VIII, cap. 16: PL 120, 561 C. Cfr. Leo XIII, Epist. Et sane, 17 dec. 1888: AAS 21 (1888) p. 321.


To access the complete document, please visit:

Dogmatic Constitution on the Church - Lumen Gentium

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many words of encouragement that have been given to us by family members, friends, clergy and religious brothers and sisters, teachers, work associates, and others.

On Ways to Stifle Our Faith

“The conversion process gives us some much-needed time in the spiritual desert to really figure things out - the following list is intended to illustrate what I feel are the most effective ways to entirely sap your spiritual life as a Catholic utterly dry, or at the very least, put a brutal dent in it.  If you want your spiritual life to grow, avoid the following.”

In a recent commentary, blogger Jason L. reflected on a number of ways in which we can stifle our spiritual growth. These ways include focusing on everyone else’s spiritual life but our own and doing the bare minimum that is required of us.

To access Jason’s complete post, please visit:

Ascending Mount Carmel: Top 10 Ways to Kill Your Faith (20 JUN 12)

Reflection Starter from Sidney Madwed

“The finest gift you can give anyone is encouragement. Yet, almost no one gets the encouragement they need to grow to their full potential. If everyone received the encouragement they need to grow, the genius in most everyone would blossom and the world would produce abundance beyond our wildest dreams.” - Sidney Madwed

27 June 2012

CPSC Special Study on Fireworks Incidents Finds Hundreds of Injuries a Day Surrounding July 4 Holiday Festivities

A special study conducted by U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission staff found that 65 percent of all fireworks injuries in 2011 were sustained during the 30 days surrounding the Independence Day holiday. More than half of these injuries were the result of unexpected ignition of the device or consumers not using fireworks as intended. Fireworks injuries most often resulted in burns to the hands and head, including the eyes, face, and ears. According to the special study, sparklers, firecrackers, and aerial devices were associated with the most incidents.

In addition, CPSC received reports of four consumers who were killed by either professional-grade or homemade firework devices during 2011, while an estimated 9,600 consumers were injured.

While the majority of fireworks injury reports involve emergency room treatment and release, CPSC is aware of more severe and fatal injuries that are associated with consumer use of professional-grade and homemade fireworks. Reports of faster-than-expected explosions and unpredictable flight paths of aerial devices have resulted in tragic consequences for some consumers.
In the four reported fireworks-related deaths, the victims were killed when the illegal devices exploded, causing severe trauma to the head and face, and resulting in decapitation in one incident. In other incidents involving professional-grade or homemade devices, the victims reportedly sustained severe burns and the loss of fingers.

CPSC is urging consumers who decide to purchase legal fireworks to take these safety steps:

  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks. Parents may not realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees-hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Always have an adult closely supervise fireworks activities if older children are allowed to handle devices.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.

To access a copy of this study, please visit:

CPSC: 2011 Fireworks Annual Report (June 2012)

Background information:

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Lumen Gentium: The Mystery of the Church (18)

Chapter III of Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, is entitled “On the Hierarchical Structure of the Church and in Particular of the Episcopate.” It begins as follows:

“18. For the nurturing and constant growth of the People of God, Christ the Lord instituted in His Church a variety of ministries, which work for the good of the whole body. For those ministers, who are endowed with sacred power, serve their brethren, so that all who are of the People of God, and therefore enjoy a true Christian dignity, working toward a common goal freely and in an orderly way, may arrive at salvation.

“This Sacred Council, following closely in the footsteps of the First Vatican Council, with that Council teaches and declares that Jesus Christ, the eternal Shepherd, established His holy Church, having sent forth the apostles as He Himself had been sent by the Father;(136) and He willed that their successors, namely the bishops, should be shepherds in His Church even to the consummation of the world. And in order that the episcopate itself might be one and undivided, He placed Blessed Peter over the other apostles, and instituted in him a permanent and visible source and foundation of unity of faith and communion.(1*) And all this teaching about the institution, the perpetuity, the meaning and reason for the sacred primacy of the Roman Pontiff and of his infallible magisterium, this Sacred Council again proposes to be firmly believed by all the faithful. Continuing in that same undertaking, this Council is resolved to declare and proclaim before all men the doctrine concerning bishops, the successors of the apostles, who together with the successor of Peter, the Vicar of Christ,(2*) the visible Head of the whole Church, govern the house of the living God.”

(136) John 20:21.

(1*) Cfr. Conc. Vat. I, Sess. IV, Const. Dogm. Pastor aeternus. Denz. 1821 (3050 s.).

(2*) Cfr. Conc. Flor., Decretum pro Graecis: Denz. 694 (1307) et Conc. Vat. I, ib.: Denz. 1826 (3059)


To access the complete document, please visit:

Dogmatic Constitution on the Church - Lumen Gentium

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the beauty and fragrance of the great variety of wildflowers You have created.

On Music and Connecting to God

“A while back I mentioned to an atheist acquaintance that I’d cried at Mass that morning. I explained that it was one of those times when I felt overwhelmed with the presence of God; I was so perfectly at peace, so surrounded by love, that I couldn’t help but be moved to tears.”

In a recent commentary, writer Jennifer Fulwiler reflected on the connecting to God through music.

To access her complete post, please visit:

Jennifer Fulwiler: How Music Led Me to God (22 JUN 12)

Reflection Starter from William Barclay

“One of the highest of human duties is the duty of encouragement. . . . It is easy to laugh at men’s ideals; it is easy to pour cold water on their enthusiasm; it is easy to discourage others. The world is full of discouragers. We have a Christian duty to encourage one another. Many a time a word of praise or thanks or appreciation or cheer has kept a man on his feet. Blessed is the man who speaks such a word.” – William Barclay

26 June 2012

Portland, ME: Pouring on the Pounds Campaign

The City of Portland, ME, has initiated a obesity prevention public information campaign, “Pouring on the Pounds,” designed to educate the public of the health risks associated with consuming sugar sweetened beverages.

As part of this initiative, signs were installed at mile markers 1, 2, and 3 along the City’s Back Cove Trail in order to help runners and walkers keep track of more than just the distance they have traveled. Back Cove trekkers are now able to see the calorie equivalent of how much soda they have burned off while walking or running the trail. Walking three miles burns enough calories to equal the consumption of a twenty ounce bottle of soda.

The “Pouring on the Pounds” campaign also includes public service announcements designed to inform the public that a twenty ounce sugar sweetened beverage is equal to sixteen packets of sugar and that the extra calories from drinking these beverages increase the risks of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. The announcements are featured on buses, local newspapers, and television.

Maine is the most obese state in New England with one out of every three children in the state and fifty-eight percent of all adults in Cumberland County either overweight or obese. Two years ago, the city received $1.8 million to implement strategies to prevent obesity from a Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant. The grant is administered by Healthy Portland, a local Healthy Maine Partnership and program of the City of Portland’s Health and Human Services Department. Pouring on the Pounds is one of the public health strategies developed to encourage active living and healthy eating.

Media report:

MPBN: Pouring on the Pounds Campaign Takes Aim at Obesity in Portland (11 MAY 12)

Background information:

Healthy Portland

CDC: Communities Putting Prevention to Work

Healthy Maine Partnerships

Portland Health & Human Services Department

City of Portland

Wikipedia: Portland, Maine

NFPA: Use of Consumer Fireworks Dramatically Increases Risk of Fire and Injury

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) released its 2012 Fireworks report, an initiative that explores fire and injury dangers related to consumer fireworks. The report shows that in 2010 alone, an estimated 15,500 reported fires were started by fireworks and 8,600 fireworks-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms.  It also shows that there are more fires on a typical Fourth of July than any other day of the year. Fireworks account for two out of five of those fires, more than any other cause of fires.

The Fireworks report outlines specific statistics regarding how the use of consumer fireworks relates to fire danger including:

  • In 2010, fireworks caused an estimated 15,500 reported fires, including 1,100 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 14,100 outside and other fires.
  • These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported deaths, 60 civilian injuries and $36 million in direct property damage.
  • The risk of fireworks injury was highest for children ages 5-14 with more than twice the risk for the general population.
  • Sparklers and novelties alone accounted for 38 percent of the 8,600 emergency room fireworks injuries in 2010.

To access the complete report, please visit:

NFPA: Fireworks (June 2012)

Background information:

YouTube: Demonstrating the Dangers of Consumer Fireworks (demonstration at the Massachusetts Fire Academy in Stow, MA)

National Fire Protection Association

Saint Josemaría Escrivá

Today the Church celebrates the memory of Saint Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, founder of Opus Dei, a lay movement through which Catholics are encouraged to sanctify themselves through their (secular) work.

Previous post:

Lop Notes: Saint Josemaria Escriva (26 JUN 10)

For information on St. Josemaría’s writings, please visit:

Studium Foundation: Opus Dei - writings of the founder

Lumen Gentium: The Mystery of the Church (17)

Chapter II of Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, is entitled “On the People of God.” It continues as follows:

“17. As the Son was sent by the Father,(131) so He too sent the Apostles, saying: "Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And behold I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world".(132) The Church has received this solemn mandate of Christ to proclaim the saving truth from the apostles and must carry it out to the very ends of the earth.(133) Wherefore she makes the words of the Apostle her own: "Woe to me, if I do not preach the Gospel",(134) and continues unceasingly to send heralds of the Gospel until such time as the infant churches are fully established and can themselves continue the work of evangelizing. For the Church is compelled by the Holy Spirit to do her part that God's plan may be fully realized, whereby He has constituted Christ as the source of salvation for the whole world. By the proclamation of the Gospel she prepares her hearers to receive and profess the faith. She gives them the dispositions necessary for baptism, snatches them from the slavery of error and of idols and incorporates them in Christ so that through charity they may grow up into full maturity in Christ. Through her work, whatever good is in the minds and hearts of men, whatever good lies latent in the religious practices and cultures of diverse peoples, is not only saved from destruction but is also cleansed, raised up and perfected unto the glory of God, the confusion of the devil and the happiness of man. The obligation of spreading the faith is imposed on every disciple of Christ, according to his state.(21*) Although, however, all the faithful can baptize, the priest alone can complete the building up of the Body in the eucharistic sacrifice. Thus are fulfilled the words of God, spoken through His prophet: "From the rising of the sun until the going down thereof my name is great among the gentiles, and in every place a clean oblation is sacrificed and offered up in my name".(135)(22*) In this way the Church both prays and labors in order that the entire world may become the People of God, the Body of the Lord and the Temple of the Holy Spirit, and that in Christ, the Head of all, all honor and glory may be rendered to the Creator and Father of the Universe.”

(131) Cf. John 20:21.

(132) Matthew 2:18-20.

(133) Cf. Acts 1:8.

(134) I Corinthians 9:16.

(135) Malachi 1:1

(21*) Cfr. Benedictus XV, Epist. Apost. Maximum illud: AAS 11 (1919) p. 440, praesertim p. 451 ss. Pius XI, Litt. Encycl. Rerum Ecclesiae: AAS 18 (1926) p. 68-69. Pius XII, Litt. Encycl. Fidei Donum, 21 apr. 1957: AAS 49 (1957) pp. 236-237.

(22*) Cfr. Didache, 14: ed. Funk I, p. 32. S. Iustinus, Dial. 41: PG 6, 564. S. Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. IV 17, 5; PG 7, 1023; Harvey, 2, p. 199 s. Conc. Trid., Sess. 22, cap. 1; Denz. 939 (1742).


To access the complete document, please visit:

Dogmatic Constitution on the Church - Lumen Gentium

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for opportunities disguised as challenges or as questions.

On the State of Contemporary Catholic Art and Literature

“Listers, think of all your favorite Catholic authors (Chesterton, Tolkien, O’Connor, Percy, Greene, Powers). Besides being Catholic, what other common similarity do they all share? The answer is: They’re all dead! (God rest them). Now try to think of just one famous Catholic fiction writer who you absolutely love, who you know will make an indelible mark on the history of literature in the 21st century, and who is still alive today. If you are like me, you really have strain to name one off the top of your head. I am sure there are several famous authors who happen to be Catholic, but their personal religious ideals and perceptions are not entirely made known in their writings. However, there are other writers who try to write beautiful stories but can’t get published, promoted, or recognized by the secular or many Catholic media outlets because they are too ‘religious’ and are, therefore, too ‘unrealistic.’ Somehow ‘religious’ has become a synonym for ‘unrealistic,’ but as Catholics we know that is certainly not the case. Our religion is our reality. So, when a Catholic writer wants to write what they know and they want to write about the reality of being a Catholic, they are then told by everyone else that their reality is not ‘real’ enough. If that is not discouraging, then I don’t know what is.”

In a recent commentary, JE Foyer reflected on why the Catholic community should be concerned about the lack of good contemporary Catholic literature and art.

To access her complete post, please visit:

Saint Peter's List: The Crisis of Contemporary Catholic Art and Literature: 4 Reasons Why You Should Care (22 JUN 12)

Reflection Starter from Saint Josemaría Escrivá

“Before God, no occupation is in itself great or small. Everything gains the value of the Love with which it is done.” – Saint Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer

25 June 2012

Lightning Safety Awareness Week

This week, 24-30 June, is being observed as Lightning Safety Awareness Week. Its theme is “When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!”


Summer is the peak season for what is considered one of the nation’s deadliest weather phenomena – lightning. However, lightning strikes year round. In the United States, an average of 55 people are killed each year by lightning. To date, there has been 5 deaths in 2011.

In addition, hundreds of people are permanently injured each year.  People struck by lightning suffer from a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms, including (but not limited to) memory loss, attention deficits, sleep disorders, chronic pain, numbness, dizziness, stiffness in joints, irritability, fatigue, weakness, muscle spasms, and depression.

For more information related to lightning safety, please visit:

National Weather Service: Lightning Safety

Lumen Gentium: The Mystery of the Church (16)

Chapter II of Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, is entitled “On the People of God.” It continues as follows:

“16. Finally, those who have not yet received the Gospel are related in various ways to the people of God.(18*) In the first place we must recall the people to whom the testament and the promises were given and from whom Christ was born according to the flesh.(125) On account of their fathers this people remains most dear to God, for God does not repent of the gifts He makes nor of the calls He issues.(126) But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Mohammedans, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind. Nor is God far distant from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, for it is He who gives to all men life and breath and all things,(127) and as Savior wills that all men be saved.(128) Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience.(19*) Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life. Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel.(20*) She knows that it is given by Him who enlightens all men so that they may finally have life. But often men, deceived by the Evil One, have become vain in their reasonings and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator.(129) Or some there are who, living and dying in this world without God, are exposed to final despair. Wherefore to promote the glory of God and procure the salvation of all of these, and mindful of the command of the Lord, "Preach the Gospel to every creature",(130) the Church fosters the missions with care and attention.”

(125) Cf. Romans 9:4-5

(126) Cf. Romans 1 l:28-29.

(127) Cf. Acts 17:25-28.

(128) Cf. 1 Timothy 2:4.

(129) Cf. Romans 1:21, 25.

(130) Mark 16:16.

(18*) Cf. S. Thomas, Summa Theol. III, q. 8, a. 3, ad 1.

(19*) Cfr. Epist. S.S.C.S. Officii ad Archiep. Boston.: Denz. 3869-72.

(20*) Cfr. Eusebius Caes., Praeparatio Evangelica, 1, 1: PG 2128 AB.


To access the complete document, please visit:

Dogmatic Constitution on the Church - Lumen Gentium

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of church bells.

World Refugee Day 2012

Last Wednesday, 20 June, was observed as World Refugee Day. This observance was established by the United Nations to honor the courage, strength, and determination of women, men, and children who are forced to flee their homes under threat of persecution, conflict, and/or violence. This year’s theme is “Refugees have no choice. You do.”

Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, issued a statement in commemoration of the United Nation’s World Refugee Day.

In his statement, Archbishop Gomez offered prayers for the end of turmoil and violence in Syria, which has generated an outflow of tens of thousands of refugees during the past year. He also expressed solidarity with Iraqis, particularly those fleeing religious persecution, who remain outside of Iraq for fear of persecution.

He also urged the United States to remain a leader in providing assistance to refugees, especially during a time of unrest in the Middle East.

Archbishop Gomez’s statement, issued on 20 June, is as follows:

“This week we celebrate World Refugee Day, a day set aside to focus attention on the world’s 12 million refugees.

“Today, many nationalities are among the world’s refugee population because of unrest and violence in their homelands – Congolese fleeing their war-torn nation; Rohingya Burmese fleeing persecution from their government; Colombians fleeing guerilla groups; Iraqis fleeing war and an unstable security environment in their homeland; and now Syrians fleeing internal strife. The global community, including the United States, must continue to respond to their dire conditions.

“Another refugee crisis is emerging – Syrians fleeing turmoil and violence. The countries of Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey are to be commended for receiving these refugees. I urge the United States and the world community to assist them. We pray that the fighting in Syria ends.

“My brother bishops and I remain troubled by the plight of Iraqis who have fled their country because of religious persecution, and urge our government to assist the Iraqi government in protecting them and other Iraqis who live in fear of persecution.

“The Catholic Church in the United States does respond to the plight of the world’s refugees, in answer to the call of the Gospel to welcome the stranger. Migration and Refugee Services of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, assisted by diocesan Catholic Charities offices around the nation, resettles as many as 20,000 refugees a year in the United States.The Catholic Church in the United States, through these agencies, represents the largest private refugee resettlement organization in the world. Catholic Relief Services (CRS) provides support to refugee populations overseas. We help refugees of all religious traditions.

“I urge the U.S. government to continue to work with us to assist refugees. In the last two years, we have witnessed a decrease in the number of refugees being served by our U.S. refugee program. This is in part because of additional security processes, but also because of a lack of political will. As a result, Iraqis already accepted for the U.S. program – women and children particularly – and other at-risk populations remain in danger.

“At the time of an increase in the number of refugees in the world – due to recent crises in Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Syria – our nation must not pull back from its historic commitment to the protection of refugees.

“In the Gospel of Matthew (2:13-23), Jesus and the Holy Family flee into Egypt from the terror of Herod. Christ instructs us in Matthew (25:35-41) to ‘welcome the stranger,’ and reminds us ‘what you do unto the least of these, you do unto me.’

“In the face of the refugee, we see the face of Christ. As we celebrate World Refugee Day, let us continue to welcome the refugee into our hearts and homes.”

Background information:

United Nations: World Refugee Day, 20 June

USCCB Migration and Refugee Service: Fact Sheet on Refugee Services

USA for UNHCR: World Refugee Day 2012

United States Association for UNHCR

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Reflection Starter from Saint Thomas More

“Aesop says in a fable that everyone carries a double wallet on his shoulders, and into the one that hangs at his breast he puts other folk’s faults and he looks and pores over it often. In the other he puts all his own and swings it at his back, which he never likes to look in, although others that come behind him cast an eye into it sometimes.” – Saint Thomas More

24 June 2012

Blest and Broken: “There Is a Longing”

As our Sunday celebration continues, I offer this version of Blest and Broken singing Anne Quigley’s “There Is a Longing”:

Fire Heavily Damages Former Bridgeport, CT, Factory

The former Nest Arts Factory building, 512 Hancock Avenue, Bridgeport, CT, and a second connected building were heavily damaged in a fire early in the evening of Thursday, 21 June.

The initial alarm was transmitted shortly after 1915 hours. Two firefighters were injured during the battle with the blaze.

The factory building is located within the city’s Railroad Avenue Industrial District.

Media report:

Connecticut Post: Heat, smoke fell firefighters at blaze (22 JUN 12)

WFSB-TV: Crews remain on scene of massive warehouse fire in Bridgeport (21 JUN 12)

WTNH-TV: Bridgeport warehouse fire shuts down trains (21 JUN 12)

Connecticut Post: Vacant factory still burning Friday night (23 JUN 12)

Connecticut Post: Fire finally out at Bridgeport factory building (24 JUN 12)

Background information:

Bridgeport Fire Department

Facebook: Bridgeport, CT Fire Department

City of Bridgeport

Wikipedia: Bridgeport, Connecticut

National Register of Historic Places: Railroad Avenue Industrial District, Bridgeport, CT

Hearst Connecticut Media Group: Before the fire: NEST Arts Factory (22 JUN 12)

Google Map: 512 Hancock Avenue, Bridgeport, CT

Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist

Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist. The assigned readings are Isaiah 49:1-6; Acts 13:22-26; and Luke 1:57-66, 80. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 139 (Psalm 139:1-3, 13-15).

The Gospel reading is as follows:

When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her. When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said in reply, “No. He will be called John.” But they answered her, “There is no one among your relatives who has this name.”

So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called. He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,” and all were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed,
and he spoke blessing God. Then fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea.

All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, “What, then, will this child be?” For surely the hand of the Lord was with him. The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the desert until the day of his manifestation to Israel.

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Nativity of John the Baptist (June 24, 2012)

Msgr. Charles Pope: You are John the Baptist! – A Meditation on the Solemnity of the Nativity of the St. John the Baptist (23 JUN 12)

The Deacon's Bench: Homily for June 24, 2012: Nativity of John the Baptist (23 JUN 12)

Crossroads Initiative: Birth of John the Baptist - St Augustine

Dr. Scott Hahn: He Must Increase (June 24th 2012 - Birth of John the Baptist)

St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology: John the Baptist: In the Spirit and Power of Elijah (22 JUN 12)

The Sacred Page: John the Baptist: In the Spirit and Power of Elijah (22 JUN 12)

Lumen Gentium: The Mystery of the Church (15)

Chapter II of Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, is entitled “On the People of God.” It continues as follows:

“15. The Church recognizes that in many ways she is linked with those who, being baptized, are honored with the name of Christian, though they do not profess the faith in its entirety or do not preserve unity of communion with the successor of Peter. (14*) For there are many who honor Sacred Scripture, taking it as a norm of belief and a pattern of life, and who show a sincere zeal. They lovingly believe in God the Father Almighty and in Christ, the Son of God and Savior. (15*) They are consecrated by baptism, in which they are united with Christ. They also recognize and accept other sacraments within their own Churches or ecclesiastical communities. Many of them rejoice in the episcopate, celebrate the Holy Eucharist and cultivate devotion toward the Virgin Mother of God.(16*) They also share with us in prayer and other spiritual benefits. Likewise we can say that in some real way they are joined with us in the Holy Spirit, for to them too He gives His gifts and graces whereby He is operative among them with His sanctifying power. Some indeed He has strengthened to the extent of the shedding of their blood. In all of Christ's disciples the Spirit arouses the desire to be peacefully united, in the manner determined by Christ, as one flock under one shepherd, and He prompts them to pursue this end. (17*) Mother Church never ceases to pray, hope and work that this may come about. She exhorts her children to purification and renewal so that the sign of Christ may shine more brightly over the face of the earth.”

(14*) Cfr. Leo XIII, Epist. Apost. Praeclara gratulationis, 20 iun. 1894; AAS 26 (1893-94) p. 707.

(15*) Cfr. Leo XIII, Epist. Encycl. Satis cognitum, 29 iun. 1896: ASS 28 (1895-96) p. 738. Epist. Encycl. Caritatis studium, 25 iul. 1898: ASS 31 (1898-99) p. 11. Pius XII, Nuntius radioph. Nell'alba, 24 dec. 1941: AAS 34 (1942) p. 21.

(16*) Cfr. Pius XI, Litt. Encycl. Rerum Orientalium, 8 sept. 1928: AAS 20 (1928) p. 287. Pius XII, Litt. Encycl Orientalis Ecclesiae, 9 apr. 1944: AAS 36 (1944) p. 137

(17*) Cfr. Inst. S.S.C.S. Officii 20 dec. 1949: AAS 42 (1950) p.142.


To access the complete document, please visit:

Dogmatic Constitution on the Church - Lumen Gentium

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of our conscience and the graces You give us to rightly form it.

Saint Thomas More

On Friday (22 June), the Church celebrated the memory of Saint Thomas More, patron saint of lawyers and of statesmen and politicians.

As is the case with those in public office during these times, Thomas More was faced with a number of ethical challenges to which he had to apply his conscience, a conscience deeply rooted in his Catholic faith. Eventually this would cost him his earthly life.

Related reflections and background information:

Pope John Paul II: Motu Proprio proclaiming Saint Thomas More Patron of Statesmen and Politicians (31 October 2000)

Catholic Education Resource Center: Robert H. Bork: Thomas More for Our Season

Standing on My Head: The Erosion of Freedom (22 JUN 12)

Catholic Online: Thomas More, Man for this Moment: Moral Coherence and Religious Freedom (23 JUN 12)

Apostles.com:St. Thomas More: What Politicians Can Learn From Thomas More

EWTN: St. Thomas More

Apostles,com: St. Thomas More: Description of Thomas More by Erasmus

Reflection Starter from Saint Thomas More

“The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.” – Saint Thomas More

23 June 2012

The Education of New England’s Workforce for the Future

A recent article in the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston publication, Communities & Banking, examined initiatives designed to train (or retrain) New England’s older workers as part of the process to make this region’s labor force more competitive for future needs of the region’s and the nation’s economy.

To access this Communities & Banking article, please visit:

Communities & Banking: Educating New England’s Workforce for the Future (Summer 2012)

Background information:

New England Public Policy Center Research Report: Mismatch in the Labor Market: Measuring the Supply of and Demand for Skilled Labor in New England (November 2010)

National College Transition Network: Postsecondary Success of Young Adults: System Impact Opportunities in Adult Education (September 2010)

A Religion & Ethics Newsweekly Look at Churches Ministering to the Mentally Ill

One of this weekend's stories on Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, a weekly PBS television show, is a report on the efforts of churches to minister to those who are mentally ill.

To access a video presentation of this segment (with a transcript of the interviews), please visit:

Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly: Churches and the Mentally Ill (22 JUN 12)

Background information:

National Catholic Partnership on Disability: Theological Framework on Mental Illness

Archdiocese of Chicago: Mental Illness Ministries

Lumen Gentium: The Mystery of the Church (14, continued)

Chapter II of Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, is entitled “On the People of God.” It continues as follows:

“14. . . . They are fully incorporated in the society of the Church who, possessing the Spirit of Christ accept her entire system and all the means of salvation given to her, and are united with her as part of her visible bodily structure and through her with Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. The bonds which bind men to the Church in a visible way are profession of faith, the sacraments, and ecclesiastical government and communion. He is not saved, however, who, though part of the body of the Church, does not persevere in charity. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but, as it were, only in a "bodily" manner and not "in his heart."(12*) All the Church's children should remember that their exalted status is to be attributed not to their own merits but to the special grace of Christ. If they fail moreover to respond to that grace in thought, word and deed, not only shall they not be saved but they will be the more severely judged.(13*)

“Catechumens who, moved by the Holy Spirit, seek with explicit intention to be incorporated into the Church are by that very intention joined with her. With love and solicitude Mother Church already embraces them as her own.”

(12*) Cf. S. Augustinus, Bapt. c. Donat. V, 28, 39; PL 43, 197: Certe manifestum est, id quod dicitur, in Ecdesia intus et foris, in corde, non in corpore cogitandum. Cfr. ib., III, 19, 26: col. 152; V, 18, 24: col. 189; In Io. Tr. 61, 2: PL 35, 1800, et alibi saepe.

(13*) Cfr. Lc. 12, 48: Omni autem, cui multum datum est, multum quaeretur ab eo. Cfr. etiam Mt. 5, 19-20; 7, 21-22; 25 41-46; Iac., 2, 14.


To access the complete document, please visit:

Dogmatic Constitution on the Church - Lumen Gentium

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways in which You are working through us to accomplish Your purposes.

Msgr. Pope on Our Lives Being Not About Us

“One of the harder truths of life is that our life is not about us. Neither are we the most important thing or person in the world. Rather we exist in and for the glory of God and our ultimate glory in to be caught up in and be part of God’s glory and his Kingdom. Further, we also exist, not only for our own sake but also for the sake of others.”

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on our lives being not about us, but about what the Lord is doing for us and through us.

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

Msgr. Charles Pope: Your life is not about you. (21 JUN 12)

Reflection Starter from Benjamin Franklin

“How has it happened that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understanding? In the beginning of the Contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and graciously answered.

“And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need His assistance? The longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth – that God governs in the affairs of men. I therefore beg leave to move that prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business.”

Benjamin Franklin, to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, May 1787

22 June 2012

Connecticut Launches Anti-violence Initiative

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy has announced that he has directed state criminal justice resources including state police, corrections, probation, parole, and prosecutors) to collaborate with federal and local law enforcement officials in Bridgeport, Hartford, and New Haven on implementing a program of “Focused Deterrence,” designed to reduce gun violence within those three cities where there have been a high number of shootings over the past several months.

“While overall crime statewide is down and is at its lowest rate since 1968, gun violence in our major cities remains unacceptably high.  Last year, 94 out of 129 homicides statewide occurred in New Haven, Hartford and Bridgeport – almost all involving guns, almost all involving young men, mostly African American men,” Governor Malloy said in a prepared statement.  “Young people are killing other young people, often for no discernible reason.  As a result, we’re losing young people, and children are growing up without parents.  It’s got to stop.”

The Governor announced that federal, state and local officials have agreed to a strategy of “Focused Deterrence” that is modeled after successful programs around the country in cities such as Boston, Chicago, Providence, and Cincinnati and is already in the process of being implemented in New Haven.  The technique is based on the concept that the vast majority of gun crimes are committed by a fairly small number of individuals within each of the cities who are already under the supervision of probation and parole officers and well known to police and prosecutors.

In his statement, Governor Malloy also said, “We agree that no strategy will be effective without the support of the community.  This means parents, clergy, neighborhood leaders, grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, uncles – everyone working toward one goal.  We are working to regain the trust of the African American and Latino communities.  We need their help.  The lives of these young people are too valuable not to act.”

Governor Malloy said that he has directed some of the state’s federal grants towards this initiative and that state money has been set aside for this purpose as well.

Media report:

CT News Junkie: Call It A Criminal Intervention (21 JUN 12)

Hartford Courant: Malloy Pledges Effort To Curb City Violence, But Offers Few Details (22 JUN 12)

Connecticut Post: Officials unveil plan to fight urban violence (22 JUN 12)

Background information:

National Institute of Justice: Gun Violence Prevention Strategy: Focused Deterrence

City of Bridgeport

City of Hartford

City of New Haven

Wikipedia: Bridgeport, Connecticut

Wikipedia: Hartford, Connecticut

Wikipedia: New Haven, Connecticut

MSCPA Day of Community Service

Last Friday, over 250 Massachusetts Certified Public Accountants and other accounting professionals, including son Joseph, participated in the Second Annual Massachusetts Society of CPAs (MSCPA) Day of Service by volunteering at nineteen charitable organizations throughout the state.

Joe and his fellow CliftonLarsonAllen workers did landscaping work at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy.

For more information on this event, please visit:

MSCPA: 2nd Annual Day of Service

Well done, Joe (and your fellow participants)!!!

Lumen Gentium: The Mystery of the Church (14)

Chapter II of Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, is entitled “On the People of God.” It continues as follows:

“14. This Sacred Council wishes to turn its attention firstly to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation. Christ, present to us in His Body, which is the Church, is the one Mediator and the unique way of salvation. In explicit terms He Himself affirmed the necessity of faith and baptism(124) and thereby affirmed also the necessity of the Church, for through baptism as through a door men enter the Church. Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.”

(124) Cf. Mark 16:16; John 3.5.


To access the complete document, please visit:

Dogmatic Constitution on the Church - Lumen Gentium

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the beauty, peace, and coolness of little woodland glades.

Father Longenecker on Choosing Between Atheism and Catholicism

In a recent commentary, Father Dwight Longenecker (parish priest at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, Greenville, SC) reflected on the choice(s) between atheism and Catholicism.

To access Fr. Longenecker’s complete post, please visit:

To access his complete post, please visit:

Standing on my Head: Suicide or Catholicism? (19 JUN 12)

Background information:

Dwight Longenecker - Catholic priest and author

THU: Reflection Starter from Ed Koch

“Should we be rewriting history just to make people feel good? That’s not history; that's psychiatry.” – Ed Koch

21 June 2012

Lumen Gentium: The Mystery of the Church (13, continued)

Chapter II of Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, is entitled “On the People of God.” It continues as follows:

“13. . . . In virtue of this catholicity each individual part contributes through its special gifts to the good of the other parts and of the whole Church. Through the common sharing of gifts and through the common effort to attain fullness in unity, the whole and each of the parts receive increase. Not only, then, is the people of God made up of different peoples but in its inner structure also it is composed of various ranks. This diversity among its members arises either by reason of their duties, as is the case with those who exercise the sacred ministry for the good of their brethren, or by reason of their condition and state of life, as is the case with those many who enter the religious state and, tending toward holiness by a narrower path, stimulate their brethren by their example. Moreover, within the Church particular Churches hold a rightful place; these Churches retain their own traditions, without in any way opposing the primacy of the Chair of Peter, which presides over the whole assembly of charity (11*) and protects legitimate differences, while at the same time assuring that such differences do not hinder unity but rather contribute toward it. Between all the parts of the Church there remains a bond of close communion whereby they share spiritual riches, apostolic workers and temporal resources. For the members of the people of God are called to share these goods in common, and of each of the Churches the words of the Apostle hold good: ‘According to the gift that each has received, administer it to one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God’.(123)

“All men are called to be part of this catholic unity of the people of God which in promoting universal peace presages it. And there belong to or are related to it in various ways, the Catholic faithful, all who believe in Christ, and indeed the whole of mankind, for all men are called by the grace of God to salvation.”

(123) 1 Peter 4:10.

(11*) Cfr. S. Ignatius M., Ad Rom., Praef.: Ed. Funk, I, p. 252.


To access the complete document, please visit:

Dogmatic Constitution on the Church - Lumen Gentium

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for morning symphonies resulting from the singing of the birds You have created.

Deacon Mike Bickerstaff on the Real Presence

“Jesus began to prepare us for [the] great gift of the True Presence of His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Most Holy Eucharist when He performed the miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes and by His Bread of Life Discourse. This teaching is so startling, that we see in the sixth chapter of St. John’s Gospel the crowds and disciples depart from Him and no longer follow Him.

“Today, we might ask, ‘If we had lived at the time of Jesus and had been among his disciples, would we have been counted among those who left Jesus or among the apostles who remained?’”

In a recent commentary, Deacon Mike Bickerstaff (Editor in chief and co-founder of the Integrated Catholic Life eMagazine) reflected on the Real Presence of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

To access Deacon Mike’s complete reflection, please visit:

The Integrated Catholic Life: The Miracle and Gift of the Eucharist (10 JUN 12)

Reflection Starter from William Arthur Ward

“Opportunity is often difficult to recognize; we usually expect it to beckon us with beepers and billboards.” – William Arthur Ward

20 June 2012

New England Air Quality

An air quality alert has been issued for parts of New England today, and one will be issued for tomorrow. These alerts are being issued because ground level ozone concentrations within parts of the region may approach or exceed unhealthy standards.

Because a number of people throughout the U.S. live in areas where air pollution can cause serious health problems and local air quality(which can change from day to day) can affect daily lives, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency developed the Air Quality Index (AQI) to make information available about the health effects of the five most common air pollutants (ground-level ozone, particle matter, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide) and how to avoid those effects.

For more information about the current and forecast air quality in New England, please visit:

EPA: New England Air Quality Index

EPA: Connecticut Air Quality

EPA: Maine Air Quality

EPA: Massachusetts Air Quality

EPA: New Hampshire Air Quality

EPA: Rhode Island Air Quality

EPA: Vermont Air Quality

State Air Quality Forecasts:

CT Dept. of Environmental Protection: Air Quality Index

ME Bureau of Air Quality: Air Quality Forecast

MA Dept. of Environmental Protection: Air & Climate – Now & Forecast

NH Dept. of Environmental Services: Air Quality Forecast

RI: Dept. of Environmental Management: Air Quality Forecast

VT Dept. of Environmental Conservation: Real-time Air-Quality Data

The U.S. EPA, NOAA, and National Park Service, as well as a number of tribal, state, and local agencies have developed the AIRNow Web site to provide easy access to national air quality information. This information includes real-time air pollution data in an understandable, visual format; information about the public health and environmental effects of air pollution; information about ways in which the public can protect their health and actions they can take to reduce pollution. The site offers daily AQI forecasts as well as real-time AQI conditions for over 300 cities across the US, and it provides links to more detailed state and local air quality websites.


Background information:

EPA: Air Quality Index – A Guide to Air Quality and Your Health

EPA: Ground-level Ozone (Smog) Information

Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection: Air

Maine Department of Environmental Protection: Bureau Of Air Quality

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection: Air & Climate

New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services: Air Resources Division

Rhode Island Department Of Environmental Management: Office of Air Resources

Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation: Air Pollution Control Division

Re-leaf Program in Nashua, NH

The City of Nashua, NH, has received a $5,000 grant from the American Forests’ Global ReLeaf Program that is designed to support the replacement of 150-200 trees (lost in last October’s snowstorm) in Nashua. The trees will be distributed to residents who apply on a first come, first serve basis; there is a limit of two trees per household. Commercial establishments and condominium complexes are not eligible for the trees. 

Media report:

Nashua Telegraph: Nashua to offer residents up to 200 free trees to replace those lost in October storm (15 JUN 12)

For more information about this initiative, please visit:

Nashua Division of Public Works: Nashua October Storm Tree Restoration Project

American Forests’ Global ReLeaf program

Background information:

City of Nashua

Wikipedia: Nashua, New Hampshire

Burl Ives: “Noah Found Grace In The Eyes of the Lord”

In this video (recorded in 1951), Burl Ives offers what has been called “a truly inspired gospel number”:

Lumen Gentium: The Mystery of the Church (13, continued)

Chapter II of Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, is entitled “On the People of God.” It continues as follows:

“13. . . . It follows that though there are many nations there is but one people of God, which takes its citizens from every race, making them citizens of a kingdom which is of a heavenly rather than of an earthly nature. All the faithful, scattered though they be throughout the world, are in communion with each other in the Holy Spirit, and so, he who dwells in Rome knows that the people of India are his members"(9*). Since the kingdom of Christ is not of this world(120) the Church or people of God in establishing that kingdom takes nothing away from the temporal welfare of any people. On the contrary it fosters and takes to itself, insofar as they are good, the ability, riches and customs in which the genius of each people expresses itself. Taking them to itself it purifies, strengthens, elevates and ennobles them. The Church in this is mindful that she must bring together the nations for that king to whom they were given as an inheritance,(121) and to whose city they bring gifts and offerings.(122) This characteristic of universality which adorns the people of God is a gift from the Lord Himself. By reason of it, the Catholic Church strives constantly and with due effect to bring all humanity and all its possessions back to its source In Christ, with Him as its head and united in His Spirit. (10*)”

(120) Cf. John 18:36

(121) Cf. Psalm 2:8.

(122) Cf. Psalm 71 (72):10; Isaiah 60:4-7; Revelation 21:24.

(9*) Cf. S. Io. Chrysostomus, In Io. Hom. 65, 1: PG 59, 361.

(10*) Cf. S. Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. III, 16, 6; III, 22, 1-3: PG 7, 925 C-926 Aet 955 C - 958 A; Harvey 2, 87 s. et 120-123; Sagnard, Ed. Sources Chret., pp. 290-292 et 372 ss.


To access the complete document, please visit:

Dogmatic Constitution on the Church - Lumen Gentium

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many good priests You have placed in my life and for the many good priests You have given the Church. Thank you for all You have for them and through them.

Tom Hoopes on the Priesthood

In a recent commentary, Tom Hoopes (writer in residence at Benedictine College, Atchison, Kansas) offered a reflection of the importance of priests.

To access his complete essay, please visit:

National Catholic Register: Commentary: Unforgettable Images of the Priesthood (17 JUN 12)

Reflection Starter from George Washington

“No morn ever dawned more favorable than ours did; and no day was ever more clouded than the present! Wisdom, and good examples are necessary at this time to rescue the political machine from the impending storm.” – George Washington (in a letter to James Madison, 5 November 1786)

19 June 2012

Study: Maine Receives $14 billion in Unrecognized Annual Economic Benefits From Natural Environment

Maine receives more than $14 billion each year in uncounted economic benefits from its natural environment, according to a study recently released by the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences.

The report, Valuing Maine’s Natural Capital, was conducted in collaboration with Spatial Informatics Group, LLC. Researchers examined the unrealized value in Maine’s natural resources and excluded products and services that are already traded on the marketplace such as lumber or lobster.

The report assessed the value of:

  • scenic beauty,
  • disturbance regulation (e.g., flood control provided by floodplains),
  • atmospheric regulation (e.g., forest capacity to absorb greenhouse gases),
  • wildlife habitat,
  • nutrient regulation (e.g., wetlands’ ability to filter/prevent pollution),
  • pollination and seeding of crops and forests,
  • recreation opportunities,
  • maintenance of healthy soils, and
  • water supply and regulation through groundwater recharge.

“We wanted to draw attention to the significant unrecognized value of Maine’s ecosystems,” said Manomet Senior Program Leader John Gunn in a prepared statement. “Nature plays a huge role in our economy. When we make decisions in Maine, we need a better way to incorporate the value of natural resources.”

To access an executive summary of the report, please visit:

Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences: Natural Capital Initiative at Manomet Report: Valuing Maine’s Nature (May 2012)

To access the complete report, please visit:

Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences: Valuing Maine’s Natural Capital (April 2012)

Media report:

Bangor Daily News: New study says Maine’s natural areas worth far more than most people think (19 JUN 12)

Background information:

Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences

Lumen Gentium: The Mystery of the Church (13)

Chapter II of Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, is entitled “On the People of God.” It continues as follows:

“13. All men are called to belong to the new people of God. Wherefore this people, while remaining one and only one, is to be spread throughout the whole world and must exist in all ages, so that the decree of God's will may be fulfilled. In the beginning God made human nature one and decreed that all His children, scattered as they were, would finally be gathered together as one. (117) It was for this purpose that God sent His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, that be might be teacher, king and priest of all, the head of the new and universal people of the sons of God. For this too God sent the Spirit of His Son as Lord and Life-giver. He it is who brings together the whole Church and each and every one of those who believe, and who is the well-spring of their unity in the teaching of the apostles and in fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in prayers.(119)”

(117) Cf. Hebrews 1:2.

(119) Cf. Acts 2:42.


To access the complete document, please visit:

Dogmatic Constitution on the Church - Lumen Gentium

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the grace to live at a time and in a place where there are many opportunities each week to participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.