31 October 2012

Post-Sandy Cleanup Continues

Local (as well as state and federal) government agencies, utility companies, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and residents continue to face the challenge of cleaning up after Hurricane Sandy and restoring a sense of normalcy to New England and beyond.

Media reports:

CT: Sandy--A Name to Remember (Connecticut Post)

CT: Recovery Begins In Aftermath Of Hurricane Sandy; More than 500,000 Still Without Power; Federal Disaster Declared (Hartford Courant)

ME: Central Maine escapes serious damage from superstorm Sandy (The Morning Sentinel)

ME: Maine preparing to send emergency responders down East Coast in wake of Sandy (Bangor Daily News)

MA: Storm-struck region assesses damage, breathes sigh of relief (Boston Globe)

MA: Hurricane Sandy leaves hundreds of downed trees in its wake (Boston Globe)

NH: With 218K in dark at peak, Sandy fourth-worst storm in NH history in terms of power loss (Nashua Telegraph)

NH: Flood of storm watchers at local beaches 'just ridiculous' (Portsmouth Herald)

RI: Picking up the pieces (Westerly Sun)

RI: Sandy washes away homes in Charlestown (WJAR-TV)

VT: Vermont ready to help states that Sandy slammed (Burlington Free Press)

VT: Shumlin: Lessons from Irene served state well (WCAX-TV)

Easton, CT, Firefighter Dies in Line of Duty During Hurricane Response

One of the Hurricane Sandy fatalities was a New England public safety servant who died in the line of duty (an incident that serves as a reminder of the hazards and stresses faced by the members of the regions’ emergency services).

Lieutenant Russell Neary, of the Easton, CT, Fire Department, was responding with his fire company to a report of a generator fire. The response was blocked by tree branches in the road, and, as the firefighters were moving the branches, a tree fell on Lt. Neary.

Media reports:

Connecticut Post: Sandy leaves at least 5 dead (31 OCT 12)

Fire Engineering: CT Firefighter Killed by Falling Tree (30 OCT 12)

Background information:

Easton Fire Department

Town of Easton

Wikipedia: Easton, Connecticut

Fun Facts About “Classic Halloween Candy”

In a recent Mental Floss post, Jason English offered some tidbits about various types of candy offered, through the years, as treats on Halloween.

To access his complete post, please visit:

Mental Floss: 25 Fun Size Facts About Classic Halloween Candy  (24 OCT 12)

Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei (Door of Faith) (13)

To honor the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the twentieth anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI has announced a “Year of Faith,” which started on 11 October and will end 24 November 2013, to strengthen the faith of Catholics and draw the world to faith by their example.

In October 2011, Pope Benedict issued an apostolic letter, “Porta Fidei” (“Door of Faith”), to proclaim this year. This apostolic letter continues as follows:

“13. One thing that will be of decisive importance in this Year is retracing the history of our faith, marked as it is by the unfathomable mystery of the interweaving of holiness and sin. While the former highlights the great contribution that men and women have made to the growth and development of the community through the witness of their lives, the latter must provoke in each person a sincere and continuing work of conversion in order to experience the mercy of the Father which is held out to everyone.

“During this time we will need to keep our gaze fixed upon Jesus Christ, the “pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (Heb 12:2): in him, all the anguish and all the longing of the human heart finds fulfillment. The joy of love, the answer to the drama of suffering and pain, the power of forgiveness in the face of an offence received and the victory of life over the emptiness of death: all this finds fulfillment in the mystery of his Incarnation, in his becoming man, in his sharing our human weakness so as to transform it by the power of his resurrection. In him who died and rose again for our salvation, the examples of faith that have marked these two thousand years of our salvation history are brought into the fullness of light.”

 

To access Pope Benedict’s complete apostolic letter, please visit:

Pope Benedict XVI: Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei (Door of Faith), for the Indiction of the Year of Faith (11 OCT 11)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the opportunities You place before us each day, whether we open ourselves to them or not.

Msgr. Pope on the False Promises of This World

“One of the great illusions under which we labor is, that if we just get one more thing from this world, then we will be happy. Perhaps we think that if we just had a little more money, or a better job, or the latest iPad, or if we were married to so and so, or if we just lived in a better neighborhood….then we would be satisfied and content, at last. But ‘at last’ never comes, even if we do get some of the things on our list. As Ecclesiastes puts it: The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing (Ecc 1:8). Or again, Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income (Ecc. 5:8).

“Though we know this, somehow we continue to buy into the lie, again and again, that just one more thing will do it. So we lay out the money, and spend the time, and the delight lasts twenty minutes, max. The world just can’t close the deal.”

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on what gets neglected as we respond to the summons of the “bells of this world.”

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

Msgr. Charles Pope: Promises, Promises! A little parable on the false promises of this world (24 OCT 12)

Reflection Starter from St. Francis de Sales

“Think often of the Lord for He will enable you to bear your troubles patiently.” – Saint Francis de Sales

30 October 2012

Hurricane Sandy Update

As the remains of Hurricane Sandy continue to progress inland, municipal, state, and Federal officials and agencies are working to assess the damage caused by the storm and to initiate steps toward recovery. Although the bulk of the storm has left Southern New England, coastal flooding is still forecast during high tide cycles.

Although the numbers are preliminary, reports are that over 1,425,000 New England customers lost electric power during the storm (CT – 624,800, ME – 87,800, MA – 375,000, NH – 200,000, RI – 116,000, VT – 21,700).

On a more somber note, among the storm’s fatalities in New England were a yet unidentified Easton, CT, firefighter. May he rest in peace.

Here is the updated National Weather Service 5-Day Forecast Cone for Storm Center of Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy:

Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy Projection

Flood warnings, wind advisories, and other advisories extend outside of the forecast cone. For location specific forecasts, please consult the guidance for the appropriate local weather office:

National Weather Service: Weather Forecast Office, Caribou, ME

National Weather Service: Weather Forecast Office, Gray/Portland, ME

National Weather Service: Weather Forecast Office, Taunton/Boston, MA

National Weather Service: Weather Forecast Office, Burlington, VT

National Weather Service: Weather Forecast Office, Albany, NY

National Weather Service: Weather Forecast Office, Upton/New York City, NY

National Weather Service: Northeast River Forecast Center

Media reports:

CT: National Guard Ready To Help With Rescues; 600,000 Without Power, 2 Killed In Connecticut (Hartford Courant)

CT: Inland: Towns Open Shelters, Cancel School For Days (Hartford Courant)

CT: Malloy: 'This is a Katrina-like warning' (WFSB-TV)

CT: UNCUT: Gov. Malloy speaks about Hurricane Sandy (Oct. 29 9 p.m.) (WFSB-TV)

CT: Officials take to social media to share emergency information (Connecticut Post)

ME: Sandy thrashes Maine, nearly 88,000 without power (Portland Press Herald)

MA: Hurricane Sandy slams East Coast (Boston Globe)

MA: Long road ahead for Sandy cleanup in the Cape (NECN)

MA: Sandy slams MetroWest, knocks out power to thousands (MetroWest Daily News)

NH: Riding out Sandy: Wind, rain create one-two knockout punch for power lines (New Hampshire Union Leader)

NH/ME: Thousands lose power from superstorm winds (Portsmouth Herald)

RI: No lives lost, Hurricane Barrier holds, as Sandy brushes R.I. (Providence Journal)

RI: RI cleanup from superstorm beginning (WPRI-TV)

VT: After Sandy, damage in Vermont minimal, thousands without power (Burlington Free Press)

FBI Releases 2011 Annual Crime Report

The Federal Bureau of Investigation  recently released its annual crime report, Crime in the United States 2011. According to this report, the estimated number of violent crimes reported to law enforcement (1,203,564) decreased for the fifth year in a row, and the estimated number of property crimes reported to law enforcement (9,063,173) decreased for the ninth year in a row.

In New England, a total of 45,549 violent crimes were reported in 2011, down 5.4 % from 2010. The violent crime rate of 314.3 per 100,000 population was 5.7% less than in 2010. A total of 332,919 property crimes were reported in the region in 2011, down 0.9 % from 2010 (burglaries were up 1.5%, but other types of property crime were down). The property crime rate of 2297.2 per 100,000 population was 1.2% less than in 2010.

To access the complete report, please visit:

FBI: Crime in the United States 2011

Related information:

FBI: About the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program

FBI: Caution Against Ranking

FBI: Crime in the United States by Region, Geographic Division, and State, 2010–2011

Background information:

U.S. Department of Justice: Federal Bureau of Investigation

Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei (Door of Faith) (12)

To honor the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the twentieth anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI has announced a “Year of Faith,” which started on 11 October and will end 24 November 2013, to strengthen the faith of Catholics and draw the world to faith by their example.

In October 2011, Pope Benedict issued an apostolic letter, “Porta Fidei” (“Door of Faith”), to proclaim this year. This apostolic letter continues as follows:

“12. In this Year, then, the Catechism of the Catholic Church will serve as a tool providing real support for the faith, especially for those concerned with the formation of Christians, so crucial in our cultural context. To this end, I have invited the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, by agreement with the competent Dicasteries of the Holy See, to draw up a Note, providing the Church and individual believers with some guidelines on how to live this Year of Faith in the most effective and appropriate ways, at the service of belief and evangelization.

“To a greater extent than in the past, faith is now being subjected to a series of questions arising from a changed mentality which, especially today, limits the field of rational certainties to that of scientific and technological discoveries. Nevertheless, the Church has never been afraid of demonstrating that there cannot be any conflict between faith and genuine science, because both, albeit via different routes, tend towards the truth.[22]”

[22] Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Fides et Ratio (14 September 1998), 34, 106: AAS 91 (1999), 31-32, 86-87.

 

To access Pope Benedict’s complete apostolic letter, please visit:

Pope Benedict XVI: Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei (Door of Faith), for the Indiction of the Year of Faith (11 OCT 11)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many graces You bestowed on the people facing serious challenges presented by Hurricane Sandy.

For All Saints Day And The Year Of Faith: Ten Saints Who Were Great Evangelizers

To honor the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the twentieth anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI has announced a Year of Faith, which began 11 October and is to end 24 November 2013. This Year of Faith is meant to strengthen the faith of Catholics and draw the world to faith by their example. Pope Benedict is encouraging Catholics to study the lives of the saints as part of the Year of Faith in order to follow their example.

In honor of the Year of Faith and All Saints Day (1 November), Jeannine Marino, program specialist for the Secretariat of Evangelization and Catechesis of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops recently offered ten saints who were great evangelizers. Marino is a canon lawyer who has served as a postulator and advisor to several canonization causes (a postulator conducts research into the life of a proposed saint).

The saints Ms. Marino offered were:

1. Saints Peter and Paul – Peter and Paul laid the foundations of the early Church and are among the most venerated saints. Peter was the first to profess that Jesus is the Son of God, and the papacy is built on his witness. Paul's mission trips expanded the reach of the young Church, and his writings articulate our faith. Both men were willing to bear witness to the point of death, and both were martyred in Rome.

2. Saint Jerome – A Fourth Century Doctor of the Church, Jerome made the Bible more accessible to everyday people when he translated it into Latin from its original Hebrew and Greek. St. Jerome is famous for saying, “Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.” Catholics can follow in Jerome’s evangelizing footsteps by loving the Word of God.

3. Saint Augustine – Bishop of Hippo, a contemporary of Jerome, and another Doctor of the Church, Augustine was notorious for his life of sinful indulgence prior to his conversion. He continues to inspire people, not only because of his conversion, but also with the brilliance of his writings – most famously his Confessions – which have had a profound impact on Christian thought down to the present day.

4. Saint Patrick – As the Fifth Century Apostle of Ireland, Patrick exemplifies how Christian witness can have a pervasive, lasting impact on a culture. Following the example of Jesus, who taught with imagery, St. Patrick is known for using the image of the shamrock to illustrate the Trinity, making a great mystery of God accessible to all people.

5. Saint Francis of Assisi – One of the most beloved saints, Francis of Assisi lived the Gospel by identifying himself with the poor, embracing outcasts and enemies, and celebrating the goodness of God present in all creation. His witness revitalized a Church that had “fallen into ruin,” and his influence today goes beyond the order he founded and even beyond the Catholic Church. When the last two popes held interreligious gatherings to pray for peace, they met not in Rome, but in Assisi.

6. Saint Ignatius of Loyola – Founder of the Society of Jesus, or the Jesuits, Ignatius of Loyola was a former soldier from Spain. He founded the Jesuits in 1540 as an effort to counter the effects of the Protestant Reformation by the promotion and defense of the teachings and authority of the Church across Europe. Ignatius also developed his Spiritual Exercises, a model of prayer still used today.

7. Saint Francis Xavier – A close friend of St. Ignatius and one of the first Jesuits, Francis Xavier was a great missionary to Asia, visiting India, Indonesia, Japan and other countries. He was named the patron of Catholic missions by Pope Pius XI.

8. Saint Juan Diego – The peasant to whom Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared Juan Diego is essentially the evangelizer of an entire hemisphere. Blessed Pope John Paul II named Our Lady of Guadalupe the patroness of the Americas in 1999 and canonized Juan Diego in 2002. He is the first indigenous Mexican saint.

9. Saint Daniel Comboni – Another great missionary in the history of the Church, Daniel Comboni traveled from his native Italy to Central Africa and founded the Comboni Missionaries and the Comboni Missionary Sisters in 1867 and 1872, respectively. He spent nearly all of his priesthood in Africa and was named a bishop and apostolic vicar to Africa in 1877. He died in 1881 and was canonized in 2003.

10. Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus – Also known as St. Thérèse of Lisieux and the Little Flower, Thérèse was a French Carmelite in the late 1800’s. She is best known for pursuing the “little way” to holiness, serving God in every little action of daily life, before dying of tuberculosis at the age of 24 in 1897. She was named the patroness of Catholic missions by Pope Pius XI because of her devotion of praying for missionaries. She was named a Doctor of the Church (the third woman and youngest person ever to receive this honor) by Blessed Pope John Paul II in 1997.

Reflection Starter from Fr. Brian Cavanaugh, TOR

“Here’s a thought based on Oprah’s book club: Sit down at the end of each day and write out 5 things for which you are grateful.

“We go through life each day so unaware, and take for granted so many things. There are those persons, unseen and unknown, to whom we need to be grateful. We take for granted turning on a light switch. We assume electricity will light the lamp, but how about the people that keep the system running? Same for the water, and the supermarket. We walk in and everyday it’s filled with food. How did it get on the shelves; how did it get to the stores; how did it get out of the fields; how did it first get planted?

“Everyday we need to overflow with gratitude. Looking at life from such a perspective will begin to change our daily attitude towards all life, and, quite possibly, even towards ourself and others.” – Father Brian Cavanaugh, TOR

29 October 2012

Hurricane Sandy Update

As Hurricane Sandy’s assault on the New England region, municipal (as well as state and Federal) government agencies continue to meet the challenges being thrown at them.

Government leaders throughout the region have noted that the lessons learned in the aftermath of last year’s Tropical Storm Irene have resulted in significant improvement in a number of areas, including electric utility preparedness and communication with local and state emergency management officials and other residents.

All six New England governors have now declared states of emergency.

A major challenge facing the region this evening is the anticipated storm surge coinciding with a wind shift to the south and an astronomical high tide.

Here is the updated National Weather Service 5-Day Forecast Cone for Hurricane Sandy:

Hurricane Sandy Projection

High wind warnings, coastal flood warnings, and other advisories extend for several hundred files outside of the forecast cone. As noted above, the worst of the flooding (including a combination of storm surge plus incoming tide) is anticipated at high tide this evening. For location specific forecasts, please consult the guidance for the appropriate local weather office:

National Weather Service: Weather Forecast Office, Caribou, ME

National Weather Service: Weather Forecast Office, Gray/Portland, ME

National Weather Service: Weather Forecast Office, Taunton/Boston, MA

National Weather Service: Weather Forecast Office, Burlington, VT

National Weather Service: Weather Forecast Office, Albany, NY

National Weather Service: Weather Forecast Office, Upton/New York City, NY

Media reports:

NECN: Hurricane Sandy: Photos of the storm

CT: Officials fear 'unprecedented' damage as Hurricane Sandy nears state (Connecticut Post)

CT: Shoreline Officials Monitoring Sewage Concerns (Hartford Courant)

CT: Hurricane Sandy Slideshow (WFSB-TV)

ME: As more lose power, LePage calls state of emergency (Portland Press Herald)

MA: More than 300,000 lose power as Hurricane Sandy batters Massachusetts (Boston Globe)

MA: Flooding, fallen trees and limbs cause road closures (Cape Cod Times)

NH: Over 100,000 power outages reported in N.H. (Foster's Daily Democrat)

RI: Providence hurricane barrier closes (WPRI-TV)

RI: Wind gust tears off portion of Rumford post office roof in East Providence (East Providence Post)

RI: Photo Gallery: In advance of Hurricane Sandy (Providence Journal)

VT: Travel, power and schools affected as Sandy moves closer to Vermont (Burlington Free Press)

National: Hurricane Sandy's power outages could be epic (USA Today)

Hurricane Sandy Update

As Hurricane Sandy approaches the region, a number of municipal offices and schools throughout the region are closed today (Monday). Officials continue to monitor National Weather Service and other forecasts as preparations continue for potential emergencies caused by flooding and wind damage. As part of the preparation, a number of evacuations have been ordered in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, and a number of shelters have been set up for evacuees.

Here is the updated National Weather Service 5-Day Forecast Cone for Hurricane Sandy:

Hurricane Sandy Projection

High wind warnings, coastal flood warnings, and other advisories extend for several hundred files outside of the forecast cone. The worst of the flooding (including a combination of storm surge plus incoming tide) is anticipated at high tide this evening. For location specific forecasts, please consult the guidance for the appropriate local weather office:

National Weather Service: Weather Forecast Office, Caribou, ME

National Weather Service: Weather Forecast Office, Gray/Portland, ME

National Weather Service: Weather Forecast Office, Taunton/Boston, MA

National Weather Service: Weather Forecast Office, Burlington, VT

National Weather Service: Weather Forecast Office, Albany, NY

National Weather Service: Weather Forecast Office, Upton/New York City, NY

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has also announced that federal emergency aid has been made available to the Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island to supplement state and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from Hurricane Sandy beginning on 26 October 2012 and continuing.

The President's action authorizes FEMA to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in all counties in the State of Rhode Island.

Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment, and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.  Emergency protective measures, limited to direct federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent federal funding

Media reports:

CT: Towns being evacuated, winds intensifying as Sandy heads toward Connecticut (New Haven Register)

CT: Town orders mandatory evacuations in coastal area (Greenwich Time)

ME: Sandy set to thrash Maine (Portland Press Herald)

MA: Call sounds to stay put as Sandy bears down (Boston Globe)

MA: SouthCoast battens the hatches as Hurricane Sandy tears up the east coast (The Standard-Times)

NH: Area preps for arrival of Sandy (Nashua Telegraph)

NH/ME: Seacoast braces for impact of Hurricane Sandy (Portsmouth Herald)

RI: Mandatory evacuations ordered for some in Westerly, Bristol, South Kingstown and Charlestown (Providence Journal)

RI/CT: Towns do what they can before Sandy strikes (Westerly Sun)

VT: East Coast storm: Moment of truth for Vermont (Burlington Free Press)

VT: Political signs could pose storm hazard (Burlington Free Press)

Previous post:

Lop Notes: Preparations for Hurricane Sandy (28 OCT 12)

Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei (Door of Faith) (11, continued)

To honor the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the twentieth anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI has announced a “Year of Faith,” which started on 11 October and will end 24 November 2013, to strengthen the faith of Catholics and draw the world to faith by their example.

In October 2011, Pope Benedict issued an apostolic letter, “Porta Fidei” (“Door of Faith”), to proclaim this year. This apostolic letter continues as follows:

“11. . . . In its very structure, the Catechism of the Catholic Church follows the development of the faith right up to the great themes of daily life. On page after page, we find that what is presented here is no theory, but an encounter with a Person who lives within the Church. The profession of faith is followed by an account of sacramental life, in which Christ is present, operative and continues to build his Church. Without the liturgy and the sacraments, the profession of faith would lack efficacy, because it would lack the grace which supports Christian witness. By the same criterion, the teaching of the Catechism on the moral life acquires its full meaning if placed in relationship with faith, liturgy and prayer.”

 

To access Pope Benedict’s complete apostolic letter, please visit:

Pope Benedict XVI: Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei (Door of Faith), for the Indiction of the Year of Faith (11 OCT 11)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways in which You sustain the world in good times and in bad.

Cardinal George on Nations and Their Relationship to God

“Eternity enters into human history in often incomprehensible ways. God makes promises but gives no timelines. Visiting the shrine at Fatima, pilgrims enter a huge plaza, with the spot of the apparitions marked by a small chapel to one side, a large church at one end, an equally large adoration chapel at the other end, and a center for visitors and for the hearing of confessions. Just outside the main grounds, a section of the Berlin Wall has been re-built, a stark witness to what Mary had talked about almost a century ago. Communism in Russia and its satellite nations has collapsed, although many of its sinful effects are still with us.”

In a recent commentary, Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago, reflected on what happens to nations and societies when they abandon God.

To access Cardinal George’s complete column, please visit:

Catholic New World: The Cardinal’s Column: The wrong side of history (21 OCT 12)

Reflection Starter from Lao-Tzu

“To see things in the seed, that is genius.” – attributed to Lao-Tzu

28 October 2012

“All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name”

As our Sunday celebration continues, I offer this version of “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name”:

Preparations for Hurricane Sandy

Although the forecast may change between now and Monday, it appears that (based on the current National Weather Service projection) Hurricane Sandy will come ashore in New Jersey, with effects extending well into the New England region.

Here is the current NWS 5-Day Forecast Cone for Hurricane Irene:

Hurricance Sandy Projection

For the latest advisories from the National Hurricane Center, please visit:

National Hurricane Center: Hurricane Sandy

The National Weather Service reports that, at 11:00 AM, the center of Hurricane Sandy was located near latitude 32.8 north…longitude 71.9 west. Sandy is moving toward the northeast at close to 14 miles per hour.

Sandy is a category one hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 150 miles from the center, and 50 nautical mile per hour winds extend outward up to 200 miles. The wind field continues to expand.

National Weather Service offices responsible for this region (or portions thereof):

National Weather Service: Weather Forecast Office, Caribou, ME

National Weather Service: Weather Forecast Office, Gray/Portland, ME

National Weather Service: Weather Forecast Office, Taunton/Boston, MA

National Weather Service: Weather Forecast Office, Burlington, VT

National Weather Service: Weather Forecast Office, Albany, NY

National Weather Service: Weather Forecast Office, Upton/New York City, NY

Media reports:

CT: Cities, towns hunker down amid warnings of an epic storm (Connecticut Post)

CT: Evacuations Underway As State Braces For Widespread Power Outages, Damage (Hartford Courant)

CT: Malloy warns residents: Prepare for worst flooding in 70 years and widespread,long-lasting power outages (New Haven Register)

CT/RI: NL, OL, Stonington and Westerly issue mandatory evacuations; massive storm surge expected (The Day)

MA: Massachusetts will start to feel Sandy’s fury late Sunday night; governor declares state of emergency (Boston Globe)

MA: Cape & Islands brace for storm (Cape Cod Times)

MA: Westover Air Reserve Base partners with FEMA to prepare for Hurricane Sandy (Springfield Republican)

MA: Residents prepare to weather Sandy (Telegram & Gazette)

NH: New Hampshire coastline preps for Hurricane Sandy (WMUR-TV)

NH/ME: Hurricane Sandy on course for Tuesday landfall (Portsmouth Herald)

RI: Hurricane Irene: Chafee declares state of emergency for RI (Providence Journal)

MA: Chafee declares state of emergency; Evacs in Westerly (WJAR-TV)

VT: Shumlin declares state of emergency in Vermont (Burlington Free Press)

Boston Globe: Weather Wisdom: Extent of storm will no doubt make this historic

Other:

Connecticut Governor Signs Declaration of Civil Preparedness Emergency

Maine Governor Declares Limited Emergency to Help Restore Power

Rhode Island Governor Signs Declaration of Disaster Emergency

Background and resource information:

NWS: Tropical Cyclones: A Preparedness Guide (March 2011)

National Hurricane Center: Hurricane Preparedness

Ready.gov: Hurricanes

FEMA: Staying Safe During a Hurricane

Wellesley, MA, Emergency Preparedness Checklist

National Hurricane Center

Emergency Management Division, Connecticut Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security

Maine Emergency Management Agency: Maine Prepares

Maine Emergency Management Agency

Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency

Homeland Security and Emergency Management, New Hampshire Department of Safety

Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency

Vermont Emergency Management

National Weather Service: Northeast River Forecast Center

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New England District: Hurricane Readiness

Matt Archbold on Tips for Catholic Families at Mass

“I’ve been attending Mass with children for 13 years now. I’m not saying I’m an expert. In fact, I’ve learned most of these lessons the most embarrassing way possible. So I share them with you.”

In a recent commentary, writer Matt Archbold offered some suggestions for families bringing their children to Mass (and why it is important to do so).

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

NC Register: 12 Tips for Catholic Families at Mass (10 OCT 12)

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are Jeremiah 31:7-9, Hebrews 5:1-6, and Mark 10:46-52. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 126 (Psalm 126:1-6).

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

YouTube: Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 126 The Lord has done great things for us

The Gospel reading is as follows:

As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”

And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.”

Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”

So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.” He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.

Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?”

The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.”

Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time (October 28, 2012)

Msgr. Charles Pope: A Man Who Saw by Hearing – A Meditation on the Gospel of the 30th Sunday of the Year (27 OCT 12)

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio: Bartimaeus and the Nature of Christian Faith

Father James | Pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Author: Open Your Eyes (26 OCT 12)

Dr. Scott Hahn: Seeing the Son of David (October 28th 2012 - Thirtieth Sunday Ordinary Time)

Word to Life: Conversion is often unexpected (25 OCT 12)

Baylor Catholic Blog: Let the Children Come (4 OCT 12)

The Word Encountered: Lording It over the Rest (Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time B)

Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei (Door of Faith) (11, continued)

To honor the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the twentieth anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI has announced a “Year of Faith,” which started on 11 October and will end 24 November 2013, to strengthen the faith of Catholics and draw the world to faith by their example.

In October 2011, Pope Benedict issued an apostolic letter, “Porta Fidei” (“Door of Faith”), to proclaim this year. This apostolic letter continues as follows:

“11. . . . It is in this sense that that the Year of Faith will have to see a concerted effort to rediscover and study the fundamental content of the faith that receives its systematic and organic synthesis in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Here, in fact, we see the wealth of teaching that the Church has received, safeguarded and proposed in her two thousand years of history. From Sacred Scripture to the Fathers of the Church, from theological masters to the saints across the centuries, the Catechism provides a permanent record of the many ways in which the Church has meditated on the faith and made progress in doctrine so as to offer certitude to believers in their lives of faith.”

 

To access Pope Benedict’s complete apostolic letter, please visit:

Pope Benedict XVI: Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei (Door of Faith), for the Indiction of the Year of Faith (11 OCT 11)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways in which You continue to encourage us in our walk with You.

Bevil Bramwell, OMI, on Veritatis Splendor and the Moral Life

“Almost twenty years ago now, Pope John Paul II issued an encyclical, Veritatis Splendor, on how Catholics understand the moral life. It might be a good time to take another look back at some of things that he said.

“He started with a great summary sentence: ‘The splendor of truth shines forth in all the works of the Creator and, in a special way, in man, created in the image and likeness of God’ (cf. Gen 1:26).”

In a recent commentary, Father Bevil Bramwell, OMI, offered a reflection on Veritatis Splendor and its message for us as we try to live moral lives.

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

The Catholic Thing: John Paul II: The Moral Life (21 OCT 12)

To access the complete text of Veritatis Splendor, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: Veritatis Splendor

Reflection Starter from St. Francis de Sales

“Strive to see God in all things without exception, and consent to His will joyously.” – Saint Francis de Sales

27 October 2012

Yanni: "Nightingale"

As the week winds down, I offer this version of "Nightingale" by Yanni (from his 1997 Tribute Concert performed in front of the Forbidden City, Beijing):

Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei (Door of Faith) (11)

To honor the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the twentieth anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI has announced a “Year of Faith,” which started on 11 October and will end 24 November 2013, to strengthen the faith of Catholics and draw the world to faith by their example.

In October 2011, Pope Benedict issued an apostolic letter, “Porta Fidei” (“Door of Faith”), to proclaim this year. This apostolic letter continues as follows:

“11. In order to arrive at a systematic knowledge of the content of the faith, all can find in the Catechism of the Catholic Church a precious and indispensable tool. It is one of the most important fruits of the Second Vatican Council. In the Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum, signed, not by accident, on the thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, Blessed John Paul II wrote: ‘this catechism will make a very important contribution to that work of renewing the whole life of the Church . . . I declare it to be a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion and a sure norm for teaching the faith.’[21]”

[21] John Paul II, Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum (11 October 1992): AAS 86 (1994), 115 and 117.

 

To access Pope Benedict’s complete apostolic letter, please visit:

Pope Benedict XVI: Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei (Door of Faith), for the Indiction of the Year of Faith (11 OCT 11)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the beauty of the various forms of sacred art and the many ways in which You use it to draw Your people ever closer to You.

Jennifer Fulwiler on Drawing People to God Through Sacred Art

“This weekend I had the pleasure of attending a performance of Mozart’s Requiem, performed at our church, St. William in central Texas, as part of the parish's ongoing sacred music series.

“The event featured an orchestra, a choir of more than 50 people (including two of our parish priests!), four internationally-known soloists, and it was conducted by our own music director, Dr. Gerardo Ramos. . . . Also, it was not for parishioners or other Catholics only: It was specifically noted in the advertisements that all were welcome to attend.

“As the concert began, and this stirring music filled the nave, it felt like something important was happening. It felt like this church was giving the world something that it had almost lost, and desperately needs.”

In a recent commentary, writer Jennifer Fulwiler reflected on the role of sacred art in turning people’s attention to God.

To access her complete post, please visit:

Jennifer Fulwiler: How One Parish Draws People to God - Through Beauty  (22 OCT 12)

Reflection Starter from George W. Bush

“We Americans have faith in ourselves, but not in ourselves alone. We do not know — we do not claim to know — all the ways of Providence, yet we can trust in them, placing our confidence in the loving God behind all of life, and all of history. May He guide us now. And may God continue to bless the United States of America.” — George W. Bush (in his State of the Union Address, 28 January 2003)

26 October 2012

Flash Mob Performs “Ode an die Freude” (“Ode to Joy”)

On 19 May 2012, a flash mob performed “Ode an die Freude” (“Ode to Joy”) from the final movement of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at Plaça de Sant Roc in Sabadell, Catalonia, Spain:

In 1972, this musical piece was adopted, by the Council of Europe, as the European Anthem.

NEJM Report: Bystander-initiated CPR Less Likely in Low-income Minority Neighborhoods

A recent study (partly funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that patients who had an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in low-income black neighborhoods were less likely to receive bystander-initiated CPR than those in high-income white neighborhoods.

Media reports:

Boston Globe: CPR less likely for minorities on street or home (25 OCT 12)

Science Codex: Study shows whites twice as likely as blacks to get CPR from bystanders (24 OCT 12)

To access the NEJM study, please visit:

New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Neighborhood Characteristics with Bystander-Initiated CPR (25 OCT 12)

Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei (Door of Faith) (10, continued)

To honor the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the twentieth anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI has announced a “Year of Faith,” which started on 11 October and will end 24 November 2013, to strengthen the faith of Catholics and draw the world to faith by their example.

In October 2011, Pope Benedict issued an apostolic letter, “Porta Fidei” (“Door of Faith”), to proclaim this year. This apostolic letter continues as follows:

“10. . . . On the other hand, we must not forget that in our cultural context, very many people, while not claiming to have the gift of faith, are nevertheless sincerely searching for the ultimate meaning and definitive truth of their lives and of the world. This search is an authentic ‘preamble’ to the faith, because it guides people onto the path that leads to the mystery of God. Human reason, in fact, bears within itself a demand for ‘what is perennially valid and lasting’.[19] This demand constitutes a permanent summons, indelibly written into the human heart, to set out to find the One whom we would not be seeking had he not already set out to meet us.[20] To this encounter, faith invites us and it opens us in fullness.”

[19] Benedict XVI, Address at the Collège des Bernardins, Paris (12 September 2008): AAS 100 (2008), 722.

[20] Cf. Saint Augustine, Confessions, XIII:1.

 

To access Pope Benedict’s complete apostolic letter, please visit:

Pope Benedict XVI: Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei (Door of Faith), for the Indiction of the Year of Faith (11 OCT 11)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of laughter and the healing instrument it is.

Msgr. Pope on Intolerant Promoters of Tolerance

“Angela McCaskill is ‘Chief Diversity Officer’ at Gallaudet University in Washington DC. She was at church one Sunday, and requested to sign the petition that would permit the voters of Maryland to vote on the issue of gay “marriage.” She signed the petition and says she did so because she favors democracy and allowing citizens to vote on such controversial issues, as opposed to having legislatures and courts force so-called “gay marriage” on the populace. . . .

But the administrators at Gallaudet University consider her signing of the petition to be unacceptable. Apparently, as ‘Chief Diversity Officer,’ they don’t consider her kind of diversity the right kind of diversity.”

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on some concerns regarding those who promote tolerance for their own point of view, but not for those who have an opposing perspective.

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

Msgr. Charles Pope: When Cultural Radicals speak of “diversity,” they mean no such thing. (19 OCT 12)

Reflection Starter from Thomas Merton

“Ultimately, faith is the only key to the universe. The final meaning of human existence, and the answers to the questions on which all our happiness depends, cannot be found in any other way.” – Thomas Merton

25 October 2012

ICMA Annual Conference Offers Press Call on the Affordable Care Act

As part of the 98th International City/County Management Association Annual Conference, a press conference call was conducted regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the challenges and opportunities it presents local governments. In this conference, a number of health care and local government experts, leaders, and practitioners shared new strategies from the local government level. The consensus of the speakers was that, while the fiscal impact of rising health care costs is a major concern for local government leaders, emerging strategies such as employee wellness programs and improved dialogue with community stakeholders are showing promise in delivering reduced health care costs and improved community health.

During this conference, Elizabeth Kellar, president and CEO of the Center for State and Local Government Excellence, noted that “Local governments are focused on the fiscal impact of the ACA and concerned about healthcare costs in general, but wellness programs are an emerging and important strategy.” She also referred to an SLGE report, “The Business Case for Wellness,” which found that investments in wellness programs are a viable choice for both improving employee health as well as reducing employers’ costs.

To access a recording of the press call, please visit:

ICMA: Affordable Care Act Press Call (8 OCT 12)

To access the SLGE Report, please visit:

Center for State and Local Government Excellence: The Business Case for Wellness Programs in Public Employee Health Plans (27 SEP 12)

Background information:

International City/County Management Association

Center for State and Local Government Excellence

The Priests: “Amazing Grace”

As we continue to live this week, I offer this version of “Amazing Grace,” as sung by The Priests:

Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei (Door of Faith) (10, continued)

To honor the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the twentieth anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI has announced a “Year of Faith,” which started on 11 October and will end 24 November 2013, to strengthen the faith of Catholics and draw the world to faith by their example.

In October 2011, Pope Benedict issued an apostolic letter, “Porta Fidei” (“Door of Faith”), to proclaim this year. This apostolic letter continues as follows:

“10. . . . Evidently, knowledge of the content of faith is essential for giving one’s own assent, that is to say for adhering fully with intellect and will to what the Church proposes. Knowledge of faith opens a door into the fullness of the saving mystery revealed by God. The giving of assent implies that, when we believe, we freely accept the whole mystery of faith, because the guarantor of its truth is God who reveals himself and allows us to know his mystery of love.[18]”

[18] Cf. First Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith Dei Filius, chap. III: DS 3008-3009: Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum, 5.

 

To access Pope Benedict’s complete apostolic letter, please visit:

Pope Benedict XVI: Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei (Door of Faith), for the Indiction of the Year of Faith (11 OCT 11)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways through which You guide us towards Truth, whether we are aware of it or not and whether we want to acknowledge it or not.

On St. Ignatius of Antioch and Our Time

“I sit at my favorite table in McDonalds, the only one with an outlet underneath it, uncomfortably positioned underneath a tv. . . . I glance at the neatly bound course notes on my table, an extra copy from a class on the history of the Church that my husband had taught at our local Newman center a few years ago.  It’s open to the section on St. Ignatius of Antioch, one of our favorite saints. . . .

“I learn that he’s a direct disciple of St. John the Apostle and the bishop of Antioch after St. Peter, serving as a crucial link between the Apostles and the Early Church.  Not much is known about his life, except that around 107 AD he was arrested in Antioch and taken by foot to the Coliseum in Rome to be fed to the lions. . . . And as he traveled through Asia Minor, he wrote seven letters to some of the Churches in that area (Ephesus, Magnesia, Tralles, Rome, Philadelphia, Smyrna, and Polycarp). . . .

“[He}, filled with the Holy Spirit, pours his heart out in these missives, highlighting three main themes: unity among believers, the importance of the bishop, and the reality of the True Presence.”

In a recent commentary, writer Meg Matenaer reflected on Saint Ignatius of Antioch as an example for us in our time.

To access her complete post, please visit:

Catholic Mom: Walking with St. Ignatius of Antioch: A Man for Our Times (18 OCT 12)

Reflection Starter from Luke

“Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” – Luke 12:48 (from the Gospel reading for yesterday, Wednesday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time)

24 October 2012

National Character Counts Week

This week, the week of 21-27 October, is being observed as National Character Counts Week, an observance designed to celebrate principles embodied in our nation’s history and to renew commitment to sharing them with the nation’s children.

The Josephson Institute for Youth Ethics recommends character education in six areas (or pillars): Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship.

Presidential proclamation:

Presidential Proclamation - National Character Counts Week, 2012

Media report:

Edutopia: Celebrating National Character Counts Week (22 OCT 12)

Background information:

Josephson Institute for Youth Ethics: Character Counts! Week

Josephson Institute for Youth Ethics

Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei (Door of Faith) (10, continued)

To honor the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the twentieth anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI has announced a “Year of Faith,” which started on 11 October and will end 24 November 2013, to strengthen the faith of Catholics and draw the world to faith by their example.

In October 2011, Pope Benedict issued an apostolic letter, “Porta Fidei” (“Door of Faith”), to proclaim this year. This apostolic letter continues as follows:

“10. . . . Profession of faith is an act both personal and communitarian. It is the Church that is the primary subject of faith. In the faith of the Christian community, each individual receives baptism, an effective sign of entry into the people of believers in order to obtain salvation. As we read in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: ‘ ‘I believe’ is the faith of the Church professed personally by each believer, principally during baptism. ‘We believe’ is the faith of the Church confessed by the bishops assembled in council or more generally by the liturgical assembly of believers. ‘I believe’ is also the Church, our mother, responding to God by faith as she teaches us to say both ‘I believe’ and ‘we believe’.’[17].”

[17] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 167.

 

To access Pope Benedict’s complete apostolic letter, please visit:

Pope Benedict XVI: Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei (Door of Faith), for the Indiction of the Year of Faith (11 OCT 11)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the for the gift of reasoning You have given us and for the many ways You guide us in using this gift well.

Msgr. Pope on Reasonable Discourse

“One of the more common features of discussion and debate in the modern setting, often so polarized polemical, is the problem of ‘all or nothing thinking.’

“All or nothing thinking is a kind of cognitive distortion which is forgetful that life often has subtlety, and that, between two positions, there may be middle ground which can and should be considered.

“All or nothing thinking also has a strong influence the discussion of issues today. If the person articulates position, or point of view on some topic, they are often presumed by many to hold that position in an extreme sort of the way, without any distinction or qualifications.”

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on one of the challenges facing reasonable discourse during these times.

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

Msgr. Charles Pope: On The Problem of All or Nothing Thinking in Modern Discourse (16 OCT 12)

Reflection Starter from Pope John Paul II

“When freedom does not have a purpose, when it does not wish to know anything about the rule of law engraved in the hearts of men and women, when it does not listen to the voice of conscience, it turns against humanity and society.” – Blessed Pope John Paul II

23 October 2012

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week

This week, the week of 21-27 October, is being observed as National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week. This year’s theme is “Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future.” National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is observed every year during the last full week in October.

2012 Lead Free Week Logo

Childhood lead poisoning is considered one of the most preventable environmental disease among young children. However, an estimated 250,000 U.S. children have elevated blood-lead levels. A simple blood test can prevent permanent damage that will last a lifetime.

During National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week , the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strives to:

  • raise awareness about lead poisoning,
  • stress the importance of screening the highest risk children younger than six years of age (preferably by ages one and two) if they have not been tested yet,
  • highlight efforts to prevent childhood lead poisoning, and
  • urge people to take steps to reduce lead exposure.

During this week, a number of states and communities offer free blood-lead testing and conduct various education and awareness events.

Background information:

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week

Lead-Free Kids Campaign

CDC: Lead Poisoning Prevention Tips

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: National Lead Information Center

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control

Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei (Door of Faith) (10, continued)

To honor the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the twentieth anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI has announced a “Year of Faith,” which started on 11 October and will end 24 November 2013, to strengthen the faith of Catholics and draw the world to faith by their example.

In October 2011, Pope Benedict issued an apostolic letter, “Porta Fidei” (“Door of Faith”), to proclaim this year. This apostolic letter continues as follows:

“10. . . . Confessing with the lips indicates in turn that faith implies public testimony and commitment. A Christian may never think of belief as a private act. Faith is choosing to stand with the Lord so as to live with him. This ‘standing with him’ points towards an understanding of the reasons for believing. Faith, precisely because it is a free act, also demands social responsibility for what one believes. The Church on the day of Pentecost demonstrates with utter clarity this public dimension of believing and proclaiming one’s faith fearlessly to every person. It is the gift of the Holy Spirit that makes us fit for mission and strengthens our witness, making it frank and courageous.”

 

To access Pope Benedict’s complete apostolic letter, please visit:

Pope Benedict XVI: Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei (Door of Faith), for the Indiction of the Year of Faith (11 OCT 11)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the graces You give us when we feel pressured.

On Father Dan Pattee and Crossroads

“Rising at dawn and offering Mass is nothing out of the ordinary for any priest. Walking 30-plus miles after the Mass, across America’s highways and byways with a bunch of college students, however, is a little less ordinary – unless you’re Father Dan Pattee.”

A recent issue of Our Sunday Visitor offered an interview with Father Pattee, who discussed Crossroads (a ministry that includes an annual pro-life pilgrimage across the United States) and some of the challenges facing the pro-life movement in the U.S.

To access this article from Our Sunday Visitor, please visit:

OSV: Priest treks across US on pro-life pilgrimage (23 SEP 12)

Background information:

Crossroads

Reflection Starter from Lewis F. Powell

“The really important thing is to be somebody and do something worthwhile in this one life each of us is given by God. This doesn’t mean making the headlines or the most money. Many who succeed in both of these are actually quite contemptible.

“It does mean using your ability in some profession or calling in a way which contributes something to your generation. It also means being a man of honor, character, patriotism, civic consciousness – and some leadership of your fellow men.” – Lewis F. Powell, Jr.

22 October 2012

National Friends of Libraries Week

This week, the week of 21-27 October, is being observed as National Friends of Libraries Week. The observance is designed to be an opportunity to celebrate Friends (including promoting the local group in the community, increasing membership, and giving libraries and boards of trustees the opportunity to recognize the Friends for their help and support of the library).

For more information about this observance, please visit:

United for Libraries: National Friends of Libraries Week

Facebook: National Friends of Libraries Week

Background information:

United for Libraries

American Library Association

Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei (Door of Faith) (10, continued)

To honor the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the twentieth anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI has announced a “Year of Faith,” which started on 11 October and will end 24 November 2013, to strengthen the faith of Catholics and draw the world to faith by their example.

In October 2011, Pope Benedict issued an apostolic letter, “Porta Fidei” (“Door of Faith”), to proclaim this year. This apostolic letter continues as follows:

“10. . . . The example of Lydia is particularly eloquent in this regard. Saint Luke recounts that, while he was at Philippi, Paul went on the Sabbath to proclaim the Gospel to some women; among them was Lydia and ‘the Lord opened her heart to give heed to what was said by Paul’ (Acts16:14). There is an important meaning contained within this expression. Saint Luke teaches that knowing the content to be believed is not sufficient unless the heart, the authentic sacred space within the person, is opened by grace that allows the eyes to see below the surface and to understand that what has been proclaimed is the word of God.”

To access Pope Benedict’s complete apostolic letter, please visit:

Pope Benedict XVI: Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei (Door of Faith), for the Indiction of the Year of Faith (11 OCT 11)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways in which sunlight, at different angles, highlights the beauty of Your natural creation and the architectural beauty of buildings and other structures Your people built as they used the gifts You provided.

Msgr. Pope on the Spirituality of Imperfection

“In the ideal world, everything goes off without a hitch. But in the real world there’s usually a glitch. To some extent Hollywood and TV exaggerate the perfection notion for us. We watch movies and TV shows where everything goes off like clockwork and there are no failures, except where that advances the plot.”

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on the importance of accepting our imperfections with humility.

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

Msgr. Charles Pope: The Spirituality of Imperfection (17 OCT 12)

Reflection Starter from J. G. Holland

“God gives every bird its food, but He does not throw it into its nest.” – J. G. Holland

21 October 2012

“What Wondrous Love Is This”

As our Sunday celebration continues, I offer this Indelible Grace Music version of “What Wondrous Love Is This”:

Two U.S. Saints Canonized By Pope Benedict XVI

This morning (21 October), Pope Benedict XVI canonized seven saints including two Americans: Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American saint, and Mother Marianne Cope, who spent the last 30 years of her life ministering to the sick on the Hawaiian island of Molokai.

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, of Algonquin and Mohawk descent, is also known as the "Lily of the Mohawks." She was born in 1656, became an orphan as a child and was raised by her uncle, the chief of the Mohawk village. A smallpox epidemic left her eyesight impaired and her face scarred for life. Despite the anger of her relatives, Kateri was drawn to the faith by the teachings of missionary priests. She ran away to Montreal, Canada, where she practiced her faith with freedom.

Saint Marianne Cope joined the Sisters of Saint Francis in Syracuse, New York, in 1862. She became a leader in the field of health care, often caring for those considered “outcasts.” This then led her to volunteer in the Hawaiian island of Molokai, where she took care of the lepers and the poor.

Among the other saints canonized today was martyr Pedro Calungsod of the Philippines, a lay catechist who suffered religious persecution.

For more information about Saints Kateri Tekakwitha and Marianne Cope, please visit:

Tekawitha Conference: Kateri Tekakwitha - Lily of the Mohawks

Diocese of Hnolulu: Blessed Marianne

Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are Isaiah 53:10-11, Hebrews 4:14-16, and Mark 10:35-45. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 33 (Psalm 33:4-5, 18-20, 22).

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

YouTube: Responsorial Psalm 33 Let Your Mercy Be On Us {Marty Haugen]

The Gospel reading is as follows:

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”

He replied, “What do you wish me to do for you?”

They answered him, “Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.”

Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”

They said to him, “We can.”

Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink, you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John. Jesus summoned them and said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (October 21, 2012)

Msgr. Charles Pope: Of Crosses and Crowns: A Meditation on the Gospel for the 29th Sunday of the Year (20 OCT 12)

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio: Prime Ministers? The Sons of Zebedee

The Deacon’s Bench: Homily for October 21, 2012: 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (20 OCT 12)

Father James | Pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Author: Selfless Service (20 OCT 12)

Dr. Scott Hahn: Cup of Salvation (October 21st 2012 - Twenty-ninth Sunday Ordinary Time)

The Lectionary: Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (18 OCT 12)

Ignatius Insight: No Cross, no Kingdom. Know the Cross, know the Kingdom. (20 OCT 12)

Word on Fire: Sermon 615: True Ambition: The Desire to be with Christ in His Glory: 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Word Encountered: Lording It over the Rest (Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time B)

Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei (Door of Faith) (10)

To honor the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the twentieth anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI has announced a “Year of Faith,” which started on 11 October and will end 24 November 2013, to strengthen the faith of Catholics and draw the world to faith by their example.

In October 2011, Pope Benedict issued an apostolic letter, “Porta Fidei” (“Door of Faith”), to proclaim this year. This apostolic letter continues as follows:

“10. At this point I would like to sketch a path intended to help us understand more profoundly not only the content of the faith, but also the act by which we choose to entrust ourselves fully to God, in complete freedom. In fact, there exists a profound unity between the act by which we believe and the content to which we give our assent. Saint Paul helps us to enter into this reality when he writes: ‘Man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved’ (Rom 10:10). The heart indicates that the first act by which one comes to faith is God’s gift and the action of grace which acts and transforms the person deep within.”

 

To access Pope Benedict’s complete apostolic letter, please visit:

Pope Benedict XVI: Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei (Door of Faith), for the Indiction of the Year of Faith (11 OCT 11)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways You encourage us to pray and for the ways in which You respond to our prayers.

Dr. Lilles on the Relationship of Prayer and the “Real World”

“Some think that prayer is an escape from the real world. To these, I say that there are prisons from which it is good to escape. Lots of people banally exist imprisoned in what we call ‘the real world.’ Locked up in the fantasy land of adults and the culturally and politically powerful, they are not free to live life to the full.

“All the same, I cannot agree that prayer is an escape from reality. It is rather the opposite. Those who do not pray are sometimes trying to escape basic truths about our existence – after all, life is short and eternity long, the way to salvation is as narrow as the path to perdition is wide, and divine justice will hold us accountable if we will not hold ourselves responsible before divine mercy. Prayer is about facing this reality, this truth about our lives and about the world.”

In a recent commentary, Dr. Anthony Lilles (assistant professor of theology at Saint John Vianney Theological Seminary, Denver, CO) reflected on the relationship of prayer and the “real world.”

To access the complete post by Dr. Lilles, please visit:

Beginning to Pray: Is Prayer an Escape from the Real World? (17 OCT 12)

Reflection Starter from Saint Francis de Sales

“You will find no vocation, no state in life, where there are no bitter experiences, no annoyances, no hard times. Everyone, except those who are fully resigned to the will of God, would like to change places with someone else. This general uneasiness of souls proceeds from the distaste they find when things do not go their way, and a certain influence of the evil spirit who presents the state of others as better than their own. But that is not true; whoever does not resign himself completely to the will of God will turn here and turn there, but he will never find peace.” – Saint Francis de Sales