30 November 2012

A Resource for Building a Bikeable Community.

The Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition, a bicycle advocacy organization that strives to promote a bicycle-friendly environment and encourage bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation, offers a guide that is designed to assist members of a community in the process of making the community a “bikeable” community.

To access a copy of the document, please visit:

Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition: Shifting Gears: An Introduction to Better Bicycling for your Community

Background information:

Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition

Bach’s Cantata #45

As the month of November comes to a close, I offer this presentation of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Cantata #45, “Es ist dir gesagt, Mensch, was gut ist,” as played by Gustav Leonhardt’s Leonhardt-Consort:

Dives in Misericordia: “He Who Sees Me Sees the Father” (4, continued)

Chapter 4 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Concept of ‘Mercy’ in the Old Testament.” It continues as follows:

“4. . . . From all this it follows that mercy does not pertain only to the notion of God, but it is something that characterizes the life of the whole people of Israel and each of its sons and daughters: mercy is the content of intimacy with their Lord, the content of their dialogue with Him. Under precisely this aspect, mercy is presented in the individual books of the Old Testament with a great richness of expression. It may be difficult to find in these books a purely theoretical answer to the question of what mercy is in itself. Nevertheless, the terminology that is used is in itself able to tell us much about this subject.52

52. In describing mercy, the books of the Old Testament use two expressions in particular, each having a different semantic nuance. First there is the term hesed, which indicates a profound attitude of ‘goodness.’ When this is established between two individuals, they do not just wish each other well; they are also faithful to each other by virtue of an interior commitment, and therefore also by virtue of a faithfulness to themselves. Since hesed also means ‘grace’ or ‘love,’ this occurs precisely on the basis of this fidelity. The fact that the commitment in question has not only a moral character but almost a juridical one makes no difference. When in the Old Testament the word hesed is used of the Lord, this always occurs in connection with the covenant that God established with Israel. This covenant was, on God’s part, a gift and a grace for Israel. Nevertheless, since, in harmony with the covenant entered into, God had made a commitment to respect it, hesed also acquired in a certain sense a legal content. The juridical commitment on God's part ceased to oblige whenever Israel broke the covenant and did not respect its conditions. But precisely at this point, hesed, in ceasing to be a juridical obligation, revealed its deeper aspect: it showed itself as what it was at the beginning, that is, as love that gives, love more powerful than betrayal, grace stronger than sin.

This fidelity vis-à-vis the unfaithful ‘daughter of my people’ (cf. Lamentations 4:3, 6) is, in brief, on God’s part, fidelity to Himself. This becomes obvious in the frequent recurrence together of the two terms hesed we’e met (= grace and fidelity), which could be considered a case of hendiadys (cf. e.g. Ex. 34:6; 2 Sm. 2:6; 15:20; Ps. 25[24]:10; 40[39]:11-12; 85[84]:11; 138[137]:2; Mi. 7:20). ‘It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name’ (Ez. 36:22). Therefore Israel, although burdened with guilt for having broken the covenant, cannot lay claim to God's hesed on the basis of (legal) justice; yet it can and must go on hoping and trusting to obtain it, since the God of the covenant is really ‘responsible for his love.’ The fruits of this love are forgiveness and restoration to grace, the reestablishment of the interior covenant.

The second word which in the terminology of the Old Testament serves to define mercy is rahamim. This has a different nuance from that of hesed. While hesed highlights the marks of fidelity to self and of ‘responsibility for one’s own love’ (which are in a certain sense masculine characteristics), rahamim, in its very root, denotes the love of a mother (rehem = mother's womb). From the deep and original bond-indeed the unity-that links a mother to her child there springs a particular relationship to the child, a particular love. Of this love one can say that it is completely gratuitous, not merited, and that in this aspect it constitutes an interior necessity: an exigency of the heart. It is, as it were, a ‘feminine’ variation of the masculine fidelity to self expressed by hesed. Against this psychological background, rahamim generates a whole range of feelings, including goodness and tenderness, patience and understanding, that is, readiness to forgive.

The Old Testament attributes to the Lord precisely these characteristics when it uses the term rahamim in speaking of Him. We read in Isaiah: ‘Can a woman forget her suckling child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you’ (Is. 49:15). This love, faithful and invincible thanks to the mysterious power of motherhood, is expressed in the Old Testament texts in various ways: as salvation from dangers, especially from enemies; also as forgiveness of sins – of individuals and also of the whole of Israel; and finally in readiness to fulfill the (eschatological) promise and hope, in spite of human infidelity, as we read in Hosea: ‘I will heal their faithlessness, I will love them freely’ (Hos. 14:5).

In the terminology of the Old Testament we also find other expressions, referring in different ways to the same basic content. But the two terms mentioned above deserve special attention. They clearly show their original anthropomorphic aspect: in describing God's mercy, the biblical authors use terms that correspond to the consciousness and experience of their contemporaries. The Greek terminology in the Septuagint translation does not show as great a wealth as the Hebrew: therefore it does not offer all the semantic nuances proper to the original text. At any rate, the New Testament builds upon the wealth and depth that already marked the Old.

In this way, we have inherited from the Old Testament – as it were in a special synthesis – not only the wealth of expressions used by those books in order to define God’s mercy, but also a specific and obviously anthropomorphic ‘psychology’ of God: the image of His anxious love, which in contact with evil, and in particular with the sin of the individual and of the people, is manifested as mercy. This image is made up not only of the rather general content of the verb hanan but also of the content of hesed and rahamim. The term hanan expresses a wider concept: it means in fact the manifestation of grace, which involves, so to speak, a constant predisposition to be generous, benevolent and merciful. In addition to these basic semantic elements, the Old Testament concept of mercy is also made up of what is included in the verb hamal, which literally means ‘to spare’ (a defeated enemy) but also ‘to show mercy and compassion,’ and in consequence forgiveness and remission of guilt. There is also the term hus, which expresses pity and compassion, but especially in the affective sense. These terms appear more rarely in the biblical texts to denote mercy. In addition, one must note the word ‘emet already mentioned: it means primarily ‘solidity, security’ (in the Greek of the Septuagint: ‘truth’) and then ‘fidelity,’ land in this way it seems to link up with the semantic content proper to the term hesed.


To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for visual treats You provide for us in the world of nature, whether we are aware of them or not.

Msgr. Pope on the Need for Courage in Today’s World

“There is debate among some in Church, as I suppose there has been in every age, as to how to interpret the signs of the times. It was common in the 1970s and into the 80s for many to speak hopefully of a ‘Springtime for the Church’ as they looked with confidence for the fruits of the Second Vatican Council to take off.”

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on the need for courage and the acceptance of conflict as the Church and her people face the issues being put forth by today’s society.

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

Msgr. Charles Pope: A Call to Courage in a Climate of Crisis and Conflict. (18 NOV 12)

Reflection Starter from Mark Hart

“How boring life would be if God did things our way.  Christianity is a roller coaster ride not a merry-go-round.  Enjoy the ride.” – Mark Hart (the Bible Geek)

29 November 2012

Red Sox Acts of Kindness

Three Boston Red Sox players recently helped with the painting of apartments in Concord, NH, for Families in Transition, a New Hampshire organization that strives to help homeless individuals and families “reach beyond the cycle of homelessness to lead healthy and successful lives.”

This effort was part of the Red Sox 100 Acts of Kindness program, in which team players and their significant others, as well as team staff, are reaching out to perform good deeds for nonprofit organizations. This initiative is part of the celebration of the 100-year anniversary of Fenway Park.

Media reports:

WMUR-TV: Red Sox roll up their sleeves to help homeless families (28 NOV 12)

Boston Globe Photo Gallery: Red Sox Acts of Kindness

Background information:

Families in Transition

Boston Red Sox: Fenway Park 100

Boston Red Sox

Federal Reserve Commentary on Current Economic Conditions

Eight times a year, each Federal Reserve Bank gathers information on current economic conditions in its District through reports from Bank and Branch directors and interviews with key business contacts, economists, market experts, and other sources. The subsequent report is commonly known as the Beige Book.

In its commentary, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston (First Federal Reserve District) advises that reports from business contacts reflect a growing economy, although the pace of growth appears to be somewhat slower than in the last round. Retailers cite mixed sales results, manufacturers note slow growth, and software and IT services firms report disappointing results. By contrast, staffing firms are seeing a pick-up in growth. Commercial real estate contacts indicate that fundamentals remain flat, and sentiment has soured somewhat in recent weeks; residential real estate respondents say growth in home sales has slowed but home prices are rising modestly in some areas. Hurricane Sandy reportedly had very modest effects on economic activity in New England. Prices are said to be level in general, with minimal inflationary pressures. While some firms cite shortages of specialized workers, few are hiring, none extensively, and no one mentioned upward wage pressures.

To access the complete First District summary, please visit:

Federal Reserve Bank: Beige Book - November 28, 2012: First District--Boston

Media report:

Boston Business Journal: Boston Fed report shows signs of a slowing New England economy (28 NOV 12)

To access a copy of the complete national summary, please visit:

Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions by Federal Reserve District (November 2012)

Dives in Misericordia: “He Who Sees Me Sees the Father” (4, continued)

Chapter 4 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Concept of ‘Mercy’ in the Old Testament.” It continues as follows:

“4. . . . Even when the Lord is exasperated by the infidelity of His people and thinks of finishing with it, it is still His tenderness and generous love for those who are His own which overcomes His anger.50 Thus it is easy to understand why the psalmists, when they desire to sing the highest praises of the Lord, break forth into hymns to the God of love, tenderness, mercy and fidelity.51

50. Cf. Hosea 11:7-9; Jeremiah 31:20; Isaiah 54:7f.
51. Cf. Psalms 103(102) and 145(144).


To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many blessings You have bestowed on us throughout the past liturgical year.

Dancing Nuns

“If you’ve ever thought nuns lead dry, boring lives, this video should show you that loving Jesus and acting joyful are not mutually exclusive.”

In a recent post, Tony Rossi, of The Christophers, offered a look at some Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco during a recreational activity.

To access the complete post, please visit:

Christopher Closeup: Nuns Having Fun: Salesians Dance Gangnam Style (24 NOV 12)

Background information:

Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco

Reflection Starter from St. Francis de Sales

“Worry prevents us from doing well the very things about which we are worried.” – Saint Francis de Sales

28 November 2012

Learning from NCLB: School Responses to Accountability Pressure and Student Subgroup Performance

The Consortium for Policy Research in Education recently noted that “Much has been written in the last decade about the spotlight that the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) shines on school performance. Proponents and opponents alike are quick to discuss the law’s rigid definitions of school performance - exemplified by the classification of schools as making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) or not making AYP based largely on annual tests in reading and mathematics, disaggregating school performance by student subgroups, and requiring that all schools reach 100% proficiency. Yet for all its rigidity, the law has offered schools little guidance on how to make use of the performance data that the new systems provide or how to design improvement efforts.”

With this in mind, the Consortium recently offered a Policy Brief in which they examined the extent to which the assumptions in the law manifest themselves in the actions that school leaders take. This brief is designed to ask and answer the question: How do school leaders – administrators and teachers – respond to the results of state assessment systems and the pressure of performance-based accountability? And do those responses seem to matter to achievement outcomes?

To access a copy of this policy brief, please visit:

Consortium for Policy Research in Education Policy Brief: Learning from NCLB: School Responses to Accountability Pressure and Student Subgroup Performance (September 2012)

Background information:

U.S. Department of Education: No Child Left Behind (Elementary and Secondary Education Act [ESEA])

Consortium for Policy Research in Education

Dorak’s Symphony No. 1 in C Minor

It’s time for some classical music. This is a presentation of Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 13 (“The Bells of Zlonice”), as played by the Orchestra of  Teatro Lirico Giuseppe Verdi, Trieste:

Dives in Misericordia: “He Who Sees Me Sees the Father” (4, continued)

Chapter 4 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Concept of ‘Mercy’ in the Old Testament.” It continues as follows:

“4. . . . Thus, in deeds and in words, the Lord revealed His mercy from the very beginnings of the people which He chose for Himself; and, in the course of its history, this people continually entrusted itself, both when stricken with misfortune and when it became aware of its sin, to the God of mercies. All the subtleties of love become manifest in the Lord’s mercy towards those who are His own: He is their Father,47 for Israel is His firstborn son48; the Lord is also the bridegroom of her whose new name the prophet proclaims: Ruhamah, ‘Beloved’ or ‘she has obtained pity.’49

47. Cf. Isaiah 63:16.
48. Cf. Exodus 4:22.
49. Cf. Hosea 2:3


To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of public art in its various forms and for the many ways in which You continue Your work of creation through the efforts of the artists and support persons involved.

Colin Kerr on the Perception of Priests by Non-Catholics

“. . . I was talking with a couple of ladies the other day who were both surprised and offended to learn that ‘normal’ priests don’t take vows of poverty. I informed them that only ‘religious’ priests must do that. ‘Aren’t all priests supposed to be religious?’ one of them quite predictable quipped.”

In a recent commentary, wrier and educator Colin Kerr offered some reflections on Catholic priests as perceived by non-Catholics.

To access his complete post, please visit:

The Theology of Dad: Non-Catholics look to the Priest (23 AUG 12)

Reflection Starter from Aesop

“Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.” – Aesop

27 November 2012

Parks and Public Health

“A fundamental – and agonizing – paradox defines American public health in the 21st century. While Americans are more gravely afflicted by chronic disease than ever before, we have also never had such an array of treatments for our deadliest diseases so readily available to us. Deepening this paradox is a stunning fact: Many of the most potent and lasting treatments for our national epidemics come not from pharmaceutical labs but from changed lifestyles.

“. . . Decades of medical research attest to the preventive and curative effects of increased fitness—particularly outdoor exercise and walking-oriented lifestyles—on children and adults. And there is growing public consensus on the priority of offering children smoke-free environments in which to grow up (not to mention tobacco-free adult role models to emulate).

“Indeed, leaders from both the public health and park and recreation fields make compelling arguments that custodians of our green spaces, trails and greenways, recreation facilities, community centers, and playgrounds hold the keys to our most widely accessible dispensary of national health solutions . . .”

A recent article in Parks & Recreation, the journal of the National Recreation and Park Association, examined a number of ways in which parks may, and do, serve as resources for helping the members of the public maintain and/or improve their health.

To access the complete article, please visit:

Parks & Recreation: 5 Key Trends in Parks and Public Health (November 2012)

Background information:

National Recreation and Park Association

Placido Domingo: “Panis Angelicus” and “Ave Maria”

As we continue to live this week, I offer this video of Placido Domingo singing “Panis Angelicus” for Pope John Paul II in New York City (October 1995). The video also includes him singing Franz Schubert’s “Ave Maria” at the Vatican.

Related reflection:

New York Times: City Room (blog): Remembering John Paul II in New York (14 APR 08)

Dives in Misericordia: “He Who Sees Me Sees the Father” (4, continued)

Chapter 4 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Concept of ‘Mercy’ in the Old Testament.” It continues as follows:

“4. . . . Added to this is the fact that sin too constitutes man’s misery. The people of the Old Covenant experienced this misery from the time of the Exodus, when they set up the golden calf. The Lord Himself triumphed over this act of breaking the covenant when He solemnly declared to Moses that He was a ‘God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.’45 It is in this central revelation that the chosen people, and each of its members, will find, every time that they have sinned, the strength and the motive for turning to the Lord to remind Him of what He had exactly revealed about Himself46 and to beseech His forgiveness.”

45. Exodus 34:6.
46. Cf. Numbers 14:18; 2 Chronicles 30:9; Nehemiah 9:17; Psalm 86(85); Wisdom 15:1; Sirach 2:11; Joel 2:13.


To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of our intellect and the many ways You encourage us to use this gift well.

Stephanie Calis on the Discomforts of Evangelization

“Often, I wonder what an authentically Catholic, person-centered approach to evangelization looks like.  So many goods, particularly sex, love, the body, and the family, have been twisted and misinterpreted by the culture.  The truth is ours to reclaim.

“I still can feel the floor under my little carpet square.   Seven years ago, I went on my first Steubenville-style retreat, Mount 2000.  There I experienced the lack of sleep, shortage of showers, and crowdedness of floor space otherwise known as the youth conference for the first time.  The featured speaker, Matt Smith, a Catholic who’d been on MTV’s The Real World, came to discuss being in-but-not-of the world and the various worldly situations he faced while on the show.  To my surprise, he spoke at length about how much he welcomed these situations as opportunities to witness to faith and virtue.  In fact, he said, he soon began praying to feel uncomfortable, the better to form himself more into who he was meant to be.”

In a recent commentary, writer Stephanie Calis reflected on some aspects of bearing the Gospel in today’s world.

To access her complete post, please visit:

Ignitum Today: Break Me Open: The Discomforts of Evangelization (19 NOV 12)

Reflection Starter from Zig Ziglar

“Count your blessings and resolve to be grateful for what you have rather than disgruntled by what you don’t have. Then take steps to use what you have to the best of your ability!” – Zig Ziglar

26 November 2012

Congratulations, Tom!

Congratulations to son Tom, who was recently appointed to the Board of Directors for the Rhode Island Builders Association.

Media report:

Providence Business News: Tom Lopatosky Appointed to Rhode Island Builders Association Board of Directors (22 OCT 12)

Background information:

LOPCO Contracting

Rhode Island Builders Association

Dives in Misericordia: “He Who Sees Me Sees the Father” (4, continued)

Chapter 4 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Concept of ‘Mercy’ in the Old Testament.” It continues as follows:

“4. . . . In this broad ‘social’ context, mercy appears as a correlative to the interior experience of individuals languishing in a state of guilt or enduring every kind of suffering and misfortune. Both physical evil and moral evil, namely sin, cause the sons and daughters of Israel to turn to the Lord and beseech His mercy. In this way David turns to Him, conscious of the seriousness of his guilt39; Job too, after his rebellion, turns to Him in his tremendous misfortune40; so also does Esther, knowing the mortal threat to her own people.41 And we find still other examples in the books of the Old Testament.42

At the root of this many-sided conviction, which is both communal and personal, and which is demonstrated by the whole of the Old Testament down the centuries, is the basic experience of the chosen people at the Exodus: the Lord saw the affliction of His people reduced to slavery, heard their cry, knew their sufferings and decided to deliver them.43 In this act of salvation by the Lord, the prophet perceived his love and compassion.44 This is precisely the grounds upon which the people and each of its members based their certainty of the mercy of God, which can be invoked whenever tragedy strikes.”

39. Cf. 2 Samuel 11; 12; 24:10.
40. Job passim.
41. Esther 4:17k ff.
42. Cf. e.g. Nehemiah 9:30-32; Tobit 3:2-3, 11-12; 8:16-17; 1 Maccabees 4:24.
43. Cf. Exodus 3:7f.
44. Cf. Isaiah 63:9.


To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for initiatives that encourage support of small businesses in our communities.

Catholic Response to Environmental Issues

“Care for creation has been a hallmark of Pope Benedict XVI’s papacy.

“From his 2009 encyclical ‘Caritas in Veritate’ (‘Charity in Truth’) to his leadership in guiding the Vatican to reduce its carbon footprint, Pope Benedict continues an 800-year Catholic tradition of holding up the environment as a gift from God that must be protected and sustained.

“His writings on the environment are so extensive that some Catholics call him the ‘green’ pope.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change, and The Catholic University of America’s Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies recently collaborated to host “A Catholic Consultation on Environmental Justice and Climate Change: Assessing Pope Benedict XVI’s Ecological Vision for the Catholic Church in the United States,” a symposium examining the relationship between environmental justice and the Church.

To access a report on this symposium, please visit:

Boston Pilot: The 'green' pope: Benedict's calls for creation care earns notice (23 NOV 12)

To access a news report of the conference’s keynote address by Bishop Bernard Unabali of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, please visit:

Catholic News Service: Bishop links respect for environment to church's sacramental life (9 NOV 12)

Background information:

Catholic Coalition on Climate Change: Catholic Social Teaching and Climate Change

Encyclical Letter of Pope Benedict XVI: “Caritas in veritate”

Catholic Climate Covenant

The Catholic University of America: Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Reflection Starter from John F. Kennedy

“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” – John F. Kennedy

25 November 2012

Natural Gas Explosion in Springfield, MA

A natural gas explosion, originating in the Scores Gentlemen’s Club building, 453 Worthington Street, Springfield, MA, damaged over forty buildings (of which two have been condemned as of this time), and injured 21 people (including nine firefighters, two police officers, one Water and Sewer Commission worker, and four gas utility workers). A large portion of the downtown entertainment district was then evacuated.

The initial alarm, for an odor of gas, was transmitted at approximately 4:00 PM. The explosion occurred at approximately 5:25 PM.

The explosion destroyed two buildings, left three more buildings irreparably damaged and prompted emergency workers to evacuate a six-story apartment building that was buckling. It also reportedly blew out all windows in a three-block radius.

Media reports:

Springfield Republican: Springfield gas explosion injures at least 18, officials call no loss of life 'a miracle on Worthington Street' (24 NOV 12)

Boston Herald: Natural gas explosion rocks Springfield strip club (24 NOV 12)

Springfield Republican: Downtown Springfield building explodes following gas leak (24 NOV 12)

Springfield, Republican: Springfield explosion ruins entertainment district's busiest nights (24 NOV 12)

WWLP-TV: Several hurt, none killed in massive downtown gas explosion (23 NOV 12)

WSHM-TV: Worthington explosion leaves residents in shock (23 NOV 12)

Springfield Republican: Springfield explosion cause: 'Human error,' Massachusetts fire marshal says (25 NOV 12)

WWLO-TV Photo Gallery: Downtown Springfield Gas Explosion

Background information:

Springfield, Fire Department

Springfield Police Department

Springfield Water and Sewer Commission

City of Springfield

Wikipedia: Springfield, Massachusetts

Columbia Gas of Massachusetts

Google Map: 453 Worthington Street, Springfield, Massachusetts

Travel + Leisure Magazine Ranking of America's Favorite Cities

Travel + Leisure magazine recently published its 2012 list of “America’s Favorite Cities”, in which 35 cities were ranked by readers in a number of categories.

In the category of Food/Drink/Restaurants, Providence, RI, came in at number one in the nation. Boston, MA, came in at number seventeen, and Portland, ME, was ranked number 22.

In the category of Culture, Boston was ranked number two, Providence number fifteen, and Portland number 24.

In the category of Quality of Life and Visitor Experience, Providence was ranked number nine, Portland number fourteen, and Boston number 17.

In the category of Shopping, Providence was ranked number twelve, Boston number fifteen, and Portland number 23.

In the category of Nightlife, Providence was ranked number sixteen, Boston number eighteen, and Portland number 26.

To access the complete list, including these and other categories (with related subcategories), please visit:

Travel + Leisure: America's Favorite Cities 2012

“The King of Love My Shepherd Is”

As our Sunday celebration continues, I offer this version of Henry Williams Baker‘s“The King of Love My Shepherd Is”:

The Solemnity of Christ the King

Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Christ the King. The assigned readings are Daniel 7:13-14, Revelation 1:5-8, and John 18:33-37. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 93 (Psalm 93:1-2, 5).

The Gospel reading is as follows:

Pilate said to Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?”

Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own or have others told you about me?”

Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?”

Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here.”

So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?”

Jesus answered, “You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (November 25, 2012)

Msgr. Charles Pope: Is He your King? Really? A Meditation on the Gospel of Christ the King (24 NOV 12)

The Deacon’s Bench: Homily for November 25, 2012: Solemnity of Christ the King (24 NOV 12)

Father James | Pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Author: ¡Viva Cristo Rey! (23 NOV 12)

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio: The Feast of Christ the King

The Sacred Page: “Viva Cristo Rey!” The Solemnity of Christ the King (21 NOV 12)

Dr. Scott Hahn: A Royal Truth (November 25th 2012 - Solemnity of Christ the King)

Spirituality of the Readings: What Kind of King? (The Solemnity of Christ the King B)

Dives in Misericordia: “He Who Sees Me Sees the Father” (4, continued)

Chapter 4 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Concept of "Mercy" in the Old Testament.” It continues as follows:

“4. . . . It is significant that in their preaching the prophets link mercy, which they often refer to because of the people’s sins, with the incisive image of love on God’s part. The Lord loves Israel with the love of a special choosing, much like the love of a spouse,37 and for this reason He pardons its sins and even its infidelities and betrayals. When He finds repentance and true conversion, He brings His people back to grace.38 In the preaching of the prophets, mercy signifies a special power of love, which prevails over the sin and infidelity of the chosen people.”

37. Cf. e.g. Hosea 2:21-25 and 15; Isaiah 54:6-8.
38. Cf. Jeremiah 31:20; Ezekiel 39:25-29.


To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for calling us to be part of Your Kingdom.

Susan Stabile on Meditation and Prayer

“Becoming a Tibetan Buddhist nun is not a typical life choice for a child of an Italian Catholic police officer from Brooklyn, New York. Nevertheless, in February of 1988 I knelt in front of the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India, as he cut a few locks of my hair (the rest had already been shaved), symbolizing my renunciation of lay life.”

In a recent commentary, Susan Stabile reflected on her journey as she became a Tibetan Buddhist nun and then came back to the Church. She also offers some thoughts on the place of meditation in her prayer life.

To access her complete post, please visit:

OUPblog: Meditation experiences in Buddhism and Catholicism (22 NOV 12)

Susan Stabile’s blog:

Creo en Dios!

Reflection Starter from Blessed John Paul II

“You have an honorable yet burdensome task. You must be bearers of the Word to those who have lost its full meaning and importance.” – Blessed John Paul II

24 November 2012

“The Music of the Night”

From The Phantom of the Opera, I offer this version of “The Music of the Night” (music written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics written by Charles Hart):

Vermont’s “50/50 Challenge”

“As so many shoppers around the country did, Tina and Jim Bayne of Georgia, [Vermont,] spent their Friday planning Christmas lists. But they approached it a bit differently.

“‘There’s a lot of interesting shops to go see,’ Jim Bayne said of the Church Street Marketplace in Burlington, Vt.

“The couple wanted to shop in as many independently-owned businesses as possible on Church Street. . . .”

As noted in a recent post, today is being observed as Small Business Saturday. Taking this initiative a step further, the Vermont Department of Economic, Housing and Community Development has announced the 50/50 Challenge, a call to Vermonters to support their community by doing at least half their holiday gift buying with Vermont’s local retailers, artisans, and craftspeople.

According to the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing, for every dollar spent downtown, more than 87 cents stays in the local community, compared to only 38 cents from purchases with national retailers. In 2011, Vermont downtowns were host to 200 new jobs, 94 new businesses, and 121 building renovation projects with more than $17 million in private investments. Many of these local downtown organizations do this form of economic development on a shoe string budget, but, according to the Tourism and Marketing Dept., Vermonters stand behind their communities with more than economic support – downtowns were strengthened by 25,000 volunteer hours this year alone.

The Vermont Downtown program was established in 1998 by the Downtown Act.  More than 500 volunteers work to produce events, plant flowers, display holiday decorations, coordinate clean up days, and develop marketing campaigns and future streetscape planning.

The Vermont Downtown Program utilizes the Main Street Four Point Approach®, which is a consensus building program that is designed to foster community pride and encourage the growth of small businesses, employment and income opportunities, tax revenues, property values, and general quality of life.

The 50/50 Challenge runs through New Year’s Day.

A recent NECN report highlighted some of the aspects of this challenge:

To access this NECN report, please visit:

NECN: Vt. encourages local shopping this holiday season (23 NOV 12)

For additional information about the 50/50 Challenge, please visit:

Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing: Vermont 50/50 Challenge

Background information:

Vermont Department of Economic, Housing & Community Development: Downtown Program

Vermont Department of Economic, Housing & Community Development: Strong Communities

Dives in Misericordia: “He Who Sees Me Sees the Father” (4)

Chapter 4 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Concept of "Mercy" in the Old Testament.” It begins as follows:

“4. The concept of ‘mercy’ in the Old Testament has a long and rich history. We have to refer back to it in order that the mercy revealed by Christ may shine forth more clearly. By revealing that mercy both through His actions and through His teaching, Christ addressed Himself to people who not only knew the concept of mercy, but who also, as the People of God of the Old Covenant, had drawn from their age - long history a special experience of the mercy of God. This experience was social and communal, as well as individual and interior.

“Israel was, in fact, the people of the covenant with God, a covenant that it broke many times. Whenever it became aware of its infidelity – and in the history of Israel there was no lack of prophets and others who awakened this awareness – it appealed to mercy. In this regard, the books of the Old Testament give us very many examples. Among the events and texts of greater importance one may recall: the beginning of the history of the Judges,31 the prayer of Solomon at the inauguration of the Temple,32 part of the prophetic work of Micah,33 the consoling assurances given by Isaiah,34 the cry of the Jews in exile,35 and the renewal of the covenant after the return from exile.36

31. Cf. Judges 3:7-9.
32. Cf. 1 Kings 8:22-53.
33. Cf. Micah 7:18-20.
34. Cf. Isaiah 1:18; 51:4-16.
35. Cf. Baruch 2:11-3:8.
36. Cf. Nehemiah 9.


To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for continuing to knock on the doors of our hearts.

Bernard Toutounji on Not Dismissing Those Perceived to Be ‘Useless’

“I was scrolling through Facebook today and I saw the following message; ‘KEEP people in your life that truly love you, motivate you, encourage you, inspire you, enhance you & make you happy. If you have people who do NONE of the above, let them go.’ These sort of short inspirational messages are all over the internet and I have posted up a few of them myself. However as I read this one I found myself wondering what I should do with the people in my life who didn’t love me or motivate me or encourage me or inspire me or enhance me or even make me happy. And what if these same people did not motivate or inspire anyone? What if these people were a drain on me, their families and on the whole society?”

In a recent commentary, writer Bernard Toutounji reflected on the importance of not dismissing or forgetting those who cannot and will not be able to offer us love, motivation, and/or encouragement.

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

Ignitum Today: The Useless People in our Life (22 NOV 12)

Reflection Starter from Albert Schweitzer

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” – Dr. Albert Schweitzer

23 November 2012

Alliance for Excellent Education Report Addresses Decisions Affecting the Future of Education

According to a new report from the Alliance for Excellent Education, each school, district, and state leader must make, in the next two years , critical decisions involving digital learning that will shape education for decades. The report, The Nation’s Schools Are Stepping Up to Higher Standards, identifies four key challenges facing public school district leaders and outlines elements for developing a comprehensive digital strategy.

The four key challenges identified in the report that all school district leaders need to face include:

  1. graduating all students college and career ready;
  2. managing shrinking budgets;
  3. training and supporting teachers; and
  4. dealing with the growing technology needs of society and individual students, especially low-income students and students of color who are most at-risk of being left behind.

According to Wise and the Alliance, many school districts have already stepped up to address these challenges by developing comprehensive plans for digital learning strategies, while other districts are in the process of implementing aspects of digital learning. On the other hand, many districts have yet to begin preparation.

The complete report, please visit:

Alliance for Excellent Education: The Nation’s Schools Are Stepping Up to Higher Standards

Background information:

Alliance for Excellent Education

Fire Destroys All Three Norwich, VT, Police Cruisers

A fire on Thanksgiving Day destroyed all three cruisers belonging to the Norwich, VT, Police Department. The cause of the fire, which was dispatched at approximately 0240 hours, is under investigation.

At the time of the fire, the vehicles were parked in the parking lot in the rear of the police station, located at 10 Hazen Street.

Media reports:

NECN: Fire destroys fleet of Vt. police cruisers (22 NOV 12)

WCAX-TV:  Norwich police cruisers destroyed by fire (22 NOV 12)

Valley News: Norwich Loses Entire Police Car Fleet to Fire (23 NOV 12)

WFFF-TV: 3 Norwich Police Cruisers Catch Fire Overnight: Not Suspicious (22 NOV 12)

Background information:

Norwich Fire Department

Norwich Police Department

Town of Norwich, VT

Wikipedia: Norwich, Vermont

Dives in Misericordia: “He Who Sees Me Sees the Father” (3, continued)

Chapter 3 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “When Christ Began To Do and To Teach.” It continues as follows:

“3. . . . In this way, the messianic message about mercy preserves a particular divine-human dimension. Christ – the very fulfillment of the messianic prophecy – by becoming the incarnation of the love that is manifested with particular force with regard to the suffering, the unfortunate and sinners, makes present and thus more fully reveals the Father, who is God ‘rich in mercy.’ At the same time, by becoming for people a model of merciful love for others, Christ proclaims by His actions even more than by His words that call to mercy which is one of the essential elements of the Gospel ethos. In this instance it is not just a case of fulfilling a commandment or an obligation of an ethical nature; it is also a case of satisfying a condition of major importance for God to reveal Himself in His mercy to man: ‘The merciful . . . shall obtain mercy.”


To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord for the blessing of family gatherings on Thanksgiving and other special days.

Msgr. Pope on What Little Children Can Teach Us About Prayer

“When it comes to our struggle in prayer there are some things that we need to unlearn. For too many, private prayer is often a formal, even stuffy affair, that drips of boredom and unnecessary formality and has lots of rules. Perhaps we learned some of our lessons too well.

“And yet many of the youngest children have not learned these lessons, and they seem to pray with great ease. They are unassuming and will say almost anything to God. It is true that children may have a lot to learn about public and liturgical prayer, but when it comes to personal and private prayer they have much to teach us.”

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on the importance of preaching sound doctrine at the parish level and the related role of the family in living the Gospel message, both of which contribute to a strong parish community.

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

Msgr. Charles Pope: What Little Children Can Teach Us About Prayer (14 NOV 12)

Reflection Starter from Rabbi Harold Kushner

“If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.” – Rabbi Harold Kushner

22 November 2012

“We Give You Thanks”

As our celebration of Thanksgiving Day continues I offer this version of “We Give You Thanks,” as sung by the Salve Regina Choir, Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Singapore:

Thanksgiving Poem: "Be Thankful"

Thanksgiving Poem: "Be Thankful"
                                            (Author Unknown)

Be thankful that you don't already have everything you desire.

If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don't know something,

for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.

During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations,

because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge,

because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes.

They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you're tired and weary,

because it means you've made a difference.

It's easy to be thankful for the good things.

A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who

are also thankful for the setbacks.

Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.

Find a way to be thankful for your troubles,

and they can become your blessings.

(Originally posted on 24 NOV 10)

Thanksgiving Day

As we in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving Day, the Church offers these readings: Sirach 50:22-24 ("And now, bless the God of all, who has done wondrous things on earth"), 1 Corinthians 1:3-9, and Luke 17:11-19. The Responsorial Psalm offered is Psalm 145 (Psalm 145:2-11).

The Gospel reading is as follows:

As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten persons with leprosy met him. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” And when he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.”

As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”

Reflections on this day and on these readings:

Msgr. Charles Pope: How to Give Adequate Thanks to God. A Meditation on Thanksgiving Day (21 NOV 12)

Catholic Online: Fr. Randy Sly: Thanksgiving and Our Roots of Faith (22 NOV 12)

Catholic Home & Garden: A Catholic Thanksgiving

American Catholic: Thanksgiving Prayers

The Deacon's Bench: How Lincoln gave thanks: his proclamation

Dives in Misericordia: “He Who Sees Me Sees the Father” (3, continued)

Chapter 3 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “When Christ Began To Do and To Teach.” It continues as follows:

“3. . . . When one speaks of preaching, one encounters a problem of major importance with reference to the meaning of terms and the content of concepts, especially the content of the concept of ‘mercy’ (in relationship to the concept of ‘love’). A grasp of the content of these concepts is the key to understanding the very reality of mercy. And this is what is most important for us. However, before devoting a further part of our considerations to this subject, that is to say, to establishing the meaning of the vocabulary and the content proper to the concept of ‘mercy,’ we must note that Christ, in revealing the love – mercy of God, at the same time demanded from people that they also should be guided in their lives by love and mercy. This requirement forms part of the very essence of the messianic message, and constitutes the heart of the Gospel ethos. The Teacher expresses this both through the medium of the commandment which He describes as ‘the greatest,’29 and also in the form of a blessing, when in the Sermon on the Mount He proclaims: ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.’30

29. Matthew 22:38.
30. Matthew 5:7.


To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many good people You have placed in my life throughout the years and for the prayers, good works, and kind words they have offered for and/or to me (as an individual or as part of a group).

North American Orthodox-Catholic Statement on the Importance Of Sunday

“Recovering the theological significance of Sunday is fundamental to rebalancing our lives. As Orthodox and Catholics, we share a theological view of Sunday and so our purpose in this statement is four-fold: to offer a caring response to what is not just a human, but also a theological question; to add a little more volume to the growing chorus of Christian voices trying to be heard in the din of our non-stop worklife; to offer brief reflections in hopes of drawing attention to the fuller expositions elsewhere; and to reinforce the ecumenical consensus by speaking as Orthodox and Catholics with one voice.”

The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation recently issued an agreed statement on the importance of Sunday in the lives of Christians.

The pastoral statement on the importance of Sunday calls for Orthodox and Catholic Christians to recover the theological significance of a day that for many “has become less a day of worship and family and more like an ordinary work day.” It ends with a call to clergy and laity “to work cooperatively within their communities to stress the importance of Sunday for worship and family.”

To access the full text of the statement, please visit:

USCCB: North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation: The Importance Of Sunday (27 OCT 12)

Reflection Starter from Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

21 November 2012

Small Business Saturday

A number of communities throughout this region and the rest of the nation are urging residents to save some energy (and money) by turning out to support locally-based, small businesses on Saturday, 24 November – Small Business Saturday (the business day between Black Friday and Cyber Monday).

This promotion has been initiated for a number of reasons:

  • It supports the type of independent, unique businesses that make local communities vibrant and distinct places.
  • It keeps spending and tax revenue local, verses having them “leaking” out to neighboring jurisdictions.
  • Profits go to local owners instead of national headquarters located somewhere else.
  • It helps demonstrate that local government is supportive and invested in local business success.

Small Business Saturday, which was established by American Express in 2010, is an effort to help small businesses get more exposure during one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year. According to American Express, over 100 million people came out last year to shop at independently-owned small businesses during Small Business Saturday.

For more information about this observance, please visit:

Small Business Saturday

NCPC Offers Black Friday Safety Tips

The National Crime Prevention Council recently issued a reminder that “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving, is the first official day of the holiday shopping season and, as such, is associated with bargains, early store hours, and Christmas shopping. However, thieves also anticipate this busy season, as they look to turn unaware shoppers into Black Friday victims.

NCPC offers these “savvy safety tips” for Black Friday shoppers to remember:

  1. There is safety in numbers. Thieves are less likely to target a group of shoppers. When a person decides to shop on Black Friday alone, the risk of being targeted is more likely. Try shopping with a friend or family member. Not only are they there to keep you company but also they can keep you safe.
  2. Park your vehicle in well-lighted areas. If you are an early morning, before-the-sunrise Black Friday shopper, be sure to park your vehicle underneath a light post. Avoid parking next to vans and large trucks that block your space from the general vision of others. Remember to lock your doors while waiting for a store to open. If possible, walk to your car and to the store with a partner, and remember to always have your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle.
  3. Don’t leave tempting items visible in your vehicle. Nothing gets a thief going like bags that are clearly visible. Conceal your merchandise at all times. Put all of your items in the trunk or underneath the seats where they are out of sight. If possible, take your bags directly home instead of leaving them in the car.
  4. Child separation plan. If you are shopping with children, make a plan in case you get separated. Select a central meeting place, and make sure they know they can ask mall personnel or store security employees if they need help. It is best to leave small children at home.
  5. Always be aware of your surroundings. Keeping yourself safe means being aware of your surroundings at all time. Beware of strangers who may approach you. This is the time of year when thieves and scammers are in full force and use various methods to distract you with intentions of taking your money and belongings. Watch for loiterers, and alert security if you see any suspicious activity.

NCPC also reminds shoppers that intellectual property theft is not a victimless crime and that there are people who lose their jobs every day as a result of intellectual property theft," As part of its intellectual property theft reminder, the Council offers this related video: WKRN-TV: Authorities warn shoppers of dangers from buying counterfeit items

Background information:

NCPC: Intellectual Property Theft: Get Real

National Crime Prevention Council

William Tell Overture

In today’s classical music presentation, I offer this version of Gioachino Rossini’s William Tell Overture:

Dives in Misericordia: “He Who Sees Me Sees the Father” (3, continued)

Chapter 3 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “When Christ Began To Do and To Teach.” It continues as follows:

“3. . . . On the basis of this way of manifesting the presence of God who is Father, love and mercy, Jesus makes mercy one of the principal themes of His preaching. As is His custom, He first teaches ‘in parables,’ since these express better the very essence of things. It is sufficient to recall the parable of the prodigal son,24 or the parable of the Good Samaritan,25 but also – by contrast – the parable of the merciless servant.26 There are many passages in the teaching of Christ that manifest love-mercy under some ever-fresh aspect. We need only consider the Good Shepherd who goes in search of the lost sheep, 27 or the woman who sweeps the house in search of the lost coin.28 The Gospel writer who particularly treats of these themes in Christ’s teaching is Luke, whose Gospel has earned the title of ‘the Gospel of mercy.’”

24. Luke 15:11-32.
25. Luke 10:30-37.
26. Matthew 18:23-35.
27. Matthew 18:12-14; Luke 15:3-7.
28. Luke 15:8-10.


To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for working heating systems in our homes, other buildings, and automobiles and for those who design, install, and maintain these systems.

Bishop Tobin on a Spirit of Thanksgiving in Times of Suffering

“Can we still be thankful when we suffer?

“That’s the question I’ve been pondering as Thanksgiving approaches this year. In particular, I have in mind those good folks in our state and nation whose celebration of the holiday might be strained this year because they’re dealing with personal problems, economic woes and natural disasters.”

In a recent commentary, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, of the Diocese of Providence (RI), reflected on having a spirit of thanksgiving in times of suffering.

To access Bishop Tobin’s complete essay, please visit:

Without A Doubt: Can We Still be Thankful? (15 NOV 12)

Reflection Starter from George Eliot

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” – George Eliot

20 November 2012

Dives in Misericordia: “He Who Sees Me Sees the Father” (3, continued)

Chapter 3 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “When Christ Began To Do and To Teach.” It continues as follows:

“3. . . . Christ, then, reveals God who is Father, who is ‘love,’ as St. John will express it in his first letter22; Christ reveals God as ‘rich in mercy,’ as we read in St. Paul.23 This truth is not just the subject of a teaching; it is a reality made present to us by Christ. Making the Father present as love and mercy is, in Christ’s own consciousness, the fundamental touchstone of His mission as the Messiah; this is confirmed by the words that He uttered first in the synagogue at Nazareth and later in the presence of His disciples and of John the Baptist’s messengers.”

22. 1 John 4:16
23. Ephesians 2:4.


To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for sacred art (including paintings, icons, sculpture, and other forms), for those who create it and offer it to us, and for the many ways in which You touch people’s hearts through it.

Statue of Mary Stands as Symbol of Hope for Devastated Neighborhood and Beyond

Among the many areas devastated by Hurricane Sandy was the Breezy Point neighborhood of Queens in the City of New York. A statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary survived the storm and continues to stand in this neighborhood, serving as a symbol of hope in the midst of the tragedy that overwhelmed the neighborhood and its people.

Media reports:

New York Times: Amid the Ashes, a Statue of Mary Stands as a Symbol of Survival (16 NOV 12)

DisasterPictures: Virgin Mary Statue is all that remains after Sandy Hit Breezy Point in Queens NY (1 NOV 12)

Ascension Earth: Breezy Point Madonna Stands Vigilant Amid Rubble

Reflection Starter from Galileo

“I do not feel obliged to believe that same God who endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect had intended for us to forgo their use.” – Galileo Galilei

19 November 2012

Dives in Misericordia: “The Messianic Message” (3, continued)

Chapter 3 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “When Christ Began To Do and To Teach.” It continues as follows:

“3. . . . Especially through His lifestyle and through His actions, Jesus revealed that love is present in the world in which we live – an effective love, a love that addresses itself to man and embraces everything that makes up his humanity. This love makes itself particularly noticed in contact with suffering, injustice and poverty - in contact with the whole historical ‘human condition,’ which in various ways manifests man’s limitation and frailty, both physical and moral. It is precisely the mode and sphere in which love manifests itself that in biblical language is called ‘mercy.’”


To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for Your presence in each person we encounter each day.

Fr. John Kiley on the Realities of Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell

“‘No sun; no moon. No morn; no noon. No dawn; no dusk. No proper time of day. No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease. No comfortable feel in any member. No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees. No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! November!’

“Nineteenth century English poet Thomas Hood offers this gray depiction of the 11th month grimly placed between the bright orange leaves of October and the glistening white snows of December. Americans of course celebrate a festive Thanksgiving Day toward the end of the month but that date has been kidnapped from November by being labeled the start of the so-called holiday season. . . . Yet the secular world which observed Veterans (formerly Armistice) Day on November 11 is for once in step with the Christian world which marked All Souls Day on November 2nd. Dim November is ideally suited to reflect on our deceased – the demise of fallen heroes, the death of family members, the earthly departure of friends.”

In a recent commentary, Father John Kiley (Pastor Emeritus, Saint Francis of Assisi Parish, Warwick, RI, and Ecumenical Officer, Diocese of Providence) reflected on the realities of death, judgment, heaven, and hell – even though many people choose not to think about them or only superficially consider them.

To access Fr. Kiley’s complete column, please visit:

The Quiet Corner: Thinking about judgment and eternity (15 NOV 12)

Reflection Starter from Viktor Frankl

“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Viktor E. Frankl

18 November 2012

Four Die in Orrington, ME, Fire

Four people, a man and his three children (ages 9, 8, and 4), died in a fire at 580 Dow Road in Orrington, ME, on Saturday, 10 November.

The initial alarm was struck at 0238 hours, and, when the first units arrived on the scene, the structure was fully involved. Companies from Bangor, Brewer, Eddington, and Holden assisted the Orrington department.

Media reports:

Sun Journal: Mother sole survivor of Orrington fire (11 NOV 12)

Bangor Daily News: Small town reeling from death of father, three children in weekend fire (12 NOV 12)

WCSH-TV: Officials urge smoke detector use in wake of deadly fire (12 NOV 12)

WABI-TV: Orrington Fire is the Most Deadly in Nearly 20 Years in Maine (12 NOV 12)

Bangor Daily News: Father recounts son’s last moments trying to save his family in Orrington fire (14 NOV 12)

Portland Press Herald: Orrington struggles to move on after state's deadliest fire in two decades (14 NOV 12)

Bangor Daily News: In Maine homes, law doesn’t require functional smoke detectors (14 NOV 12)

Background information:

Orrington Fire & Rescue Department

Town of Orrington

Wikipedia: Orrington, Maine

Google Map: 580 Dow Road, Orrington, ME

Simple Truths: “Learning to Dance in the Rain”

This Simple Truths video, which illustrates the poem “Weather Report,” by B.J. Gallagher, offers a reminder of the power of gratitude:

Simple Truths: Learning to Dance in the Rain

“Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass . . . it’s about learning to dance in the rain!” – Vivian Greene

Hillsong: “Worthy Is The Lamb”:

As our Sunday celebration continues, I offer this Hillsong version of “Worthy Is The Lamb”:

Debt Forgiveness Initiatives

U2 singer Bono recently went to the Vatican to thank the Church for its support of the Jubilee 2000 campaign that was initiated to free the poorest countries from their burden of foreign debts.

Media reports:

Catholic News Agency: Bono thanks Vatican for helping with debt forgiveness (16 NOV 12)

Vatican Radio: Rock star Bono back in the Vatican (16 NOV 12)

On a related note, there are other outreach efforts striving to eliminate debt, particularly in areas hard-hit by the recent recession. One such example is Strike Debt, which was formed by a number of participant in the Occupy movement. Strike Debt’s Rolling Jubilee initiative id designed to intervene by buying debt to keep it out of the hands of collectors and then abolishing it.

For additional information about this initiative, please visit:

Strike Debt: Rolling Jubilee

Related initiatives:

Jubilee USA Network

Jubilee Debt Campaign

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are Daniel 12:1-3; Hebrews 10:11-14, 18; and Mark 13:24-32. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 16 (Psalm 16:5, 8-11).

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

YouTube: Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 16 "The Lord, my inheritance and God of all goodness"

The Gospel reading is as follows:

Jesus said to his disciples: “In those days after that tribulation the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

“And then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in the clouds’ with great power and glory, and then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.

“Learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see these things happening, know that he is near, at the gates. Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

“But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: 3rd Sunday Ordinary Time (November 18, 2012)

Msgr. Charles Pope: But the Word of the Lord Remains Forever! – A Meditation on the Gospel for the 33rd Sunday of the Year (17 NOV 12)

The Deacon’s Bench: Homily for November 18, 2012: 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (17 NOV 12)

Father James | Pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Author: The Second Coming (16 NOV 12)

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio: Hasten the End - Apocalypse Now!

The Sacred Page: Tempus Fugit: The Readings for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (14 NOV 12)

Dr. Scott Hahn: Hope in Tribulation (November 18th 2012 - Thirty-third Sunday Ordinary Time)

A Concord Pastor Comments: Waiting for the Messiah... (17 NOV 12)

The Lectionary: Difficulties in life are a precursor to God’s joy (15 NOV 12)

The Word Encountered: The End Times (Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time B)

Dives in Misericordia: “He Who Sees Me Sees the Father” (3, continued)

Chapter 3 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “When Christ Began To Do and To Teach.” It continues as follows:

“3. . . . It is significant that, when the messengers sent by John the Baptist came to Jesus to ask Him: ‘Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?’,20 He answered by referring to the same testimony with which He had begun His teaching at Nazareth: ‘Go and tell John what it is that you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them.’ He then ended with the words: ‘And blessed is he who takes no offense at me’.21

20. Luke 7:19.
21. Luke 7:22-23.


To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for for the gift of good books and for those who write, illustrate, edit, publish, and distribute them.

Annual Catholic Campaign For Human Development Collection This Weekend

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop’s national collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) is scheduled for this weekend, the weekend before Thanksgiving. The collection is taken up in parishes and dioceses nationwide. “Fight poverty. Defend human dignity,” is the theme of this year’s collection.

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development strives to help others to help themselves. It promotes programs designed to break the cycle of poverty. Its initiatives enable low-income people to participate in the decisions that affect their families and communities.

The annual national collection is the primary source of funding for CCHD’s anti-poverty grants and education programs. For over 40 years, the CCHD has funded organizations that address the root causes of poverty.

During the 2011-2012 grant cycle, the campaign put just over $8 million dollars into community efforts to promote human dignity and fight poverty. Twenty-five percent of each CCHD collection’s proceeds stay in the local dioceses where funds are collected to fight poverty as well as foster “liberty and justice for all” in their local communities.

Background information:

Catholic Campaign For Human Development

Reflection Starter from St. Francis de Sales

“If we have good ideas or good desires but lack strength to put them into practice, we must present them to God with a firm hope that He will help us. Certainly, if we place all our confidence in Divine Goodness, the Lord will not fail to grant whatever is necessary to persevere in His service.” – Saint Francis de Sales

17 November 2012

Andre Rieu and Suzan Erens: “The Sound Of Music”

In this video, Andre Rieu wand his Johann Strauss Orchestra are joined by soprano Suzan Erens (from Holland) in performing “The Sound Of Music” at Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria:

Dives in Misericordia: “He Who Sees Me Sees the Father” (3)

Chapter 3 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “When Christ Began To Do and To Teach.” It begins as follows:

“3. Before His own townspeople, in Nazareth, Christ refers to the words of the prophet Isaiah: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.’19 These phrases, according to Luke, are His first messianic declaration. They are followed by the actions and words known through the Gospel. By these actions and words Christ makes the Father present among men. It is very significant that the people in question are especially the poor, those without means of subsistence, those deprived of their freedom, the blind who cannot see the beauty of creation, those living with broken hearts, or suffering from social injustice, and finally sinners. It is especially for these last that the Messiah becomes a particularly clear sign of God who is love, a sign of the Father. In this visible sign the people of our own time, just like the people then, can see the Father.”

19. Luke 4:18-19.

To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”