31 May 2013

National Trails Day

Saturday (1 June) is National Trails Day. The American Hiking Society has been sponsoring this event since 1993 as a follow up to the 1987 report of President Ronald Reagan’s President’s Commission on Americans Outdoors. “Trails for All Americans,” one recommendation of the report, advised that Americans should be able to walk out their front doors and, within fifteen minutes, be on trails that take them through their cities or towns and bring them back without retracing any steps.

The theme for National Trails Day 2013 is “Hike. Bike. Paddle. Ride. Get Outside.” Events scheduled for this year’s observance include hikes, new trail dedications, workshops, educational exhibits, equestrian and mountain bike rides, rollerblading, and trail maintenance.

In New England, there are over 80 National Trails Day events scheduled. You may locate these events find using this search feature being offered by the American Hiking Society:

American Hiking Society: National Trails Day: Find An Event Near You

Background information:

American Hiking Society

American Trails

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for creating each of us and putting each of us on earth for a purpose.

Msgr. Pope on Salt and the Christian Life

“‘Everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if salt becomes insipid, with what will you restore its flavor? Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another.’ (Mark 9:49-50)

“Some argue that these were separate sayings of Jesus just stitched together here, but I think otherwise. The who logic of the saying seems cogent and unified to me.”

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on the image of salt as it relates to the Christian life and on the role of the Christian to bring flavor to life in a world that is so often filled with despair and meaninglessness.

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

Msgr. Charles Pope: Reflections on a Lesser-Known Saying of Jesus (23 MAY 13)

Reflection Starter from St. Thomas Aquinas

“All the efforts of the human mind cannot exhaust the essence of a single fly.” – Saint Thomas Aquinas

30 May 2013

“Let’s Read. Let’s Move.” Summer Youth Service Initiative

The Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that operates AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, is sponsoring its fourth Let’s Read. Let’s Move. initiative, which is designed to encourage all Americans to participate in combating summer reading loss and childhood obesity through volunteering and service this summer.

Recommendations from the agency include:

For more information about this initiative, please visit:

Corporation for National and Community Service: Let's Read. Let's Move.

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for Your gift of our Blessed Mother Mary as the mother of us all.

Cardinal Dolan on the Secret of Notre Dame

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, was the principal speaker and the recipient of an honorary degree at the University of Notre Dame’s 168th Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, 19 May.

In his presentation, Cardinal Dolan addressed what he called the secret of Notre Dame – a “secret” that applies not only to the Notre Dame community, but to the rest of us as well.

To access the text of Cardinal Dolan’s address, please visit:

New Advent: "The Secret of Notre Dame": Cardinal Dolan's 2013 commencement address (23 MAY 13)

Reflection Starter from Blessed Pope John Paul II

“The truth is not always the same as the majority decision.” – Blessed Pope John Paul II

29 May 2013

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways You manifest the light of Your kindness.

Peter Kreeft on Freedom and Predestination

“If God is not love but only knowledge, then it is difficult or impossible to see how human free will and divine predestination can both be true. But if God is love, there is a way.

“Freedom and predestination is one of the most frequently asked questions among my students – partly because of modern man’s great concern for freedom, but also, I think, for the largely unconscious reason that we intuitively know both these things must be true because they are the warp and woof of every good story. If a story has no plot, no destiny – if its events are haphazard and arbitrary – it is not a great story.”

In a recent commentary, Peter Kreeft, Ph.D. (professor of philosophy at Boston College, author, and speaker) reflected on God’s love and power and their role in our lives.

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

The Integrated Catholic Life: Freedom and Predestination (23 APR 13)

Reflection Starter from Donald Adams

“To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.” – Donald A. Adams

28 May 2013

Active Hurricane Season Predicted

In its 2013 Atlantic hurricane season outlook issued today, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting an active or extremely active season this year.

For the six-month hurricane season, which begins 1 June, NOAA’s Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook says there is a 70 percent likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 7 to 11 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher). These ranges are above the seasonal average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.

“With the devastation of Sandy fresh in our minds, and another active season predicted, everyone at NOAA is committed to providing life-saving forecasts in the face of these storms and ensuring that Americans are prepared and ready ahead of time.” said Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., NOAA acting administrator in a prepared statement. “As we saw first-hand with Sandy, it’s important to remember that tropical storm and hurricane impacts are not limited to the coastline. Strong winds, torrential rain, flooding, and tornadoes often threaten inland areas far from where the storm first makes landfall.”

Three climate factors that strongly control Atlantic hurricane activity are expected to come together to produce an active or extremely active 2013 hurricane season. These are:

  • a continuation of the atmospheric climate pattern, which includes a strong west African monsoon, that is responsible for the ongoing era of high activity for Atlantic hurricanes that began in 1995;
  • warmer-than-average water temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea; and
  • El Niño is not expected to develop and suppress hurricane formation.

Background information:

NOAA: Climate Prediction Center

NOAA: National Hurricane Center

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for Your tremendous generosity.

Paul McCusker on His Journey to Catholicism

“I shudder to think of it now. There I was at a CS Lewis conference and the esteemed teacher Peter Kreeft had been talking about ten things to learn from JRR Tolkien about evil. A brilliant talk. And, at the break, I had a chance to corner Kreeft to ask him a few questions. In the course of that short conversation, he mentioned to me how he had become a Catholic while attending Calvin College.

“Everyone else probably knew it, but I didn’t. And I was surprised. But here’s the thing that surprised me and makes me shudder to think of it now: my immediate thought was, ‘How could a man this smart be a Catholic?’

In a recent commentary, author Paul McCusker reflected on aspects of his journey to Catholicism.

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

Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction: Putting the “Big” in Bigotry (23 MAY 13)

Reflection Starter from St. John Chrysostom

“Whether, therefore, we receive what we ask for, or do not receive it, let us still continue steadfast in prayer. For to fail in obtaining the desires of our heart, when God so wills it, is not worse than to receive it; for we know not as He does, what is profitable to us.” – Saint John Chrysostom

27 May 2013

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day, a day designated to commemorate the men and women who died while in the military service.

Your silent tents of green
We deck with fragrant flowers;
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours.
                  – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Presidential Proclamation - Prayer for Peace, Memorial Day, 2013

DeerLake Weekly Letter: Memorial Day Prices, The Cost of Freedom

Paul Greenberg: Remembering, We Forget (30 MAY 11)

Whispers in the Loggia: "Our Grateful and Charitable Remembrance" (25 MAY 13)

YouTube: Taps

YouTube: Memorial Day 2012 – Freedom Isn’t Free

Background information:

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Memorial Day

John McCrae: “In Flanders Fields”

TapsBugler: “Taps”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the sacrifices offered by so many men and women to protect this nation and her people and ideals.

On Atheism and the Catholic Faith

“Last Easter, when I was just beginning to explore the possibility that, despite what I had previously believed and been brought up to believe, there might be something to the Catholic faith, I read Letters to a Young Catholic by George Weigel. One passage in particular struck me.

“Talking of the New Testament miracles and the meaning of faith, Weigel writes: ‘In the Catholic view of things, walking on water is an entirely sensible thing to do. It’s staying in the boat, hanging tightly to our own sad little securities, that’s rather mad.’”

In a recent commentary, Megan Hodder reflected on what brought her away from atheism to the Catholic faith.

To access her complete essay, please visit:

Catholic Herald: The atheist orthodoxy that drove me to faith (23 MAY 13)

Reflection Starter from Billy Graham

“Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” – Rev. Billy Graham

26 May 2013

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. The assigned readings are Proverbs 8:22-31, Romans 5:1-5, and John 16:12-15. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 8 (Psalm 8:4-9).

The Gospel reading is as follows:

Jesus said to his disciples: “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.”

Reflections on this day and on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Most Holy Trinity (May 26, 2013)

Vatican Radio: Pope Angelus: The Holy Trinity is the face of God (26 MAY 13)

Msgr. Charles Pope: 1 and 1 and 1 are One – A Mediation on the Feast of the Holy Trinity (25 MAY 13)

The Deacon’s Bench: Homily for Trinity Sunday: The God Who Wants to be Found (25 MAY 13)

Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio: Trinity Sunday - Is the Trinity Relevant?

The Quiet Corner: Difference is a path to complete unity (23 MAY 13)

RI Catholic: The Lectionary: Divine invitation (23 MAY 13)

Word on Fire: Sermon 646: God Has Spoken: Trinity Sunday

Dr. Scott Hahn: Glorious Processions (May 26th 2013 - The Most Holy Trinity)

The Word Engaged: In the Beginning Was Relationship (The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity C)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the ways in which the many parts of the awesome universe You created fit together so well, for the ways in which each part is connected with the rest of Your creation.

Diocese of Brooklyn on Jesus as the “Original Hipster”

A recent item in the trade journal Adweek took note of a new “All Faces, Everyday Understanding” marketing campaign by the Diocese of Brooklyn.

Initiated on 1 April, 2013, this campaign is “geared towards reaching a younger, more diverse demographic by showing the cooler and more welcoming side of the Catholic Church.” One of the main creative pieces in this campaign is “The Original Hipster.”

In a related statement, Monsignor Kieran Harrington (Vicar for Communications for the Diocese) noted, “If you have faith there is never a need to take yourself too seriously; life is so much easier when you have a sense of humor. Sure we are poking fun at ourselves, but also making clear that in Catholic Churches in Brooklyn and Queens everyone is welcome.”

To access a copy of this Adweek item, please visit:

Adweek: Jesus Was the ‘Original Hipster,’ Down to His Grubby Converse Sneakers, Say Church Ads (22 APR 13)

Background information:

Diocese of Brooklyn

Thank you, Deacon Greg Kandra, for the tip.

Reflection Starter from St. Thérèse of Lisieux

“Each small task of everyday life is part of the harmony of the universe.” – Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face)

25 May 2013

Massachusetts Student Wins National Geographic Bee Title

Sathwik Karnik of Massachusetts, a 12-year-old seventh-grade student at King Phillip Regional Middle School in Norfolk, Massachusetts, and a resident of nearby Plainville, took top honors at the 25th annual National Geographic Bee recently held at The National Theatre in Washington, D.C. He won a $25,000 college scholarship, lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society, and a trip for two to the Galápagos on an expedition aboard the Lindblad ship National Geographic Endeavour.

The winning question was: “Because Earth bulges at the Equator, the point that is farthest from Earth’s center is the summit of a peak in Ecuador. Name this peak.” Answer: Chimborazo.

Approximately five million students, from grades four through eight, entered local competitions across the U.S. Fifty-four state and territory winners took part in the preliminary rounds of the 2013 National Geographic Bee on Monday, 20 May. The top 10 finishers in the preliminary rounds met in the final round, on Wednesday, 22 May, which was moderated by Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek.

Media reports:

Sun-Chronicle: KP Middle School student tops at National Geographic Bee (23 MAY 13)

NECN: Mass. boy takes title at National Geographic Bee (24 MAY 12)

Background information:

National Geographic Society: National Geographic Bee

National Hurricane Preparedness Week

The week of 26 May-1 June has been designated as National Hurricane Preparedness Week, a time for all Americans, those in hurricane prone areas as well as inland areas, to learn more about how to protect themselves against hurricanes and to work together, as a whole community, to respond to and recover from them. The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from 1 June – 30 November.

2013 hurricane prep week

For more information related to National Hurricane Preparedness Week, please visit:

NOAA: National Hurricane Center: National Hurricane Preparedness Week

Presidential Proclamation - National Hurricane Preparedness Week, 2013

Background information:

NOAA: National Weather Service: Tropical Cyclone Preparedness Guide (April 2013)

NOAA: National Weather Service: National Hurricane Center

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways You work through those who strive to encourage and/or support vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

Labouré Society Assists Vocations to Priesthood/Religious Life

There is an organization, the Labouré Society, that works to provide financial assistance and spiritual support to men and women who must resolve student loans in order to pursue their vocation to priesthood and/or religious life in the Catholic Church.

Since 2003, the Labouré Society has assisted over 230 men and women into formation. During this process, they have disbursed grants totaling over $2 million.

Media reports:

St. Louis Review: Laboure Society provides valuable help in vocations (9 JAN 13)

National Catholic Register: Fundraising ‘Boot Camp’ Helps Those Called to Religious Life (15 JAN 13)

The Dialog: Laboure Society helps break debt barrier keeping some from vocation (May 2013)

Background information:

Labouré Society

Facebook: Laboure Society

Reflection Starter from Grover Cleveland

“And let us by no means forget while we give thanks and enjoy the comforts which have crowned our lives that truly grateful hearts are inclined to deeds of charity, and that a kind and thoughtful remembrance of the poor will double the pleasures of our condition and render our praise and thanksgiving more acceptable in the sight of the Lord.” – Grover Cleveland (in his Proclamation of a National Day of Prayer, 2 November1885)

24 May 2013

National Building Safety Month

May is being observed as National Building Safety Month. An initiative of the International Code Council Foundation, Building Safety Month was first observed in 1980 in response to a series of tragedies that could have been prevented through the existence and enforcement of safety codes.

2013 Building Safety Month Logo

This year’s theme is “Building Safety Month: Code Officials Keep You Safe.” The observance includes foci on specific weekly themes: Fire Safety and Awareness, Disaster Safety and Mitigation, Backyard and Pool Safety, and Energy and Green Building.

For more information about National Building Safety Month, please visit:

International Code Council Foundation: Building Safety Month 2013

Federal Alliance for Safe Homes

Presidential Proclamation - National Building Safety Month, 2013

Background information:

International Code Council Foundation

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for giving each of Your people his/her own personality and for the many ways You guide and develop this gift.

Msgr. Pope on True Freedom

“One of the terribly destructive philosophies is a false notion of freedom. The sinful world, going all the way back to Satan’s deceit in the garden, thinks of freedom as being able to do whatever I please. In effect those who hold this, flaunt their false notion of freedom saying in effect, ‘I will do what I want to do, and I will decide if it is right or wrong. No one will tell me what to do.’ It is freedom in the abstract, freedom for its own sake, rather than for the sake of being able to do what is right.”

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on true freedom as “the capacity to obey God.”

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

Msgr. Charles Pope: What is the Christian Understanding of Freedom and how is it different from the World’s fake freedom? (16 MAY 13)

Reflection Starter from Thomas Paine

“I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.” – Thomas Paine (in “The Crisis”)

23 May 2013

National Safe Boating Week

This week, the week of 18-24 May, is being observed as National Safe Boating Week, an initiative designed to educate and inform the boating public about boating safety. This year’s theme (“Wear It!”) is designed to encourage boaters to always wear life jackets to save lives.

2013 safe boating logo

For additional information about National Safe Boating Week, please visit:

National Weather Service: National Safe Boating Week

National Safe Boating Council: Wear It Campaign

Presidential Proclamation - National Safe Boating Week, 2013

National Safe Boating Council

Facebook: North American Safe Boating Campaign

Youtube: National Safe Boating Council’s Campaign PSAs

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord for Your promise to sit down and dine with whoever will open the door to You.

Pope Francis on Avoiding the Temptation to Interfere

“The Christian must overcome the temptation to ‘interfere in the lives of others,’ was the exhortation of Pope Francis at Mass [on Saturday, 18 May] at the Casa Santa Marta. The Pope also stressed that talk and envy do so much harm to the Christian community.”

Vatican Radio recently reported on this homily by Pope Francis, in which he encouraged Christians to avoid disinformation, defamation, and slander and to walk behind Jesus on his way.

To access the complete Vatican Radio report, please visit:

Vatican Radio: Pope: Avoid the temptation to interfere (18 MAY 13)

Reflection Starter from Proverbs

“Where there is humility, there is wisdom.” – Proverbs 11:2

22 May 2013

2013 Click It or Ticket Campaign

State and local police departments throughout this region (and the rest of the U.S.) are participating in the the 2013 Click It or Ticket campaign, an initiative designed to remind motorists about the severe risks of driving unbelted, day or night.

2012 clickitorticket_thumb

Seat belt use in 2012 reached 86 percent, a significant increase from 84 percent in 2011. This result is from the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS), which is the only survey that provides nationwide probability based observed data on seat belt use in the United States. The NOPUS is conducted annually by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

This year’s Click It or Ticket campaign (or National Seat Belt Enforcement Mobilization) runs through 2 June. The primary audience for this campaign continues to be men of ages 18 to 34, which research shows are less likely to wear seat belts.

Media report:

Kennebec Journal: Gardiner, Augusta to beef up seat belt-use enforcement (20 MAY 13)

To access one of these ads, please visit:

NHTSA TV Commercial: ‘Fake Seat Belt’

For more information about the Click It or Ticket campaign, please visit:

NHTSA: Click It or Ticket

Background information:

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

Facebook: NHTSA

NHTSA: Traffic Safety Facts Research Note: Seat Belt Use in 2012—Overall Results

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for continuing to call us, even when we do not hear You.

Randy Hain on Accepting Help from Others

“Back in 2006, shortly after I came into the Catholic Church, a friend and fellow parishioner shared an observation with me after Mass one morning which had a profound effect on me:  ‘Randy, I have noticed that you really enjoy helping people.  But, you are very uncomfortable when people try to help you.  By not allowing them the opportunity to help, you are denying them the very grace you are receiving from God when you help them.’  This fraternal correction from a man I respected stopped me in my tracks and the conversation has stayed with me over the years.”

In a recent commentary, Randy Hain, Senior Editor for The Integrated Catholic Life, reflected on why persons may struggle to receive help from others and what we may be denying others when we are not accepting their help.

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

The Integrated Catholic Life: The Paradox of Help (7 MAR 13)

Reflection Starter from G. K. Chesterton

“Truth is stranger than fiction because we create fiction to suit our fancy.” – G. K. Chesterton

21 May 2013

National Mental Health Awareness Month

The month of May is being observed as National Mental Health Awareness Month, an observance designed to It raises awareness about mental illnesses, such as: depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.

Presidential proclamation:

The White House: Presidential Proclamation - National Mental Health Awareness Month, 2013

Background information:

National Institute of Mental Health

National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health

American Mental Health Counselors Association

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for Your compassion and Your mercy.

Bishop Tobin on the State of the Catholic Church in Rhode Island

“Dealing with declining numbers of priests and dwindling numbers of parishioners, The Catholic Diocese of Providence is considering some big changes in an attempt to strengthen Diocesan parishes.”

In a recent interview with WPRI-TV’s Eyewitness News, the Most Rev. Thomas J. Tobin, Bishop of Providence, explained how the Diocese is adapting to the current “changing times.”

To access the complete interview, please visit:

WPRI-TV: Bishop on health of Church: We'll have to be creative (2 MAY 13)

Reflection Starter from St. John of Capistrano

“Those who are called to the table of the Lord must glow with the brightness.” – Saint John of Capistrano

20 May 2013

NH Bureau of Trails Names Berlin ‘Landowner of the Year’

The City of Berlin, NH, was recently recognized as “Landowner of the Year” by the New Hampshire Bureau of Trails for its active role in protecting public access to snowmobile trails.

Media report:

Berlin Daily Sun: City named ‘Landowner of the Year’ (16 MAY 13)

Background information:

City of Berlin

New Hampshire Bureau of Trails

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for helping hands that assist us when we are not expecting it.

National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Mariners and People of the Sea

The National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Mariners and People of the Sea will be celebrated Wednesday, 22 May. The day is observed in conjunction with National Maritime Day in the United States, which has been celebrated since 1933 to recognize merchant mariners and others in the maritime industry.

Bishop J. Kevin Boland, retired bishop of Savannah, Georgia, and Apostleship of the Sea (AOS) promoter, is encouraging dioceses to mark the national day by remembering the men and women of the sea in homilies and by including special petitions during Mass. For Masses celebrated on 22 May, the text for the Votive Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Star of the Sea, is encouraged.

"Mariners serve the needs of human kind in quiet and unobtrusive ways. These hardworking men and women contribute to global economic vitality. The nature of the industry requires their absence from home and family for many months without a break. Their labor and sacrifice make possible our access to the goods of the world," Bishop Boland said in a prepared statement.

Approximately ninety percent of the world’s goods are transported by sea and the waterways. There are approximately 1.2 million seafarers worldwide in 10,000 commercial ships and maritime vessels.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops established the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Mariners and People of the Sea in 2005 to encourage Catholics to support and pray for merchant mariners, seafarers, fishermen, port personnel, and others in the maritime industry.

Background information:

Apostleship of the Sea of the United States of America

Reflection Starter from Blessed Pope John Paul II

“Peace is not just the absence of war. Like a cathedral, peace must be constructed patiently and with unshakable faith.” - Blessed Pope John Paul II

19 May 2013

Pentecost Sunday

Today the Church celebrates Pentecost Sunday. The assigned readings are Acts 2:1-11; 1 Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13; and John 20:19-23. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 104 (Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-31, 34).

The Gospel reading is as follows:

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Reflections on this day and on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Pentecost Sunday (May 19, 2013)

Vatican Radio: Pope at Pentecost: Newness, harmony and mission (19 MAY 13)

Msgr. Charles Pope: I have Come to Cast a Fire on the Earth – A Meditation on the Feast of Pentecost (18 MAY 13)

Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio: Pentecost Feast: The Gifts and Charisms of The Holy Spirit

RI Catholic: The Lectionary: Creator spirit (16 MAY 13)

Word on Fire: Sermon 645: Pentecost and Sinai: Pentecost Sunday

Dr. Scott Hahn: A Mighty Wind (May 19th 2013 - Pentecost Sunday)

The Sacred Page: Readings for Pentecost Sunday (16 MAY 13)

The Word Engaged: The Difference It Makes (Solemnity of Pentecost C)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for instituting the sacrament of Reconciliation and for the healing You offer through it.

On Encouraging Greater Use of Sacrament of Reconciliation

“Catholic leaders want more people to go to confession. The new pope, Francis, promoted penance in a recent sermon saying it should be considered ‘an encounter with Jesus,’ not ‘a torture session.’

“The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops voted in November to make confession a priority nationwide for this past Lent. At the time, Roman Catholic leaders in the Archdiocese of Hartford were already preparing a Lenten campaign of their own.

“The archdiocese this year publicized its call to confession on 12 radio stations and on billboards, social media and a website, light4you.info. Promotional materials were sent to its churches in Hartford, New Haven and Litchfield counties, translated into Spanish and Polish for some parishes.”

A recent Hartford Courant article reported on this initiative by the Archdiocese of Hartford, CT, and on the efforts to encourage greater reception of this sacrament throughout the Church.

To access this Hartford Courant article, please visit:

Hartford Courant: Catholic Leaders Call Faithful Back To Confession, Report Some Success (18 MAY 13)

Related media report:

Catholic News Service: Archbishop says people returning to confession because of pope (15 MAY 13)

Reflection Starter from Edith Stein

“The nation doesn’t simply need what we have. It needs what we are.” - Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Saint Edith Stein)

18 May 2013

Armed Forces Medley

As our observance of Armed Forces Day continues, I offer this presentation of the Armed Forces Medley by the City Lights Orchestra of Chicago:

Armed Forces Day, 2013

Today (Saturday, 18 May) is being observed as Armed Forces Day, 2013. This year’s theme is “Strong and Resilient: Prepared To Meet Any Challenge.”

2013 ArmedForcesDayPoster

President Harry S Truman led the effort to establish a single holiday for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country.

On 31 August 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Days. The single-day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under one department – the U.S. Department of Defense.

As we observe this day, we salute the members of our communities who are currently serving and have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many types of bread Your people have developed in various cultures.

Pope Francis on Following the Example of Jesus

“Christians who buy into Satan’s temptation to live selfishly get swindled, while those who live life as a ‘gift’ to others are immersed in love and the Church community, Pope Francis said. [in a recent homily].

“‘And, we must say, with Satan the payback is rotten. He always rips us off, always!’ the Pope emphasized as he contrasted the kind of selfish living that the devil promotes with the generous way of living Jesus exemplified.

In a recent homily on John 15, Pope Francis compared the way of living one’s life just for him/herself with living life “as a gift to give to others.”

To access a Catholic News Agency report on this homily, please visit:

Catholic News Agency: Satan 'always rips us off,' Pope warns (14 MAY 13)

Reflection Starter from M. Scott Peck

“The whole course of human history may depend on a change of heart in one solitary, and even humble, individual – for it is in the solitary mind and soul of the individual that the battle between good and evil is waged, and ultimately won or lost.” – M. Scott Peck

17 May 2013

National Youth Traffic Safety Month

May is being observed as National (or Global) Youth Traffic Safety Month, an initiative in which youth groups are encouraged to engage in traffic safety projects.

For additional information about Youth Traffic Safety Month, please visit:

National Youth Traffic Safety Month: Act Out Loud

National Organizations for Youth Safety

In a related matter, the American Academy of Pediatrics is reporting that, in 2011, nearly half of high school students 16 and older reported texting while driving in a large national survey. The study “Texting While Driving and Other Risky Motor Vehicle Behaviors Among High School Students,” is in the June 2013 issue of Pediatrics and was recently published online.

Researchers surveyed more than 15,000 students as part of the national Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which assessed texting while driving during the prior 30 days. The survey also assessed other risky behaviors, including irregular seat belt use and driving when they had been drinking. Of the usable surveys, about 8,500 students aged 16 years or older included a response to the texting question, and 44.5 percent of respondents said they had engaged in this behavior. Those who reported texting while driving also were more likely to behave in other risky ways. They were five times more likely than those who did not text while driving to operate a car when they had been drinking alcohol. And those who texted more often were much more likely to skip wearing a seat belt.

Distracted driving due to texting has emerged as an important teen safety issue. According to the authors, strategies to reduce this and other risky driving behaviors may include state laws and technological solutions, but parental supervision may be the most effective prevention tool.

To access the complete report, please visit:

Pediatrics: Texting While Driving and Other Risky Motor Vehicle Behaviors Among US High School Students

Background information:

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for those who work in any ministry to those who are homeless and for all You do for them and through them.

Jerry Costello on Father Dollar Bill

“‘You don’t have to solve all the world’s problems,’ the priest told his parishioners. ‘But don't ignore them, either. Do what you can to improve things, even a little bit. That's what Jesus wants us to do.’

“That's good, sound advice. And each time I hear something like it I think back to Father Dollar Bill, a priest I remember from Los Angeles. That wasn’t his real name, of course; it was Father Maurice Chase. But everybody knew him as Father Dollar Bill. Especially the people in the city’s most desperate neighborhoods, along Skid Row, where he’d give out those bills to all takers, as long as the money would last.”

In a recent commentary, Jerry Costello, of The Christophers, offered a reflection on this ministry of Fr. Chase and the effect it had on others.

To access Jerry’s complete essay please visit:

The Christophers: Light One Candle: Father Dollar Bill (13 MAY 13)

Background information:

Los Angeles Times: Obituary: Maurice Chase dies at 92; ‘Father Dollar Bill’ gave cash to poor (23 NOV 11)

Reflection Starter from Phillip Keller

“We need pause only a few moments to examine under a microscope the breath-taking beauty of a butterfly’s wing, the fastidious fabric of a feather, the intimate structure of a snowflake, the exquisite symmetry of a seashell, and we sense deep down instinctively, the imprint of One who cares – and cares very deeply.” - W. Phillip Keller

16 May 2013

National Public Works Week

The week of 19-25 May is being observed as National Public Works Week. This year’s theme is “Because of Public Works. . . .”

The American Public Works Association initiated the observance of National Public Works Week in 1960 as a means to call attention to the importance of public works in community life.

For more information about National Public Works Week, please visit:

APWA: National Public Works Week

YouTube: PBS National Spotlight On Public Works

Background information:

American Public Works Association

New England Chapter, American Public Works Association

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the charisms You have given each of us and for the ways they are designed to be used for Your people.

Msgr. Pope on the Proper Use of Charisms

“Charisms are a type of grace which God gives to individuals for ministry, for service.  As such, they are not so much given to the individual for the individual’s sake, but for the sake of others. St. Thomas calls the charisms gratia gratis data. (grace freely given). These graces given ‘freely’ in the sense that they are not given to the individual on account of some merit, or as some personal reward that God bestows. Rather, God bestows these gifts ‘freely’ on certain individuals, for the sake of the wider community, and for that benefit, rather than because the individual receiving the grace particularly deserves it.”

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on charisms and on why it is important to properly use the ones the Lord has given to us.

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

Msgr. Charles Pope: A Little Primer on Charisms as seen in an animated video (10 MAY 13)

Reflection Starter from Mark Twain

“I am a fool. But I am God’s fool and all of His works must be contemplated with respect.” – Mark Twain

15 May 2013

National Bike Month

May is being observed as National Bike Month. Sponsored by the National Bike League, National Bike Month is designed to be an opportunity to celebrate the “unique power of the bicycle” and the variety of reasons people ride (whether one bikes to work or school) - including to save money or time, to preserve one’s health or the environment, to explore one’s community, or to get to one’s destination.

2013 NatlBikeMonthLogo

As part of National Bike Month, this week (13-17 May) is being observed as Bike to Work Week, and Friday, 17 May, is being observed as Bike to Work Day.

For more information about this observance, please visit:

National Bike League: May is National Bike Month!


Background information:

National Bike League


Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for assigning each of us a guardian angel and for the faithfulness of these guardians.

James Kalb on the Thought Process in Our Secular Age

“I pointed out a month or two ago that the kind of meritocracy we have makes people stupid, mostly because it’s based on a technological attitude toward human life. Thought has an order, but not one we can fully grasp, so if it’s reduced to certified expertise and made a sort of industrial process it stops being thought. The more impressively it’s organized, after a certain point, the less like thought it becomes.

“Since that’s so, intelligence needs to consider a counterattack: what should be done so our ways of thinking become more functional and attuned to reality? The most important point, it seems to me, is restoring an understanding of the world that has a place for intelligence and meaning. We orient ourselves toward reality, so if we think the world is mindless we become so ourselves. We can’t quite become mindless, and we can’t help but believe that the world makes sense of some kind, so to make our thought coherent with itself and with our own experience we must accept that the world is ordered by reason and meaning.

“The Christian view enables us to do so, and thus to understand our actual situation. It tells us that the world includes not only atoms and the void, along with human skill and desire, but an array of other realities extending up to the absolute intelligence that is God. So technology is not everything, but leaves out what concerns us most. . . .”

In a recent commentary, writer and lawyer James Kalb reflected on the development of thought processes, particularly from a Catholic Christian perspective.

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

Crisis Magazine: Unlearning the Errors of Our Secular Age (8 MAY 13)

Reflection Starter from Edward Everett Hale

“Never bear more than one kind of trouble at a time. Some people bear three – all they have had, all they have now, and all they expect to have.” - Edward Everett Hale

14 May 2013

Older Americans Month

May is Older Americans Month. Since 1963, Older Americans Month has been observed to recognize and celebrate the contributions that seniors make in their communities.

This year’s theme is “Unleash the Power of Age.” It is designed to encourage older Americans to unleash the power of age in their communities.

For more information related to Older Americans Month, please visit:

U.S. Administration on Aging: Older Americans Month

Presidential Proclamation – Older Americans Month, 2013

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of families and for the many ways in which You work through families to guide us, encourage us, and help us.

Bro. Gabriel Torretta, O.P., on God’s Potbellied Heroes

“The Greeks thought heroism and beauty belonged together. The Iliad, the Odyssey, and many myths are full to bursting with beautiful heroes doing beautiful things—and ugly things, but still doing them beautifully. They demanded that their heroes be beautiful, which is why so many statues and busts commemorate the politicians, leaders, and wealthy men of the day as models of physical perfection—even when we know them to have been dumpy, hook-nosed, or puny in real life.

“God has never worked like that. He almost seems to prefer to choose unimpressive people as his representatives. . . .”

In a recent commentary, Brother Gabriel Torretta, O.P., reflected on God typically works through what may appear to be the least likely people.

To access Brother Gabriel’s complete post, please visit:

Dominicana: God’s Potbellied Heroes (10 MAY 13)

Reflection Starter from Matthew

“Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” – Matthew 25:40

13 May 2013

National EMS Week 2013

The week of 19-25 May is being observed as National Emergency Medical Services Week. This year’s theme is “EMS: One Mission. One Team.”

National Emergency Medical Services Week is designed as an opportunity to publicize safety and honor the dedication of those who provide the day-to-day lifesaving services of medicine’s “front line.”

2013 EMS Week Logo

For more information about National EMS Week, please visit:

American College of Emergency Physicians: EMS Week

Facebook: National EMS Week

EMS Week Ideas

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways You have, and continue to, guide(d) and develop(d) Your Church throughout the world, throughout the ages.

On the Growth of the Church in the South

“In the waves of turbulence that rippled throughout the Catholic Church in the 1970s, the nuns of St. Dominic’s Monastery found themselves forced to leave their longtime home in Wisconsin in search of a new one.

“The nuns moved to a temporary residence in Washington, D.C., while looking for a permanent setting conducive to the cloistered, contemplative life they sought to lead. It would be more than two decades before they found one. When they did, it was what may seem a most unlikely place: the rural northeast of Virginia, considered one of the Protestant Bible Belt states of the South.

“The story of St. Dominic’s Monastery’s southern move may be the story of U.S. Catholicism. New data shows that some of the fastest growing dioceses in the country are deep in the U.S. South.”

A recent article in the National Catholic Register examined the growth of the Church in the South, including a number of the related factors.

To access the complete National Catholic Register article, please visit:

National Catholic Register: Protestant South Becoming a New Catholic Stronghold (11 MAY 13)

Reflection Starter from St. Francis de Sales

“Perfection does not consist in being perfect or acting perfectly. It is the striving for perfection that is important.” – Saint Francis de Sales

12 May 2013

Seventh Sunday of Easter

Today the Church celebrates the Seventh Sunday of Easter. The assigned readings are Acts 7:55-60; Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20; and John 17:20-26. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 97 (Psalm 97:1-2, 6-7, 9).

The Gospel reading is as follows:

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying: “Holy Father, I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me. Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me. I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.”

Reflections on this day and on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Seventh Sunday of Easter (Cycle C) (May 12, 2013)

The Deacon’s Bench: Homily for May 12, 2013, 7th Sunday of Easter: The Gift (11 MAY 13)

The Quiet Corner: Unity, harmony integral to Christian life (9 MAY 13)

RI Catholic: The Lectionary: A broken witness (9 MAY 13)

Dr. Scott Hahn: Perfection as One (May 12th 2013 - 7th Sunday of Easter)

The Word Engaged: Stephen Martyr (Seventh Sunday of Easter C)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for Your angels and for all You do through them.

Pope Francis on Christian Joy

“Christian joy is a pilgrim joy that we cannot keep ‘bottled up’ for ourselves, or we risk becoming a ‘melancholy’ and ‘nostalgic’ community. Moreover, Christian joy is far from simple fun. It is something deeper than fleeting happiness, because it is rooted in our certainty that Jesus Christ is with God and with us.”

In a recent homily, Pope Francis offered a reflection on the role of Christian joy in our lives.

To access a Vatican Radio report on the Pope’s homily, please visit:

Vatican Radio: Pope at Mass: Christian joy far from simple fun (10 MAY 13)

Reflection Starter from St. Gregory the Great

“The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things. But when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist.” – Pope Saint Gregory the Great (Gregory I)

11 May 2013

Sandy Hook Elementary School To Be Torn Down, New School to Be Built on Same Site

The Sandy Hook Task Force has voted to demolish the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, site of the December shootings. After the current school is torn down, the plan calls for a new school to be built in the same location.

Media report:

The News-Times: New Sandy Hook School to occupy old site (11 MAY 13)

Background information:

Newtown Public Schools

Town of Newtown

Wikipedia: Newtown, Connecticut

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways You encourage Your people to work together to meet the challenges that are facing us.

Deacon Greg Kandra on Christie and McGreevey and Second Chances

“At a time when politics has been reduced to a bloody contact sport, this appearance of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and his predecessor Jim McGreevey – who resigned after admitting a homosexual affair – is both remarkable and unexpectedly moving. It speaks to what politics should be, not what it is.”

In a recent post, Deacon Greg Kanda offered a look at these two men, who, without giving up their values, work together for something important.

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

The Deacon's Bench: Remarkable: Christie and McGreevey and the importance of second chances (10 MAY 13)

Reflection Starter from General Omar Bradley

“Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living. We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount.” – General Omar Bradley

10 May 2013

National Police Week 2013

Next week, 12-18 May, is National Police Week, which was established to recognize the service and sacrifice of U.S. law enforcement.

For information related to National Police Week and related activities, please visit:

National Police Week 2013

Facebook: National Police Week

National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial: National Police Week

Concerns of Police Survivors

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for guiding the development of public libraries and for all You do for and through these libraries and those who serve Your people through them.

Msgr. Pope on the Physical Appearance of Jesus

“I was doing some sidewalk evangelizing with a group of fellow Catholics in my neighborhood last Sunday and a very angry African American Man confronted me with the accusation that we were unjust and lying because the Image of Jesus on our banner looked European. He explained to me that everyone knew Jesus was Black and African and that we were therefore lying and misrepresenting Jesus.”

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on our concerns about the physical appearance of Jesus and on the Bible’s silence on this matter.

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

Msgr. Charles Pope: What Did Jesus Look Like? And Why Do We care? (1 MAY 13)

Reflection Starter from Nathanael Greene

“It is much safer to follow truth alone, than to have all the world for company in the road of error.” – Nathanael Greene

09 May 2013

Asthma Awareness Month

May is observed as Asthma Awareness Month, an initiative designed to increase public awareness and to improve the lives of children and families with asthma.

For more information about this observance, please visit:

EPA: Asthma Awareness Month

Background information:

EPA: 2013 Asthma Fact Sheet

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: Asthma in the US

EPA: Asthma

CDC: Asthma

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: Programs on Asthma in the Inner City

The Ascension of the Lord

Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. The assigned readings are Acts 1:1-11, Ephesians 1:17-23, and Luke 24:46-53. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 47 (Psalm 47:2-3, 6-9).

Today’s Gospel reading is as follows:

Jesus said to his disciples: “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

Then he led them out as far as Bethany, raised his hands, and blessed them. As he blessed them he parted from them
and was taken up to heaven. They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God.

Reflections on these readings and on this celebration:

The Happy Priest: The Feast of the Ascension is Not an Intermission (9 MAY 13)

The Deacon's Bench: Homily for May 17, 2012: Ascension Thursday (16 MAY 12)

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary: Leo the Great

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways in which You plant seeds or otherwise start processes at one stage in our lives and then guide these into active bloom at a later time.

Davis Warren on the Process of Conversion

“It took me fifty years to find my way home (to the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church), though only twenty-three to get pointed in the right general direction. This is my tenth year ‘inside,’ corresponding thus to my sixtieth biological. My question for today: What takes people so long?”

In a recent commentary, writer Davis Warren reflected on the process of conversion.

To access his complete post, please visit:

The Catholic Thing: The Hold-Up (4 MAY 13)

Reflection Starter from Mother Teresa

“To keep a lamp burning we have to keep putting oil in it.” – Mother Teresa (Blessed Teresa of Calcutta)

08 May 2013

National Preservation Month

May is National Preservation Month, and this year’s theme is ““See! Save! Celebrate!” This theme is designed to shine a spotlight on our communities’ distinct historic places (of which we have an abundance in each of the New England states).

2013 preservation month logo

Since the National Trust for Historic Preservation created Preservation Week in 1971 to spotlight grassroots preservation efforts in America, it has grown into an annual celebration observed by small towns and big cities with events ranging from architectural and historic tours and award ceremonies, to fundraising events, educational programs and heritage travel opportunities. Due to its overwhelming popularity, in 2005, the National Trust for Historic Preservation extended the celebration to the entire month of May and declared it Preservation Month to provide an even longer opportunity to celebrate the diverse and unique heritage of our country’s cities and states and enable more Americans to become involved in the growing preservation movement.

For more information about National Preservation Month, please visit:

National Trust for Historic Preservation: Preservation Month 2013: See! Save! Celebrate!

National Park Service: National Preservation Month

Background information:

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Register of Historic Places Database

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of clean drinking water and for those who work to provide it for us.

On Saving Lives in Uganda

“You likely know Bonnie Hunt from her years as a talk show host and from her roles in popular movies like ‘Cheaper by the Dozen,’ ‘Jerry Maguire,’ ‘The Green Mile,’ ‘Return to Me,’ ‘Cars,’ ‘Dave’ (‘We’re walking, we’re walking’) and more. Well it turns out that Bonnie has a brother who is quite accomplished too, just in a different field.”

In a recent commentary, Tony Rossi, of The Christophers, offered a reflection on the ministry of Dr. Kevin Hunt in Northern Uganda.

To access his complete post, please visit:

Christopher Closeup: Actress Bonnie Hunt’s Brother and a Catholic Priest Are Saving Lives in Uganda (3 MAY 13)

Reflection Starter from Henry Ford

“Man must work. That is as certain as the sun. But he may work gratefully. He may work as a man, or he may work as a machine. There is no work so rude that he may not exalt it; no work so impassive, that he may not breathe a soul into it; no work so dull that he may not enliven it.” – Henry Ford

07 May 2013

Sandy Hook Heroes Honored by Medal of Honor Recipients

Four Medal of Honor Recipients recently honored teachers and staff from Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, CT, who acted courageously to protect children during last December’s shootings.  In a special ceremony, these Recipients presented, posthumously, the “Citizen Service Before Self Honors” (Citizen Honors) Medals to family members on behalf of Rachel D’Avino, Dawn Hochsprung, Anne Marie Murphy, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach, and Victoria Soto. All six gave their lives trying to protect children during the shootings.

The Recipients also present the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s Certificate of Commendation to all of the teachers and staff of Sandy Hook who acted courageously during the tragedy.

Media reports:

The News-Times: Sandy Hook staffers get their own medals of honor (7 MAY 13)

Hartford Courant: Educators Killed In Newtown Shootings Receive Commendations (7 MAY 13)

NECN: Medal of Honor Society honors Newtown, Conn. educators (6 MAY 13)

Background information:

Citizen Service Before Self Honors

Facebook: Citizen Service Before Self Honors

Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Newtown Public School District

Town of Newtown

Wikipedia: Newtown, Connecticut

Donald DeMarco on Baseball and Life

“Baseball, it should never be forgotten, is a game.  But it is not just a game.  Because of the way it employs life and death metaphors, its analogy with human drama is compelling if not totally convincing.  A runner may ‘die’ on third, but not literally.  A batter may stay ‘alive’ if he fouls off a two-strike pitch.  But a third strike would not result in his demise.  ‘Fair’ and ‘foul’ suggest a moral distinction, while ‘win’ and ‘lose’ separate off-the-field success and failure.

“Because baseball is a game, the failures and foibles of its performers are not tragic.  In fact, if sufficiently offbeat, they can be comical.  Errors, mishaps, bloopers, and bonehead plays can have an enduring charm of their own, and they do not cry out for forgiveness. . . .”

In a recent commentary, writer and professor Donald DeMarco reflected on the similarities between the game of baseball and the living of one’s life.

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

Crisis Magazine: Life, Like Baseball, Demands Order (3 MAY 13)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways in which You work through holy water, candles, statues, and other sacramentals to remind us of You and connect us with the sacraments.

George Weigel on Pope Francis as Christian Radical

In a recent commentary, George Weigel (columnist and Distinguished Senior Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington, DC) reflected on Pope Francis and his encouragement of Evangelical Catholicism.

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

First Things: On the Square: The Bishop of Rome as Christian Radical (1 MAY 13)

Reflection Starter from A. A. Milne

“Time is swift, it races by;
Opportunities are born and die . . .
Still you wait and will not try –
A bird with wings who dares not rise and fly.” - A. A. Milne

06 May 2013

National Water Safety Month

May is National Water Safety Month. National Water Safety Month is jointly sponsored by the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals, the American Red Cross, the National Recreation & Park Association, and the World Waterpark Association. The month is observed in recognition of the popularity of swimming and other water-related recreational activities in the United States and of the resulting need for ongoing public education on safer water practices.

2013 NatlWaterSftyMonthLogo

As part of the observance of National Water Safety Month, there will be a number of educational programs, public service announcements, and dealer and business promotions,  as well as distribution of water-safety-themed materials throughout this region (and the nation).

For more information and related resources, please visit:

National Water Safety Month

Facebook: National Water Safety Month

Background information:

National Recreation and Park Association

American National Red Cross

National Drowning Prevention Alliance

Association of Pool & Spa Professionals

World Waterpark Association

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways in which Your people answer Your call to serve in ministries and to actively help build up Your Church.

Msgr. Pope on the Lord Blessing and Purifying His Church

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on how the Lord is purifying the Church with good vocations and also with a number of wonderful lay movements and Catholics on fire for the Lord.

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

Msgr. Charles Pope: Of Vocations and Victory: Some Good Reasons to Take Heart That the Lord is Blessing His Church (30 APR 13)

Reflection Starter from Jim Rohn

“There is no better opportunity to receive more than to be thankful for what you already have. Thanksgiving opens the windows of opportunity for ideas to flow your way.” – Jim Rohn

05 May 2013

Holy Father’s Prayer Intentions for May

The Holy Father’s prayer intentions for March are:

General intention: “That administrators of justice may act always with integrity and right conscience.”

Mission intention: “That seminaries, especially those of mission churches, may form pastors after the Heart of Christ, fully dedicated to proclaiming the Gospel.”

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Today the Church celebrates the Sixth Sunday of Easter. The assigned readings are Acts 15:1-2, 22-29; Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23; and John 1:23-29. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 67 (Psalm 67:2-3, 5-6, 8).

The Gospel reading is as follows:

Jesus said to his disciples: “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me.

“I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe."

Reflections on this day and on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Sixth Sunday of Easter (May 5, 2013)

Msgr. Charles Pope: Four Gifts of Grace – A Meditation on the Gospel for the 6th Sunday of Easter (4 MAY 13)

Marcellino D’Ambrosio, Ph.D.: The Holy Spirit and the Catholic Church

The Deacon’s Bench: Homily for May 5, 2013: 6th Sunday of Easter (4 MAY 13)

Word on Fire: Sermon 642: Sermon 643 : No Temple in the New Jerusalem : 6th Sunday of Easter

RI Catholic: The Lectionary: The light of the church (2 MAY 13)

Dr. Scott Hahn: Council of Jerusalem (May 5th 2013 - 6th Sunday of Easter)

The Word Engaged: Time and Eternity (Sixth Sunday of Easter C)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the peace You offer to us.

Austin Ruse on the Process of Conversion

“The snotty assistant professor stood in front of his political science class ragging on religion. Thirty-five years later, I still bristle.

“I thought how dare he so easily dismiss the thing that has occupied the greatest minds of all time. I think the same thing today, but with gratitude, too. This comment led me into a search, not for God but for religion.

“I believed in God but was a fallen-away Methodist. I spent my college years ghosting my way through classes, chasing girls, dabbling in politics. Religion? No thanks. This stupid comment, though, was the beginning of my search for Catholicism.”

In a recent commentary, Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, reflected on some of the elements that make up the process of conversion.

To access his complete post, please visit:

The Catholic Thing: Glimpses of Conversion (3 MAY 13)

Reflection Starter from Mother Teresa

“I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, he will not ask, ‘How many good things have you done in your life?’ rather he will ask, ‘How much love did you put into what you did?’” – Mother Teresa of Calcutta

04 May 2013

Drinking Water Week 2013

The week of 5-11 May is being observed as Drinking Water Week 2013. The American Water Works Association has stated that “A safe, reliable water supply is critical to the success of any community. It creates jobs, attracts industry and investment, and provides for the health and welfare of citizens in ways ranging from disease prevention to fire suppression. We often take water supply for granted until it is threatened, either by drought, water main breaks, or some other event.” Drinking Water Week is designed as an opportunity for both water professionals and the communities they serve to join together to recognize the vital role water plays in their daily lives.

2013 Drinking Water Week Logo

For resources related to Drinking Water Week 2012, please visit:

AWWA: Drinking Water Week 2013

American Water Works Association’s Drinktap Website

EPA: Ground Water and Drinking Water

CDC: Drinking Water

Background information:

New England Water Works Association

American Water Works Association

Saint Florian

Saint Florian, whose feast day is today (4 May), is the patron saint of firefighters.

Not much is known about St. Florian. He was a high-ranking officer in the Roman army and was stationed in Noricum (now part of Austria) when he was martyred for the faith. Among his other duties, he was in charge of one of the Roman army’s firefighting units.

For more information:

Catholic Online: St. Florian

San Diego Paramedics: The Patron Saint of the Fire Service - St. Florian

Saint Florian, Patron Saint of Firefighters

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways in which You encourage Your people to live and proclaim Your Gospel message.

Pope Francis: The Church Needs Courage

“All Christians have a duty to pass on the faith with courage, lukewarm Christians, a lukewarm faith hurts the Church, because it creates divisions. The courage to be Christian in today’s society was the focus of Pope Francis homily Friday morning in Casa Santa Marta.”

A recent Vatican Radio broadcast reported on this homily of Pope Francis in which he called on Catholics to be courageous in living and transmitting our Faith.

To access this Vatican Radio report, please visit:

Vatican Radio: Pope: Lukewarm Christians hurt the Church (3 MAY 13)

Reflection Starter from James Clavell

“To think bad thoughts is really the easiest thing in the world. If you leave your mind to itself it will spiral down into ever increasing unhappiness. To think good thoughts, however, requires effort. This is one of the things that discipline – training – is about.” — James Clavell

03 May 2013

The Transformation of a Community School

“The community of Roxbury had high hopes for its newest public school back in 2003. There were art studios, a dance room, even a theater equipped with cushy seating.

“A pilot school for grades K-8, Orchard Gardens was built on grand expectations.

“But the dream of a school founded in the arts, a school that would give back to the community as it bettered its children, never materialized.

“Instead, the dance studio was used for storage and the orchestra's instruments were locked up and barely touched.”

A recent NBC Nightly News report examined the process that is transforming Boston’s Orchard Gardens K-8 Pilot School into one that is meeting the hopes the community once had for it.

To access this NBC News report, please visit:

NBC Nightly News: Principal fires security guards to hire art teachers — and transforms elementary school (1 MAY 2013)

Background information:

Orchard Gardens K-8 Pilot School

Boston Public Schools

City of Boston

Wikipedia: Boston

Lopco Contracting Receives 2013 PDCA Humanitarian of the Year Award

The Painting and Decorating Contractors of America (PDCA) recently announced its national award winners during its 2013 Painting & Decorating Expo, 3-6 March in St. Louis, MO. The awards program is designed to honor the most distinguished projects, companies, members and individuals in the coating applications industry by individuals and contracting company members of PDCA.

Three companies, including son Tom’s Lopco Contracting of Providence, RI, won the 2013 PDCA Humanitarian of the Year Award. This award is presented for recognition of extraordinary humanitarian achievements by members. These achievements may or may not be involved with the painting or decorating industry.

To access a brief PDCA video about this award, please visit:

PDCA: 2013 PDCA Humanitarian of the Year - Tom Lopatosky, Lopco Contracting (YouTube)

Congratulations, Tom!!! Well done!!!

Background information:

Lopco Contracting

Painting and Decorating Contractors of America