30 September 2013

Happy Birthday, Myrna!!!

Happy Birthday, Myrna!!!

The celebration of a person’s birthday celebrates that person and his/her life. Each such person is a gift of God to the world, and each brings his/her own special touch to this world that He made.

You are a truly blessed person, and I am grateful to have you in my life. The gift that you are has touched me (and a multitude of others) in a variety of good ways. Thank you.

May this day and each day in the upcoming year be filled with an outpouring of the Lord’s choicest blessings!

Fire Prevention Week

Next week, 6-12 October, is Fire Prevention Week. This year’s theme is “Prevent Kitchen Fires.” The theme is designed to remind people that more fires start in the kitchen than in any other part of the home and the importance of learning how to keep cooking fires from starting in the first place.

FPW13Banner

For additional information about Fire Prevention Week and this year’s campaign, please visit:

NFPA: Fire Prevention Week

Background information:

National Fire Protection Association

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways You encourage us to take care of the health You have given us.

Msgr. Pope on Making Heaven Our Home

“In daily Mass for the past number of days we’ve been reading from the books of Nehemiah and Ezra. These books deal with the return of the Jewish people from the Babylonian captivity.

“Most modern-day Christians have only a passing knowledge of these aspects of ancient Jewish history and these events may seem to have little to say to us. But in fact, they speak quite powerfully of very important human struggles today. Thus, a review of these historical events seems in order, as well as an application of them to our life and struggles today.”

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on how, as many of the people in Babylon had only heard of, but not seen, the promised land, many people in our times think of heaven as theoretical and distant and often choose to “throw in [their] lot with this world and its current blessings.”

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

Msgr. Charles Pope: I Want to Make Heaven My Home: what an ancient Biblical event can teach us about life today (24 SEP 13)

Reflection Starter from Edith Stein

“All those who seek truth seek God whether this is clear to them or not.” – Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (a.k.a., Edith Stein

29 September 2013

From Cranston, RI: Donating New Shoes to Homeless Children

“At a young age, Nicholas Lowinger learned not to take things for granted.

“He was 5 years old and visiting a homeless shelter with his mother, who works in various shelters across Rhode Island. He was excited for the opportunity to show off his new light-up sneakers to the rest of the kids. But his mom cautioned him against doing so, explaining that these children might not have such luxuries.

“Sure enough, when Nicholas met kids at the shelter, he quickly realized that they were living in circumstances that were very different from his own.”

A recent CNN report profiled Nicholas and his efforts to donate new shoes to homeless children, including the Gotta Have Sole Foundation he founded to continue this ministry. This outreach effort has donated new footwear to over 10,000 homeless children in 21 states.

To access the complete CNN report, please visit:

CNN: Helping homeless kids put their best foot forward (26 SEP 13)

Background information:

Gotta Have Sole Foundation

National Center on Family Homelessness

“Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise”

As we continue our Sunday celebration, I offer this version of “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise”:

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are Amos 6:1, 4-7; 1 Timothy 6:11-16, and Luke 16:19-31. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 146 (Psalm 146:7-10).

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

YouTube: Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 146 “An Invitation to Praise God the Creator and Redeemer”

The Gospel reading is as follows:

Jesus said to the Pharisees: “There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.

“The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.’

“Abraham replied, ‘My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented. Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’

“He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.’

“But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’

“He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

“Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’”

Reflections on this day and on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Twenty-six Sunday in ordinary Time (September 29, 2013)

Msgr. Charles Pope: The Hell There Is – A Homily for the 26th Sunday of the Year (28 SEP 13)

Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio: Dives, the Rich Man and Lazarus, the Beggar: Protecting Our Addictions

The Deacon’s Bench: Homily for September 29, 2013: 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (28 SEP 13)

The Quiet Corner: Spiritual sensitivity, religious sensibility (26 SEP 13)

The Lectionary: Energy for the Gospel (26 SEP 13)

Word on Fire: Sermon 664: Rich Man, Poor Man: 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Sacred Page: Does it Matter How We Treat Others? The 26th Sunday of Ordinary Time (24 SEP 13)

Dr. Scott Hahn: A Great Chasm (September 29th 2013 – 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time)

The Catholic World Report Blog: Lazarus, the Rich Man, and the Sin of Pride (28 SEP 13)

The Word Engaged: Problems with Corporate Wealth (26th Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

Historical Cultural Context: The Rich and the Poor (26th Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for calling us to place our lives in Your care.

Elizabeth Scalia on Making a Choice

“[Recently], I linked to remarks from Pope Francis (which you should go read, because they’re great) and I mentioned that they reminded me of what are purported to be the last words of G.K. Chesterton: ‘It is between light and darkness, and everyone must choose his side.’

“[Later], Francis’ words came to me again, and once again, they brought me to Chesterton, but a different line.

“Pope Francis said: ‘Everyone must make his choice.’

“Chesterton said: "’When you chose one thing, you reject everything else.’

“That’s quite a challenge these two men are bringing us, isn’t it? Everyone must choose; everyone must, having chosen, understand that their choice means a rejection of everything else.”

In a recent commentary, writer Elizabeth Scalia reflected on choosing to place Christ first in our lives .

To access Ms. Scalia’s complete post, please visit:

The Anchoress: “Everyone must make his choice…” (26 SEP 13)

Reflection Starter from St. Ignatius of Loyola

“Few souls understand what God would effect in them if they should give themselves entirely into his hands and allow his grace to act.” – Saint Ignatius of Loyola

28 September 2013

The Cowsills: “Monday, Monday” and . . .

As this blessed week draws to a close, I offer this version of The Cowsills singing “Monday, Monday,” and, with Johnny Cash, “Children, How Do I Send Thee”:

2013 New England Model A Meet Being Held in Hyannis, MA

During this weekend, the Model A Restorers Club of Massachusetts is hosting the 2013 New England Model A Meet (the 57th annual meet) at the Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis, 35 Scudder Avenue, Hyannis (in the town of Barnstable).

Media report:

Cape Cod Times: Model A owners converge on Hyannis (28 SEP 13)

Background information:

Model A Restorers Club of Massachusetts

Wikipedia: Ford Model A (1927–31)

Model A Ford Club of America

YouTube: 1930 Model A Ford

Old Car and Truck Pictures: A Picture Review of The Model A Ford

For Pondering

“I was shocked, confused, bewildered
As I entered Heaven's door,
Not by the beauty of it all,
Nor the lights or its decor.

“But it was the folks in Heaven
Who made me sputter and gasp - - . . .”

A recent item in the DeerLake Weekly Letter offered a reflection on reaching the Heavenly Kingdom.

To access this post, please visit:

DeerLake: Promise of God: Judge Not

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways in which You guard us, guide us, and encourage us.

Bernard Toutounji on Human Dignity and Work

“Have you ever walked through the city and seen those people holding signs advertising something? They can be found on busy street corners or open air shopping malls. Their signs point the way to a restaurant lunch deal, the nearest bottle shop or cheap parking. You might have similarly seen someone outside a pizza shop waving a sign to passing traffic highlighting cheap lunchtime meals.

“I have a problem with this; in fact we should all have a problem with this. It is not a problem with advertising; it is a problem with the fact that people are being used simply as sign posts. Sometimes the people are handing out advertising material as well and this lessens (a little) the problem because at least there is interaction with people as part of the job. However to simply strap a sign to a human person and have them stand in one place or even walk around effectively treats them as an object; it is below our dignity as people.”

In a recent commentary, writer Bernard Toutounji reflected on human dignity and and its relationship to human work.

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

Ignitum Today: Can I Employ Someone as a Doormat? (21 SEP 13)

Background information:

Pope John Paul II: Encyclical Letter Laborem Exercens (14 September 1981)

Reflection Starter

“If you are too busy to laugh, you are too busy.” – Proverb

27 September 2013

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for Your faithfulness.

Msgr. Pope on Being Rich in What Matters to God

“The Lord tells a familiar parable and how a certain rich man had a harvest too big for his barns, do built bigger barns. But he dies surrounded by his riches, and the Lord calls him a fool since he thought somehow that his wealth could sustain him for years and did not consider his judgment.

“There comes the memorable line that concludes the parable: Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.

“While this line may invite a post describing at length a list of what matters most to God, I’d like to limit the reflection more on how we are usually most anxious and concerned about what matters far less to God.”

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on how we often focus on concerns related to worldly matters instead of our spiritual needs.

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

Msgr. Charles Pope: On Being Rich in What Matters to God (19 SEP 13)

Reflection Starter from St. Teresa of Avila

“Our souls may lose their peace and even disturb other people’s, if we are always criticizing trivial actions which often are not real defects at all, but we construe them wrongly through our ignorance of their motives.” - Saint Teresa of Avila (Saint Teresa of Jesus)

26 September 2013

Music, St. Ignatius, and the Sons of Santa

The Sons of Santa. That’s the strangely-named band that 16-year-old Ben Walther belonged to in high school. He had no idea at the time that God would use that band to lead him to his vocation.

During an interview on Christopher Closeup, Walther recalled that he and other Sons of Santa members were feeling called by Christ to embrace their faith more deeply. After performing an original song at a retreat, several girls approached them in tears and said, “That song reminded us so much of our friend that we lost in a car accident two weeks ago.” The girls then hugged them and left.

Walther told me, “We realized at that moment just how powerful music ministry can be when we take poetry and give it a melody. I realized I want to do this for the rest of my life, to channel these gifts for God’s glory.”

In the years that followed, Walther got married, had children, and took a job doing campus ministry and teaching in a Houston Catholic high school. But his heart yearned to devote more time to music and songwriting. In between classes, he would go to the school chapel and pray the Suscipe prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola, which reads, “Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all I have and call my own. You have given all to me. To You, Lord, I return it. Everything is Yours; do with it what You will. Give me only Your love and Your grace, that is enough for me.”

That prayer led Walther to pursue his music dream full time – and inspired his new album Make Your Home in Me. Why that title? Walther explained, “It’s one thing to welcome Christ to make His home in us. Eventually He should cause us to go into the streets and to be friends with the orphans and the widows, to look after those who are lost and to help them come to know and taste the joy of the Lord.”

Walther experienced that type of joy during a recent mission trip he and other musicians took to Ghana with Catholic Relief Services. When one of them asked a local monsignor what he’d like Americans to know about the people of Ghana, the priest answered, “You Americans write us checks and paint our orphanages and do great things. Those are great things! But what we really want is for you to come and be our friends.”

In light of the bonds between neighbors that he witnessed in Ghana, life back in the United States felt jolting to Walther. He observed, “[I saw the Ghanaians] sense of community, their sense of responsibility for each other. Then you come back to the States and you’re like, ‘Do I really know my neighbors? Do I depend on my neighbors?’. You’re isolated. That’s one of the greatest plagues here in the States.”

Walther is doing his best to live out that sense of community, as well as instill young people with a stronger commitment to their faith. At a recent retreat in Denver, he was approached by a young man who wanted to grow closer to God, but kept messing up. Having walked in his shoes, Walther told him, “You’re going to mess up again, and God is going to be right there with you. You’re going to feel lonely sometimes, but you need to know that God never leaves us.”

It was a coming-full-circle moment for the former Sons of Santa member who let God take control of his life-and wound up a better man for it.

(This essay is a recent “Light One Candle” column, written by Tony Rossi, of The Christophers; it is one of a series of weekly columns that deal with a variety of topics and current events.)

Background information:

The Christophers: Christopher Radio & Video

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for artists who have prepared so many fine works of art in Your houses of worship and for the many ways You touch the hearts of Your people through these works of art.

On Pope Francis’ Effect on the Church

The Washington Post recently offered an article looking at some of the effects Pope Francis is having on the Church.

To access the complete article, please visit:

Washington Post: The Pope Francis effect: 8 ways he’s changing the Catholic Church (21 SEP 13)

Thank you, Deacon Greg Kandra, for the tip!

Reflection Starter from Norman Vincent Peale

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” – Rev. Norman Vincent Peale

25 September 2013

Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D Minor

It’s time for some classical music. This is a (1970) presentation of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D Minor (op.125), as performed by the Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna State Opera Chorus (conducted by Leonard Bernstein):

Soloists include Plácido Domingo, Gwyneth Jones, Martti Talvela, and Shirley Verrett.

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for Your continuing knocking at the doors of our hearts, awaiting our invitation to invite You in.

Rebecca Hamilton on the Relevance of the Catholic Church in Today’s World

“The most interesting thing about Pope Francis’ interview with America magazine is not the interview itself (although that is fascinating reading); it’s the fact that everyone in the press is talking/writing about it.”

In a recent commentary, writer (and Oklahoma State Representative) Rebecca Hamilton reflected on the relevance of the Catholic Church in today’s world.

To access her complete post, please visit:

Public Catholic: The Most Interesting Thing About Pope Francis’ Interview (20 SEP 13)

Reflection Starter from St. Francis de Sales

“When the soul is completely restored to health by that balm of charity which the Holy Spirit places in its heart, then it can go forward and stand on its own feet, although this is still by virtue of its new health and the sacred medicine of holy love. For this reason, although it can walk by itself, it must still render all the credit to God, who has . . . given it such vigorous and sturdy health. In fact, whether the Holy Spirit strengthens us by movements that He impresses on our hearts or supports us by the charity He infuses into them; whether He saves us by lifting us up and carrying us forward or strengthens our hearts with His invigorating and entwining love, it is always in Him and by Him that we live, move and work.” – Saint Francis de Sales

24 September 2013

David Crowder Band: “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”

As we continue to live this week, I offer this version the David Crowder Band presenting “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”:

NFPA Issues Report on 2012 Fire Loss in the United States

The National Fire Protection Association recently reported that U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,375,000 fires in 2012. These fires resulted in 2,855 civilian fire fatalities, 16,500 civilian fire injuries, and an estimated $12,427,000,000 in direct property loss. There was a civilian fire death on the average of every 3 hours and 4 minutes and a civilian fire injury every 32 minutes in 2012.

Home fires caused 2,380, or 83%, of the civilian fire deaths. Fires accounted for four percent of the 31,854,000 total calls. Seven percent of the calls were false alarms; sixty-eight percent of the calls were for emergency medical and other aid calls.

The fire loss report also reflected that the number of structure fires has steadily declined in recent years, from their peak in 1977 of 1,098,000 to 480,500 in 2012.

To access the complete report, please visit:

NFPA: Fire Loss in the United States in 2012 (September 2013)

Background information:

National Fire Protection Association

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of laughter.

Pope Francis on Social Communications Bringing Others to Christ

“Pope Francis [recently] addressed the participants in the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

“Pope Francis said the goal of the Church for its communications efforts is ‘to understand how to enter into dialogue with the men and women of today in order to appreciate their desires, their doubts and their hopes.’

“The Holy Father said we must examine if the communications of the Church are helping others to meet Christ.”

A recent Vatican Radio broadcast reported on the Pope’s address to the assembly.

To access this Vatican Radio report, including the full text of his discourse, please visit:

Vatican Radio: Pope Francis: Social communications is for bringing others to Christ (21 SEP 13)

Reflection Starter from Milton Berle

“Laughter is an instant vacation.” – Milton Berle

23 September 2013

Deacon Greg Asks “Who said that?”

“I was asked to give interviews and I always knew the questions in advance. They concerned the ordination of women, contraception, abortion and other such constantly recurring problems.

“If we let ourselves be drawn into these discussions, the Church is then identified with certain commandments or prohibitions; we give the impression that we are moralists with a few somewhat antiquated convictions, and not even a hint of the true greatness of the faith appears. I therefore consider it essential always to highlight the greatness of our faith – a commitment from which we must not allow such situations to divert us. . . .”

In a recent post, Deacon Greg Kandra asked whose words these were.

To access Deacon Greg’s answer, please visit:

The Deacon’s Bench: Who said that? (21 SEP 13)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for inspirations to praise You and to thank You.

Msgr. Pope on Patience and the Work of God in Our Lives

“Impatience is a human problem, but we moderns must surely suffer from it more acutely. This is because many of our modern conveniences create the illusion, and to some extent the reality, of instant results. Flip a switch and the lights come on. Instant downloads supply our computers with music, games, software, and almost instant information.

“Any delay in this process almost certainly infuriates us. The journey from east to the west coast used to take many months in a wagon train. And now it is accomplished in four to five hours. Despite this marvel, even a 20 minute flight delay infuriates us.”

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on our impatience and God’s “slow,” steady work in our lives.

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

Msgr. Charles Pope: Patience… a reflection on the need to trust the slow work of God. (18 SEP 13)

Reflection Starter from St. Thomas More

“What men call fame is, after all, but a very windy thing. A man thinks that many are praising him, and talking of him alone, and yet they spend but a very small part of the day thinking of him, being occupied with things of their own.” – Saint Thomas More

22 September 2013

On Mark Twain

“More than 100 years after his death, Mark Twain is still a vital part of the American cultural landscape. From the Twainiacs who flock to his hometown of Hannibal, Mo., to an exclusive interview with the man himself, Bill Geist takes a tour of all things Twain.”

In this morning’s broadcast, CBS Sunday Morning offered a look at American writer Mark Twain. Born and raised in Missouri, he lived in a number of places in the U.S. – including Hartford, Connecticut.

To access the complete segment, please visit:

CBS Sunday Morning: Mark Twain: An American icon (22 SEP 13)

Background information:

Estate of Mark Twain: The Official Web Site of Mark Twain

Wikipedia: Mark Twain

Mark Twain House & Museum, Hartford, CT

“What Wondrous Love Is This?”

As we continue our Sunday celebration, I offer this version of “What Wondrous Love Is This?”:

Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are Amos 8:4-7, 1 Timothy 2:1-8, and Luke 16:1-13. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 113 (Psalm 113:1-2, 4-8).

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

YouTube: Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 113 “Praise of God’s Care of the Poor”

The Gospel reading is as follows:

Jesus said to his disciples, “A rich man had a steward who was reported to him for squandering his property. He summoned him and said, ‘What is this I hear about you? Prepare a full account of your stewardship, because you can no longer be my steward.’

“The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do, now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me? I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg. I know what I shall do so that, when I am removed from the stewardship, they may welcome me into their homes.’ He called in his master’s debtors one by one. To the first he said, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note. Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’ Then to another the steward said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘One hundred kors of wheat.’ The steward said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note; write one for eighty.’ And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently.

“For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones. If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you what is yours? No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon.”

Reflections on this day and on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (September 22, 2013)

Msgr. Charles Pope: On Being Faithful in a few things before being ruler over many things. – A Sermon for the 25th Sunday of the Year. (21 SEP 13)

Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio: A Lesson in Stewardship

Word on Fire: Sermon 663: A Warning Bell in the Night: 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Sacred Page: God and Mammon: The 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (17 SEP 13)

Dr. Scott Hahn: Prudent Stewards (September 22nd 2013 - 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time)

The Catholic World Report Blog: Parables, Puzzlement, and Prudence (21 SEP 13)

Spirituality of the Readings: Be Shrewd (25th Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways in which You lift up the poor (as noted in Psalm 113).

Pope Francis on the Merciful Gaze of Jesus

Yesterday (Saturday, 21 September) the Church celebrated the Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist. In a homily on the assigned Gospel reading for the day (which related Jesus’ call to Matthew), Pope Francis reflected on the gaze of Jesus – a gaze that can change our lives.

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

Vatican Radio: Pope Francis at Mass: the merciful gaze of Jesus (21 SEP 13)

Reflection Starter from St. Thomas Aquinas

“All that is true, by whomsoever it has been said has its origin in the Spirit.” – Saint Thomas Aquinas

21 September 2013

“Amazing Grace”

As we continue to live this week, I offer this video of Paul Robeson singing this version of “Amazing Grace”:

Great Hurricane of 1938

Today, 21 September, is the 75th anniversary of the Great Hurricane of 1938, a Category 3 hurricane that was one of the most destructive storms to hit New England. The damage was concentrated in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts (as well as on Long Island, NY).

The storm resulted in 564 deaths and over 1700 persons injured. In addition, approximately 8600 buildings and over 2600 boats were destroyed, with over 15,000 additional buildings and over 3300 boats damaged.

For more information about this storm, please visit:

National Weather Service: The Great New England Hurricane of 1938

Wikipedia: 1938 New England hurricane

The History Channel: This Day in History: Sep 21, 1938: The Great New England Hurricane

Media reports:

The Day: Still shocking to recall destructive force of Hurricane of 1938 (21 SEP 13)

CBS News: Great New England Hurricane of 1938 remembered on 75th anniversary (21 SEP 13)

Washington Post: Capital Weather Gang: The Great New England Hurricane of September 21, 1938 on its 75th anniversary (21 SEP 13)

WPRI-TV: Hurricane barrier ready if 1938 repeats, says PEMA (20 SEP 13)

WJAR-TV: Slideshow: Hurricane of '38 (20 SEP 13)

WMUR-TV: Images: The Great New England Hurricane of 1938 (1 AUG 13)

WPRI-TV: Hurricane of 1938 remembered (21 SEP 10)

WPRI-TV: Hurricane of 1938 Retrospective (2 SEP 10)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the ways in which You proclaim Your Kingdom as written in the four Gospels.

Civiltà Cattolica Interview with Pope Francis

There have been a number of recent news reports, in both the secular and religious press, about an interview that Pope Francis recently gave to Father Antonio Spadaro, editor of Civiltà Cattolica, a Jesuit magazine published in Italian (and that is checked for accuracy by the Vatican before it is printed). It was also translated and reprinted in other Jesuit publications. Unfortunately, many of these reports focused on small portions of the interview without taking the context of entire message of the Holy Father.

To access the complete interview, please visit:

Thinking Faith: A Big Heart Open to God: The exclusive interview with Pope Francis

Other commentary:

Aggie Catholics: 7 Reasons Why Pope Francis Worries Some Catholics & Why They Shouldn’t Worry (19 SEP 13)

Reflection Starter from Helen Schucman

“Every situation, properly perceived, becomes an opportunity.” – Helen Schucman

20 September 2013

International Coastal Cleanup

On Saturday, 21 September, the Ocean Conservancy is sponsoring its 28th annual International Coastal Cleanup. The event is designed to engage people in removing trash and debris from the world’s beaches and waterways, identify the sources of debris, and change the behaviors that cause ocean trash in the first place.

Background information:

Ocean Conservancy: 2013 International Coastal Cleanup

Ocean Conservancy: 2012 Ocean Trash Index

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: National Ocean Service: Office of Response and Restoration: 2013 International Coastal Cleanup

Connecticut Fund for the Environment: Coastal Cleanup

Maine Coastweek (Maine Coastal Program): Coastal Cleanup

CoastSeeep: The Massachusetts Annual Statewide Beach Cleanup

New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services: Coastal Cleanups

Facebook: New Hampshire Coastal Cleanup

Audubon Society of Rhode Island: International Coastal Cleanup

Background information:

Ocean Conservancy

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many treats (whether they be sights, sounds, scents, or other treats) You send our way as we take time to experience and to enjoy Your created world.

Joshua Mercer on Learning from the Pope’s Personal Approach

“What if you answered your phone and it was Pope Francis on the line?

“It’s an amusing thought that the pope might place a call to an ordinary Catholic, but this isn’t a fairy tale. It's already happened several times since Pope Francis began his pontificate in March.

“A 35-year old single mother named Anna recently wrote a letter to Pope Francis asking for advice. She had carried on an affair with a married man and had become pregnant by him. The man refused to take any responsibility for his unborn child and instead had pressured her to abort his baby.”

In a recent commentary, Joshua Mercer, Director of Communications of CatholicVote.org, reflected on the example of Pope Francis in letting our human relationships to be governed by a spirit of interior humility and simplicity.

To access in complete post, please visit:

Catholic Pulse: “The Pope Is on Line 1”: What Catholics Can Learn From the Holy Father’s Personal Approach (10 SEP 13)

Reflection Starter from Martha Washington

“I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.” – Martha Washington

19 September 2013

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord for the blessing of our siblings and for all You have done for them and through them.

On a Ministry to Those Who Are Dying

“It wasn't just one thing that led the Rev. Paul Scaglione to devote so much of his ministry to the terminally and the chronically ill over his 40 years as a Roman Catholic priest.

“There was his own near-fatal diabetic coma four decades ago. There was the unexplained paralysis of his mother, for whom he cared for many years. There was his confrontation with a deep betrayal he suffered when abused as a child by a priest.

“And then there were the visits to the sick and dying, many of them isolated – and often estranged – from any loved ones. He became determined that ‘no one should die alone and forgotten.’”

A recent USA Today article profiled Father Scaglione, pastor of Saint Barnabas Parish, Louisville, KY, and his ministry to those who are dying.

To access the complete USA Today report, please visit:

USA Today: Ky. priest captures tales of dying (9 SEP 13)

Background information:

Genneseret Retreat, St. Barnabas Church, Louisville, KY

Reflection Starter from Fr. Andrew Greeley

“God draws straight with crooked lines.” – Father Andrew Greeley

18 September 2013

Peter Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.6 in B minor

It’s time for some classical music. This is a presentation of Peter Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.6 in B minor (op.74, “Pathétique”), as played by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (The Netherlands):

Recovery Month

September has been designated as Recovery Month, an observance designed to promote the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental and substance use disorders, celebrate people in recovery, laud the contributions of treatment and service providers, and promote the message that recovery in all its forms is possible. This year’s theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Together on Pathways to Wellness,” is designed to emphasize that there are many unique ways people can prevent behavioral health issues, seek treatment, and sustain recovery.  The theme is also designed to highlight the importance of mental, physical, and emotional well-being, as well as the value of family, friends, and community members throughout the recovery journey.

A National Hub Event related to this observance is scheduled to be held in Providence, RI, on Saturday, 21 September. For more information about this event, please visit:

Rhode Island Rally for Recovery

For more information about Recovery Month, please visit:

U.S. Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration: Recovery Month

U.S. Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration: 2013 Recovery Month Toolkit

Presidential Proclamation – National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, 2013

Background information:

U.S. Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

Facebook: SAMHSA

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways You guide and work through writers and producers of dramatic works.

Pope Francis on the Mystery of the Cross

“At the Mass for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Pope Francis said the mystery of the Cross is a great mystery for mankind, a mystery that can only be approached in prayer and in tears.

“In his homily, the Pope said that it is in the mystery of the Cross that we find the story of mankind and the story of God, synthesised by the Fathers of the Church in the comparison between the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, in Paradise, and the tree of the Cross:

“‘The one tree has wrought so much evil, the other tree has brought us to salvation, to health. This is the course of the humanity’s story: a journey to find Jesus Christ the Redeemer, who gives His life for love. God, in fact, has not sent the Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. This tree of the Cross save us, all of us, from the consequences of that other tree, where self-sufficiency, arrogance, the pride of us wanting to know all things according to our own mentality, according to our own criteria, and also according to that presumption of being and becoming the only judges of the world. This is the story of mankind: from one tree to the other.”

A recent Vatican Radio broadcast reported on this homily of Pope Francis in which he reflected on the mystery of the Cross.

To access this Vatican Radio report, please visit:

Vatican Radio: Pope Francis: Approach mystery of the Cross with prayer and tears (14 SEP 13)

Reflection Starter from John Adams

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” – John Adams

17 September 2013

“Jesus, Lover Of My Soul”

As we continue to live this week, I offer this Hillsong version of “Jesus, Lover Of My Soul”:

National Farm Safety and Health Week

This week, the week of 15-21 September, is being observed as National Farm Safety and Health Week. This year’s theme is “Working Together for Safety in Agriculture.”

2013 farm safety week logo

This year’s theme is designed to offer a reminder that it is everyone’s responsibility for safety both on the farm and the rural roadways of America. The new data for the Department of Labor shows the agricultural sector is still the most dangerous in America with 475 fatalities, which equals 21.2 deaths per 100,000 workers. When combining all labor sectors the death rate was 3.2%.

The rate of fatalities in agriculture continues to decline, but still remains the highest of any industry sector, according to preliminary data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, recently released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting fatalities decreased 16 percent to 475 in 2012 from 566 in 2011. This follows a 9 percent drop in agriculture fatalities in 2011. Fatal injuries in the crop production, animal production, forestry and logging, and fishing sectors were all lower in 2012. Despite the declines in fatal work injuries in this sector over the last two years, agriculture recorded the highest fatal injury rate of any industry sector at 21.2 fatal injuries per 100,000 FTE workers in 2012.

Presidential Proclamation:

Presidential Proclamation - National Farm Safety and Health Week, 2013

Background information:

National Education Center for Agricultural Safety

National Institute for Farm Safety

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many blessings, including its own special charism(s) You have bestowed on each local parish and for the many ways You work in and through each parish community.

Bishop Tobin on the Pope Francis’ First Six Months

“As Pope Francis marks his first six months as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, in an interview with Rhode Island Catholic Editor Rick Snizek, reflects on the pontiff’s impact so far on the faithful and the challenges he faces as the leader of the 1.2 billion Catholics around the world.”

To access this complete interview, please visit:

RI Catholic: Pope Francis: The first six months (12 SEP 13)

Reflection Starter from St. Therese of Lisieux

“Each small task of everyday life is part of the harmony of the universe.” – Saint Therese of Lisieux

16 September 2013

National Falls Prevention Awareness Day

Sunday, 22 September, is the first day of fall, and, as such, is being observed as the sixth annual National Falls Prevention Awareness Day. This observance is sponsored by the National Council on Aging (NCOA) because falls are the leading cause of injury related emergency department visits for older adults, the major cause of hip fractures, and responsible for more than half of fatal head injuries.


This year’s theme, “Preventing Falls – One Step at a Time,” is designed to unite professionals, older adults, caregivers, and family members in their efforts to raise awareness and prevent falls.

For more information related to National Falls Prevention Awareness Day, please visit:





Background information:




On Giving as the Best Communication

In a recent post, Deacon Greg Kandra offered a Thai telecom commercial that presents a powerful message.

To access this post, please visit:

The Deacon’s Bench: “Giving is the best communication” (13 SEP 13)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for Your healing touch – in each way that You reach out to us with it.

Msgr. Pope on the Mathematics of the Kingdom

“There is a remarkable set of sayings of Jesus, in Luke’s sermon on the plain that we have been reading recently at daily mass. These things present a kind of mathematics of the kingdom of God. In effect the Lord says to us, ‘Pay attention! You are going to be judged by the same standard by which you treat and judge others. So do the math, and realize that you were storing up for yourselves a kind of standard by which I will judge you.’”

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on ways in which we can influence the standard God will use to judge us.

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

Msgr. Charles Pope: Do the Math! Learning the Mathematics of the Kingdom is important for Salvation (12 SEP 13)

Reflection Starter from Pope John XXIII

“Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.” – Blessed Pope John XXIII

15 September 2013

Tennessee Ernie Ford: “Faith of Our Fathers”

As our Sunday celebration continues, I offer this version of Tennessee Ernie Ford singing “Faith of Our Fathers”:

Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are Exodus 32:7-11, 13-14; 1 Timothy 1:12-17; and Luke 15:1-32. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 51 (Psalm 51:3-4, 12-13, 17, 19).

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

YouTube: Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 51 "The Miserere: Prayer of Repentance and Hope in God"

The Gospel reading is as follows:

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

So to them he addressed this parable. “What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.

“Or what woman having ten coins and losing one would not light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until she finds it? And when she does find it, she calls together her friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’ In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Then he said, “A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them. After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.

“When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any. Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.’

“So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’

“Then the celebration began. Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

“He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him. He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns, who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’

“He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’”

Reflections on this day and on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (September 15, 2013)

Msgr. Charles Pope: Crazy! A Homily for the 24th Sunday of the Year (14 SEP 13)

Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio: The Prodigal Son and the Golden Calf

Word on Fire: Sermon 662: Logic of Justice; Logic of Grace: 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Sacred Page: Prodigal Son Sunday: 24th Sunday in OT (10 SEP 13)

Dr. Scott Hahn: Seeking the Lost (September 15th 2013 - 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time)

The Catholic World Report Blog: The Parable of the Perfect Father (14 SEP 13)

The Word Engaged: Prodigal Love (24th Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary by Peter Chrysologus

Historical Cultural Context: Offensive Behavior (24th Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the mercy with which You treat us.

From Crystal Cathedral to Christ Cathedral

“Towering like the Emerald City, the cathedral formerly known as Crystal sits at what might be Orange County's nucleus, a trinity of confluencing freeways, the Angels and Ducks stadium and a glimpse of a sacred place of a different kind — Disneyland.

“From that gleaming sanctuary, evangelist Robert Schuller delivered sermons that were beamed to television sets around the world. His ministry became synonymous with the megachurch, designed so the light and the breeze could stream through, a grand replica of his humble beginnings preaching on the roof of an Orange drive-in’s snack shop.

“The Crystal Cathedral was to Schuller what Graceland was to Elvis. Now it has been bought by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, which has long coveted having a cathedral that sat at the center of its vast footprint of 1.2 million Catholics.”

The Diocese of Orange now owns the Crystal Cathedral, and it is in the process of transforming into its own cathedral, Christ Cathedral.

To access a Los Angele Times report on the process of this renovation, please visit:

Los Angeles Times: Changing faiths at the Crystal Cathedral (13 SEP 13)

Reflection Starter from St. Josemaría Escrivá

“When you approach the tabernacle remember that he has been waiting for you for twenty centuries.” – Saint Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer

14 September 2013

The Happenings: “I Got Rhythm”

As this blessed week winds down, I offer this version of The Happenings singing George Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm”:

EPA Launches Online Green Sports Resource Directory

The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently unveiled an online Green Sports Resource Directory that is designed to help teams, venues, and leagues save money and reduce carbon pollution through increased energy efficiency. Resources in this directory were set up to support teams and their fans, stadiums, and venues in their waste management, water and energy conservation, and other sustainability efforts.

EPA has also compiled a Green “Scoreboard” that is designed to highlight a number of winning efforts across numerous sports leagues and some statistics on the environmental and saving benefits. The Scoreboard is available on the Green Sports Resource Directory.

EPA is a founding partner of the Green Sports Alliance, which has more than 180 members. The Alliance is currently working with more than 75 professional and college teams in over 100 stadiums and sports venues across the country.

For more information related to these Green Sports initiatives, please visit:

EPA: Green Sports Resource Directory

EPA: Green Sports Scoreboard

Green Sports Alliance

Background information:

U. S. Environmental Protection Agency

Executive Office of the President: Climate Action Plan (June 2013)

A Look at the Year of One’s Birth

There is an interesting website that offers a brief look into some of the things that happened during the year of one’s birth.

To access this website, please visit:

What Happened In My Birth Year

When you reach the website, type in the year of your birth and click on the question mark. The screen will fade into black and begin its presentation.

Thank you, John STROADE Shay, Sr., for the tip!

National Public Lands Day

Saturday, 28 September, is being observed as National Public Lands Day, considered to be the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands (federal, state, regional, and municipal). This year’s observance is the 20th Anniversary of National Public Lands Day.

During this annual day of caring for public lands, volunteers assist at parks and other public lands by collecting invasive plants; building and maintaining trails; planting trees, shrubs and other native plants; removing trash from trails and other places; and offering a number of other services.

Among NPLD efforts currently listed in New England, volunteers plan to be working at two sites in Connecticut, five sites in Maine, eleven sites in Massachusetts, five sites in New Hampshire, and one site in Vermont.

Background information:

National Public Lands Day

Facebook: National Public Lands Day

NH Boat Museum Youth Boat Building Program

“The New Hampshire Boat Museum in Wolfeboro is a showplace for antique boats and New Hampshire’s boating history. The museum also runs summer boat-building workshops for kids. The two week program offers area youth the chance to build a canoe, a kayak or a skiff.”

The museum’s Youth Boat Building Program is for boys and girls ages 12 and up. During the program, students build their own boat from a kit they select.

A recent New Hampshire Public Radio report offered a look at the boat building program.

To access the complete New Hampshire Public Radio report, please visit:

New Hampshire Public Radio: Building A Sense Of Accomplishment At The New Hampshire Boat Museum (14 SEP 13)

Background information:

New Hampshire Boat Museum

Related video report:

WMUR-TV: Come Build a Boat This Summer at the NH Boat Museum! (September 2010)

“Lift High the Cross”

As our celebration of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross continues, I offer this version of the Ward Evangelical Presbyterian Church  (Northville, MI) Chancel Choir singing “Lift High the Cross”:

U.S. Coalition of Cities Against Racism and Discrimination

Because there are still many challenges related to discrimination in communities throughout the nation, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, in collaboration with UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and the U.S. Department of State, has established the U.S. Coalition of Cities Against Racism and Discrimination. In joining this coalition, mayors pledge to undertake ten action steps, some through the Conference and some on their own.

Through the Conference of Mayors, participating mayors pledge to:

  • Continue collective efforts to speak out against racism and other forms of discrimination and propose solutions, and join with national civil rights organizations in this effort;
  • Advocate for inclusion and non-discrimination in all federal laws, policies, and programs;
  • Work toward sentencing and prison reform to reduce disparities between blacks and Hispanics and whites in sentences and incarceration rates;
  • Improve the ability of people released from prison, who are disproportionately black and Hispanic, to reenter their communities through increased federal support for Second Chance programs and changes in policies and procedures which make it difficult, if not impossible, to become productive members of society; and
  • Continue calling for an expanded national effort to reduce poverty, which disproportionately affects minority communities, and create employment opportunities by increasing job creation, job training, child care.

In their cities, participating mayors pledge to:

  • Ensure that city policies and procedures promote inclusion and do not discriminate and that employees are provided the training needed to implement them;
  • Use the bully pulpit to provide leadership on issues of concern, engage in the difficult conversations that may be needed, speak out against hate crimes and all discriminatory acts whenever they occur, and provide comfort and assistance to victims of discrimination;
  • Work with the school system to promote education about differences, the importance of tolerance, and behavior that respects differences among people;
  • Facilitate the integration of immigrants and other new residents into the community; and
  • Encourage community activities which celebrate diversity and educate city residents about the different cultures that compose a city’s population.

As of this date, 51 mayors have signed the accord. Participating mayors from New England include Michael Tetreau of Fairfield, CT, and Miro Weinberger of Burlington, VT.

The U.S. Coalition is part of the International Coalition of Cities Against Racism, an initiative established by UNESCO in 2004. The International Coalition is a global network of cities who are striving to work together to Identifying and sharing good practices in fighting racism and discrimination.

For more information about the U.S. Coalition and the 10-Point Plan of Action, please visit:

U.S. Conference of Mayors: U.S. Coalition of Cities Against Racism and Discrimination 10-Point Plan of Action

Media report:

Burlington Free Press: Burlington joins national campaign to address racism (12 SEP 13)

Background information:

United States Conference of Mayors

International Coalition of Cities against Racism

Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. The assigned readings are Numbers 21:4-9, Philippians 2:6-11, and John 3:13-17. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 78 (Psalm 78:1-2, 34-38).

The Gospel Reading is as follows:

Jesus said to Nicodemus: “No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

Reflections on these readings:

CatholicCulture: Exaltation of the Holy Cross

American Catholic: Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Crossroads Initiative: St. Andrew of Crete: The Triumph and Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, Jesus, for the victory You won through Your holy cross.

On Life’s Lessons from an Obituary

In a recent post, Deacon Greg Kandra offered an obituary he thought worthy of sharing:

The Deacon's Bench: The best obituary you will ever read (5 SEP 13)

Reflection Starter from St. Thomas More

“One of the greatest problems of our time is that many are schooled but few are educated.” – attributed to Saint Thomas More

13 September 2013

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways in which You strengthen us as we meet the various challenges facing us in our lives.

Rachana Chhin on Helping the Poor Through Catholic Microfinance

“One of the constant themes of Pope Francis’ pontificate is his emphasis on reaching out to the poor and the marginalized. Those who are ‘least’ in this world are dear to the Holy Father’s heart and he uses every opportunity to exhort believers to go out from beyond the four walls of our churches and serve others in a Christ-like fashion.”

In a recent commentary, Rachana Chhin reflected on the role of microfinance as a on tool that may be part of a well-balanced effort to reach out to the poor and the marginalized.

To access his complete post, please visit:

Ignitum Today: Helping the Poor Through Catholic Microfinance (26 AUG 13)

Reflection Starter from Harvey Firestone

“You get the best out of others when you give the best of yourself.” – Harvey S. Firestone

12 September 2013

9/11 Commemoration

Yesterday, 11 September, communities throughout this region and the rest of the nation took time out to commemorate the 2001 terrorist attacks that killed almost 3,000 people.

Presidential Proclamation:

Presidential Proclamation – Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance

Media reports:

WVIT-TV: Hartford Gives Back to Remember 9/11 (11 SEP 13)

WCSH-TV: Freeport Flag Ladies teach next generation about 9/11 (11 SEP 13)

The Patriot Ledger: Firefighters in local communities hold 9/11 ceremonies (12 SEP 13)

Nashua Telegraph: Retired NYPD detective rivets listeners at Hudson 9/11 observance (12 SEP 13)

WJAR-TV: Victims' names added to Wall of Hope (11 SEP 13)

NECN: Vt. marks Sept. 11 with new citizens and acts of kindness (11 SEP 13)

CBS Evening News: 9/11 remembrances take somber tone (11 SEP 13)

CBS Evening News: Firefighter comes to rescue of first responders with sick kids (11 SEP 13)

The Deacon's Bench: For 9/11: Mychal’s Prayer (11 SEP 13)

Background information:

9/11 Memorial

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for each kind of kindness offered to me throughout the years.

Msgr. Stuart Swetland on Catholic Colleges as Agents of Evangelization

“It cannot be forgotten that Jesus is the reason for Catholic higher education, and his Person and teaching should permeate everything we do.

“As Benedict XVI told Catholic educators gathered at The Catholic University of America in 2008: ‘Education is integral to the mission of the Church to proclaim the Good News. First and foremost, every Catholic educational institution is a place to encounter the living God, who in Jesus Christ reveals his transforming love and truth (cf. Spe Salvi, 4).’”

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Stuart Swetland, vice president for Catholic identity and mission at Mount St. Mary’s University and executive director of the Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education (a division of The Cardinal Newman Society), reflected on the importance of Catholic colleges and universities rising to meet the challenge of providing young people with a sound education in the faith.

To access Msgr. Swetland’s complete essay, please visit:

National Catholic Register: Catholic Colleges Are Essential Agents of Evangelization (7 SEP 13)

Reflection Starter from Bear Bryant

“If anything goes bad, I did it. If anything goes semi-good, then we did it. If anything goes real good, then you did it. That's all it takes to get people to win football games.” – Paul “Bear” Bryant