30 November 2013

Benny Goodman Orchestra: “Sing, Sing, Sing”

As this blessed weeks draws to a close, I offer this version of the Benny Goodman Orchestra playing “Sing, Sing, Sing”:

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord for Your words – words that are Spirit and life.

Fr. Longenecker on Having an Authentic Encounter with Christ

“Maybe it’s the Amish in me, but one of the problems I have with being a priest in America is that, after living abroad for twenty five years, suburban America seems like one big theme park. When you go to the Mall the shops are all little fake themed experiences. When you dine out you head down one of those commercial highways that every American town has and it’s like a trip to a theme park. Little themed restaurants everywhere. Here a cute little Italian eatery that pretends to be a Tuscan villa, there a pleasant little Parisian bistro, further on an Indian restaurant like the Taj Mahal…

“Okay, so it’s life in America in the twenty first century. Get used to it. But the problem is that it is not just fake little themed restaurants, the Disneyland, ‘Please me. Please me now!’ mentality runs through the whole culture. . . .

“What makes my life impossible as a parish priest is that we apply the same way of life to church. Church shopping has reached epidemic proportions. I accept that the idea of the geographical parish has ended. We drive everywhere. We choose what we want. We drive to the church we want. But now people are church shopping from week to week and from Mass to Mass. They hop, skip and jump from parish to parish and from Mass to Mass depending on what they want and when they want it. Now we have people cherry picking particular ministries from various parishes and turning up for youth group here and CCD there and Mass at this parish and a special seminar at that parish.”

In a recent commentary, Father Dwight Longenecker (parish priest at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, Greenville, SC) reflected on the need for priests and people to prioritize, reflecting on why we are Catholics and on the importance of an authentic encounter with Christ and the authentic life of faith which flows from that.

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

Standing on My Head: The Mall or the Mass? (1 NOV 13)

Background information:

Dwight Longenecker - Catholic priest and author

Reflection Starter from Zig Ziglar

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

29 November 2013

Rock My Soul Gospel Choir

The secular gospel choir, Rock My Soul (based in South Berwick, ME) strives to help the community participate directly in the experience of singing gospel music.

Media report:

Foster’s Daily Democrat: Rocky My Soul rings in holidays (23 NOV 13)

Background information:

ProjectMusicWorks (sponsor of Rock My Soul)

To access videos of two of their presentations, please visit:

YouTube: Rock My Soul Gospel Choir Fundraiser 2013/Show Me Some Sign

Small Business Saturday

A number of communities throughout this region and the rest of the nation are urging residents to save some energy (and money) by turning out to support locally-based, small businesses on Saturday, 30 November – Small Business Saturday (the business day between Black Friday and Cyber Monday).

This promotion has been initiated for a number of reasons:

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

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

For more information about this observance, please visit:

Small Business Saturday

Media reports:

Kennebec Journal: Downtowns relying on holiday events to bring shoppers

American City and County: With holidays on the horizon, local governments urge residents to shop locally

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many blessings You bestowed on us and on our families as we celebrated Thanksgiving Day.

Msgr. Pope Offers a Meditation on Love and Lament for the Church

“As a priest and pastor I work very closely with others, both clergy, religious and laity, who work for the Church and also volunteer. And of course all of us work for the Church, often for lower salaries than we could command elsewhere, because we love the Church and her people.

“But along with that love comes, at times a disappointment, hurt or even disillusionment. Perhaps it is just the local problems of parish that are found in any gathering of human beings: gossip, hurtful actions, hypocrisy, power struggles, wrongful priorities, favoritism, injustice and so forth.

“And while these things happen everywhere, many somehow hope there will be less of it in the Church. So who have come to work for the Church began by thinking, ‘What a wonderful thing, to work for a church (instead of in the cut-throat business world etc). Perhaps they envisioned a place where people prayed together and supported each other more, perhaps a place where there was less competition, and strife.

“Alas, such hopes are usually set aside early for any who work for the Church. We are after all running a hospital of sorts. And just like hospitals tend to attract sick people, so the Church attracts sinners and those who struggle. Jesus was found in strange company, such that the Pharisees, were scandalized. . . .”

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on one of his responses to human situations being faced in the Church, whether they be small irritations, disappointment or deep disillusionment – a prayer/meditation especially those who love the Church and work closely with her.

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

Msgr. Charles Pope: A Meditation on Love and Lament for the Church (18 NOV 13)

Reflection Starter from G. K. Chesterton

“When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton

28 November 2013

Congratulations Mary & Chris!!!

Congratulations to daughter Mary-Elizabeth and her husband Christopher on the recent birth of their daughter Evelyn Jeane!!! Welcome, Evelyn!

Don Moen: “Thank You Lord”

As we continue our Thanksgiving celebration, I offer this version of Don Moen singing “Thank You Lord”:

150th Anniversary of Thanksgiving as National Holiday

This year is the 150th anniversary of the celebration of Thanksgiving as a national holiday. Although days of Thanksgiving had been previously held, the 1863 proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln set a precedent for future observances.

To Access a copy of

President Lincoln's proclamation, please visit:

National Park Service: Abraham Lincoln: “Blessings of Fruitful Fields”

Presidential proclamation:

Presidential Proclamation – Thanksgiving Day, 2013

Media reports:

Valley News: Giving Thanks for Thanksgiving And Sarah Josepha Hale (16 NOV 13)

Boston Globe: Plymouth celebrates as Thanksgiving Day holiday turns 150 (21 NOV 13)

NECN: Plimoth Plantation celebrating 150 years of Thanksgiving (28 NOV 13)

NECN: What was Thanksgiving like in 1621? (28 NOV 13)

NECN: Rabbi: Thanksgivukkah is time to reflect on true meaning of holiday (28 NOV 13)

Thanksgiving Poem: “Be Thankful”

Thanksgiving Poem: “Be Thankful”
                                            (Author Unknown)

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

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

Be thankful when you don’t know something,

for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.

During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations,

because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge,

because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes.

They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you’re tired and weary,

because it means you’ve made a difference.

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

A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who

are also thankful for the setbacks.

Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.

Find a way to be thankful for your troubles,

and they can become your blessings.

(Originally posted on 24 NOV 10)

Thanksgiving Day

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

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

YouTube: Psalm 145: I Will Praise Your Name (Haas setting)

The Gospel reading is as follows:

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

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

Reflections on this day and on these readings:

Msgr. Charles Pope: Some thoughts to help deepen our gratitude. (27 NOV 13)

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

Catholic Home & Garden: A Catholic Thanksgiving

American Catholic: Thanksgiving Prayers

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

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for inspirations and opportunities to praise and thank You – on this special and throughout the year.

Changing Lives Rather than Chasing a Buck

Maybe you’ve heard of Jon Kitna; maybe you haven’t. He was a football player, a quarterback, in the NFL. He played for Seattle, Cincinnati, Detroit and Dallas, and if he was never a marquee quarterback, he was much more than a journeyman. He worked in the league for 15 years, from 1997 to 2011, threw for nearly 30,000 yards, and once was named the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year. In all, a nice career.

But it’s what Kitna is doing now that’s earning him as many plaudits as he ever got on the football field. He’s teaching algebra to students at Lincoln High School in a high-poverty area of his home town of Tacoma, Washington. And it’s not just any students he has in his classes. He asked for the toughest kids, the potential dropouts, and he got them. Now he’s in the process of turning their lives around, and he loves it.

“This is what I’m supposed to do,” Kitna said. “This is my calling.”

Kitna’s calling came at a steep financial cost. In his final year with the Dallas Cowboys he earned about $3.2 million; in 2012 he received $26,000 from Lincoln High--$20,000 for his part-time teaching, and $6,000 for coaching the football team. That doesn’t mean, however, that he’s above dipping into his own financial reserves (he paid for the school’s new weight room) or calling on old friends from his NFL days. He’s received equipment donations for Lincoln from Carson Palmer, quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals; from Tony Romo, whom he backed up as quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, and Calvin Johnson, who snagged more than a few Kitna passes when both played for the Detroit Lions.

Still he’s dead serious about his teaching. He has an enthusiastic fan in Lincoln High’s principal, Pat Erwin.

“Jon reads people really well,” Erwin told writer Gail Wood. “He’s genuine. He walks his talk. He also challenges kids. Being a former NFL quarterback helps get their attention.”

Lincoln High School hasn’t changed all that much from the time that Kitna went there in the late 1980’s, except that the poverty level in the area might be greater today. He teaches young people because he genuinely cares about them, and he’s made a standing offer to meet students before class begins--if they so desire.

Many of them do, and Kitna has been true to his word. As a result, some of those who had been ignoring their homework now turn in assignments, and kids who once had failing grades are finding themselves with A’s and B’s on their tests.

Perhaps most important is the message of hope Kitna leaves with students.

“I have a chance to really shape their worldview,” he says. “That’s exciting. It’s also a huge responsibility I don’t take lightly.”

Writer Wood observed that Kitna, gratefully, “is more interested in changing lives than chasing a buck.” How does the athlete-turned-teacher feel about that?

“My life should be about the impact and influence I have on others,” he admitted. “To see lives changed – that’s something!”

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

To access Dan’s blog about The Walk, please visit:

CrossAmerica

Background information:

The Christophers: Christopher Radio & Video

Reflection Starter from Rev. Brett Blair

“Our forefathers were not so much thankful for something as they were thankful in something. In bounty or in want they were thankful. In feast or in famine they were thankful. In joy or in misery they were thankful. There is a big difference between being thankful for things and being thankful in all things.” – Rev. Brett Blair

27 November 2013

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture

It’s time for some classical music. This is a presentation of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture as played by the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra (conducted by Anton Nanut):

Fr. Pavone on the Pope, Abortion, Mercy, and Context

“I have been privileged now to have been with Pope Francis four times since he has been elected to the papacy, and I have been very encouraged by his approach to pro-life issues.

“I  have had two conversations with him about the work we do at Priests for Life. Our executive director, Janet Morana, has also spoken with him about our work. On all these occasions, he could not have been more encouraging.”

In a recent commentary, Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life and pastoral director of Rachel’s Vineyard, reflected on the Pope’s putting the Church’s pro-life stance in context with all of the Church’s other teachings - “every teaching of the Church is to be understood in the context of all the other teachings and, indeed, of the entire history of the Church, which stands as a voice for all the oppressed and marginalized, including children still in the womb.”

To access Father Pavone’s complete post, please visit:

National Catholi Register: Fr. Frank Pavone: The Pope, Abortion, Mercy and Context (1 OCT 13)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways in which the natural features You have created, by doing whatever it is You designed them to do, sing Your praises and reflect Your glory.

Follow-up Report on Pope’s “La Repubblica” Interview

“Editor Eugenio Scalfari has conceded it is ‘really possible’ that some of the Pope’s words he reported in the interview published in La Repubblica Oct. 1 ‘were not shared by the Pope himself.’

“Last month’s interview led to several criticisms of Pope Francis, notably Scalfari quoting the Pope saying of conscience that ‘everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them. That would be enough to make the world a better place.’ . . .

“After the interview was published, Vatican press director Father Federico Lombardi maintained that the text was overall faithful to the Pope’s thought, even though it could not be considered part of his magisterium. . . .

“In the weeks after its publication, however, the interview drew widespread criticism as well as doubts over the accuracy of the Pope's words.

“The text was recently removed from the Vatican’s website because ‘the information in the interview is reliable on a general level, but not on the level of each individual point analyzed,’ Father Lombardi told journalists Nov. 15.”

A recent National Catholic Reporter article report on some of the post-interview steps taken by by parties involved.

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

National Catholic Reporter: Scalfari Confesses: Pope’s Words in Interview May Not Have Been His Own (22 NOV 13)

Reflection Starter from Cynthia Ozick

“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” – Cynthia Ozick

26 November 2013

“Majesty”

As we continue to live this week, I offer this version of “Majesty”:

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for Your constant presence in our lives (whether or not we are aware of it).

Msgr. Pope on Encountering The Word of God in Jesus

“Many people think of the Word of God as an “it” when in fact, the Word of God is a person, Jesus Christ. Jesus did not come merely to give us information and exhortation. He came to give us his very self. He is the “Word made Flesh.”

“Pope Emeritus Benedict made this point in, the Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Verbum Domini. . . .

“The Word of God is not merely on the pages of a book. The Word of God is not just an idea or ethical system. The Word of God is not just a set of teachings or doctrines. The Word of God is Jesus Christ. And to really grasp this Word to the degree that we come to know Him, and experience Him and His power active in our lives.”

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on how we cannot really grasp Scripture unless we come to know Jesus and on how Scripture, and the wider concept of the Word of God, authentically interpreted by the Church, is an encounter with a living God – the Lord Jesus Christ.

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

Msgr. Charles Pope: The Word of God is not a mere text, He is a person. A meditation on the Personal Relationship we must have with the Word. (19 NOV 13)

Reflection Starter from William Arthur Ward

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward

25 November 2013

Thank You, Lord

Thank You, Lord, for the many blessings and graces You have planted and/or nurtured in Your people throughout the recently completed Year of Faith.

Pope Francis’ Homily at Mass Closing Year of Faith

“As an emotional closing Mass of the global church’s Year of Faith was highlighted by the presence of the relics of St Peter in their first-ever public exposition, just before the bronze casket containing the eight small fragments of the first Pope’s bones were brought to his the current successor to cradle during the Creed, the 266th Bishop of Rome – the first to call himself Francis . . . the first from outside Europe in over a millennium – delivered the following homily, below in its Vatican English translation:

“Today’s solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, the crowning of the liturgical year, also marks the conclusion of the Year of Faith opened by Pope Benedict XVI, to whom our thoughts now turn with affection and gratitude. By this providential initiative, he gave us an opportunity to rediscover the beauty of the journey of faith begun on the day of our Baptism, which made us children of God and brothers and sisters in the Church. A journey which has as its ultimate end our full encounter with God, and throughout which the Holy Spirit purifies us, lifts us up and sanctifies us, so that we may enter into the happiness for which our hearts long.”

In a recent post, Rocco Palmo presented Pope Francis’ homily during the closing Mass of the Year of Faith.

To access Rocco’s complete post, please visit:

Whispers in the Loggia: “You Ask Him to Remember You, And He Brings You Into His Kingdom” (24 NOV 13)

May the seeds that have planted and/or nurtured during this Year of Faith bear much fruit.

Reflection Starter from Brian Tracy

“Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.” – Brian Tracy

24 November 2013

Rev. Timothy Wright and New York Fellowship Mass Choir: “Come Thou Almighty King”

As we continue our Sunday celebration, I offer this version of Rev. Timothy Wright and the New York Fellowship Mass Choir singing “Come Thou Almighty King”:

Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

Today the Church celebrates Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. The assigned readings are 2 Samuel 5:1-3, Colossians 1:12-20, and Luke 23:35-43. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 122 (Psalm 122:1-5).

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

YouTube: Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 122

The Gospel reading is as follows:

The rulers sneered at Jesus and said, “He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God.”

Even the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine they called out, “If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.”

Above him there was an inscription that read, “This is the King of the Jews.”

Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us.”

The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Reflections on this day and on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (November 24, 2013)

Msgr. Charles Pope: King of the Universe and King of Thieves? A Homily for the Feast of Christ the King (23 NOV 13)

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

Verbum Domini: Salvation through Refinance (21 NOV 13)

The Deacon’s Bench: Homily for November 24, 2013: Christ the King (23 NOV 13)

Word on Fire: Sermon 672: March in the Army of the True King: Christ the King

The Sacred Page: Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe: 34th Sunday of OT (21 NOV 13)

Dr. Scott Hahn: Kingdom of the Son (November 24th 2013 - Solemnity of Christ the King)

The Catholic World Report Blog: Christ the King, Exalted by the Cross (23 NOV 13)

Spirituality of the Readings: Kings and Things (Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe C)

The Word Engaged: The Counter-Cultural Sovereign (Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe C)

Dominican Friars, Province of St. Joseph: Word to Life: Radio Broadcast: Word to Life: Radio Broadcast: Christ the King (22 NOV 13)

Thank you, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of our Baptism and for the many sacramental graces You bestow on us when we receive this sacrament.

Fr. Kiley on Welcoming Infants into the Church Community

“National Public Radio featured a discussion of religion among millennials, young adults born just before the turn of this century. One speaker decided to wait before introducing her own children to any specific religious tradition, allowing them to be exposed to diverse spiritual experiences and then arriving at their own religious conclusions as they approached adulthood. The Catholic practice of infant baptism seemed presumptuous to the speaker, coopting a believer’s opportunity to make an informed and mature choice regarding one’s eternal destiny. Millennials are certainly not alone in this thinking.

“Some dedicated American Baptists have long postponed baptism into a believer’s grown-up years in the hope that a mature, adult decision will be spiritually more fruitful than a ceremony conducted long before a believer has even reached the age of reason.”

In a recent commentary, Father John Kiley (pastor emeritus of Saint Francis of Assisi Parish, Warwick, RI) reflected on the importance of infant baptism and on how it is part of God’s plan for the child involved. Fr. Kiley also reflected on the importance of parents, family, friends, parish, and the universal Church giving the newly baptized Catholic Christians a daily experience of the inexpressible love that God has for the child.

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

The Rhode Island Catholic: The Quite Corner: Prayer: Part of the home from the beginning (21 NOV 13)

Reflection Starter from Saint Augustine

“I have read in Plato and Cicero sayings that are very wise and very beautiful; but I never read in either of them:  ‘Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden.’” – Saint Augustine of Hippo

23 November 2013

The Sky Blue Boys “Legend of the Rebel Soldier” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic”

As this blessed week draws to a close, I offer this version of the Vermont-based Sky Blue Boys singing the Legend of the Rebel Soldier and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”:

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for sacred art that, in some way, portrays Your beauty, proclaims Your praise and glory, and serves to turn our minds and hearts toward You.

On Depictions of Saints in Our Churches

“My earliest recollections of anything pertaining to faith are not of words or instruction, but of primal sensory experiences of holy things within the built environment. From long before I learned how to read, and probably not so long after I learned how to walk, I recall momentary mental glimpses of the simple state of being in church with my family.

“Many of these mental images are vague, but some are quite vivid. Before any cognizance of the details of religion gained through Catholic school and catechism class, it was sacred objects – sacramentals – that cultivated the ideas of God and heaven within my fresh mind, even if I didn’t quite understand what it all meant yet.

“My family almost exclusively attended our own church, but every so often, my parents would take us to a certain neighboring parish that had a Mass later on Sunday that was sometimes more convenient. . . . I always looked forward to seeing the church’s several colorful, life-size, vintage Daprato statues, complete with glass eyes. So lifelike were they that, to a small child with very short legs, they seemed to be watching over me from high upon their pedestals, despite the tops of their heads being no more than nine feet above the floor.

“There was something enthralling about these steadfast ‘other people’ who were always in the church; who never flinched and never left their respective stations. They were firmly there in that place, yet I always sensed that they were somehow ambassadors from another place. To me, they seemed like antennas, as it were, to something powerful and invisible.

“It was in this way that I came to be introduced to the saints. . . .”

In a recent commentary, Michael Tamara reflected on the role played by statues of saints (and other sacred art) in reinforcing truths of our Faith.

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

Crisis Magazine: Seeing Saints in the House of God (14 NOV 13)

Reflection Starter from Buckminster Fuller

“If humanity does not opt for integrity we are through completely. It is absolutely touch and go. Each one of us could make the difference.” – R. Buckminster Fuller

22 November 2013

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways You inspire and guide good music for and in our liturgical celebrations.

Fr. Longenecker on the Church, Beauty, and Poverty

“What is the truly Catholic version of poverty? What is the truly Catholic version of beauty?

“Here’s a dilemma: my parish is in the worst socio economic area of our town. Across the street from our campus is a crappy old motel which was built along I-85 probably forty years ago. It’s a notorious flophouse. What goes on there? Suffice it to say that they offer weekly, daily and hourly rates . . . It’s not the worst. Next door is another old motel just as bad and across the highway there is the worst one of all with the sadly ironic name of Camelot. Up the street another run down motel has been transformed by some heroic people into a residential drug rehab center for men. You name it we’ve got it.

“We’ve got prostitution, gangs, drugs and crime. We’ve got broken homes, broken hearts and broken lives.

“In the midst of this we are trying to build a beautiful new church. . . . As you can imagine there are some who complain that we are spending money building this beautiful building when the poor are in great need. So we reply that it was Judas who made that argument – when the woman came with rich ointment to worship the Lord Judas wanted to sell it and give the money to the poor. ‘The poor you shall have with you always’ says Jesus in reply. Have you thought how arrogant that must have sounded? Either he was a megalomaniac or he was Christ the Lord.

“It sounds arrogant and disdainful in our day as well does it not? As if in building a beautiful church we do not care for the poor, and yet why should the two be mutually exclusive? Only because in modern America the poor are expected to get by with the very worst and nastiest of everything while the rich are supposed to get the best of everything.”

In a recent commentary, Father Dwight Longenecker (parish priest at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, Greenville, SC), reflected on the importance of beauty and splendor being offered to the Lord because He deserves the best. He also reflected on some perceptions of the Church when priests in well-to-do parishes have top-of-the line facilities because they can afford it.

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

Standing on My Head: Beauty and Poverty (15 NOV 13)

Background information:

Dwight Longenecker - Catholic priest and author

Reflection Starter from Archbishop Fulton Sheen

“No soul ever fell away from God without giving up prayer. Prayer is that which establishes contact with Divine Power and opens the invisible resources of heaven. However dark the way, when we pray, temptation can never master us. The first step downward in the average soul is the giving up of the practice of prayer, the breaking of the circuit with divinity, and the proclamation of one’s owns self sufficiency.” – Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, in Characters of the Passion: Lessons on Faith and Trust

21 November 2013

Hezekiah Walker: “Every Praise”

As we continue to live this week, I offer this version of Hezekiah Walker singing “Every Praise”:

New England Communities Receive GFOA Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards

The Government Finance Officers Association has a Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards Program (Budget Awards Program) that was established to encourage and assist state and local governments to prepare high quality budget documents that reflect both the guidelines established by the National Advisory Council on State and Local Budgeting and the GFOA’s best practices on budgeting and to recognize individual governments that succeed in achieving that goal.

New England awardees for the budget years (Fiscal Years) beginning during the period of January 1 through December 31, 2012, include the Cities/Towns of Avon, Bridgeport, Bristol, Cheshire, Colchester, Danbury, Glastonbury, Groton, Hartford, Manchester, Mansfield, Norwalk, Norwich, Plainville, Tolland, and Woodbridge, CT; Freeport, ME; Barnstable, Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Concord, Natick, Newburyport, North Andover, Northborough, Salem, Springfield, and Swampscott, MA; Portsmouth, NH; and Newport, RI. In addition, the Capitol Region Council of Governments in Connecticut; Portland Water District in Maine; the Boston Water and Sewer Commission, the Needham Public Schools, and the Springfield Public Schools in Massachusetts (as well as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts itself); and Narragansett Bay Commission, Rhode Island, were similarly honored.

Media report:

Portsmouth Herald: Port City government honored for budget (20 NOV 13)

Background information:

Government Finance Officers Association

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the teachers You have placed in our lives, whether in formal classes or in other settings, and for all You have done and are doing for them and through them.

Msgr. Pope on Accessing Mercy Through Repentance

“There are of course many ways of describing the pastoral, liturgical and theological struggles of our day. But one very simple way of describing current problems that touches on all these areas is simply this: that a presumptive attitude of mercy without repentance is both taught and widely held by far too many modern Catholics, and other Christians.

“There is much talk of how God loves us, is rich in mercy, is kind and forgiving. And all of these things are true. But another essential truth is that these gifts, these essential attributes of God, are accessed by repentance. It is repentance that opens the door to mercy, forgiveness, and kindness.”

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on the necessity of faith and repentance in accessing mercy and the graces of God.

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

Msgr. Charles Pope: A Reflection on the Modern Error of Preaching Mercy without Repentance (14 NOV 13)

Reflection Starter from Chester A. Arthur

“The countless benefits which have showered upon us during the past twelvemonth call for our fervent gratitude and make it fitting that we should rejoice with thankfulness that the Lord in His infinite mercy has most signally favored our country and our people.” – Chester A. Arthur (in his Proclamation of a National Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer, 4 November 1881)

20 November 2013

Jean Sibelius: Symphony No. 1 in E minor

It’s time for some classical music. This is a presentation of Jean SibeliusSymphony No. 1 in E minor (Op. 39) as played by the Orchestre de Paris (conducted by Paavo Järvi):

CPSC: “Stand By Your Pan”: Cook Safely This Thanksgiving to Prevent Kitchen Fires

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is advising consumers that the threat of fires in the kitchen triples on Thanksgiving Day. From 2009 through 2011, there was an average of about 1,300 cooking fires on Thanksgiving Day. This is more than three times the average daily rate from 2009 through 2011 of about 400 cooking fires a day.

“As fire safety experts have said for years, ‘Stand by your pan!’” CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum recently said in a prepared statement. “If you are frying, grilling or broiling food, stay in the kitchen. Not following this advice can be a recipe for disaster on Thanksgiving and throughout the year.” According to CPSC, when it comes to fires in the home, cooking fires are number one.  They accounted for nearly 150,000 fires (more than 40 percent of all annual unintentional residential fires) each year from 2009 through 2011. Unattended cooking is the top cause of cooking fires. Cooking fires also caused the most home fire-related injuries, with an estimated annual average of  nearly 27 percent, or 3,450 injuries each year.

Overall, CPSC estimates an average of 362,300 unintentional residential fires, 2,260 deaths, 12,820 injuries and nearly $7 billion in property damage attended by the fire service occurring each year between 2009 and 2011.

Among CPSC’s safety tips:

  • To stay safe in the kitchen, avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing with long sleeves near ranges or ovens, watch children closely so they don’t come into contact with cooking food or hot stovetops, turn pan handles toward the back of the stove to prevent kids and others from spilling a pan’s scalding contents onto themselves.
  • In the event of a fire, call 911. Cover a pan with a lid to smother the flames. Never pour water or flour on a fire. That can make it worse. Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen.
  • Change the batteries in smoke alarms at least once every year and test the alarms every month to make sure they are working.

Since 2003, there have been more than 125 turkey fryer-related fires, burns, explosions, smoke inhalations, or laceration incidents reported to CPSC staff.  There were 55 injuries among these incidents, but none were fatal.  For the incidents reporting a dollar value for the property loss, the total loss reported was around $6 million.  Additional incidents involving turkey fryers may have occurred that were not reported to CPSC.

Consumers should also protect themselves by installing smoke alarms in their homes.  “Roughly three out of five home fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms,” said Jim Shannon, President of the National Fire Protection Association. “Smoke alarms save lives.  Having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a fire in half.”

Background information:

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for setting in such wondrous order the elements of which the universe You created is composed.

Carl Olson on C. S. Lewis

“Friday, November 22nd, marks the 50th anniversary of the deaths of three famous and intriguing men: the author and agnostic Aldous Huxley; the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy; and the author and apologist, C. S. Lewis. (For a fictional discussion among the three, see Peter Kreeft’s book, Between Heaven and Hell: A Dialog Somewhere Beyond Death with John F. Kennedy, C. S. Lewis & Aldous Huxley.)

“While I think Huxley's Brave New World is a brilliant book that has proven remarkably prophetic in many ways, and while I wonder where Kennedy would fit in today’s political landscape if he were a young politician today (perhaps a moderate Republican?), Lewis has had the biggest impact on my life and thought. The first book by Lewis that I read, while in high school, was Surprised by Joy, and I soon read several others. After all these years, what I find most remarkable about Lewis’ writing is the wide breadth and the brisk lucidity. My favorite books by Lewis are Abolition of Man, the collection, On Stories: And Other Essays on Literature, and, yes, Surprised by Joy. . . .

“There’s no doubt about the ongoing popularity of C.S. Lewis’s many books and stories. He is one of the best-selling authors of all-time; his Narnian series alone has sold over 100 million copies since it was first published between 1950 and 1956. His works of Christian apologetics – including Mere Christianity, The Great Divorce, and The Screwtape Letters – are read and admired by Christians ranging from Catholics to Baptists to Methodists to Eastern Orthodox. And his lesser-known works of literary criticism, such as The Discarded Image, a study of the medieval view of the world, and English Literature in the Sixteen Century Excluding Drama, are still greatly admired by specialists and students. . . .

“However impressive his learning and skills, there is a much more mysterious quality behind the distinctive features of Lewis’s writing and thinking – the reality of Joy. It is for good reason that Lewis’s account of his formative years was titled Surprised By Joy since the elusive experience of ‘Joy’ powerfully shaped his life and thought, as he indicated in many of his writings.”

In a recent commentary, Carl E. Olson, editor of The Catholic World Report, reflected on the thought and work of C. S. Lewis, including his search for joy, his clarity of expression, his ability to “connect concrete images to abstract thoughts,” and the many ways his work is able to touch human hearts.

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

The Catholic World Report Blog: The Thought and Work of C.S. Lewis (14 NOV 13)

Reflection Starter from St. Teresa of Avila

“We should carefully beware of giving ourselves so completely to any employment as to forget to have recourse to God from time to time.” – Saint Teresa of Jesus (Saint Teresa of Ávila)

19 November 2013

Critical Infrastructure Protection and Resilience Month


November has been designated as Critical Infrastructure Protection and Resilience Month, an observance designed to recognize the importance of protecting the nation’s infrastructure resources and enhancing national security and resilience.

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, critical infrastructure refers to the physical and cyber systems and assets so vital to the United States that their incapacity or destruction would have a debilitating impact on the nation’s physical or economic security or public health or safety. Eighteen critical infrastructure sectors have been identified by the Department:

  • Food and Agriculture
  • Banking and Finance
  • Chemical
  • Commercial Facilities
  • Communications
  • Critical Manufacturing
  • Dams
  • Defense Industrial Base
  • Emergency Services
  • Energy
  • Government Facilities
  • Healthcare and Public Health
  • Information Technology
  • National Monuments and Icons
  • Nuclear Reactors, Materials, and Waste
  • Postal and Shipping
  • Transportation Systems
  • Water

For additional informational related to Critical Infrastructure Protection and Resilience Month, please visit:




Background information:

U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security: National Infrastructure Protection Plan

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for coming to “seek and to save what was lost>”

Pope Francis on the Spirit of Wisdom Vis-à-vis the Spirit of Curiosity

“The spirit of curiosity generates confusion and distances a person from the Spirit of wisdom, which brings peace, said Pope Francis in his homily” on the readings for the Thursday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time.

“The Pope began his homily by commenting on the first reading from the Book of Wisdom, which describes ‘the state of the soul of the spiritual man and woman’, of true Christians, who live ‘in the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. And this wisdom carries them forward with this intelligent, holy, single, manifold and subtle spirit’. . . .

“In the Gospel, the Pope underlined, ‘we find ourselves before another spirit, contrary to the wisdom of God: the spirit of curiosity’.

“‘And when we want to be the masters of the projects of God, of the future, of things, to know everything, to have everything in hand . . . the Pharisees asked Jesus, ‘When will the Kingdom of God come?’ Curious! They wanted to know the date, the day . . . The spirit of curiosity distances us from the Spirit of wisdom because all that interests us is the details, the news, the little stories of the day.”

A recent Vatican Radio broadcast reported on this homily by Pope Francis, including his encouragement to “allow the Spirit to lead us forward in that wisdom, which is like a soft breeze.”

To access this Vatican Radio report, please visit:

Vatican Radio: Pope: the spirit of curiosity distances one from God (14 NOV 13)

Reflection Starter from Og Mandino

“Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later.” – Og Mandino

18 November 2013

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for opportunities You provide for us to be encouraged by others sharing their faith with us.

New USCCB Leaders Commit to Support Human Dignity

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, was elected president of the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) during the bishops’ annual fall General Assembly this past week in Baltimore. Archbishop Kurtz has served as vice president of USCCB since 2010. Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston was elected USCCB vice president.
Archbishop Kurtz and Cardinal DiNardo are elected to three-year terms and succeed Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York and Archbishop Kurtz, respectively. The new president and vice president’s terms began at the conclusion of the General Assembly, 14 November.

During a press conference following their election, the newly elected leaders re-committed the bishops’ response to the needs of the needs of the American culture, with an emphasis on “good teaching, good witnessing, and good pastoring.” (Earlier in the meeting, papal nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò presented a message from Pope Francis, including a reminder to be “pastoral.”)

To access the text of Archbishop Viganò’s presentation, please visit:

USCCB: Address Of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, Apostolic Nuncio To The United States (11 NOV 13)

Media report:

Catholic News Agency: US bishops’ new leaders commit to protecting human dignity (13 NOV 13

Reflection Starter from St. Philip Neri

“Cheerfulness strengthens the heart and makes us persevere in a good life. Therefore the servant of God ought always to be in good spirits.” – Saint Philip Neri

17 November 2013

“God, We Praise You”

As we continue our Sunday celebration, I offer this version of “God, We Praise You”:

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are Malachi 3:19-20, 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12, and Luke 21:5-19. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 98 (Psalm 98:5-9).

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

YouTube: Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 98 “The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice”

The Gospel reading is as follows:

While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings, Jesus said, “All that you see here – the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”

Then they asked him, “Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?”

He answered, “See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’ Do not follow them! When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for such things must happen first, but it will not immediately be the end.”

Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky. Before all this happens, however, they will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name. It will lead to your giving testimony. Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute. You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”

Reflections on this day and on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (November 17, 2013)

Msgr. Charles Pope: The Passage through a Passing World. A homily for the 33rd Sunday of the year (16 NOV 13)

Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio: Hasten the End – Apocalypse Now!

Verbum Domini: Preparing for Surprises (14 NOV 13)

The Deacon’s Bench: Homily for November 17, 2013: 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (15 NOV 13)

Word on Fire: Sermon 671: Apocalypse and the Resurrection: 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Sacred Page: The End is Near! The 33rd Sunday in OT (12 NOV 13)

Dr. Scott Hahn: ‘Today’ is the Day (November 17th 2013 – 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time)

The Catholic World Report Blog: The Day, the End, and a New Beginning (16 NOV 13)

Spirituality of the Readings: How to Be Afraid (33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

The Word Engaged: The End of the Ages (33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

Dominican Friars, Province of St. Joseph: Word to Life: Radio Broadcast: 33nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (15 NOV 13)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for opportunities You provide for us to share our faith with others.

Walking Coast to Coast with God

When Dan Reinke says “I think I’ll take a walk,” you’d better get out of the way. Because when Reinke speaks of “a walk,” somehow it comes out in capital letters – as it did this spring and summer, when Reinke literally walked from coast to coast, from a dip in the Pacific near Portland, Oregon, to jumping into the Atlantic in Virginia Beach, Virginia. In between he covered 2,514 miles, and last August, when his journey came to an end, Reinke was able to say, “God has blessed me along the way.”

His trip took a lot of footsteps – 5,404,877 of them, by actual count – and it was not without a purpose. Reinke took his walk, he said, to inspire people to greater things.

“God has been working on my heart,” he explained, “and I felt called to make a real change in my life . . . and the change has been great! I’m not asking you to change your vocation, but to take your faith to the next level . . . to take your faith seriously.”

It all began back in Forest Lake, Minnesota, where Reinke, 25, is a member of St. Peter’s Parish (and where Kristi Anderson wrote about him in The Catholic Spirit, newspaper of the St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese). Reinke wanted to do something special for the Year of Faith, and after talking it over with his pastor, decided on a pilgrimage – which turned out to be The Walk. Slowly it evolved: the things to take, the means of staying in touch, the starting and finishing points, the route. And then it was time to begin.

On the way Reinke found a lot of help, most of it from complete strangers. He would go on to thank them all, for “a donation, a meal, a place to sleep, a phone call or a text, a smile, a ride, a prayer, a song.” There were patches of land where he could pitch a tent, and every now and then, “a blessed shower.” He met park rangers and police officers (“where the emphasis was on service and friendliness”).

At each town he entered Reinke would seek out a parish – where, with luck, he might attend daily Mass. He’d look for parks, or for libraries where he could update his Website with news of his journey. On one of them along the way, he had written, “God is moving and at work in this world.”

On August 11, 99 days after he began his incredible trek in Oregon, Reinke tore off his boots, ran across the sand, and leaped into the Atlantic Ocean in Virginia Beach. Then, taking time to reflect on what had happened, he could hardly believe that the journey was over: no roadways to seek out the next day, no wondering where the next meal was coming from (or if there might be one), no more need to keep going on, and on, and on. The walk was finally finished.

And yet it would always stand, a symbol of one person’s determination to say something dramatic about what he believed in.

“In this Year of Faith, this is a trip of faith,” Dan Reinke said. “It’s a lesson in relying on God every day and at every encounter. It will also be a way for me to look back on all the ways God has showered his blessings on me.”

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

To access Dan’s blog about The Walk, please visit:

CrossAmerica

Background information:

The Christophers: Christopher Radio & Video

Reflection Starter from St. Basil the Great

“Troubles are usually the brooms and shovels that smooth the road to a good man’s fortune; and many a man curses the rain that falls upon his head, and knows not that it brings abundance to drive away hunger.” – Saint Basil the Great

16 November 2013

Yanni: “The Rain Must Fall”

As this blessed week comes to a close, I offer this version of Yanni performing “The Rain Must Fall”:

From “The Atlantic”: 39 Reasons to Get Out of the Office

National Geographic is currently running its annual photo contest. The magazine allowed The Atlantic to publish, in its “In Focus” section, a number of entries that have been submitted for the contest.

To access the presentation of these fascinating photos, please visit:

The Atlantic: In Focus: National Geographic Photo Contest 2013 (November 2013)

Thank You, Lord

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

Deacon Keith Fournier on Shopping for a Church

“One of my favorite leisure activities is going to book stores. I know, in the age of Kindles,smart phones,i-pads,surface tablets – many people simply bypass the real thing. Not me. I love books and I love bookstores. Every so often, I have a free Saturday morning and I venture to a local bookstore, cup of coffee in hand.

“Several years ago, on just such a Saturday morning visit to the book store, I noted a book entitled  They like Jesus but Not the Church: Insights from Emerging Generations. In a quick review of its contents, I saw nothing new. This claim emerges repeatedly in some Christian circles, the notion that you can separate Jesus from His Church.

“The very concept would have seemed nonsensical to the early Christians and it still should to those who choose to stand on their shoulders and carry forward the fullness of Christianity into a waiting world.”

In a recent commentary, Deacon Keith Fournier reflected on the fallacy of the concept of shopping for a church like one shops for consumer goods. He also reflected about the Church as a “participation in the Divine Nature, instituted by the Lord and not designed or redesigned by us.”

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

Catholic Online: Shopping for a Church? Give Me that Old Time Religion, the Catholic Church (9 NOV 13)

Reflection Starter from Robert Schuller

“Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in a low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come.” – Rev. Robert H. Schuller

15 November 2013

Historic Bridge Awareness Month

November is being observed as Historic Bridge Awareness Month, an unofficial event designed, in part, to reflect on the loss of historic bridges during the past summer and to encourage the cancellation of plans to demolish historic bridges before future construction seasons begin.

Background information:

HistoricBridges.org

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways, as proclaimed is Psalm 19, that the heavens declare Your glory and the firmament proclaims Your handiwork.

Fr. Longenecker on an Acorn, an Oak, and Becoming a Saint

“All the leaves and acorns are falling from the oak outside my office, and as I was walking back up to church with some seventh graders from the parish school, I stopped to pick up an acorn and said, ‘Boys, look at this acorn. Then look at that oak tree. How could an oak tree grow from this tiny little nothingness of an acorn? It’s amazing.’

“They stopped and looked for a moment and thought it through. Then I added, ‘The acorn is you and me. The oak tree is the saint God wants us to be. The saint God wants us to be is as different from the person we are now as this acorn is different from the oak. The oak comes from the acorn and it is the fulfillment and final destiny of the acorn. Everything required to become an oak is locked into this acorn. Everything necessary for you and me to be a saint is locked inside our hearts and minds.’”

In a recent commentary, Father Dwight Longenecker (parish priest at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, Greenville, SC), reflected on this comparison – including one major difference: we have free will and the acorn does not.

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

Standing on My Head: Be an Oak (8 NOV 13)

Background information:

Dwight Longenecker - Catholic priest and author

Reflection Starter from Thomas à Kempis

“Nothing, how little so ever it be, if it is suffered for God’s sake, can pass without merit in the sight of God.” – Thomas à Kempis

14 November 2013

Kurt Carr Singers: “For Every Mountain”:

As we continue to live this week, I offer this version of the Kurt Carr Singers singing “For Every Mountain”:

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the presence of Your Kingdom among us, whether we are aware of it or not.

On Preparing for a Sunday Homily

“An elderly woman in a wheelchair is being helped into the church. She stops and dips her fingers into the holy water and begins the Sign of the Cross. Churchgoers congregate around the baptismal font, extending hugs and warm wishes to one another.

“The bell rings, signaling the beginning of Sunday Mass. Father Dan Beeman, pastor at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Norfolk’s Ocean View, scans the church one last time before making his entrance to the altar. ‘Mass is the fulfillment of everything we read in the Scripture,’ says Father Dan. ‘Everything God gives us, we can at least return to him in some act of worship, a true consecration of our life to him.’”

A recent report in The Virginian-Pilot offered a brief sketch of Fr. Beeman and his preparations for his Sunday homilies.

To access the complete report, please visit:

The Virginian-Pilot: Common Ground: God’s Helper | The Homily (8 NOV 13)

Background information:

Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Norfolk, VA

Thank you, Deacon Greg Kandra, for the tip.

Reflection Starter from Ralph Marston

“Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude.” – Ralph Marston

13 November 2013

Joseph Haydn: Symphony No. 34 in D minor

It’s time for some classical music. This is a presentation of Joseph Haydn’s “Symphony No. 34 in D minor as played by the Georgia State University Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Rolando Salazar):

America Recycles Day

America Recycles Day, an observance designed to promote and celebrate recycling through education and collection events, will be observed on Thursday, 15 November (which just “happens” to be the feast day of the acclaimed scientist, Saint Albert the Great).

America Recycles Day Logo

For more information about America Recycles Day, please visit:

America Recycles Day

Facebook: America Recycles Day

National Recycling Coalition

Earth911

Keep America Beautiful offers these tips and activities related to this observance:

  • Get to know what’s recyclable in your community and what happens to your trash after the garbage truck takes it away. Recycling is different in different places, so knowing one’s local rules is an important first step.
  • Don’t be a litterbug. Make sure that recyclable trash always goes in the proper place – a recycling receptacle.
  • Reuse. Reuse things so that they stay out of the trash. Things like drink bottles and grocery bags may be refilled. Books and magazines may be reused as art projects or gift wrapping. Old toys or electronics may be donated to a charity that will give them to someone else.
  • Know your numbers. Look for the recycling symbol (three arrows going in a circle) on plastic bottles, packages, or containers.
  • Can it! Metals are among the most valuable materials for recycling. Aluminum and steel cans are always welcomed by recyclers, and most metals can be recycled infinitely with no loss of quality.
  • Look beyond the daily paper. Paper and cardboard are America’s most-recycled materials.
  • Make recycling easy on the road. Keep two bags in your car or truck to contain your family’s trash – one bag for garbage, and one for recyclables.
  • Improve your neighborhood with a cleanup event, and be sure to sort the recyclables you pick up.

Background information:

EPA: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for each person You have placed in our lives – including those whom You call us to minister to and those whom You call to minister to us.