31 August 2014

John Michael Talbot: "Take Up Your Cross"

As our Sunday celebration continues, I offer this version of John Michael Talbot singing "Take Up Your Cross":

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are Jeremiah 20:7-9, Romans 12:1-2, and Matthew 16:21-27. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 63 (Psalm 63:2-6, 8-9).

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

YouTube: Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 63 Our Souls Yearn for God

The Gospel reading is as follows:

Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay all according to his conduct.”

Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.”

He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (August 31, 2014)

Msgr. Charles Pope: Every Round Goes Higher, Higher – A Homily for the 22nd Sunday of the Year (30 AUG 14)

The Deacon's Bench: Homily for August 31, 2014: 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (30 AUG 14)

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio: Peter the Rock - Devil Get Behind me?

The Sacred Page: The Cost of Discipleship: 22nd Sunday of OT (30 AUG 14)

Word on Fire: "BUT FOR WALES...?" (Cycle A * Ordinary Time * Week 22)

Dr. Scott Hahn: For Your Life (August 31st 2014 - Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time)

Spirituality of the Readings: What’s in a Name? (22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time A)

The Word Embodied: Not Conforming to the Age (22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time A)

The Perspective of Justice: My Ways Are Not Your Ways (22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time A)

Historical Cultural Context: True Honor (22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time A)

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary by Augustine (22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time A)

Word to Life Radio Broadcast: Word to Life Radio Broadcast: Twenty-second Sunday of Ordinary Time (29 AUG 14)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for Your presence in our parishes and other Christian communities.

Pope Francis on Division in Christian Communities

"During his weekly general audience Pope Francis spoke on the unity and holiness of the Church, stating that despite the fact we are sinners, we are called to live as a community centered on Christ.

"'In a Christian community division is one of the most serious sins, because it does not allow God to act,' the Pope said in his Aug. 27 general audience address. 'What God wants is that we be welcoming, that we forgive and love each other so as to become more and more like Him, who is communion and love.'

"Addressing the thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Roman Pontiff explained that as Catholics 'we affirm in the Creed that the Church is one and that she is holy.'

"'One because she has her origin in the Triune God, mystery of unity and full communion. Holy since she is founded by Jesus Christ, enlivened by his Holy Spirit, and filled with his love and salvation.'"

A recent Catholic News Agency report on the Holy Father's audience included his words of encouragement to those in attendance and to the greater Church, "The holiness of the Church consists of this: reproducing the image of God, rich in mercy and grace."

To access the complete Catholic News Agency report, please visit:

Catholic News Agency: Pope: division is among greatest sins of Christian communities (27 AUG 14)

Reflection Starter from Pope Francis

"Christians knows how to give. Their lives are filled with generous acts – often hidden – towards their neighbor." - Pope Francis

30 August 2014

Oak Ridge Boys and Jimmy Dean: "Big Bad John"

As this blessed week draws to a close, I offer this version of Oak Ridge Boys and Jimmy Dean singing "Big Bad John":

USCCB 2014 Labor Day Statement

The high unemployment rate of young adults, both in the United States and around the world, is the focus of the 2014 Labor Day Statement from the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami. The statement, dated September 1, draws on Pope Francis’ teaching against an “economy of exclusion” and applies it to the millions of unemployed young adults in the United States.

“For those fortunate enough to have jobs, many pay poorly. Greater numbers of debt-strapped college graduates move back in with their parents, while high school graduates and others may have less debt but very few decent job opportunities,” wrote Archbishop Wenski. “Pope Francis has reserved some of his strongest language for speaking about young adult unemployment, calling it ‘evil,’ an ‘atrocity,’ and emblematic of the ‘throwaway culture.’”

Archbishop Wenski added, “Meaningful and decent work is vital if young adults hope to form healthy and stable families.” He noted that in other countries unemployment among young adults reaches as high as three to four times the national average.

Archbishop Wenski said policies and institutions “that create decent jobs, pay just wages, and support family formation and stability” help honor the dignity of workers. “Raising the minimum wage, more and better workforce training programs, and smarter regulations that minimize negative unintended consequences would be good places to start.”

Archbishop Wenski noted that Pope Francis has called young people a source of hope for humanity. “We need to do more to nurture this hopefulness and provide our young adults with skills, support, and opportunities to flourish,” Archbishop Wenski wrote.

He also called for greater solidarity: “Since each of us is made in the image of God and bound by His love, possessing a profound human dignity, we have an obligation to love and honor that dignity in one another, and especially in our work.”

To read the Labor Day statement in its entirety, please visit:

Archbishop Wenski/USCCB: Labor Day Statement 2014

Saint Jeanne Jugan and the Little Sisters of the Poor

Today, 30 August, the Church celebrates the memory of Saint Jeanne Jugan, foundress of the Little Sisters of the Poor. The Little Sisters of the Poor have a ministry of giving compassionate care to elderly men and woman who have outlived their resources, and their reputation for doing so is excellent.

The sisters have these three residences in New England:

Saint Joseph’s Residence, Enfield, CT

Jeanne Jugan Residence, Somerville, MA

Jeanne Jugan Residence, Pawtucket, RI

Background information:

Saint Jeanne Jugan

Little Sisters of the Poor

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of grace in our lives and for the many ways in which You work through this great gift.

Bishop Coyne on Grace and Change

"[August 3] was the 50th anniversary of the death of novelist and Catholic Flannery O'Conner. In honor of the date I posted two quotes from her writings on my FaceBook page, both of which attracted quite a bit of attention. My favorite was this one, 'All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and change is painful.' This is not a new insight but it is one of which we often need to be reminded. St. Augustine in his Confessions famously wrote, 'As a youth I prayed, 'Give me chastity and continence but not yet.''"

In a recent commentary, Bishop Christopher Coyne, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, reflected on grace and its relationship to change.

To access Bishop Coyne's complete reflection, please visit:

Let Us Walk Together (Thoughts of a Catholic Bishop): Random Musings of Faith - August 4, 2014

Background information:

Flannery O'Conner

Reflection Starter from F. W. Faber

"Remember that if the opportunities for great deeds should never come, the opportunities for good deeds are renewed day by day. The thing for us to long for is the goodness, not the glory." - Fr. F. W. Faber

29 August 2014

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways in which You answer prayer.

Abigail Reimel on Asking for and Receiving God's Help

"Have you ever heard the story of the man who prayed that God would save him in a flood?  He stood on top of his roof, praying that God would save him.  Three different rescue teams tried, and when each asked if he was okay and offered to bring him to safety, he turned them down, declaring that God would save him. Eventually he ended up drowning in the flood, and when he reached the other side he approached God unhappily, asking 'God, I trusted in you, why didn’t you save me?'.  And God looked at him in exasperation and answered 'I tried three different times to save you, but you turned down all the people I sent!'  The moral of the story: while one can pray for something all day long, if he’s not able to see the ways God is opening doors and creating opportunities because he’s waiting for God to set everything right in front of Him, he’s going to be missing out on all the ways God is trying to answer him."

In a recent commentary, writer Abigail Reimel reflected on some ways in which we can show God we are ready to receive His grace and do His will.

To access her complete post, please visit:

Ignitum Today: God Only Helps Whom? (4 AUG 14)

Reflection Starter from St. Josemaría Escrivá

"Put your heart aside. Duty comes first. But when fulfilling your duty, put your heart into it. It helps." - Saint Josemaría Escrivá

28 August 2014

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways You touch the hearts of Your people as they ponder Your creation.

J. Q. Tomanek on Making a Good Confession

In a recent commentary, writer J. Q. Tomanek reflected on making a good confession.

To access his complete post, please visit:

Ignitum Today: 9 Mistakes for Making a Good Confession (6 AUG 14)

Reflection Starter from George Washington Carver

"I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in." - George Washington Carver

27 August 2014

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways in which You answer the prayers of parents for their children.

Beethoven: Symphony No.2 in D major

It’s time for some classical music. This is a presentation of Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 2 in D major, op. 36”, as played by the Vienna Philharmonic (Wiener Philharmoniker), conducted by Christian Thielemann:

Matthew Warner on the Sign of the Cross

"I love simple prayers. They are versatile, so they can be used at almost any time and for any reason. They are also short, meaning you always have time for them.

"Some prayers you just say in your heart. Some you also speak out loud or sing. Others still are sacramental, becoming visible signs of something deeper.

"Making and praying the 'Sign of the Cross' is one such prayer. As a Catholic, I grew up making the sign of the cross before and after prayers, upon entering and leaving churches, etc. But I always took this profound and simple prayer for granted, quickly throwing it in and treating it as a trivial formality.

"But over the years I’ve grown to appreciate it, and therefore benefit from it, much more. . . ."

In a recent commentary, writer Matthew Warner reflected on the prayer that the Sign of the Cross is.

To access Matt's complete post, please visit:

The Radical Life: The Great Story of the “Sign of the Cross” (14 AUG 14)

Reflection Starter from C.S. Lewis

“A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.” - C. S. Lewis (in Mere Christianity)

26 August 2014

Bob Rice and Katie Rose: "Let Nothing Trouble You":

As we continue to live this week, I offer this version of Bob Rice and Katie Rose singing "Let Nothing Trouble You":

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the sacrament of Reconciliation and for the many ways You work through this holy sacrament.

James Foley on Praying the Rosary

"The news broke late yesterday that Islamic State jihadists executed freelance journalist James Foley and posted a video of his beheading. Foley, 40, had been missing for two years while covering the conflict in Syria. I am not going to link to the video or include screen shots from it, but I will share another link that has been circulating since the news of Foley’s brutal death: an article he wrote for the alumni magazine of Marquette University, his alma mater. The piece is about the time Foley spent imprisoned in Libya in 2011:

"I began to pray the rosary. It was what my mother and grandmother would have prayed. 
I said 10 Hail Marys between each Our Father. It took a long time, almost an hour to count 100 Hail Marys off on my knuckles. And it helped to keep my mind focused.

"Clare and I prayed together out loud. It felt energizing to speak our weaknesses and hopes together, as if in a conversation with God, rather than silently and alone. . . ."

In a recent commentary, Catherine Harmon offered James Foley's reflection on the Rosary.

To access the complete post, please visit:

The CWR Blog: Slain journalist James Foley on praying the rosary in captivity (20 AUG 14)

Reflection Starter from St. Jerome

"What good is speed if the brain has oozed out on the way." - attrtibuted to Saint Jerome

25 August 2014

Thank You, Lord

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

The Woman Who Gives Second Chances

You might say that Sister Teresa Fitzgerald’s life has been one of two callings. The first one came some years ago when, out of a quiet upbringing in Hewlett, N.Y., on Long Island, she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood. There she seemed destined for a dedicated career as a Catholic school teacher and administrator--one that attracted so many of her contemporaries--and she followed that path for a time. Then the second calling came her way. It was one that she answered with a zestful “Yes!”, and it would change her life forever.

That call came 27 years ago from Sister Elaine Roulet, already at work with women in jail and their infant children. Would some other nuns be interested in dealing with older children, giving them a home and offering them the chance to stay in touch with their mothers? Sister Teresa’s hand went up right away. And from that modest beginning she went on to start Hour Children (for the typical hour allowed for visits with incarcerated women), which now provides homes for some 70 children in a new 18-unit apartment building. There are also thrift shops, a day care center, a food pantry, and a job training program; the women inside, whether residents or part of the full-time staff, are nearly all former convicts.

The subject of a recent profile by John Leland in The New York Times, Sister Teresa--or Sister Tesa, as she’s universally known--deals patiently with people who complain that the women she deals with should have made better choices.

“For some there weren’t any choices,” she’ll say. “It was just a life experience that they were channeled into for whatever reason--economic or personal or addictive issues. But I was amazed and touched by their goodness and their openness...I met very few people who blamed someone. And their resiliency, their hopes and dreams are big.

”There are problems too, and Sister Tesa recognizes them. “I didn’t know anything about the barriers,” she says. “I was ignorant. You realize their American dream is fraught with potholes. I had no idea.”

Male convicts form 90 percent of the prison population across the country, but still about 100,000 women, most of them mothers, are behind bars. Many are arrested again soon after their release; the figure for New York State, with nearly 2,500 female inmates, is 28 percent. Hour Children claims a much lower rate, but Sister Tesa concedes that the number cared for by the program is relatively small. Still, Sister Tesa, now 67, carries on. She’s gotten a reputation as the woman who gives second chances, and she does her best to live up to it.

Reporter Leland told the story of a woman who had left the program, gotten rearrested, and now was hoping for one more try.

“I know I’ve messed up,” she wrote. “Honestly it’s either your program for me or death. I’m at my rock bottom and looking for a helping hand.”

Sister Tesa’s comment was in character.

“It breaks your heart,” she said, “but what can you do? We’re not for everybody. All you can do is give them another chance.”

(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.)

Background information:

The Christophers

Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood, NY

Reflection Starter from Max Lucado

"The apostle Paul never seemed to exhaust the topic of grace - what makes us think we can? He just kept coming at it and coming at it from another angle. That's the thing about grace. It's like springtime. You can't put it in a single sentence definition, and you can't exhaust it." - Max Lucado

24 August 2014

"The Church's One Foundation"

As we continue our Sunday celebration, I offer this version of "The Church's One Foundation," written by Samuel John Stone:

Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are Isaiah 22:19-23, Romans 11:33-36, and Matthew 16:13-20. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 138 (Psalm 138:1-3, 6, 8).

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

YouTube: Psalm 138 (Responsorial Psalm) Lord, Your Love is Eternal; Do not Forsake the Work of Your Hands

The Gospel reading is as follows:

Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi and he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”

They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (August 24, 2014)

Msgr. Charles Pope: If No One Is Pope, Everyone is Pope – A Homily for the 21st Sunday of the Year (23 AUG 14)

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio: Peter, the Pope and the Bible

The Sacred Page: Peter and the Popes: The 21st Sunday of OT (20 AUG 14)

Word on Fire: Inscrutable and Faithful (Cycle A * Ordinary Time * Week 21)

Dr. Scott Hahn: ‘Oh, the Depths!’ (August 24th 2014 - Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time)

The Catholic World Report Blog: The Papacy and Sacred Scripture (23 AUG 14)

Servant and Steward: Homily - 24 August 2014 - The Twenty-first Sunday of the Year (A) (23 AUG 14)

Spirituality of the Readings: Faith that Saves (21st Sunday of Ordinary Time A)

The Word Embodied: Rock of Ages (21st Sunday of Ordinary Time A)

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary by John Chrysostom (21st Sunday of Ordinary Time A)

Word to Life Radio Broadcast: Twenty-First Sunday of Ordinary of Time (22 AUG 14)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of Your Grace and for the Love that impels it.

Msgr. Pope on Ancient Mass Celebrations

"As you may know, the Catholic Faith was illegal in the Roman Empire prior to 313 AD, when the Emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan permitting the Christian Faith to flourish publicly. Prior to that time, Church buildings as we know them today were rare - Mass was usually celebrated in houses.

"Now be careful here; these 'houses' were usually rather sizable, with a central courtyard or large room that permitted something a little more formal than Mass 'around the dining room table.'  I remember being taught (incorrectly) that these early Masses were informal, emphasized a relaxed, communal quality, and were celebrated facing the people. Well, it turns out that really isn’t true. People didn’t just sit around a table or sit in circle - not at all. They sat or stood formally, and everyone faced in one direction: east. . . .

"What is remarkable about these early liturgies is how formal they were despite the fact that they were conducted under less-than-ideal circumstances. . . ."

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) offered some details of the early Mass in these 'house liturgies' and reflected on its celebration.

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

Msgr. Charles Pope: The Ancient Mass in the “House Churches” was not as Informal as Many Think (19 AUG 14)

Reflection Starter from Thomas à Kempis

“All men desire peace, but very few desire those things that make for peace.” - Thomas à Kempis

23 August 2014

Ronald S. Lauder on Indifference to Christian Persecution

"Why is the world silent while Christians are being slaughtered in the Middle East and Africa? In Europe and in the United States, we have witnessed demonstrations over the tragic deaths of Palestinians who have been used as human shields by Hamas, the terrorist organization that controls Gaza. The United Nations has held inquiries and focuses its anger on Israel for defending itself against that same terrorist organization. But the barbarous slaughter of thousands upon thousands of Christians is met with relative indifference."

In a recent commentary, Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, reflected on the persecution being suffered by Christians in several nations.

To access Mr. Lauder's complete essay, please visit:

New York Times: The Opinion Pages: Who Will Stand Up for the Christians? (19 AUG 14)

Thank You, Lord

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

Deacon Greg Kandra: The . . . Media Strikes Again

Deacon Greg Kandra recently offered this look at a WXIA-TV (Channel 11, Atlanta, GA) team, who, while "shooting a story at a local diner, . . . decided to do something that undoubtedly will leave some people shocked.":

The Deacon's Bench: The godless, lame-stream media strikes again (20 AUG 14)

Reflection Starter from St. Teresa Of Avila

"God gave us faculties for our use; each of them will receive its proper reward. Then do not let us try to charm them to sleep, but permit them to do their work until divinely called to something higher." - Saint Teresa Of Avila (Saint Teresa of Jesus)

22 August 2014

Robin and Robert Kochis: "Hail, Queen of Heaven"

As today the Church celebrates the Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I offer this version of Robin and Robert Kochis singing "Hail, Queen of Heaven":

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways in which Your Word is proclaimed through dramatic productions.

Mark Shea on the Infallibility of the Church

"There is no greater scandal among moderns than the Catholic Church's claim to infallibility. And who can blame them? For as this century drags to a close, it does look as though only a cretin could seriously believe any institution possesses modest integrity, much less infallibility. We've been so schooled in cynicism since Watergate and Vietnam; we've seen so much goop on Kennedy affairs and libidinous preachers and people injected with plutonium that we aren't even shockable anymore. So when we read of Borgia Popes, pedophile priests, and radical nuns praying to Diana, we just fold the paper and look for the 'Far Side' cartoons.

"And yet... here is this strange divine sea of a Church, embraced by apparently rational, intelligent and good people (more and more of them well-educated converts from both Protestantism and secularism) who seriously subscribe to the dogma that the Holy Catholic Church is, in very truth, infallible. Why?"

In a recent commentary, writer Mark Shea reflected on the infallible nature of the Church and on what it means for Her members, and for other Christians.

To access Mark's complete post, please visit:

National Catholic Register: Mark Shea: More on Infallibility (10 AUG 14)

Reflection Starter from Alfred E. Smith

"Be sincere. Be simple in words, manners and gestures. Amuse as well as instruct. If you can make a man laugh, you can make him think and make him like and believe you." - Alfred E. Smith

21 August 2014

Everfound: "God of the Impossible"

As we continue to live this week, I offer this version of Everfound presenting "God of the Impossible":

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of Your most precious Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

Msgr. Pope on Telling Time in Jesus’ Day

"The modern person, especially in the West, thinks of time in a very mechanistic way. We watch the clock, which is in itself a mechanical device without intrinsic meaning. We look to the clock rather than watch the sun, or watch our children grow, or we look to the crops, or even more broadly to the rise and fall of nations. For most of us time is not the unfolding of eternity or the cycle of life; time is simply a neutral span to be reckoned by its length, by the number of ticks on a device we have invented. We also tend to reckon time by what we can do with it. If we have a lot of time we can get a lot done; if we don’t have much time we can’t get things done."

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on the measurement of time in ancient societies vis-à-vis in modern society and on the lessons we in this milieu may learn from this lesson.

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

Msgr. Charles Pope: How did People Tell Time in Jesus’ Day? (11 AUG 14)

Reflection Starter from St. Pius X

"My hope is in Christ, who strengthens the weakest by His Divine help. I can do all in Him who strengthens me. His Power is infinite, and if I lean on him, it will be mine. His Wisdom is infinite, and if I look to Him counsel, I shall not be deceived. His Goodness is infinite, and if my trust is stayed in Him, I shall not be abandoned." - Pope Saint Pius X (whose memory the Church celebrates today)

20 August 2014

NFPA Urges Students to Be Mindful of Fire Safety

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recently reminded students to be mindful of fire safety. September and October are peak months for fires in college housing, according to NFPA research, and the Center for Campus Safety has designated September as Campus Fire Safety Month.

NFPA’s report, “Structure Fires in Dormitories, Fraternities, Sororities and Barracks” notes that U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 3,810 structure fires in college housing between 2007 and 2011. Roughly 70 percent of fires began in the kitchen or cooking area, and cooking equipment caused about three-quarters of these fires. Seven percent of fires started in the bedroom, but were responsible for 27 percent of injuries and 21 percent of property damage. The report also states that fires are most common in the evening hours between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m., and on weekends.

The following are additional fire safety tips from NFPA that can help college students living in on- or off-campus housing:

• Look for fully sprinklered housing when choosing a dorm or off-campus housing.
• Make sure your dormitory or apartment has smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside every sleeping area and on each level. For the best protection, all smoke alarms should be interconnected so that when one sounds, they all sound.
• Test all smoke alarms at least monthly, and never remove batteries or disable smoke alarms.
• Cook only where it is permitted (and stay in the kitchen and keep alert while preparing meals).
• Learn your building’s evacuation plan and practice all drills as if they were the real thing. If you live off campus, have a fire escape plan with two ways out of every room.

Background information:

National Fire Protection Association

Antonín Dvorák: Symphony No.8 in G major

It’s time for some classical music. This is a presentation of Antonín Dvorák’s "Symphony No.8 in G major" as played by the Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by Christoph von Dohnányi:

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for gentle, cooling breezes.

Thank You for Saving My Life

Almost no one was surprised last May when Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder was designated the Most Valuable Player in the National Basketball Association. He had led the league in scoring by a comfortable margin, and even his most likely competitors argued for his selection. The surprise came a couple of days later, when he gave his acceptance speech. It was a masterpiece of raw emotion, a triumph that matched the original award. If you haven’t seen it already on your home computer, catch it as soon as you can. It’s well worth watching.

Durant began, refreshingly enough, by thanking God “for saving my life.” It’s a little unusual to hear God’s name at all in a talk of this sort, and Durant made it a point to open his acceptance that way. Next he spoke of his upbringing near Washington, D.C., and his plan to “stay home” and become a coach - but his own career was already on the move.

“Along the way I’ve had so much help,” he said. “People believed in me when I didn’t do well, when I didn’t believe in myself. I fell so many times but I got back up. And I’m still standing.”

Next he turned to his teammates, all of whom were present. Durant wept real tears as unapologetically he thanked them, one by one: “Late-night calls after tough games”...”When I needed an extra push, you were there”... “Words can’t explain how I feel about you.” For Russell Westbrook, a star in his own right, he saved a special mention. “You would run through a wall for me,” he said. “You set the tone.”

Nor did he forget the Oklahoma City fans. That was fitting, since the city has welcomed the franchise to an extraordinary degree. As part of its official greeting, it even made sure that team members saw some of the local sights, including Bricktown, the now-restored factory district full of parks and restaurants, and the Memorial at the site of the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, where 168 Oklahomans lost their lives.

Finally the tears flowed freely as Durant paid tribute to his Mom (who was also there for the presentation). In the emotional highlight of an emotional speech, he chose his words carefully:

“I don’t know how you did what you did. You were a single parent with two boys by the time you were 21. We moved from one apartment to another by ourselves. One of my best memories I have is when we moved into our first apartment. No bed, no furniture...We all sat in the living room, on the floor, and just hugged each other. We thought we had made it.

“When you didn’t eat, you made sure we ate. You went to sleep hungry. You sacrificed for us. You’re the real MVP.”

Durant closed as he began, by thanking God again through his tears. “He is the beginning and the end, the Alpha and Omega,” he said. The final phrase of the speech, directed to God, was simple indeed: “Thank you for saving my life.”

He didn’t explain it, nor did he have to. The eloquence of his words saw to that.

(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.)

Background information:

The Christophers

Reflection Starter from Will Rogers

"There is nothing as easy as denouncing. It don’t take much to see that something is wrong, but it takes some eyesight to see what will put it right again." - Will Rogers

19 August 2014

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the sense of smell and for the many aromatic treats You send our way.

Fortune Magazine Examines Pope's Initiative to Improve Vatican Financial Management

"The new pope wanted to talk about money. That was the message that went out to a group of seven prominent financiers - major Catholics all - from around the world in the summer of 2013. Barely five months after the shocking resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis had summoned them to assemble at the seat of holy power, the Vatican. They knew their general assignment: to create a plan to restructure the Vatican's scandal-plagued finances. And like Catholics everywhere, they knew that Francis had already signaled that he was a new kind of pontiff, a 'people's pope' who championed charity and tolerance over dogma. Still, they didn't know what to expect when they arrived at the Vatican for a meeting with the pope on the first Saturday in August. How interested was he in finance, really? And how serious was he about changing business as usual inside the Vatican?"

A recent article in Fortune magazine examined this initiative of Pope Francis, including the Pope's belief in the importance of sound financial management as a pillar of his mission to aid the poor and underprivileged and his success in overhauling Vatican finances.

To access the complete Fortune article, please visit:

Fortune: This pope means business (14 AUG 14)

In a related item, Leigh Gallagher (of Fortune) and Henry Blodget (of Business Insider) recently participated in the MSNBC Morning Joe program to discuss how Pope Francis is changing the Vatican’s business practices.

To access a video of this discussion, please visit:

MSNBC Morning Joe: Pope Francis’ financial revolution (14 AUG 14)

Reflection Starter from St. John Eudes

"Our wish, our object, our chief preoccupation must be to form Jesus in ourselves, to make his spirit, his devotion, his affections, his desires and his disposition live and reign there." -  Saint John Eudes (whose memory the Church celebrates today)

18 August 2014

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the examples and encouragement You give us through the lives of Your saints.

Kathryn Jean Lopez on Our Call to Prayer

"Last Sunday night, I was channel surfing. I had turned on the TV in primetime to see if there was an update on the grave situation in Iraq, especially for Christians and other religious minorities there. There wasn’t. But I did happen upon Dead Poets Society, the 1989 movie starring Robin Williams as a dynamic literature teacher at an elite boys’ private school.

"Back when the film came out, both my parents were Catholic schoolteachers, so I remember always being grateful for the positive portrayal of teachers in the movie. I was also grateful to see someone else memorize Latin declensions.

"On Sunday night, whether in thanksgiving or due to some other prompting, I immediately prayed for Robin Williams.

"Truth be told, it was only a Hail Mary or two. I could have done more.

"Couldn’t we always?

"On Monday when the news came that he had been found dead of an apparent suicide that morning, I immediately wondered: What if every Christian who had ever laughed at a Robin Williams joke or had ever been entertained by him had prayed for him?"

In a recent post, Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor at large of National Review Online and nationally syndicated columnist, reflected on how celebrities are people, fellow human beings made in the image and likeness of God and susceptible to the same temptations and demons as other people.

She further reflects that, by not praying for those in need, we may be participating in the “throwaway society” Pope Francis talks about.

To access her complete post, please visit:

Catholic Pulse: Mork and Mary (15 AUG 14)

Reflection Starter from Ludwig Van Beethoven

"To play a wrong note is insignificant. To play without passion is inexcusable." - Ludwig Van Beethoven

17 August 2014

On Farming and the Importance of Locally Grown Food

"Living off the land has been a way of life for Linda Beaudoin ever since she was a little girl. It’s where Beaudoin feels at home and - when she leaves - she misses it even more.

"'After living in Boston for four years while in college, I realized I had to come back because I missed the open space and fresh air.'

". . . Beaudoin, a second grade teacher at Immanuel Lutheran parochial school in Bristol, said farming in Connecticut is alive and well. The public, she said in a recent interview from the family farm, is more health conscious today and understands that locally grown fruits and vegetables are best."

A recent New Britain Herald article profiled Ms. Beaudoin, her love of farming, and her belief in the importance of locally grown food.

To access the complete New Britain Herald article, please visit:

New Britain Herald: Farm owner believes in living off the land (17 AUG 14)

Background information:

Northwest Family Farms Co-Op

Northwest Family Farms Co-Op: Top 10 Reasons to Buy Local

"How Great Thou Art"

As we continue our Sunday celebration, I offer this version of "How Great Thou Art":

Papal Trip to South Korea

As many of us are aware, Pope Francis is currently on an Apostolic Journey to the Republic of Korea, including participating in the 6th Asian Youth Day. As on may expect (or hope), this journey has drawn much media attention, both religious and secular.

Media reports include:

CNN: Pope Francis arrives in South Korea for his first Asia visit  (14 AUG 14)

Catholic News Agency: True freedom means loving God, Pope tells thousands at Mass (14 AUG 14)

CNN: K-Pop stars gear up for Pope Francis' visit with papal tributes (14 AUG 14)

BBC: Pope Francis urges dialogue as he begins South Korea visit (14 AUG 14)

Catholic News Agency: Pope to Asian youth: Are you ready to say 'yes' to Christ? (15 AUG 14)

Catholic News Agency: Youth who lunched with Pope impressed by his humility (15 AUG 14)

Catholic News Agency: Koreans electric with joy over visit of Pope Francis (16 AUG 14)

The Pilot: 800,000 watch as pope moves 124 Korean martyrs closer to sainthood. (16 AUG 14)

The Deacon's Bench: Worth a thousand words: the pope’s silent pro-life statement in Korea (16 AUG 14)

CWR Blog: At the heart of the papal trip to Korea: the witness of martyrdom (16 AUG 14)

New York Times: Papal Visit That Thrills Catholics Is Unsettling to Protestants in South Korea (16 AUG 14)

Boston Globe: ‘Christians don’t come as conquerors,’ Francis says (17 AUG 14)

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are Isaiah 56: 1, 6-7; Romans 11:13-15, 29-32; and Matthew 15:21-28. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 67 (Psalm 67:2-3, 5-6, 8).

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

YouTube: Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 67 All the nations will praise God

The Gospel reading is as follows:

At that time, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.” But Jesus did not say a word in answer to her.

Jesus’ disciples came and asked him, “Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.”

He said in reply, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

But the woman came and did Jesus homage, saying, “Lord, help me.”

He said in reply, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.”

She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.”

Then Jesus said to her in reply, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And the woman’s daughter was healed from that hour.

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (August 17, 2014)

Msgr. Charles Pope: While on others thou art calling, do not pass me by. A Homily for the 20th Sunday of the Year (16 AUG 14)

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio: The Faith to Move Mountains

The Deacon’s Bench: Homily for August 17, 2014: 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (16 AUG 14)

The Sacred Page: "May God have pity on us": Readings for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (12 AUG 14)

Word on Fire: Sermon 710: How Great Is Your Faith: 20th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Dr. Scott Hahn: A Foreigner’s Faith (August 17th 2014 - Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

The Catholic World Report Blog: The Canaanite woman, silver spoons, and Pharisees (16 AUG 14)

Servant and Steward: Homily - 17 August 2014 - In His Face, they will see their own faces (16 AUG 14)

Spirituality of the Readings: Food for dogs? (20th Sunday of Ordinary Time A)

The Word Embodied: All Equal, Each Unique (20th Sunday of Ordinary Time A)

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary by John Chrysostom (20th Sunday of Ordinary Time A)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for Your faithfulness.

On Losing Sight of the Shore

"I sat quietly in a small room at the hospital waiting to pick up x-rays to take to my doctor. I had discovered a lump in my neck and had tests run. I was nervous as I sat waiting. I observed my surroundings, eyeing everything I could possibly look at, so that I could keep my mind busy. I didn’t need to self-diagnose, and I was in danger of doing just that as I waited.

"On the wall in front of me was a series of photocopied papers, some cut in small pieces while others were left whole. On each I read a quote. There were a few that I’m sure were for humorous purposes, but there were others, I was confident, were placed on the wall for people like me – nervous, waiting, and wondering what news we might receive that day. My eyes quickly settled on one quote and I got out the little notebook I carry around in my purse. I hastily scribbled down the words and shoved the book back in my purse. I didn’t want to appear weird. Sometimes seeing someone frantically writing in a notebook can make others feel uncomfortable. Still, I knew I wanted to remember those words.

"'You can never cross the ocean if you don’t have the courage to lose sight of the shore.'"

In a recent commentary, writer Michelle Fritz reflected on this quote and on how it may apply to one's faith life and secular life and on how it is important to trust in God and allow Him to change us.

To access her complete post, please visit:

Catholic Stand: To Lose Sight of the Shore (6 AUG 14)

Reflection Starter from Pope Francis

"The martyrs teach us that wealth, prestige and honor have little importance: Christ is the only true treasure." - Pope Francis

16 August 2014

Simon & Garfunkel: "The Sound of Silence"

As this blessed week draws to a close, I offer this version of Simon & Garfunkel singing "The Sound of Silence" (from their 1981 concert in Central Park, New York):

Rhode Island's Pogo Dave and His Candy Cane Car

"His car and life run on nonsense. If all you want is sense, well, look the other way.

"If you live in Rhode Island and haven't seen Pogo Dave and his Candy Cane Car yet, there's a solid chance you haven't heard of Del's Lemonade or Rocky Point, either."

A number of Rhode Island residents and visitors have seen the Candy Cane Car in parades and at other events and have wondered something along the line of "What's up with this?" A recent Valley Breeze article profiled Pogo Dave and his car.

To access the complete Valley Breeze profile, please visit:

The Valley Breeze: Pogo Dave lights up Rhode Island (5 AUG 14)

Background information:


Facebook: Pogodave Dave Clayman

Reflection from the DeerLake Weekly Letter

From the DeerLake Weekly Letter for 16 August:

"My live is but a weaving
Between my Lord and me,
I cannot choose the colors
He worketh steadily."

To access the complete reflection, please visit:

Father's Hands: The Weaver

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for our ancestors and for the gift they are to us.

Msgr. Pope on the Christian Understanding of Mystery

"Today we tend to use the word 'mystery' differently than in Christian antiquity, to which the Church is heir. . . . [o]ur modern culture tends to think of a mystery as something to be solved. And thus the failure to resolve it is considered a negative outcome. In the typical mystery novel, some event (usually a crime) takes place and it is the job of the hero to discover the perpetrator of the crime or the cause of the problem. And if he does not do so he is considered a failure. And frankly, if word got out that, in a certain mystery movie, the mystery was not solved, there would be poor reviews and low attendance. Imagine if, in the TV series House, M.D., Dr. House routinely failed to 'solve' the medical mystery - ratings would drop rather quickly.

"But in the ancient Christian tradition, mystery is something to be accepted and even appreciated. Mystery is that which opens up the temporal meaning of an event and gives it depth. It also introduces a vertical dimension to an event and thus makes it a time of revelation, of unveiling. (Fr. Francis Martin says more about this in the video below.) In this sense, mystery is something we are meant to discover, thereby appreciating the depth and richness of both things and people. Because of this, mystery should be savored, respected, and appreciated."

"In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on the Christian understanding of mystery as something that is revealed, but much of which lies hidden, and on the Christian view that some or even most of what lies hidden ought to be respected as hidden and appreciated rather than solved.

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

Msgr. Charles Pope: Mysteries Should be Appreciated and Lived More Than “Solved” (29 JUL 14)

Reflection Starter from Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Every man is a quotation from all his ancestors." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

15 August 2014

Daughters of Mary: The Magnificat

As we continue our Holy Day celebration, I offer this version of the Daughters of Mary singing "The Magnificat" ("Canticle of Mary"):

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The assigned readings are Revelation 11:19, 12:1-6, 10; 1 Corinthians 15:20-27; and Luke 1:39-56. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 45 (Psalm 45: 10-12, 16).
For one version of the Responsorial Psalm set to music, please visit:
The Gospel reading is as follows:
Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”
And Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;  my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, and has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children forever.”
Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
965. After her Son’s Ascension, Mary “aided the beginnings of the Church by her prayers.” In her association with the apostles and several women, “we also see Mary by her prayers imploring the gift of the Spirit, who had already overshadowed her in the Annunciation.”
966. “Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death.” The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son’s Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians:
967. By her complete adherence to the Father’s will, to his Son’s redemptive work, and to every prompting of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary is the Church’s model of faith and charity. Thus she is a “preeminent and . . . wholly unique member of the Church”; indeed, she is the “exemplary realization” (typus) of the Church.
Background information:
Additional reflections:

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of time You give us each day.

Matthew Warner on God's Plan for Us Today

"God has a very specific plan for your day today. A plan that will give Him glory and bring you closer to perfection.

"His plan for you includes all of the time and resources for everything he wants you to do today. So stop worrying about things outside of your control. . . ."

In a recent commentary, writer Matthew Warner reflected on the time God makes available to us each day - including time for Him.

To access Matt's complete post, please visit:

The Radical Life: This is in God’s plan for you today (14 AUG 14)

Reflection Starter from St. Maximilian Kolbe

"The most deadly poison of our time is indifference. And this happens, although the praise of God should know no limits. Let us strive, therefore, to praise him to the greatest extent of our powers." - Saint Maximilian Kolbe

14 August 2014

Boston Fed Issues New England Community Outlook Survey

In its most recent semiannual New England Community Outlook Survey, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston covered the availability of credit for small businesses, issues facing lower-income communities, and issues affecting suburban lower-income communities.

Survey respondents were asked to rank the top challenges facing lower-income communities. They ranked job availability, access to affordable housing, federal and state budget cuts, and adult workforce development as the top five challenges for the six months covering October 2013 to February 2014. The same top four challenges were cited in the previous six-month period (May 2013 to October 2013.) Crime and access to higher education replaced home foreclosures and credit scores in the list of top 10 challenges.

The survey, in its report on issues affecting suburban lower-income communities, focused on two specific metropolitan areas in Connecticut: Hartford and New Haven. However,, the authors note that the challenges described could apply to any suburban neighborhood in New England.

To access a copy of this survey, please visit:

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston: New England Community Outlook Survey (August 2014)

Media report:

Hartford Courant: Connecticut’s Suburban Poor ‘Lost In The Shadows,’ Report Says (14 AUG 14)

Background information:

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

Saint Maximilian Kolbe

Today the Church celebrates the memory of Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe.

Ordained at age 24 as a Conventual Franciscan, Father Kolbe saw religious indifference as the most serious problem (even poison) of the day. He devoted himself was to combat it. He was inspired to found the Crusade of Mary Immaculate (Militia Immaculatae) to fight evil with the witness of the good life, prayer, work, and suffering. He later began a magazine (Knight of the Immaculata), which eventually reached a circulation of over one million. Father Kolbe also initiated other publishing ventures and, eventually, a radio station.

As a scholar, he earned doctorates in philosophy and theology. He was also deeply interested in science. He drew plans for rocket ships, and he had an interest in fire apparatus.

In 1939 the Nazis overran Poland. Father Kolbe and the friars at his monastery were arrested. They released in less than three months, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception. In 1941 he was arrested again as part of a Nazi campaign to get rid of leaders, and he was sent to Auschwitz.

One day, after a prisoner escaped, the camp commandant announced that ten men would die as a punishment. He picked several to send to the starvation bunkers, and one man, Number 16670, stepped from the line and stated, “I would like to take that man’s place. He has a wife and children.”

“Who are you?” the commandant asked.

The man simply replied, “A priest.”

The commandant took Sergeant Francis Gajowniczek out of line and ordered Father Kolbe to go with the other nine. Several days later, on the eve of the Assumption, four of the men were still alive. The jailer injected them with carbolic acid to finish the job.

Maximilian Mary Kolbe was beatified in 1971 and canonized in 1982 (Francis Gajowniczek was present at his canonization). He is the patron saint of media communications.

For more information about his life, please visit:

Catholic-Pages: Saint Maximilian Kolbe

Jewish Virtual Library: Maximilian Kolbe

Catholic Online: St. Maximilian Kolbe and the Theological Virtue of Hope (13 AUG 12)

There is a shrine in Libertyville, Illinois, dedicated to Saint Maximilian:

National Shrine of Saint Maximilian Kolbe

One of the shrines Father Kolbe had founded, the “Garden of the Immaculate,” was located in Nagasaki, the site of one of of the two atomic bomb blasts that hastened the end of World War II.

For a good reflection related to this, please read:

CatholicCulture: The Catholic Holocaust of Nagasaki - “Why, Lord?”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of grace in all its wondrous forms.

Kathy Schiffer on Fr. Schiffer and the Jesuit Priests Who Survived Hiroshima

". . . You may have heard about Father Hubert Schiffer and the other seven Jesuit missionaries who survived the atomic blast. The priests lived less than a mile from the epicenter of the attack in Hiroshima; and for miles in all directions, every building was destroyed, completely flattened, and 140,000 living persons were killed instantly.

"Except for the eight priests. Father Schiffer and his companions sustained no injuries, or only minor injuries. They all lived years beyond that day, experiencing no radiation sickness, despite being exposed to high levels of radioactivity. None suffered a loss of hearing from the explosion, or any other visible long-term defects or maladies. . . ."

In a recent commentary, writer Kathy Schiffer reflected on this experience of Father Schiffer and his fellow missionaries.

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

Seasons of Grace: Fr. Hubert Schiffer and the Jesuit Priests Who Survived Hiroshima (13 AUG 14)

Reflection Starter from Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

13 August 2014

Sir Hubert Parry: "Symphony No.1 in G-major"

It’s time for some classical music. This is a presentation of Sir Hubert Parry’s "Symphony No.1 in G-major" as played by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Matthias Bambert: