31 October 2015

Bobby Pickett & The Crypt-Kickers: "Monster Mash"

As this blessed week draws to a close, I offer this version of Bobby "Boris" Pickett & The Crypt-Kickers presenting "Monster Mash":

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for all of the blessings You poured on us during the month of October, whether we were aware of them or not.

John Clark on Sharing the Catholic Faith as an Inspiring Experience

""Over the years, our family has grown to enjoy various cooking shows on television.

"As a family who normally eats food that might rank a few notches under 'gourmet,' it’s fun to watch how the mythical other-half lives as they devote their talents not only to the food itself, but to the presentation of the food.

"In fact, after a few viewings, you quickly realize that the ingredient of presentation is half the battle. Somewhere along the line, it struck me that the presentation of the Catholic Faith is very similar. It's not all in the presentation, but much of it is."

In a recent commentary, writer John Clark reflected on the importance of sharing our Faith in a way that starts with loving and caring.

To access Mr. Clark's complete post, please visit:

Seton Magazine: Why Sharing the Catholic Faith Should be an Inspiring Experience

Reflection Starter from Psalm 94

"Blessed the one whom you guide, LORD, whom you teach by your instruction," - Psalm 94:12

30 October 2015

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the Communion of Saints and all that it means.

Br. Hyacinth Grubb, O.P., on Our Suffering Church

"The Christian Church has always been a suffering Church. From St. Stephen and the earliest Roman martyrs, to those 20th-century martyrs of ideological tyrannies, Christians have imitated Christ by loving God to the end. It’s no different today; as St. John Paul II wrote, 'the Church has once again become a Church of martyrs.'

"Today, Christians are persecuted and martyred for the faith, especially in the Middle East. Today, members of the Body of Christ suffer. Do we suffer with them?

"We ought to, if we are together members of the one Body of Christ."

In a recent commentary, Brother Hyacinth Grubb, O.P., reflected on our participation in the suffering Church.

To access Br. Hyacinth's complete post, please visit:

Dominicana: A Suffering Church (29 OCT 15)

Reflection Starter from Washington Irving

"A kind heart is a fountain of gladness, making everything in its vicinity freshen into smiles." - Washington Irving

29 October 2015

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways in which You draw Your people to Your Truth.

Fr. Longenecker on Marcus Grodi and His "Coming Home" Ministry

"Marcus Grodi's pun for life could be 'Done Roman' because when he was received into the Roman Catholic Church the former Protestant pastor had found his spiritual home and was finally 'done roamin'.' Grodi was brought up in a nominally Christian home, trained as a chemical engineer and eventually, after a profound adult conversion experience, trained to be a Presbyterian pastor.

"However, his experience welcoming new members from other Protestant denominations to his church began to disturb his Presbyterian certainties. Protestant pastor Grodi explained his Presbyterian beliefs from the Bible, but the other Protestant Christians responded by quoting the Scripture verses that supported their different convictions. Marcus began to realize that his interpretation of the Bible was filtered by his Presbyterian assumptions and traditions. Furthermore the same was true of the other Protestants. A conversation with his friend Scott Hahn helped him discover some Bible verses he had never seen before."

In a recent commentary, Father Dwight Longenecker (parish priest at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, Greenville, SC) reflected on Marcus Grodi's conversion to Catholicism and on his Coming Home ministry.

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

Aleteia: "Done Roman" and Coming Home to the Catholic Church (26 OCT 15)

Background information:

The Coming Home Network

Dwight Longenecker - Catholic priest and author

Reflection Starter from Luke 2

"Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests." - Luke 2:

28 October 2015

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It is designed to be a time of raising awareness of domestic violence throughout the United States and its devastating effects on families and communities. It is also a time to remember those who have died because of domestic violence and to recommit to efforts to end violence within homes and communities.

Domestic violence refers to a violent confrontation between family or household members involving physical harm, sexual assault, and/or fear of physical harm. Family or household members include spouses, former spouses, those in (or formerly in) a dating relationship, adults related by blood or marriage, and those who have a biological or legal parent-child relationship.

Domestic violence may include acts of violence intimidation, threats, psychological abuse, and/or isolation to coerce and to control the other person. Violence itself may not happen often, but it may remain a hidden and constant terrorizing factor. Domestic violence may also include psychological violence, such as intense and repetitive degradation, creating isolation, and controlling the actions or behaviors of the spouse or other individual through intimidation or manipulation to the detriment of that individual.

Although a look at statistics indicates that domestic violence is a major problem, we don’t really know how common it is because people often do not report it. Domestic violence occurs among women and men of all ages and all levels of income and education. Many times victims of violence suffer in silence because they do not know where to turn, where to find guidance and support.

Presidential Proclamation:

Presidential Proclamation – National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, 2015

In a related initiative, a number of celebrities, athletes, corporate leaders, and advocates are collaborating, via a series of public service announcements, to generate awareness for domestic violence and sexual assault and encourage bystanders to help. This NO MORE campaign is designed to galvanize greater awareness and action to end domestic violence and sexual assault.
For more information about this initiative, please visit:


Background information and resources:

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

National Network to End Domestic Violence

National Resource Center on Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence Awareness Project

National Domestic Violence Hotline

Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Maine Coalition To End Domestic Violence

Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence

New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Vermont Network Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the healing and uplifting power of laughter.

Catholic Comedian Comes Out of Retirement

Encouraging news of any sort is hard to come by in Washington these days, thanks mainly to the gridlock that keeps Congress in its grip. That's why it’s a pleasure to report a bit of good news, even if it's not of the earth-shaking variety. Fans of comedian Mark Russell will be glad to know that he's coming out of retirement at the age of 83. That's wonderful news for clean family entertainment, for Catholic charitable agencies, and anyone who enjoys a good political laugh - at the expense of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike.

Mark Zimmermann, editor of the Catholic Standard in the nation's capital, wrote about Russell in a recent issue, and managed to capture a few of his patented one-liners in the telling. Russell, who had called it a career in 2010 "after decades of skewering politicians," found that he was at loose ends trying to do nothing. When he heard that a congressman had been caught skinny-dipping in the Sea of Galilee, he cried out: "That's it! I'm coming out of retirement!"

For those who need a re-introduction to Russell, he's the bow-tied guy who plays the piano (standing up) on public television specials, all the while cracking jokes that poke fun at politicos of every persuasion. He's also a regular at the Shoreham Hotel and other smart locations in Washington, where there's more than enough material for Russell to milk his gags.

The church has benefited marvelously from his jokes. A member of Annunciation parish in Washington, he especially enjoys his emcee duties at the annual "Festival of Hope" dinner of Anchor Mental Health, now part of Catholic Charities. For four decades he has presided over moving testimonials from people helped by the program, describing how their lives had been changed as a result - in addition to getting in his quota of funny material.

More recently Russell has also been hosting the yearly gala of SOAR - Support Our Aging Religious - which has raised funds to offset many retirement costs of religious communities.

Russell comes originally from Buffalo, where he graduated from Canisius High School, and he'll jokingly blame his Catholic education for his technical-skill shortcomings. "When I was a kid," he'll say, "the nuns never taught the boys how to type. The only electronic device I know how to use in my house is the toaster. I can upload toast." And the male staff at Canisius? "After the Jesuits, the Marines were anti-climactic."

Russell moved from Buffalo to Washington, in part to be closer to his material - not that he's worried about running out of it. Asked to name his favorite presidents, he said he supposed that Presidents Reagan and Clinton were the best natural sources of gag material. But he quickly added, "Nobody ever let me down!"

Zimmermann's Catholic Standard report indicated that Russell can manage to be completely up to date. "If Donald Trump drops out the race," he observed recently, "I lose 15 minutes of material."

And still there's a timeless quality about his work, too. Joking about congressional gridlock, for example, he said that Congress tried to pass a resolution commemorating Cinco de Mayo.

The only trouble? "They couldn't agree," Russell said, "on the date."

This essay is this week's "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:

Mark Russell

SOAR! Support Our Aging Religious

The Christophers 

Reflection Starter from Anne Frank

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." - Anne Frank

27 October 2015

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways in which You provide nourishment for our bodies and for our souls.

On Protecting Dorothy Day's Retreat

"'Nothing is more beautiful than the soft sound of waves on the beach,' Dorothy Day, the Catholic social activist and author, wrote in her diary on Dec. 12, 1953. “I hope and pray someday to have a house looking out on the bay, a little up off the beach so it will be away from the danger of the tide.'

"It was on that beach, on the South Shore of Staten Island, that Ms. Day, then a bohemian anarchist, had her religious awakening in 1927. Ms. Day, who founded the Catholic Worker movement, would return often to that beach, but it was not until 1972, with $250 she borrowed, that she finally got her little refuge by the bay, a pair of bungalows that were part of a 1920s retreat known as Spanish Camp.

"'There were two rooms, kitchen in the back, writing room in the front room in sight of the bay,' recalled Jim Forest, a friend of Ms. Day as well as one of her biographers and a former editor of The Catholic Worker newspaper. 'Very plain, very uncluttered. . . .'"

A recent New York Times article reported on an initiative to protect the remains of Dorothy Day's beachside property.

To access the New York Times complete report, Please visit:

New York Times: Dorothy Day's Retreat Is Now a Vacant Lot, but a Bid to Protect It Survives (26 OCT 15)

Reflection Starter from Dorothy Day

"Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul." - Dorothy Day

26 October 2015

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways in which the beauty of Your creation reflects Your glory.

Bishop Tobin on Stewardship for Earth Vis-à-vis Colonizing Other Planets

"I've been a fan of the space program for a long time. I'm old enough to remember standing in the front yard of our home in Pittsburgh in 1957 watching expectantly for the Russian-launched Sputnik to pass overhead in the night sky, and also listening to the grainy beep . . . beep . . . beep . . . the satellite produced for radios around the world. . . .

"I continue to be impressed by the amazing technology that allows unmanned space crafts to travel many years to the outer reaches of the solar system and beyond, every move pre-calculated to the tiniest degree, and then send signals and photos back over millions of miles to breath-holding scientists here on earth.

"With this personal history, I was surprised by my lack of excitement when, just a few weeks ago, NASA scientists confirmed the existence of flowing water on Mars. The discovery of water leads to the possibility that there are some life forms, even primitive ones, present on Mars. As one scientist explained, 'Our quest on Mars has been to follow the water in our search for life in the universe.'"

In a recent commentary, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, of the Diocese of Providence (RI), reflected on the opportunities for reaching out to other planets vis-à-vis our responsibilities for good stewardship of the planet we already live on.

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

Without A Doubt: Just What We Need: Another Planet (15 OCT 15)

Reflection Starter from St. Thérèse of Lisieux

"Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love." - Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus (Saint Thérèse de Lisieux)

25 October 2015

"Amazing Grace"

As our Sunday celebration continues, I offer this presentation (at the Vatican) of "Amazing Grace":

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are Jeremiah 31:7-9, Hebrews 5:1-6, and Mark 10:46-52. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 126 (Psalm 126:1-6).

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

YouTube: Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 126 The Lord has done great things for us

The Gospel reading is as follows:

As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, "Jesus, son of David, have pity on me." And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, "Son of David, have pity on me."

Jesus stopped and said, "Call him."

So they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you." He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.

Jesus said to him in reply, "What do you want me to do for you?"

The blind man replied to him, "Master, I want to see."

Jesus told him, "Go your way; your faith has saved you."

Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many blessing with which You surround us - most of which we are unaware of.

Msgr. Pope on Great and Terrifying Gifts from God

"Some of God’s gifts come in strange and terrifying packages. The book of Job says,

     The earth, though out of it comes forth bread, 
     is in fiery upheaval underneath (Job 28:2).

It is a fact that we live just above a fiery cauldron separated from us by a thin membrane of earthly crust rife with cracks through which fire routinely flares in volcanoes in fissures, a crust that is always shifting and even shaking violently in earthquakes.

"And yet were it not for this violent cauldron beneath us, it seems unlikely that we would have life here at all. Volcanoes and other tectonic activity keep our soil rich and recycled. In this fiery cauldron are brewed some of our most useful minerals and most beautiful gems. Whole island chains and land masses are formed by eruptions and geothermal energy is a resource we have only just begun to tap. Many scientists think that volcanoes had a profound influence on the formation of an atmosphere in the early Earth period and that the molten core of the earth has an important influence on the Van Allen belt, a magnetic field that keeps the harmful portion of the sun's radiation away from the earth’s surface."

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on some of the great gifts we have from God and how they can be terrifying as well.

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

Community in Mission: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water: Great and Yet Terrifying Blessings (22 OCT 15)

Reflection Starter from Pope Francis

"Economic development needs to have a human face, so that no one will be excluded.Pope Francis

24 October 2015

The Tokens: "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"

As this blessed week draws to a close, I offer this version of The Tokens presenting "The Lion Sleeps Tonight":

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways in which You encourage and support us when we are facing challenging times/circumstances.

Pope Francis: Times Are Changing and Christians Must Change Continually"

"Pope Francis said [in a recent homily] that the times are changing and we Christians must change continually, freely but within the truth of the faith. He urged Christians to look at the signs of the times and warned them against succumbing to the comfort of conformity. The Pope's remarks came during his homily at the morning Mass celebrated at the Santa Marta residence.

"Taking his cue from the reading of St Paul's letter to the Romans, Pope Francis's homily reflected on the discernment that the Church needs to employ whilst looking at the signs of the times and doing what Christ wants. He noted how St Paul's preaching stressed the freedom which has saved us from sin whilst Christ himself spoke of reading the signs of the times. God set us free, the Pope explained, and in order to have this freedom, we must open ourselves to the power of the Holy Spirit and clearly understand what is happening within and around us through discernment."

Vatican Radio recently reported on this homily by Pope Francis, in which he encouraged Christians to be aware of the changing times and to adapt continuously while remaining fixed to their faith in Jesus Christ.

To access the complete Vatican Radio report, please visit:

Vatican Radio: Pope: Times change and Christians must change continually (23 OCT 15)

Reflection Starter from Mahatma Gandhi

"You Christians have in your hands a book containing enough dynamite to shatter all civilization." - Mahatma Gandhi (referring to the Bible)

23 October 2015

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways in which You teach us and encourage us through Holy Scripture.

Pope to Young People: Read the Bible

"The Bible is so dangerous that some Christians risk persecution to have one. But for Pope Francis, its life-changing role in daily life is important too.

"'The Bible is not meant to be placed on a shelf, but to be in your hands, to read often - every day, both on your own and together with others,' he wrote in the prologue to a Bible for youth in Germany.

"He encouraged young people to read the Bible together the way they play sports or go shopping together."

A recent National Catholic Register article reported on the encouragement Pope Francis gave in his prologue (with a link to an English translation of his words).

To access this National Catholic Register report, please visit:

National Catholic Register: Pope Francis to Youth: The Bible Can Change Your Life. Now Read It! (23 OCT 15)

Reflection Starter from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"For his heart was in his work, and the heart giveth grace unto every art." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

22 October 2015

Thank You, Lord

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

Julia Powers on the Saintliness of Those in Our Lives

"'This is going to be awkward,' our professor said.

"The lecture was about ethicist Emmanuel Levinas' idea of seeing God in 'the face of the other.' To illustrate his point, our professor proceeded to pace up and down the rows of desks, stopping at each student and making eye contact with such intensity and for such a duration of time that it was, indeed, awkward. But, we were seen, known, attended to, treated not just as distant students but as uncomfortably-close human persons.

"This is perhaps what Nadia Bolz-Weber does in her recently released memoir-style essay collection Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People (Convergent, September 2015). She walks through rows of accidental saints and looks them in the eye and learns from them - no matter how awkward."

In a recent commentary, writer Julia Powers reflected on the saintliness (among other characteristics) in the persons we meet each day.

To access Ms. Powers' complete post, please visit:

Fare Forward: Saints, Accidentally (19 OCT 15)

Reflection Starter from St. John Paul II

"Not all are called to be artists in the specific sense of the term. Yet, as Genesis has it, all men and women are entrusted with the task of crafting their own life: in a certain sense, they are to make of it a work of art, a masterpiece." - Pope Saint John Paul II

21 October 2015

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways in which You encourage our faith.

Nun Brings Healing to Society’s Untouchables

When American-born nun Sister Annie Credidio moved to Ecuador in the mid-1980s to be a teacher, she attended Mass at a local hospital and noticed that members of the congregation were missing fingers, toes, legs, and teeth. She discovered that this was a hospital for people with Hansen's disease (also known as leprosy). The more she explored the facility and talked to patients, the more she realized how deplorable conditions were.

During a Christopher Closeup interview, Sister Annie recalled that rats would crawl through broken sewer tops and bite the toes of the patients during the night. And food would be delivered with rat hairs and roaches in it. How, I asked, did she not get scared off by all that? "I'm from Brooklyn!" she answered. "I'm a tough girl from Brooklyn."

Well, that tough girl from Brooklyn had a heart as big as her courageous spirit, so with the full support of her order - the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary - she gave up her teaching job to create a better life for those society deemed "the untouchables." The people of Ecuador made her transition to their culture easy because of their warmth. She said, "I am of Italian descent, and I felt like the Ecuadorians were very much like the Italians: friendly, open door policy, come in and sit down and have something to eat."

Sister Annie soon began making progress in improving conditions: covering up the sewer pipes, and providing decent meals, mattresses without holes, and mosquito nets during the rainy season. A cure for Hansen's had also come on the market so she worked to get treatment for those in the early stages of the disease. Sister Annie said, "When I first got there, they kept calling me this angel that fell from heaven. I told them, 'I'm far from being an angel.' But then I thought their prayers all those years must have been for someone [to really care for them]. They knew God was hearing them, and I really do believe that God taps us on the shoulder and puts us where we need to be when the time is right."

In 1994, Sister Annie achieved a milestone. Along with her friend Suzanne Belz, she co-founded a legal foundation to which donors could send much-needed money. They called it Damien House, after the sainted priest who cared for Hansen's patients on the Hawaiian island of Molokai. "There is no office," Sister Annie explained. "It's all run by volunteers. Every penny goes straight to Damien House. It provides the medicine, the food that they need, and the dignity and the respect that every human being deserves."

Nowadays, a group of doctors from the U.S., who've dubbed themselves "Annie's Angels," take a week's vacation every year, travel to Damien House, and perform free nerve decompression surgeries so patients can regain feeling in their limbs. These physicians feel overwhelmed by the gratitude they receive from their patients, who are able to return to a normal life because of their work.

Sister Annie found the faith of the Hansen's patients both shocking and personally transformative. She concluded, "They would always say, 'Si Dios quiere - if God wants.' I thought, 'Wow, these people are always mentioning God.' So many of them needed amputations or eye surgery, they were losing their teeth. Yet they say, 'If God wants.' Their spirituality shook me…I thought I knew what faith was about, but I found out that true faith is letting everything go and letting God take over."

This essay is this week's "Light One Candle" column, written by Tony Rossi, of The Christophers; it is one of a series of weekly columns that deal with a variety of topics and current events.)

Background information:

Damien House

Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Christophers 

Reflection Starter from St. Francis de Sales

"Just trust in Him and He will continue to lead you safely through all things. Where you cannot walk, He will carry you in His arms." - Saint Francis de Sales

20 October 2015

State Fairs Strive to Stay Relevant

"The Butter Cow, a life-size statue carved of pure cream Iowa butter, has drawn fans to the Iowa State Fair for more than a century. The 600-pound bovine packs enough butter for more than 19,000 slices of toast, and would take the average person two lifetimes to eat.

"But 21st century fair goers expect something more: In addition to the cow and other traditional agricultural attractions, this year's fair featured yoga and Zumba, craft beers and gluten-free corndogs

"To remain relevant, state fairs across the country - the latest ones will conclude this month - are going modern. . . .

"Fairs seem quintessentially American, but settlers brought them from Europe and England. The York, Pennsylvania, fair celebrated its 250th anniversary this year. New York claims the first state fair, in 1841. About 150 million people go to fairs in the United States annually, said Jim Tucker, president of the International Association of Fairs and Expositions.

"In some states, the fair attracts more people than any other event. . . ."

To access a Stateline report on state fairs and their striving to stay relevant, please visit:

Stateline: State Fairs Beyond Butter Sculptures to Drones and Yoga (16 OCT 15)

Background information:

The Big E, West Springfield, Massachusetts

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for good programs - fiction, documentary, music, and other - that are offered to us via television broadcasts.

Br. Nicholas Schneider, O.P., on "Foyle's War" and Integrity

"Foyle's War is a highly rated, recent British murder-mystery television series set in London and the south coast of England during and after the Second World War. The 8 seasons (28 episodes) weave together actual events of the war and the challenges of the home front with fictional murders and crimes. The titular character, Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle (Michael Kitchen), fails to transfer into the military in 1939 and is assigned to Hastings, where he remains for nearly the entirety of the war.

"The son of a policeman, Foyle fought in the trenches in the First World War, and although he never talks about the details, it is clear that this was a defining moment in his life: witnessing the taking of human life and the general suffering that people go through. In his detective work, Foyle fights for justice against those taking advantage of tragic situations for personal gain at the expense of those suffering. What the series makes clear is that as a detective, and indeed as a man, Foyle has integrity. Above all, he is principled and honest, and his work as a detective gets to the truth of what actually happened. He is not satisfied with any solution or even any probable solution, but only the solution.

"In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, integrity is linked with issues concerning life (chastity, virginity, human embryos, etc.) and with not causing scandal. Foyle's character exemplifies these values. . . "

In a recent commentary, Brother Nicholas Schneider, O.P., reflected on integrity and on scandal and hypocrisy as exemplified by the thoughts, words, and actions of Christopher Foyle in this series.

To access Br. Nicholas' complete post, please visit:

Dominicana: Foyle's War and Integrity (16 OCT 15)

Reflection Starter from St. Paul of the Cross

"It is very good and holy to consider the passion of our Lord, and to meditate on it, for by this sacred path we reach union with God. In this most holy school we learn true wisdom, for it was there that all the saints learned it." - Saint Paul of the Cross, whose memory the Church celebrates today (20 October)

19 October 2015

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many blessings You bestow on our families.

Zoe Romanowsky on the Story Behind the Ann Arbor Dominican Sisters' Appearance on Oprah

"It was the last year of the Oprah show in Chicago and production staff were discussing what stories they hadn't covered in their 25 year history. One woman spoke up. An 'authentic' women's religious community, she said. Oprah was hesitant. 'Do you really think a community like that would be willing to be on my program?' she asked. She gave her staff permission to make some calls. All of the communities they contacted said 'no,' except for one: the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.

"Founded in 1997, the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Dominican sisters have always been a community interested in engaging with the culture. The Prioress General, Mother Assumpta Long, and a council of the sisters took the request to prayer and asked for advice.

"'Sister John Dominic is a friend of Amy Grant [the singer] who had been on Oprah's program, so she called Amy to ask for her thoughts,' recalls Sister Joseph Andrew, one of four foundresses of the community. 'Amy was very encouraging so Mother phoned back, said 'yes' and asked when they would be coming to film, and they responded, 'this Sunday evening, and we'll be gone by Monday late afternoon.' And it all happened in just that manner!'

"The Dominican Sisters of Mary appeared twice on the Oprah show in 2010 - on February 2 and again on November 23 for a follow up, after which the television crew followed them back to Ann Arbor to film a profession of vows and the celebration that followed. . . ."

In a recent commentray, Zoe Romanowsky, Lifestyle Editor and Video Curator at Aleteia, reflected on these two visits (as well as the preparation for a follow-up visit 2015 on OWN) and on some of the good fruits that came from these opportunities.

To access Ms. Romanowsky's complete post, please visit:

Aleteia: The Story Behind the Ann Arbor Dominican Sisters' Appearance on Oprah (14 OCT 15)

Reflection Starter from St. John Paul II

"As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live." - Pope Saint John Paul II

18 October 2015

Ida Lewis, Lighthouse Keeper

"The U.S. Lighthouse Service was established in 1716 until it consolidated with the U.S. Coast Guard in 1939. Throughout the years, thousands of lighthouse keepers had to shoulder the responsibility of what is now known as Aids to Navigation to keep the waters safe for mariners. Of those thousands of lighthouse keepers, if you were to ask any member of the Coast Guard who the most famous lighthouse keeper was, you’d most likely get the name Ida Lewis.

"Lewis was a famed lighthouse keeper and is credited with saving 18 lives. She was born Feb. 25, 1842, and began helping her parents tend the Lime Rock Light in Rhode Island when she was 15 years old."

A recent article in the Coast Guard Compass profiled Ida Lewis and her accomplishments.

To access this post, please visit:

Coast Guard Compass: Coast Guard Heroes: Keeper Ida Lewis (18 OCT 15)

Additional information:

Wikipedia: Ida Lewis (lighthouse keeper)

About: Education: Ida Lewis

Lighthouse Friends: Ida Lewis Rock, RI

Philippine Madrigal Singers: "Anima Christi"

As we continue our Sunday celebration, I offer this version of the Philippine Madrigal Singers presenting "Anima Christi":

Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are Isaiah 53:10-11, Hebrews 4:14-16, and Mark 10:35-45. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 33 (Psalm 33:4-5, 18-20, 22).

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

YouTube: Psalm 33: Let Your Mercy Be On Us (Haugen)

The Gospel reading is as follows:

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to him, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you."

He replied, "What do you wish me to do for you?"

They answered him, "Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left."

Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?"

They said to him, "We can."

Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink, you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared."

When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John. Jesus summoned them and said to them, "You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways You actively participate in our lives.

Msgr. Pope on Emptying Oneself to Proclaim the Gospel Message

"The video at the bottom of this post is a heartwarming one with a surprise ending. I see in it an illustration of something St. Paul wrote of the essentially sacrificial nature of evangelization:

"Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings (1 Cor 9:19-23).

"To be clear, what St. Paul says here must be understood as solidarity and brotherhood, not compromise with sin or evil. At every level, St. Paul is willing to set aside anything in the moment that hinders the preaching of the truth of the Gospel. Every pretense, every honor, every distinction, every preference that interferes with the message of the Gospel message is forsaken where necessary. There is described here a great willingness for kenosis (emptying oneself)."

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on Jesus emptying Himself - coming to join us in order to save us.

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

Community in Mission: To the Weak I Became Weak - As Seen in a Powerful Commercial (16 OCT 15)

Reflection Starter from Pope Francis

"In spite of injustices and sufferings, the Lord's victory is certain.Pope Francis

17 October 2015

Austrian Boys Band: "Trumpeten Echo"

As this blessed week draws to a close, I offer this version of the Austrian Boys Band presenting "Trumpeten Echo":

Note: The Austrian Boys Band is scheduled to perform at the Canton, CT, Senior Center's Oktoberfest on Monday (19 October).

Paramedic Bride Responds to Auto Accident Right After Wedding

"A picture of a bride responding to a car crash on her way to her wedding reception has garnered a lot of attention on social media.

"The bride is a paramedic, and when her family from out of town crashed on their way to the reception she sprung into action.

"Sarah Ray married her husband Paul at the Clarksville Grace Church of the Nazarene in Clarksville last Saturday. Just minutes after the wedding ceremony, the newlywed received a call stating the bride’s grandparents and father got into a crash."

To access a WTVF-TV (NewsChannel 5) report on this special response, please visit:

WTVF-TV: Bride Responds To Crash Minutes After Wedding (9 OCT 15)

American Heart Association Releases Guidelines Update for CPR & ECC

The American Heart Association (AHA) recently released its 2015 Guidelines Update for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care. According to AHA, these guidelines are based on the most current and comprehensive review of resuscitation science, systems,protocols, and education.

To access a copy of the guidelines, please visit:

American Heart Association: Highlights of the 2015 AHA Guidelines Update for CPR & ECC

American Heart Association: 2015 Guidelines Update for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care

Media report:

EMS World: AHA Releases 2015 CPR Guidelines (15 OCT 15)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of Your Mercy.

Bishop Barron on Pope Francis and Mercy

"Having just returned from a week covering Pope Francis's triumphant journey to the United States, I can confidently tell you that the news media are in love with the Vicar of Christ. Time and again, commentators, pundits, anchorpersons, and editorialists opined that Pope Francis is the bomb. They approved, of course, of his gentle way with those suffering from disabilities and his proclivity to kiss babies, but their approbation was most often awakened by this Pope's 'merciful' and 'inclusive' approach, his willingness to reach out to those on the margins. More often than not, they characterized this tenderness as a welcome contrast to the more rigid and dogmatic style of Benedict XVI. Often, I heard words such as 'revolutionary' and 'game-changing' in regard to Pope Francis, and one commentator sighed that she couldn't imagine going back to the Church as it was before the current pontiff.

"Well, I love Pope Francis too, and I certainly appreciate the novelty of his approach and his deft manner of breathing life into the Church. In fact, a number of times on the air I commented that the Pope's arrival to our shores represented a new springtime after the long winter of the sex abuse scandals. But I balk at the suggestion that the new Pope represents a revolution or that he is dramatically turning away from the example of his immediate predecessors. And I strenuously deny that he is nothing but a soft-hearted powder-puff, indifferent to sin.

"A good deal of the confusion stems from a misinterpretation of Francis's stress on mercy. In order to clear things up, a little theologizing is in order. It is not correct to say that God's essential attribute is mercy. Rather, God's essential attribute is love, since love is what obtains among the three divine persons from all eternity. Mercy is what love looks like when it turns toward the sinner. To say that mercy belongs to the very nature of God, therefore, would be to imply that sin exists within God himself, which is absurd.

"Now this is important, for many receive the message of divine mercy as tantamount to a denial of the reality of sin, as though sin no longer matters. But just the contrary is the case. To speak of mercy is to be intensely aware of sin and its peculiar form of destructiveness. Or to shift to one of the Pope's favorite metaphors, it is to be acutely conscious that one is wounded so severely that one requires, not minor treatment, but the emergency and radical attention provided in a hospital on the edge of a battlefield. Recall that when Francis was asked, in a famous interview two years ago, to describe himself, he responded, 'a sinner.' Then he added, 'who has been looked upon by the face of mercy.' That's getting the relationship right. . . ."

In a recent commentary, Bishop Robert Barron reflected on Pope Francis and the reality of Divine Mercy.

To access Bishop Barron's complete essay, please visit:

The Boston Pilot: Echoes: Pope Francis and True Mercy (13 OCT 15)

Reflection Starter from John W. Gardner

"History never looks like history when you are living through it." - John W. Gardner

16 October 2015

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the beauty of the changing leaf colors during the fall.

Bishop Tobin on Faith as a Tower in a Corn Maze

"I’ve never walked through a corn maze, but it looks like fun.

"You know what a corn maze is I presume – a walking path carved out of a large corn field, with the depleted corn stalks so high you can’t really see very much around you. The challenge is to find the exit. It becomes a kind of a puzzle to explore, a popular activity for families and kids to try during the fall.

"Some corn mazes are simple and small. . . . [S]ome corn mazes are so large and complex that on occasion people get lost in the middle and can't find their way out. . . . For that reason, some mazes have guides stationed at strategic points along the way, or even towers set up in the middle of the field, elevated stations which people can climb to get a view of the entire maze to find their way out.

"Religious faith, it seems to me, is a lot like a tower in a corn maze. If our earthly pilgrimage is somewhat akin to walking through a corn maze, faith is the virtue that gives us the full picture, a better perspective. Faith helps us to remember how we began and points to our final exit. It reminds us that we came from God, are made in his image and likeness, and that we are destined for God again, to be united with him forever in heaven."

Using, in a recent commentary, the image of a tower in a corn maze, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, of the Diocese of Providence (RI), reflected on the relationship of faith in our earthly pilgrimage.

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

Without A Doubt: Faith: The Tower in the Corn Maze (17 SEP 15)

Reflection Starter from Mother Teresa

"Often you can see power lines running alongside the street. Unless current is flowing through them, there is no light. The power line is you and I! The current is God! We have the power to allow the current to flow through us and thus to generate the light of the world: JESUS – or to refuse to be used and, thus, allow the darkness to spread." - Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

15 October 2015

National School Lunch Week

This week, the week of 12-16 October, has been designated as National School Lunch Week. This year’s theme is “School Lunch Snapshot.” It is designed to focus on sharing the best, real images of today’s school lunch.

SchoolLunch Snapshot

Presidential proclamation:

Presidential Proclamation — National School Lunch Week, 2015

For additional information, please visit:

School Nutrition Association: National School Lunch Week

School Nutrition Association

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for inspiring the creation of good comic strips and the many ways You touch our hearts through them, whether it be via laughter, reflections, or other means.

A Comic Strip in Black and White

It was, more or less, a typical "Peanuts" comic strip. It featured Charlie Brown, of course, and it had a good punch line, drawn with the quiet wit of Charles M. Schulz. In the opening panel, Charlie is digging in the sand with a newfound friend and asks, "Is your whole family here at the beach, Franklin?" The friend answers no, his father is in Vietnam, and then, in the manner of little boys getting acquainted, wants to know if Charlie Brown likes to play baseball. Charlie replies that, if anything, he likes it too much. And in the final panel Franklin comes right out and asks, "Are you a good player?", and Charlie answers him, "I have some friends who would regard that as a great topic for a panel discussion."

A typical "Peanuts" strip, as I said, with one notable exception: Franklin is black. The date was July 31, 1968, and just like that, "Peanuts" was integrated. Except that it didn't happen "just like that."

Writer Don Cavna tells the story well in The Washington Post. It had begun, strangely enough, with the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. several months earlier, in April of 1968. In Los Angeles, teacher Harriet Glickman, reaching out for a sign of hope, no matter how small, wrote to several comic-strip artists asking them to introduce black characters in their drawings.

The replies she got were mostly non-committal, but Schulz wrote back and wondered if he could do so without unintended condescension. Glickman promised to take up the question with black friends, and subsequently replied to Schulz with the encouraging results.

She was elated when Franklin was ushered into the script, only weeks later, as a "regular kid." And that’s how he joined Linus, Lucy, and the rest of the crowd in the "Peanuts" gang - a "regular" kid who happened to be black. Not, in those days, that it was always that easy.

For one thing, Schulz faced hesitation from his own agency, United Feature Syndicate, which asked him "Are you sure you want to do this?" The artist simply said, "Either you run it the way I drew it, or I quit." The syndicate, fearful of losing the wildly popular "Peanuts," quickly backed down. It was more or less the same with a group of editors, mostly from the South, who feared the effects of Schulz's plans for "Peanuts" on the integration of schools in their communities. Take it or leave it, Schulz replied in effect. Most of them, aware of his favored status with readers, decided they'd take it. Before long, Franklin became a fixture - and a favorite, at that.

The woman who'd started it all, Harriet Glickman, now 88, explained in a telephone interview with reporter Cavna the reason behind her move.

"I realized that black kids and white kids never saw themselves in the classroom," she said, and so she wrote to several syndicated strip cartoonists with her idea. Schulz, who replied promptly, turned out to be the one who most appreciated the point she had made. And before long, he went to work.

Schulz died in 2000, but his work lives on. From time to time, Glickman still sees Franklin and the other "Peanuts" kids in cartoons reissued by the Los Angeles Times.

"I just love them," she told Cavna. "Franklin was, and is, my fourth child."

This essay is this week's "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 St. Teresa of Avila

"Whenever we think of Christ, we should recall the love that led Him to bestow on us so many graces and favors, and also the great love God showed in giving us in Christ a pledge of His love; for love calls for love in return. Let us strive to keep this always before our eyes and to rouse ourselves to love Him." - Saint Teresa of Avila

14 October 2015

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for all of the many blessings Your pour on Your Church.

Dave Armstrong on Why He Is a Catholic (150 Reasons)

"I am convinced that the Catholic Church conforms much more closely to all of the biblical data, offers the only coherent view of the history of Christianity (i.e., Christian, apostolic Tradition), and possesses the most profound and sublime Christian morality, spirituality, social ethic, and philosophy."

In a recent commentary, Catholic author and apologist  Dave Armstrong offered a multitude of reasons (including scriptural references) explaining why he is now a Catholic.

To access Mr. Armstrong's complete post, please visit:

Biblical Evidence for Catholicism: 150 Reasons Why I am a Catholic (12 OCT 15)

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." - G. K. Chesterton

13 October 2015

Fox News' Kirsten Powers Now a Catholic

In a recent post, Deacon Greg Kandra commented on a recent announcement by Fox News analyst Kirsten Powers that she is becoming a Catholic.

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

The Deacon's Bench: Fox News's Kirsten Powers announces: "I'm becoming Catholic!" (9 OCT 15)

Cleaning the Riverbanks of the Ganges

"For years, India has been engaged in expensive 'Saving the Ganga' projects. Yet industries continue to pour sewage into the famous river, considered holy by Hindus, while worshipers litter and befoul its banks.

"Most of the cleanup efforts have failed miserably. Now a young Indian woman, with a tribe of even younger volunteers, has founded a cleanup movement that, while still small, promises big results."

A recent Christian Science Monitor "People Making a Difference" article profiled the efforts of Temsutula Imsong and supporters to clean up the banks of the Ganges (Ganga) River.

To access this article, please visit:

Christian Science Monitor: Temsutula Imsong picked up a broom and bucket and cleaned up a riverbank (8 OCT 15)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the awesome beauty of the Universe You created.

Vatican Observatory Director on Science and Religion

"Brother Guy Consolmagno [, S.J.,] is a planetary scientist who directs the Vatican Observatory and curates the Vatican meteorite collection, one of the largest in the world. He holds a degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he did post-doctorate work (in addition to the Harvard College Observatory). At the age of 29, he joined the Peace Corps and lived in Kenya. He became a Jesuit Brother in 1992, and was honored in 2000 by the International Astronomical Union for his contributions to the study of meteorites and asteroids.

"In [a recent talk], Consolmagno admits to being 'a fanatic about his science and a nerd about his religion' and relates the conversation he had about both fields with William Shatner of Star Trek fame.

"Consolmagno says we shouldn't divide the universe into 'the purely rational and the purely emotional' and explains that both science and religion start with observations and often have to move forward with 'inadequate data' in order to help us get to the truth."

A recent Aleteia post offered a video of this talk, with Br. Guy's observations/reflection.

To access this post, please visit:

Aleteia: Vatican’s Chief Astronomer Says You Can't Divide the Universe Into "Kirk and Spock" (11 OCT 15)

Background information:

Vatican Observatory

Wikipedia: Guy Consolmagno

Reflection Starter from Saint John XXIII

"The family is the first essential cell of human society." - Pope Saint John XXIII

12 October 2015

Protecting the New England Cottontail

"The New England cottontail, the region's only native rabbit and the inspiration for the Thornton Burgess novel 'The Adventures of Peter Cottontail,' has become so rare that there are just a few remnant populations.

"But a multiyear conservation plan involving the federal and several state governments, scientists, foresters, farmers and others is attempting to prevent the New England cottontail from disappearing altogether."

To access a Westerly Sun article report on efforts being taken to protect the New England cottontail.

To access this Westerly Sun report, please visit:

Westerly Sun: Steps taken to protect rare rabbit (11 OCT 15)

Background information:

New England Cottontail Management

Wikipedia: Thornton Burgess

Holy Mackerel!

A periodic correspondent, John STROADE Shay, Sr., recently shared this video of Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg, Germany - a permanent exhibit that is considered to be the largest model railway in the world:

YouTube: Miniatur Wunderland *** official video *** largest model railway / railroad of the world

Wow!  Thank you, John!!!

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for leading us via Your gentle Light.

Br. Ambrose Arralde, O.P., on Bl. John Henry Newman's 'Lead Kindly Light'

"We want our faith to make the world into a land of bright lights and rainbows, but we persist in a world of uncertainty and shadows, where anything could be lying in wait. The Christian life has its days and nights, 'a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance' (Ecclesiastes 3:4). Even the good times are marred by the realization of their transience: 'vanity of vanities; all is vanity' (Ecclesiastes 1:1). The night seems always to linger. But, for those of faith, it is never quite free from the brightness of day. It is not the case that the two merge into a kind of perpetual twilight. Rather, they remain side by side and yet distinct.

"This is the subject of Bl. John Henry Newman's well-loved poem 'Lead Kindly Light':
     'Lead, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom
     'Lead Thou me on!
     'The night is dark, and I am far from home -
     'Lead Thou me on!
     'Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
     'The distant scene - one step enough for me.'

"Newman doesn't ask that the Light dispel the darkness, only that it lead him through it. He doesn't even want to see what is coming farther down the road. The Kindly Light is like a candle in a dark room, clearly seen by all who look toward it. Its light, though surrounded by darkness, is not overcome by it (cf. John 1:5). Because the darkness cannot overcome the light, it is always there for those who turn to it, but not so bright as to overwhelm those who look away: 'the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light.… but he who does what is true comes to the light' (John 3:19, 21)."

In a recent commentary, Brother Ambrose Arralde, O.P., reflected on Bl. John Henry Newman's 'Lead Kindly Light' and on what it means to be led by this Light.

To access Br. Ambrose's complete post, please visit:

Dominicana: A Lamp for my Feet (9 OCT 15)

Background information:

American Catholic: Blessed John Henry Newman

Reflection Starter from C. S. Lewis

"Hardship often prepares an ordinary person for an extraordinary destiny." - C. S. Lewis

11 October 2015

"Christ is the World's Light"

As our Sunday celebration continues, I offer this version of Koiné presenting "Christ is the World's Light":

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are Wisdom 7:7-11, Hebrews 4:12-13, and Mark 10:17-30. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 90 (Psalm 90:12-17).

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

YouTube: Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 90 Fill us with Your love and we will sing for joy

The Gospel reading is as follows:

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

Jesus answered him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: 'You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother.'"

He replied and said to him, "Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth."

Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, "You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me."

At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!" The disciples were amazed at his words. So Jesus again said to them in reply, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."

They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, "Then who can be saved?"

Jesus looked at them and said, "For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God."

Peter began to say to him, "We have given up everything and followed you."

Jesus said, "Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come."

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Twenty-eight Sunday in Ordinary Time (October 11, 2015)

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Salesian Sunday Reflection: Twenty-eight Sunday in Ordinary Time (October 11, 2015)

Community in Mission: What Does Heaven Cost? A Meditation on the Gospel for the 28th Sunday of the Year (10 OCT 15)

Word on Fire: The Rich Young Man and the Hunger for Eternal Life (Cycle B * Ordinary Time * Week 28)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the graces You give us to open ourselves ever more deeply to You.

Msgr. Pope on the Blessings of Jesus' Promises

"A text that was read at daily Mass last week features Jesus describing remarkable blessings received by the disciples. He states these blessings as a simple and obvious fact for them, blessings never before received by anyone!

"Do you see your life this way? Are your blessings obvious to you? Do they distinguish you from those who never knew Christ? Does your relationship with Jesus Christ grant you obvious transformation or is that just misinformation and exaggeration?"

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on the spiritual blessings offered to us and on what our response needs to be.

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

Community in Mission: Transformation or Misinformation? Are Jesus’ Promises Real? What Hinders the Promises of Christ in Us? (5 OCT 15)

Reflection Starter from Pope Francis

"Work is important, but so too is rest. Shouldn't we learn to respect times of rest, especially Sundays?" Pope Francis

10 October 2015

Baha Men: "Who Let The Dogs Out"

As this blessed week draws to a close, I offer this version of Baha Men presenting "Who Let The Dogs Out":

Note: Baha Men is the headline act at this weekend's Autumnfest in Woonsocket, RI.

Tom Ward on Our Heroes Next Door

"Admittedly, I often complain in this space about some of the things that seem to be going badly in our state, about many of our 'ranked 50th' concerns. And then I have a night like last Thursday night, and a week like last week.

"The truth is, we have a lot of wonderful people all around us, and there aren't any 'Top 50 People' lists to troll the Internet for when it comes to our nice neighbors. They are everywhere! They are in our classrooms and our factories. They are our first responders; they get me a coffee. And yes, I even know many decent elected officials, trying their level best to improve things. Sometimes they are hard to notice in our hustle and bustle, or if we're constantly staring at our phones with every 10-second pause in our lives. But they are here."

In a recent commentary, Tom Ward, publisher of The Valley Breeze newspapers, reflected on the good people, often unnoticed that each of us have in our lives. In closing his essay, he offered the this recommendation: "If you can, take a minute to say 'thanks,' and take another moment to thank God they are in your life, even if only briefly. They make all of our lives richer."

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

The Valley Breeze: Our heroes next door... (6 OCT 15)

Well said, Tom!!!

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the grace of acceptance and its many good fruits.

Bishop Tobin on October Saints

"We’ve just entered a beautiful liturgical season, surely not as prominent as Advent, Christmas, Lent or Easter, but a special time for the Church nonetheless. I speak of October, the Season of Saints. While the celebration of saints is scattered throughout the year, it seems that this month has a bounty of beautiful feast days that spark devotion and speak to the Catholic imagination in a particular way."

In a recent commentary, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, of the Diocese of Providence (RI), reflected on the beauty of October and the saints celebrated this month.

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

Without A Doubt: October: The Season of Saints (1 OCT 15)

Reflection Starter from St. Francis de Sales

"Look at the bees. They suck bitter juice from thyme and by their nature convert it into honey. Devout souls find many hardships, it is true, but in accepting them, they convert bitterness into sweetness." - Saint Francis de Sales

09 October 2015

Fire Prevention Week

This week, the week of 4-10 October, is being observed as Fire Prevention Week. This year’s theme is “Hear the BEEP where you SLEEP.”

The theme is designed to remind people that approximately half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11:00 PM and 7:00 AM, when most people are asleep and that smoke alarms save lives .


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

NFPA: Fire Prevention Week

Background information:

National Fire Protection Association

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of laughter.

Fr. Longenecker on the Importance of Laughter

". . . One of the simplest benefits of Pope Francis' ministry is that he seems to like to laugh. In a world that is increasingly deadly, dark, and serious, he is the man in the white suit. He's lighter and takes himself lightly. Laughter is a mark not only of authentic religion, but mature humanity.

". . . Laughter lightens and enlightens the soul. Laughter is a sign of confidence and enthusiasm. Enthusiasm, after all, comes from the word 'enthuse,' which is derived from the Greek en theos - or 'God within.' Enthusiasm is a sign of the Holy Spirit's presence, and any religion that is totally dour, sour, and serious is not the religion of Christ the Lord, but the religion of the Anti-Christ - the Dark Lord.

"Laughter, like all emotion, opens the heart, and when the heart is open things get done. There's an old Russian saying, 'The heart moves the feet.' In other words, it is the emotions that motivate. In fact the word 'emotion' and 'motion' and 'motivate' all come from the same root. The mind might be informed, but until the heart is moved nothing moves."

In a recent commentary, Father Dwight Longenecker (parish priest at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, Greenville, SC) reflected on the importance of laughter, of taking ourselves lightly, and of radiating an "eternal lightness of being."

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

The Imaginative Conservative: To Laugh Is Human, But Is Comedy Divine? (4 OCT 15)

Related quote from G. K. Chesterton: "Angels can fly because they can take themselves lightly."

Background information:

Dwight Longenecker - Catholic priest and author

Reflection Starter from Henry Ward Beecher

"Mirth is God's medicine. Everybody ought to bathe in it. Grim care, moroseness, anxiety - all this rust of life - ought to be scoured off by the oil of mirth." - Henry Ward Beecher

08 October 2015

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways in which You touch our hearts when we pray the Rosary.

Joseph Graziano, O.P., on the Light of Eärendil and the Rosary

"In The Lord of the Rings, the Lady Galadriel gives Frodo a gift upon his departure from Lothlórien: a phial, somehow filled with the light of Eärendil, the star that serves as a sort of Polaris or Morning Star to guide the Eldar (elves) to the Undying Lands. When Galadriel gives Frodo the phial, she expresses her purpose for the gift: 'May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.' . . .

"Given by Lady Galadriel and a source of light through prayer, the phial is for us an image of the Rosary. The Blessed Virgin Mary, fairest of all women, gave us the Rosary as a light in dark places. In praying the Rosary, we cry out to Mary the Morning Star that she may guide us to Heaven in her Son. In whispering our Aves, we ask the Queen of Heaven, the Woman robed in stars, for Her aid in the darkest times of life."

In a recent commentary, Brother Joseph Graziano, O.P., reflected on the similarities between the light of Eärendil and the Rosary.

To access Br. Joseph's complete post, please visit:

Dominicana: Lux in Tenebris (7 OCT 15)