30 June 2016

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the sacrifices made by our veterans and others holding positions of public trust.

Operation Homefront Serves Veterans

I keep reading that it's a new era for country music, and as a regular visitor to Oklahoma I figure that I'm ahead of the game. One of those breaking new ground is Tim McGraw, a country singer who boasts of the kind of attraction that appeals to everyone. (New York Met baseball fans know him as the son of the late and legendary Mets' reliever, Tug McGraw, but to those who enjoy country music, he's always been a star in his own right.)

Tim McGraw is becoming known for something else, too. He's a great supporter of U.S. veterans, and he looks for chances to put that support to work all the time. To that end he's partnered with Operation Homefront, which takes empty homes and donates them - mortgage-free and no strings attached - to deserving veterans. Alison Abbey wrote about McGraw and Operation Homefront in a recent issue of Parade magazine, and she made it plain that the singer puts Christopher principles - which stress the positive impact of helping someone else - to use every day.

"I've got tons of friends who are veterans," he says. "When Operation Homefront came to me with this program that marries homes with deserving veterans, it's just the best program I can be involved in.

"These guys spend so much of their lives dedicated to providing security for us. Their families have sacrificed everything, and they find themselves trying to find that same security. In a lot of cases they don't have a home of their own. They're moving from place to place. If I can be involved in changing that, I'm glad to do it."

Tim McGraw comes by his interest in veterans - and, in a larger sense, his love of the land we share - quite naturally. Giving back is in his DNA.

"I think that's sort of the environment our music was born in - struggle and strife, helping each other out when times are hard," he says. "A lot of us were raised in those circumstances and in those neighborhoods and family situations."

McGraw, 48, is married to fellow performer Faith Hill, and the couple has three teen-age daughters. Family plays a big part in his life and, he says, keeps him grounded.

"You can give up your soul and your life to work if you don't have something to balance it," he explains. "My family is certainly way on the other side of the scale balancing out my life."

McGraw's heart is close not only to his work and his family; it's close to our veterans as well. He's already presented keys to 36 homes for veterans and their families through Operation Homefront, and he knows that a lot more are lined up. It's about providing homes for their future, true, but it's also about providing a measure of stability too. And there are other essentials - home repairs, food, school supplies, baby products. They're all part of the package.

"The veterans are so thankful," McGraw says. "They have a service heart to start with; it's just the kind of people they are. 

"My reaction is always, 'You don't have to thank me or anybody for this. You deserve it.'"

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:

Operation Homefront

The Christophers

Reflection Starter from Soren Kierkegaard

"Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays." - Soren Kierkegaard

27 June 2016

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many blessings You have bestowed on our families during the past weekend.

Bishop Robert Barron on St. Thomas Aquinas and the Art of Making a Public Argument

"There is, in many quarters, increasing concern about the hyper-charged political correctness that has gripped our campuses and other forums of public conversation. Even great works of literature and philosophy - from Huckleberry Finn and Heart of Darkness to, believe it or not, Kant's Critique of Pure Reason - are now regularly accompanied by "trigger warnings" that alert prospective readers to the racism, sexism, homophobia, or classism contained therein.

"And popping up more and more at our colleges and universities are "safe spaces" where exquisitely sensitive students can retreat in the wake of jarring confrontations with points of view with which they don't sympathize. My favorite example of this was at Brown University where school administrators provided retreat centers with play-doh, crayons, and videos of frolicking puppies to calm the nerves of their students even before a controversial debate commenced! Apparently even the prospect of public argument sent these students to an updated version of daycare. Of course a paradoxical concomitant of this exaggerated sensitivity to giving offense is a proclivity to aggressiveness and verbal violence; for once authentic debate has been ruled out of court, the only recourse contesting parties have is to some form of censorship or bullying.

"There is obviously much that can and should be mocked in all of this, but I won't go down that road. Instead, I would like to revisit a time when people knew how to have a public argument about the most hotly-contested matters. Though it might come as a surprise to many, I'm talking about the High Middle Ages, when the university system was born. And to illustrate the medieval method of disciplined conversation there is no better candidate than St. Thomas Aquinas. The principal means of teaching in the medieval university was not the classroom lecture, which became prominent only in the 19th century German system of education; rather, it was the quaestio disputata (disputed question), which was a lively, sometimes raucous, and very public intellectual exchange. Though the written texts of Aquinas can strike us today as a tad turgid, we have to recall that they are grounded in these disciplined but decidedly energetic conversations."

In a recent commentary, Bishop Robert Barron (Auxiliary Bishop of Archdiocese of Los Angeles) reflected on the Thomistic method of discussion of serious matters.

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

Catholic World Report: The Dispatch: Thomas Aquinas and the Art of Making a Public Argument (21 JUN 16)

Reflection Starter from St. Francis de Sales

"Worry prevents us from doing well the very things about which we are worried." - Saint Francis de Sales

26 June 2016

"Be Thou My Vision"

As our Sunday celebration continues, I offer this version of 4Him presenting "Be Thou My Vision":

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are 1 Kings 19:16, 19-21; Galatians 5:1, 13-18; and Luke 9:51-62. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 16 (Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-11). 

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

YouTube: You Are My Inheritance (Psalm 16) - 13th Sunday Ordinary Time, C 

The Gospel reading is as follows:

When the days for Jesus' being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, and he sent messengers ahead of him. On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.

When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?" Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village.

As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go."

Jesus answered him, "Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head."

And to another he said, "Follow me."

But he replied, "Lord, let me go first and bury my father."

But he answered him, "Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God."

And another said, "I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home."

To him Jesus said, "No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God."

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (June 26, 2016)

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Salesian Sunday Reflection: Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (June 26, 2016)

Community in Mission: Five Disciplines of Discipleship - A Homily for the 13th Sunday of the Year (25 JUN 16)

The Sacred Page: The Call of Discipleship: 13th Sunday in OT (23 JUN 16)

The Sacred Page: Let the Dead Bury Their Dead: The Mass Readings Explained (The Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time) (22 JUN 16)

Word on Fire: Walking Truly and Completely with Him (Cycle C * Ordinary Time * Week 13)

St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology: Sunday Bible Reflections: Taking the Call: Scott Hahn Reflects on the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time (20 JUN 16)

Spirituality of the Readings: Toward Jerusalem (13th Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

Let the Scriptures Speak: Jesus - Gentle and Demanding (13th Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

The Word Embodied: Holy Commitment (13th Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

Historical Cultural Context: Luke's Jesus & the Samaritans (13th Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary by Hilary of Poitiers (13th Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for Your call to holiness and for the graces You give us to follow Your call.

Msgr. Pope on Three Hard Sayings of the Lord

"[A recent daily Gospel reading] features three hard sayings of the Lord. They are difficult for us moderns to hear because they offend against modern sensibilities; we easily taken aback by their abrupt quality. Here are the first two 'offensive' sayings:

Do not give what is holy to dogs, (Mt 7:6)
or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces (Mt 7:6).

"The modern notion offended against here is this: You're not supposed to call people ugly names. This idea, though not wrong in itself, has become rather excessively applied in our times. We live in thin-skinned times of fragile egos; people are easily offended. The merest slight is often met with the threat of a lawsuit. Even observations intended to be humorous are labeled hurtful and out-of-line. But horror of horrors, here we have Jesus calling certain (unnamed) people dogs and swine; we demand an explanation for such horrible words coming forth from the sinless Lord Jesus!

"Sophistication is needed. One of the reasons we are so easily offended today is, frankly, that we lack sophistication. We seem to have lost understanding of simile and metaphor." 

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on three hard sayings from Jesus and on their implications for His people.

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

Community in Mission: Three Hard Sayings of the Lord That Offend Against Modern Sensibilities (21 JUN 16)

Reflection Starter from Pope Francis

"Being Christian involves joining one's own life, in all its aspects, to the person of Jesus and, through Him, to the Father." Pope Francis

25 June 2016

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for beautiful early summer days.

New Bishop of Tulsa Makes His Own Crosier

"Deep in the heart of Texas, a campus chaplain is busy making his final spiritual and practical preparations for becoming a bishop.

"However, unlike many of his soon-to-be brother-bishops, Fr. David Konderla is carving his very own staff - or crosier - to signify his new position and duty as a teacher and head of a diocese.

"'Every Jedi has not completed his training until he's made his own light saber that he uses to fight evil with ' so this is my light saber,' Bishop-elect David Konderla told CNA in an interview.

On June 29, Fr. David Konderla will be ordained and installed as the Bishop of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Currently, the Bishop-elect serves as the Director of Campus Ministry for St. Mary's Catholic Center, the campus chaplaincy for Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.

"A crosier is a hooked staff - based on the shape of a shepherd's staff - carried by bishops in the Catholic Church to symbolize their pastoral function in the Church. Other important symbols of a bishop's position are the pectoral cross worn on a bishop's chest, the mitre- or hat, and the episcopal ring."

A recent Catholic News Agency article profiled Father Konderla and the making of his crosier (he has made four previously for other bishops).

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

Catholic News Agency: 'This is my light saber' - Tulsa's new bishop makes his own staff (8 JUN 16)

Background information:

Diocese of Tulsa

St. Mary's Catholic Center at Texas A & M University: Fr. David Konderla

Reflection Starter from St. Josemaría Escrivá

"Christian optimism is not a sugary optimism, nor is it a mere human confidence that everything will turn out all right. It is an optimism that sinks its roots into an awareness of our freedom, and the sure knowledge of the power of grace. It is an optimism that leads us to make demands on ourselves, to struggle to respond at every moment to God's call." - Saint Josemaría Escrivá, whose memory the Church celebrates on 26 June

23 June 2016

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of our parents and for the blessing they have been in our lives.

Spirit and Guts for Father’s Day

Anyone who's seen the Aurora Borealis in pictures, on video or in person knows the beauty these "Northern Lights" can produce. But they've rarely produced anything as beautiful as the time they allowed John Sullivan to reconnect with his long-dead father and try to save his life. That's the premise of the film Frequency, released in 2000, and starring Jim Caviezel and Dennis Quaid. And it's a great movie for Father's Day.

The story begins in Bayside, Queens, October 1969, a few days before firefighter Frank Sullivan (Quaid) will die while trying to rescue a teenager in an abandoned warehouse fire. Frank is an ideal husband and father who clearly loves and appreciates his wife Julia and their six-year-old son Johnny, who he always encourages to have "spirit and guts."

Frank is also a ham radio enthusiast who enjoys communicating with people around the world. One day, while the Aurora Borealis begins occurring for a period of time in the Earth's atmosphere, Frank begins talking to a friendly stranger on the radio. He soon discovers that this is no stranger at all, but his son John, 30 years in the future.

Grown-up John Sullivan (Caviezel) has obviously suffered from the loss of his father many years ago and seems incapable of building the kind of relationship his Dad had with his Mom. But this mysterious connection with the past - explained by the idea of string theory and quantum mechanics breaking down the barriers between past, present and future due to the Aurora Borealis - ignites in him a feeling of fulfillment that has been missing for years.

Frank, of course, is reluctant to believe that he's actually communicating with the future, while John comes around more quickly, perhaps aided by the fact that this is a dream come true for him. Using the results of the 1969 World Series games featuring the Amazin' Mets, John finally convinces Frank that the unbelievable is actually happening. Then he has to get him to change the course of action that would end his life.

Frequency is largely about the connection between fathers and sons, as well as the strength of family overall. Dennis Quaid exudes character, courage and compassion as Frank. He's a model for how men should treat their wives and children. Jim Caviezel's John, on the other hand, reflects what can happen when a child's father isn't there to be an influence in his life. The story suggests that John had other men to step in as father figures while he was growing up, but that he never got over the loss of his real dad.

If you're mainly used to seeing Caviezel as the intense, deadpan John Reese on TV's Person of Interest, he may surprise you here. While he conveys the wounded, lonely eyes that reflect loss, he also portrays moments of genuine happiness after finding his father again. The scene in which the two of them have accepted that what is happening is real and simply start communicating with each other from the heart is a magnificent piece of acting.

In the end, Frequency is a total wish-fulfillment fantasy. But that's okay because the movie pulls it off through emotionally engaging storytelling and a riveting plot. Watching these examples of what fatherhood and family should be will resonate with viewers regardless of their real life situations, help them better appreciate their parents and children, and offer a timely reminder that we all need to live with "spirit and guts."

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:

The Christophers

Reflection Starter from William Shakespeare

"Our doubts are traitors,
And make us lose the good we oft might win,
By fearing to attempt." - William Shakespeare (in Measure for Measure, Act 1, Scene iv)

19 June 2016

2016 World Communications Day: "Communication and Mercy: A Fruitful Encounter"

On the Sunday before Pentecost, the Church celebrated, for the 50th year, World Communications Day. This year's theme is "Communication and Mercy: A Fruitful Encounter." The message of Pope Francis for this year's observance is as follows:

"The Holy Year of Mercy invites all of us to reflect on the relationship between communication and mercy. The Church, in union with Christ, the living incarnation of the Father of Mercies, is called to practise mercy as the distinctive trait of all that she is and does. What we say and how we say it, our every word and gesture, ought to express God's compassion, tenderness and forgiveness for all. Love, by its nature, is communication; it leads to openness and sharing. If our hearts and actions are inspired by charity, by divine love, then our communication will be touched by God’s own power.

"As sons and daughters of God, we are called to communicate with everyone, without exception. In a particular way, the Church's words and actions are all meant to convey mercy, to touch people's hearts and to sustain them on their journey to that fullness of life which Jesus Christ was sent by the Father to bring to all. This means that we ourselves must be willing to accept the warmth of Mother Church and to share that warmth with others, so that Jesus may be known and loved. That warmth is what gives substance to the word of faith; by our preaching and witness, it ignites the 'spark' which gives them life.

"Communication has the power to build bridges, to enable encounter and inclusion, and thus to enrich society. How beautiful it is when people select their words and actions with care, in the effort to avoid misunderstandings, to heal wounded memories and to build peace and harmony. Words can build bridges between individuals and within families, social groups and peoples. This is possible both in the material world and the digital world. Our words and actions should be such as to help us all escape the vicious circles of condemnation and vengeance which continue to ensnare individuals and nations, encouraging expressions of hatred. The words of Christians ought to be a constant encouragement to communion and, even in those cases where they must firmly condemn evil, they should never try to rupture relationships and communication.

"For this reason, I would like to invite all people of good will to rediscover the power of mercy to heal wounded relationships and to restore peace and harmony to families and communities. All of us know how many ways ancient wounds and lingering resentments can entrap individuals and stand in the way of communication and reconciliation. The same holds true for relationships between peoples. In every case, mercy is able to create a new kind of speech and dialogue. Shakespeare put it eloquently when he said: 'The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed: it blesseth him that gives and him that takes' (The Merchant of Venice, Act IV, Scene I).

"Our political and diplomatic language would do well to be inspired by mercy, which never loses hope. I ask those with institutional and political responsibility, and those charged with forming public opinion, to remain especially attentive to the way they speak of those who think or act differently or those who may have made mistakes. It is easy to yield to the temptation to exploit such situations to stoke the flames of mistrust, fear and hatred. Instead, courage is needed to guide people towards processes of reconciliation. It is precisely such positive and creative boldness which offers real solutions to ancient conflicts and the opportunity to build lasting peace. 'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God' (Mt 5:7-9)

"How I wish that our own way of communicating, as well as our service as pastors of the Church, may never suggest a prideful and triumphant superiority over an enemy, or demean those whom the world considers lost and easily discarded. Mercy can help mitigate life's troubles and offer warmth to those who have known only the coldness of judgment. May our way of communicating help to overcome the mindset that neatly separates sinners from the righteous. We can and we must judge situations of sin - such as violence, corruption and exploitation - but we may not judge individuals, since only God can see into the depths of their hearts. It is our task to admonish those who err and to denounce the evil and injustice of certain ways of acting, for the sake of setting victims free and raising up those who have fallen. The Gospel of John tells us that 'the truth will make you free' (Jn 8:32). The truth is ultimately Christ himself, whose gentle mercy is the yardstick for measuring the way we proclaim the truth and condemn injustice. Our primary task is to uphold the truth with love (cf. Eph 4:15). Only words spoken with love and accompanied by meekness and mercy can touch our sinful hearts. Harsh and moralistic words and actions risk further alienating those whom we wish to lead to conversion and freedom, reinforcing their sense of rejection and defensiveness.

"Some feel that a vision of society rooted in mercy is hopelessly idealistic or excessively indulgent. But let us try and recall our first experience of relationships, within our families. Our parents loved us and valued us for who we are more than for our abilities and achievements. Parents naturally want the best for their children, but that love is never dependent on their meeting certain conditions. The family home is one place where we are always welcome (cf. Lk 15:11-32). I would like to encourage everyone to see society not as a forum where strangers compete and try to come out on top, but above all as a home or a family, where the door is always open and where everyone feels welcome.

"For this to happen, we must first listen. Communicating means sharing, and sharing demands listening and acceptance. Listening is much more than simply hearing. Hearing is about receiving information, while listening is about communication, and calls for closeness. Listening allows us to get things right, and not simply to be passive onlookers, users or consumers. Listening also means being able to share questions and doubts, to journey side by side, to banish all claims to absolute power and to put our abilities and gifts at the service of the common good.

"Listening is never easy. Many times it is easier to play deaf. Listening means paying attention, wanting to understand, to value, to respect and to ponder what the other person says. It involves a sort of martyrdom or self-sacrifice, as we try to imitate Moses before the burning bush: we have to remove our sandals when standing on the 'holy ground' of our encounter with the one who speaks to me (cf. Ex 3:5). Knowing how to listen is an immense grace, it is a gift which we need to ask for and then make every effort to practice.

"Emails, text messages, social networks and chats can also be fully human forms of communication. It is not technology which determines whether or not communication is authentic, but rather the human heart and our capacity to use wisely the means at our disposal. Social networks can facilitate relationships and promote the good of society, but they can also lead to further polarization and division between individuals and groups. The digital world is a public square, a meeting-place where we can either encourage or demean one another, engage in a meaningful discussion or unfair attacks. I pray that this Jubilee Year, lived in mercy, 'may open us to even more fervent dialogue so that we might know and understand one another better; and that it may eliminate every form of closed-mindedness and disrespect, and drive out every form of violence and discrimination' (Misericordiae Vultus, 23). The internet can help us to be better citizens. Access to digital networks entails a responsibility for our neighbour whom we do not see but who is nonetheless real and has a dignity which must be respected. The internet can be used wisely to build a society which is healthy and open to sharing.

"Communication, wherever and however it takes place, has opened up broader horizons for many people. This is a gift of God which involves a great responsibility. I like to refer to this power of communication as 'closeness'. The encounter between communication and mercy will be fruitful to the degree that it generates a closeness which cares, comforts, heals, accompanies and celebrates. In a broken, fragmented and polarized world, to communicate with mercy means to help create a healthy, free and fraternal closeness between the children of God and all our brothers and sisters in the one human family."

From the Vatican, 24 January 2016


Mavis Staples: "In Christ There Is No East or West"

As our Sunday celebration continues, I offer this version of Mavis Staples presenting "In Christ There Is No East or West":

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are Zechariah 12:10-11, 13:1; Galatians 3:26-29; and Luke 9:18-24. 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) 

The Gospel reading is as follows:

Once when Jesus was praying by himself, and the disciples were with him, he asked them, "Who do the crowds say that I am?"

They said in reply, "John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, 'One of the ancient prophets has arisen.'"

Then he said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"

Peter said in reply, "The Christ of God."

He scolded them and directed them not to tell this to anyone. He said, "The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised."

Then he said to all, "If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it."

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time (June 19, 2016)

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Salesian Sunday Reflection: Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time (June 19, 2016)

Community in Mission: Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up? A Meditation on the Gospel for the 12th Sunday of the Year (18 JUN 16)

Deacon Greg Kandra: Carrying the Cross: Homily for June 19, 2016, 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time (19 JUN 16)

The Sacred Page: Turning to Face the Cross: 12th Sunday of OT (14 JUN 16)

The Sacred Page: The Messianic Secret: The Mass Readings Explained (The Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time) (15 JUN 16)

Word on Fire: Christ's Identity and Mission (Cycle C * Ordinary Time * Week 12)

St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology: Sunday Bible Reflections: Children of the Promise: Scott Hahn Reflects on the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time (13 JUN 16)

The Dispatch: Thirsting, Seeing, and Believing (18 JUN 16)

Spirituality of the Readings: The Question of Questions (12th Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

Let the Scriptures Speak: Carrying Your Cross (12th Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

The Word Embodied: Profession of Faith (12th Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

Historical Cultural Context: Honor and Secrecy (12th Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary by Cyril of Alexandria (12th Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the special role You have given each of us to play in Your Kingdom.

Msgr. Pope on Why God Permits Disability in His People

"Allow me to begin with a simple parable. Every now and then I take a perfectly good paper clip and untwist it, reconfiguring it for some other purpose. Once, I used them to hang Christmas ornaments on my tree. Another time I fashioned a paperclip into a hook to keep my broken file drawer from rolling open. Now if paperclips could see or think, they might be horrified and saddened to see a fellow paperclip so deformed. Perhaps I could try to explain that not only were their 'deformed' brethren not a disaster, they were actually quite useful and important to me in their condition. But alas, paperclips can't understand this; they just 'look on' with sadness and horror. After all, how can you expect a paperclip to understand any function other than holding together sheets of paper? They can't understand things beyond the world that they know. 

"I have often wondered if this isn't somewhat analogous to our understanding of things such as disability, birth defects, and the personal challenges of some of our fellow humans. As we look upon the disabled, the handicapped, the deformed, and the mentally ill, we are often moved to sadness and even horror. And we sometimes ask why God allows this. We often conclude that such people's lives are unhappy or that they will never reach their full potential.

"And yet I wonder if we really know what we're talking about. Who of us can really say what our own purpose is in God's plan is, let alone anyone else's? We are like paperclips; we know only one thing. Our minds are too small to ever comprehend the very special and significant role that even the most 'impaired' in our world play. Perhaps in Heaven we will realize what indispensable and central roles they had in God's plan and His victory. Of all the paperclips in my drawer, some of the most useful to me are the ones I've twisted and refashioned.

"A knowledge too high - I pray that you will accept my humble example of a paperclip. I mean no disrespect to humanity in comparing us to paperclips. We are surely more precious and complicated and God does not use us cavalierly like paperclips. But my example must be humble in order to illustrate what is a knowledge too high for us to grasp: the dignity and essential purpose of every human being to God and His plan." 

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on some of the reasons why God permits disability in His people. 

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

Community in Mission: A Parable to Ponder - Why Does God Permit Disability? (16 JUN 16)

Reflection Starter from Pope Francis

"More than a scientific question, the universe is a joyful mystery that speaks of God's boundless love for us." Pope Francis

18 June 2016

Aretha Franklin: "Respect"

As this blessed week draws to a close, I offer this version of Aretha Franklin presenting "Respect":

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for Church leadership that addresses issues in a way that reflects Gospel values.

Joan Frawley Desmond on Coming to Terms With Orlando

"As news of the deadly June 12 attack on an Orlando, Fla., nightclub dominated the media, Maggie Gallagher, long a target of homosexual-rights activists for her leading role in the defense of marriage as a union of one man and one woman, found herself under attack.

"In the wake of the Florida massacre, which took place at a nightclub that caters to a primarily homosexual clientele, a surge of Facebook posts blamed Gallagher and her colleagues for demonizing people with same-sex attraction. Initially, she pushed back against her accusers, but after reading a thoughtful message from John Stemberger, a fellow advocate for marriage and family, Gallagher decided to shut off her social media and take time to pray, reflect and to mourn the untimely deaths of 49 people. . . .

"Stemberger's message described the dead as 'image bearers of the Creator and worthy of dignity, value and respect.' He urged his audience to set aside the daily rough and tumble of partisan warfare to fully register that truth.

"Reflecting on her friend's call for a momentary reprieve from the culture wars, Gallagher told the Register that she needed to hear and respond to his spiritual guidance."

A recent National Catholic Register article, written by senior editor Joan Frawley Desmond, reported on the Church's response to the Orlando tragedy and the response to which we are all called.

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

National Catholic Register: Coming to Terms With Orlando (17 JUN 16)

Reflection Starter from Abraham Lincoln

". . . in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." - attributed to Abraham Lincoln

17 June 2016

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of uplifting music.

On World Refugee Day, USCCB Migration Chairman Calls Catholics To Remember Refugees Around The World

In remarks in advance of World Refugee Day, celebrated June 20, Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle, and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Migration, called upon Catholics to remember that there are many different types of refugees in the world.

Much of the world's attention in recent years has been drawn to the Syrian refugee crisis and its widespread impact on the Middle East, Europe, and the United States. However, Bishop Elizondo pointed out that the increase in migration from Central America of unaccompanied migrant children and families, many of whom would likely qualify as refugees, has been an ongoing concern for the Catholic Church and political leaders here in the United States for years. And these are not the only populations of concern.

"While these are both critical situations, it is crucial that we not forget the millions of other refugees and displaced persons all around the world who have been forced from their homes and been placed in precarious situations," Bishop Elizondo said in a prepared statement.

To further tell the refugee story, USCCB social media has been running a "Refugee Faces" feature on Facebook for the month of June (see https://www.facebook.com/usccb).

A number Catholic dioceses around the country (including Arlington, Dallas, Jacksonville, Phoenix and Portland, Maine) are hosting their own events to mark World Refugee Day.

Reflection Starter from Leonardo da Vinci

"How many emperors and how many princes have lived and died and no record of them remains, and they only sought to gain dominions and riches in order that their fame might be ever-lasting." -Leonardo da Vinci

16 June 2016

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the example given by Your martyrs in each age.

A Modern Martyr in Pakistan

Most of us are lucky enough to just "go to church" each week. We do so without a thought to our personal safety, and, in most cases, without a word of thanks. After all, in our minds there's barely a reason to do either. But that's not the case in some other spots in the world - including sections of Pakistan, where a recent incident points to the fact that the matter of simply going to church can be a risky business indeed.

The hero of the story is Akash Bashir, whose tale is told by Kamran Chaudhry's report in Our Sunday Visitor. Bashir was a young man of 20 who resisted a deadly attack on a Catholic church in Lahore, helping to protect some 2,000 worshipers inside by confronting a suicide bomber and sacrificing his own life. As a result, he's a candidate for canonization and is in line to become Pakistan's first saint.

Bashir got that way by taking a chance. An altar boy growing up in a northern province of the country, he joined the security team of St. John Catholic Church in Lahore. He did so despite the misgivings of his parents, who initially balked at signing the volunteer permission card.

"I felt scared, and he gave me strength," said his mother, Naaz Bano. "We miss him so much."

On the day of the attack Bashir prevented a bomber from entering the church, although 17 people were killed and dozens wounded when suicide bombers stormed St. John's and another nearby church. They were attacked simply because they were Christian.

"While others were victims," said Father Francis Gulzar of St. John's, "he grabbed the man wearing the suicide vest and prevented him from entering the building." Grappling with the man, Bashir gave up his own life.

A memorial plaque has been put up, and a booklet has been printed documenting Bashir's life - the first step toward his eventual canonization. The bishops of Pakistan will soon meet to discuss his sainthood cause.

Going to Mass each week in that region is quite different from our experience here in the U.S., something we would do well to keep in mind. As Chaudhry's report in OSV points out, roads leading to St. John Church (and the Anglican Christ Church) are blocked each week amid tight police security. The pastor of the Anglican community reported finding a threatening note in the collection basket.

The number of women volunteers for the security detail has increased from 10 to 35 since Bashir's death, and now more than 40 youth members guard the church's main entrance and surrounding streets.

Several families have left the area since the terrorists blew themselves up, and two more Muslims, suspected of being terrorists themselves, were lynched by people shortly after the bombings. Christian leaders have attempted to discourage this kind of mindless retaliation, but the pastor of Christ Church nevertheless offered a grim assessment of the situation:

"Our life is not the same anymore."

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

Media report:

Salesian Province of Chennai : Akash Bashir, Don Bosco Past Pupil, Hero who stopped suicide bombers (18 MAR 15)

Reflection Starter from Dwight D. Eisenhower

"No one can always be right. So the struggle is to do one's best, to keep the brain and conscience clear, never to be swayed by unworthy motives or inconsequential reasons, but to strive to unearth the basic factors involved, then do one's duty." - Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th president of the United States

14 June 2016

Flag Day and National Flag Week

Today, 14 June, is Flag Day, which marks the anniversary of the adoption by Congress of the Stars and Stripes as emblem of the nation (in 1777). This week, the week beginning 12 June, is also being observed as National Flag Week.

Presidential Proclamation:

Presidential Proclamation – Flag Day and National Flag Week, 2016

This year is also the 201st anniversary of the writing of “The Star Spangled Banner,” the national anthem of the United States of America:

Smithsonian National Museum of American History: The Star-Spangled Banner

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“I am the Flag”
by Ruth Apperson Rous

I am the flag of the United States of America.
I was born on June 14, 1777, in Philadelphia.
There the Continental Congress adopted my stars and stripes as the national flag.
My thirteen stripes alternating red and white, with a union of thirteen white stars in a field of blue, represented a new constellation, a new nation dedicated to the personal and religious liberty of mankind.
Today fifty stars signal from my union, one for each of the fifty sovereign states in the greatest constitutional republic the world has ever known.
My colors symbolize the patriotic ideals and spiritual qualities of the citizens of my country.
My red stripes proclaim the fearless courage and integrity of American men and boys and the self-sacrifice and devotion of American mothers and daughters.
My white stripes stand for liberty and equality for all.
My blue is the blue of heaven, loyalty, and faith.
I represent these eternal principles: liberty, justice, and humanity.
I embody American freedom: freedom of speech, religion, assembly, the press, and the sanctity of the home.
I typify that indomitable spirit of determination brought to my land by Christopher Columbus and by all my forefathers – the Pilgrims, Puritans, settlers at James town and Plymouth.
I am as old as my nation.
I am a living symbol of my nation’s law: the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights.
I voice Abraham Lincoln’s philosophy: “A government of the people, by the people,for the people.”
I stand guard over my nation’s schools, the seedbed of good citizenship and true patriotism.
I am displayed in every schoolroom throughout my nation; every schoolyard has a flag pole for my display.
Daily thousands upon thousands of boys and girls pledge their allegiance to me and my country.
I have my own law – Public Law 829, “The Flag Code” – which definitely states my correct use and display for all occasions and situations.
I have my special day, Flag Day. June 14 is set aside to honor my birth.
Americans, I am the sacred emblem of your country. I symbolize your birthright, your heritage of liberty purchased with blood and sorrow.
I am your title deed of freedom, which is yours to enjoy and hold in trust for posterity.
If you fail to keep this sacred trust inviolate, if I am nullified and destroyed, you and your children will become slaves to dictators and despots.
Eternal vigilance is your price of freedom.
As you see me silhouetted against the peaceful skies of my country, remind yourself that I am the flag of your country, that I stand for what you are – no more, no less.
Guard me well, lest your freedom perish from the earth.
Dedicate your lives to those principles for which I stand: “One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
I was created in freedom. I made my first appearance in a battle for human liberty.
God grant that I may spend eternity in my “land of the free and the home of the brave” and that I shall ever be known as “Old Glory,” the flag of the United States of America.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Red Skelton's commentary on the Pledge of Allegiance:

Red Skelton's Pledge of Allegiance

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Background Information:

The History Of Flag Day

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for creating each of us, each special in our own way.

Pope Francis Dencounces "Obsessive" Pursuit of Perfect Bodies

"Pope Francis on Sunday denounced the culture of pleasure and entertainment and the 'obsessive' pursuit of perfect bodies, saying they lead to society hiding away - and even eliminating ' the disabled and those it deems imperfect or 'unacceptable.'

"The pope's words came during the celebration of Holy Mass in a packed St. Peter's Square, on the Jubilee for the Sick and Persons with Disabilities. . . .

"In his homily, the pope acknowledged the fundamental reality that 'human nature, wounded by sin, is marked by limitations.' Yet, he continued, 'it is thought that sick or disabled persons cannot be happy, since they cannot live the lifestyle held up by the culture of pleasure and entertainment.'

"'In an age when care for one’s body has become an obsession and a big business, anything imperfect has to be hidden away, since it threatens the happiness and serenity of the privileged few and endangers the dominant model,' he said."

To access a report on this reflection of Pope Francis, please visit:

Aleteia: Pope Francis Decries "Obsessive" Pursuit of Perfect Bodies (12 JUN 16)

Reflection Starter from Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

13 June 2016

The Arts Ministry of Torolab

"At the top of a hill in Camino Verde, a neighborhood long known for its gang turf wars and struggling families, sits a drab concrete-slab building.

"It's a substantive structure, which stands out in this community of informally built homes in Tijuana, Mexico. And that's the whole idea.

"'We built a bunker, and it changed everything,' says Raúl Cárdenas Osuna, an architect and artist who uses his hands - and cellphone photos - as he animatedly describes his work.

"Mr. Cárdenas is the founder and director of Torolab, an art and urban planning collective founded in Tijuana in 1995. He's dedicated his life to creating social change through community-driven art initiatives, and his unique outlook played an important role in transforming Camino Verde from a grim environment into a neighborhood of hope and promise."

A recent Christian Science Monitor article profiled Mr. Cárdenas and the Torolab ministry.

To access the complete report, please visit:

Christian Science Monitor: Violence plunged after he brought the arts to a Tijuana neighborhood (9 JUN 16)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for guiding the development of shrines, for encouraging Your people to visit them, and for the many ways You touch the hearts of the people who visit them or otherwise avail themselves of their ministry.

On a "Forgotten" Church Becoming a Thriving Shrine

"Pugin's church of St Augustine in Ramsgate became a shrine in 2012. It is now the official place to honour the coming of Christianity from Rome to the Anglo-Saxon people with the mission of St Augustine.

"In a stunning location overlooking the sea, the shrine is near to where St Augustine first landed in AD 597. Augustus Pugin moved to this place and built his own 'ideal' church (and was buried there) precisely because 'blessed Austen had landed nearby'. He called it 'the cradle of Catholicism in England'.

"Pugin desired a rebirth of Catholic culture in the place where it had been first conceived. When Archbishop Peter Smith inaugurated the new shrine he was filling a gap of 474 years since the last great shrine of St Augustine had been destroyed in Canterbury. This significant act has inspired thousands of pilgrims to visit ever since."

In a recent commentary, Father Marcus Holden, rector of the Shrine of Saint Augustine, Ramsgate, England, United Kingdom, reflected in what goes into the development of a shrine in general and, in particular, into the development of the Shrine of St. Augustine.

To access Fr. Holden's complete essay, please visit:

Catholic Herald: How a forgotten church with a leaky roof became one of Britain's most thriving shrines (26 MAY 16)

Background information:

Shrine of Saint Augustine

Facebook: Pugin's Church and Shrine of St Augustine, Ramsgate

Reflection Starter from the Catechism of the Catholic Church

"It is the duty of citizens to contribute to the good of society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity and freedom. The love and service of one's country follow from the duty of gratitude and belong to the order of charity." -  Catechism of the Catholic Church, # 2230

12 June 2016

Daughters of Mary: "God of Mercy and Compassion"

As our Sunday celebration continues, I offer this version of the Daughters of Mary Mother of Our Savior presenting "God of Mercy and Compassion":

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are 2 Samuel 12:7-10, 13; Galatians 2:16, 19-21; and Luke 7:36-8:3. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 32 (Psalm 32:1-2, 5, 7, 11). 

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

YouTube: Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 32 Lord forgive the wrong I have done 

The Gospel reading is as follows:

A Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with him, and he entered the Pharisee's house and reclined at table. Now there was a sinful woman in the city who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee. Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment, she stood behind him at his feet weeping and began to bathe his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment.

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner."

Jesus said to him in reply, "Simon, I have something to say to you."

"Tell me, teacher," he said.

"Two people were in debt to a certain creditor; one owed five hundred days' wages and the other owed fifty. Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both. Which of them will love him more?"

Simon said in reply, "The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven."

He said to him, "You have judged rightly." Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet, but she has bathed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with ointment. So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven because she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little." He said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."

The others at table said to themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?"

But he said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

Afterward he journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod's steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources.

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (June 12, 2016)

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Salesian Sunday Reflection: Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (June 12, 2016)

Community in Mission: Always Remember - A Homily for the 11th Sunday of the Year (11 JUN 16)

The Sacred Page: Faith, Love, and Forgiveness: The 11th Sunday of OT (7 JUN 16)

The Sacred Page: Jesus and the Sinful Woman: The Mass Readings Explained (The Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time) (10 JUN 16)

Word on Fire: The Wages of Sin (Cycle C * Ordinary Time * Week 11)

St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology: Many Sins, Great Love: Scott Hahn Reflects on the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time (5 JUN 16)

Spirituality of the Readings: Courtesy (11th Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

Let the Scriptures Speak: The Forgiven Life (11th Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

The Word Embodied: Prayer of Faith (11th Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

Historical Cultural Context: Experiencing Forgiveness (11th Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary by Anonymous (11th Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for Your loving Providence and for all that it means.

Msgr. Pope on Why God May Say No

"In last Sunday's Gospel, we heard the story of the widow at Nain, whose son Jesus raised from the dead. Beautiful though that story is, there are some who may wonder sadly why they did not receive a better answer to their prayers; why their loved one died. Such stories might even serve to deepen their sorrow.

"All of us struggle with the great mystery of God's providence and will. Sometimes it is our own struggle and sometimes we must commiserate with others who are in distress. One friend is losing her young daughter to cancer, another is struggling to find work, still another has a husband who is drinking. Some people will say to me, 'I've been praying, Father, but nothing seems to happen.' I am not always sure how to respond. God doesn't often explain why we must suffer, why he delays, or why he sometimes just says no."

 In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on some of the reasons why God may not answer our prayers in the way we prefer.

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

Community in Mission: When God Says No - A Meditation On the Sometimes Mysterious Providence of God (6 JUN 16)

Reflection Starter from Pope Francis

"We need to discover the gifts of each person: may communities transmit their own values and be open to the experiences of others.Pope Francis

11 June 2016

Straight No Chaser: Movie Medley

As this blessed week draws to a close, I offer this version of Straight No Chaser presenting a "Movie Medley":

A Survival Kit for Everyday Living

"A Survival Kit for Everyday Living

"Items Needed:
  • Toothpick
  • Rubber Band
  • Band Aid
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Chewing Gum
  • Mint
  • Candy Kiss
  • Tea Bag
  1. Toothpick - to remind you to pick out the good qualities in others. 
  2. Rubber Band - to remind you to be flexible; things might not always go the way you want, but it will work out. 
  3. Band Aid - to remind you to heal hurt feelings, yours or someone else's. A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one. 
  4. Pencil - to remind you to list your blessings everyday. 
  5. Eraser - To remind you that everyone makes mistakes and that's OK. 
  6. Chewing Gum - to remind you to stick with it and you can accomplish anything. 
  7. Mint - to remind you that you are worth a mint. 
  8. Candy Kiss - to remind you that everyone needs a kiss or a hug everyday.
  9. Tea Bag - to remind you to relax daily and reflect on all the positive things in your life." - Source Unknown

Thank you, Pastor Tim Davis, Westside Bible Church, Victoria, BC, Canada, for the tip!

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the beauty of well designed church buildings.

Fr. Longenecker on Building a New Church

"This is a MUST READ if you or your parish are planning to build a new church or planning to renovate an ugly modern church.

"I learned these things through building the new Our Lady of the Rosary Church at OLR."

In a recent commentary, Father Dwight Longenecker (parish priest at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, Greenville, SC) reflected on lessons he learned related to building or renovating a church, including beauty does not need to be expensive, getting someone on the committee who knows what he/she is talking about, and the advantage of keeping to a simple architectural style and using appropriate materials and building methods to make a beautiful church affordable.

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

Standing on my Head: Ten Things I Learned About Building a New Church (9 JUN 16)

Background information:

Dwight Longenecker - Catholic priest and author

Reflection Starter

"There is no private Christianity. To be a Christian is to be in relationship." - attributed to E. Radner

08 June 2016

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of joy.

Call Yourself a Saint-in-Training

Never call yourself a bad person, but rather "a saint-in-training." That's the advice of former Director of The Christophers Father John Catoir, and it's a truth he learned from his years counseling people as part of his priestly ministry.

Father Catoir led The Christophers from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s, and the job was a dream come true for him. I recently interviewed him on Christopher Closeup, and we took a short stroll down memory lane. He recalled being a fan of the Christopher message since he watched early Christopher films in grammar school.

On his 18th birthday, his father gave him a copy of the book You Can Change the World, by The Christophers' founder, Maryknoll Father James Keller, and that sealed the deal. Father Catoir described Father Keller's ideas as "empowering" and "supernatural" because they gave you "a sense that God put you on earth for a reason. You have a purpose."

When Father Catoir initially heard that the job of leading The Christophers was available, he talked himself out of applying because he thought he'd never get it. Three weeks later, he felt an impulse, which he attributes to God's grace, to apply anyway. The rest is history.

It's ironic that someone as devoted to spreading a message of joy and positive thinking as Father Catoir was almost derailed by negative thinking. But he learned from his mistake, and has been sharing his wisdom with the rest of the world through TV, radio appearances, and newspaper columns ever since.

Father Catoir notes that "doctors have lots of evidence to show that negative thinking will destroy your mental health." Many hours of counseling ordinary people about their problems, as well as several years leading a ministry for recovering addicts called Eva's Village, allowed him to see that evidence first hand.

He said, "If you have a belief that you're not a good person, even though you're trying to be good, that undermines your mental health - and it has to be rooted out. If you can't say you're a saint, you can say, 'I'm a saint-in-training. I'm a good person, and I'm trying to get better.' But there's no way that you should say you're a bad person because God made you, and everything God made is good."

That divine goodness at the core of everything is a reason for joy, and Father Catoir has made it a point to be a messenger of joy - which is also the name of his website. He realizes that joy is a choice, so he chooses to approach life that way despite the problems that have come with aging.

Father Catoir concludes, "In the past, when I would get into a dark mood, I would pray to the Lord to lift me out of it. And as a priest, I'd often go to the hospital and visit patients. Helping others is a big way to get rid of the blues. To tell you the truth, I don't hit any real dark moments in life [anymore] because I live in the spirit of joy, so help me God. I'm an old man, I'm 84. I've had three knee replacements, I don't walk too well. And from the neck up, I'm fantastic every other day! (laughs) But I'm at a point where I could die at any time. I have a heart condition, but I'm happy as a clam! I can't tell you I'm ready to go, but I'm gonna do as much good as I can until I am taken."

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:

Fr. Catoir's website: Fr. John Catoir . . . Messenger of Joy

The Christophers