28 May 2017

"Rejoice the Lord Is King"

As our Sunday celebration continues, I offer this version of Tommy Walker and the Community Bible Church Choir and the Christian Assembly Generations Gospel Choir presenting "Rejoice the Lord Is King":

Seventh Sunday of Easter

Today the Church celebrates the Seventh Sunday of Easter. The assigned readings are Acts 1:12-14, 1 Peter 4:13-16, and John 17:1-11. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 27 (Psalm 27:1, 4, 7-8).

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

YouTube: Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 66 "Let all the earth cry out to God with joy" 

The Gospel reading is as follows:

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said, "Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you, just as you gave him authority over all people, so that your son may give eternal life to all you gave him. Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ. I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do. Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began.

"I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you gave me is from you, because the words you gave to me I have given to them, and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you, and they have believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours and everything of yours is mine, and I have been glorified in them. And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you."

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Seventh Sunday Of Easter (May 28, 2017)

The Sacred Page: Seventh Sunday of Easter (24 MAY 17)

Let the Scriptures Speak: Between Ascension and Pentecost (Seventh Sunday of Easter A)

The Word Embodied: The Beyond (Seventh Sunday of Easter A)

Historical Cultural Context: The Meaning and Types of Prayer (Seventh Sunday of Easter A)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways in which You call us to You.

Msgr. Pope on Jesus and His Warnings about Hell

"Many people today put Hell in opposition to the love of God, but Jesus combines them. Here is an important truth: No one loves you more than Jesus Christ, yet no one spoke of or taught on Hell and Judgment more than He did. He gave warning after warning and told parable after parable, practically shouting about judgment and the reality of Hell.

"No 'heresy' of our day is more widespread or pernicious than the denial of hell, its existence, and its sad frequency. I use quotes around the word only because I, as a simple priest, do not have the power to declare formal heresy. However, 'heresy' in a broader, more descriptive sense simply means picking and choosing among revealed truth. Confronted with truths that are in some tension (such as God's justice vs. His mercy or human freedom vs. God's sovereignty) the 'heretic' chooses one and throws out the other in order to resolve the tension. Orthodoxy says 'both' but 'heresy' picks one and discards the other.

"Yet the Lord of Love, Jesus, spoke of these more than did anyone else.

"The problem is in us, not in Jesus and not in the Father."

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on the reality of Hell - as reflected in the teachings of Jesus.

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

Community in Mission: Jesus, Who Loves You, Warned Frequently About Hell (24 MAY 17)

Reflection Starter from Pope Francis

"The future of our societies requires concrete action in favor of life on the part of everyone and especially institutions." - Pope Francis

27 May 2017

Cab Calloway and the Nicholas Brothers: "Jumpin Jive"

As this blessed week draws to a close, I offer this version of Cab Calloway and the Nicholas Brothers presenting "Jumpin Jive":

Awkward Moments Faced by Rhode Islanders

For people with a Rhode Island connection (shared by the City of East Providence on its Facebook page:

"Rhode Island is a small state with big personality! The people from the smallest state are no different. We have a very unique and vibrant culture that you simply can’t understand until you live here. Because of how strong our traditions are, we often get into a little bit of awkward situations while traveling. Here are some examples."

To access this post, please visit:

Only In Your State: 10 Awkward Moments Every Rhode Islander Has Endured

A Compassionate Message from Mr. Rogers Continues to Resound

"Whenever evil claims a victory, as it did in Manchester, people search for words of hope. And this week that search led many back deep into their childhood -- to Mr. Rogers' neighborhood, of all places.

"It was Mr. Fred Rogers who once said, 'When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.''

"Thousands shared that quote on social media this week, including a senior writer from Entertainment Weekly named Anthony Breznican."

A recent CBS Evening News "On the Road" segment shared Mr. Breznican's story, including his meeting Fred Rogers on an elevator at a time when he (Anthony) was facing some difficult challenges.

To access the complete "On the Road" report, please visit:

CBS News: On the Road: A compassionate message from a neighbor, at the right time (26 MAY 17)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the beauty of the various flowers You have created.

Patrick Coffin on the Weirdness of Catholicism

"Let's face it. Catholicism is weird. This is true for ignorant outsiders and for dissenting insiders. Like the Hebrews of old, Catholics are a peculiar people, a people set apart (Deuteronomy 14:2; Psalm 4:3; 1 Peter 2:9).

"The ethno-hyphenated Catholics ('My sainted grandma was born in Galway and my son is at Notre Dame - so of course we're Catholic') are not so weird. They fit in too well. I'm talking about the 'all-in' serious Catholics who do things like accept all the teachings of the Church, including the hard sayings.

"In a world of Kardashian-worshippers, anyone who thinks sex is reserved for marriage, or that marriage cannot be redefined without grave consequences to society and culture, or that contraception undercuts not only the procreative dimension of marital union but also the unitive dimension, or, for that matter, that a man who grew up in Nazareth is the God of the universe and that He founded a Church (after suffering torture and death and rising from the dead) and gave her sacraments and the gift of infallibility - is by definition, weird.

"See, once you accept the weird label, things get easier and become clearer."

In a recent commentary, writer Patrick Coffin reflected on the teachings of the Church and on how it would be much stranger if the teachings of His Church were less weird than the world He created.

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

National Catholic Register: Blogs: Patrick Coffin: Let's Face It: Catholicism is Weird (25 MAY 17)

Reflection Starter from Khalil Gibran

"Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens." - Khalil Gibran

26 May 2017

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of a sense of humor.

Bishop Tobin on Cool Things About Being Catholic

"Brothers and sisters, we're living in an age of lists. Just surf the internet and you'll find a list about almost any conceivable topic - some serious, some silly, and some downright bizarre.

"For example, in just a ten-minute search of a couple of websites, I found the following lists: 18 ways your phone has ruined your life; 17 memes for anyone who dislikes children; 13 bizarre things you can do with a can of Coke; 6 ways you've been grilling your chicken all wrong; and 5 reasons to stop drinking through a straw.

"So, as my personal contribution to popular culture, here follows my list of '10 Really Cool Things About Being Catholic.'"

In a recent commentary, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, of the Diocese of Providence (RI), offered a list of "cool" things about being Catholic (including Confession, the Rosary, blessings, processions, music, and a sense of humor.

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

Without A Doubt: 10 Really Cool Things About Being Catholic (25 MAY 17)

Reflection Starter from St. Philip Neri

"Men are generally the carpenters of their own crosses." - Saint Philip Neri, whose memory the Church celebrates today (26 May)

25 May 2017

"Praise Him As He Mounts the Skies"

As our holy day celebration continues, I offer this version of "Praise Him As He Mounts the Skies":

The Ascension of the Lord

Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. The assigned readings are Acts 1:1-11, Ephesians 1:17-23, and Matthew 28:16-20. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 47 (Psalm 47:2-3, 6-9).

Today’s Gospel reading is as follows:

The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age."

Reflections on these readings and on this celebration:

Crossroads Initiative: Ascension of Christ & the New Evangelization

Catholic World Report: The Dispatch: The Ascension and the Christian's mission today (25 MAY 2017)

Word on Fire: At the Right Hand of the Father (Solemnities * Ascension)

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary: Leo the Great

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the hope foreshadowed by Your Ascension.

The Miracle of Hope

"Hope looks for the good in people instead of harping on the worst." This is the opening line of a reflection entitled Hope in Action, written by The Christophers' founder, Father James Keller, M.M. It is a line that seems to answer the call of Christ when He said, "In everything do to others as you would have them do to you" (Matthew 7:12). After all, who among us would want to be judged by our faults rather than our triumphs? Christ called this instruction "the law of the prophets," so focusing on hope in relation to our treatment of others is a good starting point for a reflection on this supernatural gift that can transform our lives.

In his article for Psychology Today entitled "See the Good in Others," Dr. Rick Hanson explains that scientists have actually identified a "negativity bias" common within the function of the human brain. He writes: "We're most likely to notice the bad qualities in others rather than the good ones: the things that worry or annoy us, or make us critical." But he goes on to show how a focus on the good can produce remarkable results.

Dr. Hanson recalls being the last guy picked for sports teams when he was a kid. That damaged his self-esteem, but in his first year at UCLA, he joined an intramural touch football team. Their quarterback was very talented and after the first practice, he said to Hanson, "You're good and I'm going to throw to you."

That quarterback chose to relate to his teammate with a spirit of hope and inspired Hanson to have the confidence to become an important contributor. Hanson writes, "Thirty-five years later I can still remember his comment. He had no idea of its impact, yet it was a major boost to my sense of worth."

It is only when we choose to see the good in ourselves and others that the miracle of hope is made possible. On August 15, 1999, 23-year-old Cornealious Michael Anderson III robbed a man at gunpoint in St. Charles, Missouri. The following year, he was sentenced to 13 years in prison. He was released on bond while his attorney appealed the conviction, which was ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court of Missouri. Anderson awaited a summons to serve his time, but due to a clerical error it never came. So he went about living his life. He became a master carpenter and started his own construction company. He became a football coach, volunteered at a church, got married and had three children.

Thirteen years later, the Missouri Dept. of Corrections discovered its error and remanded Anderson to prison to finally begin serving his 13-year sentence. He remained in prison for a year, but his case came to international attention and a petition circulated for his release. After a brief court hearing, a judge declared Anderson a changed man and freed him to return to his family. That judge chose to see the good in a former criminal and became part of the miracle of hope that Anderson set in motion when he chose to see the good within himself.

Christ's resurrection teaches us that the miracle of hope is a gift from God that has no boundaries. When we relate to each other in a positive manner, we make that miracle possible in each other's lives. So focus on the good and watch the miracle of hope come about in the world around you.

This essay is a recent "Light One Candle" column, written by Fr. Ed Dougherty, M.M., of The Christophers Board of Directors; 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 Anthony de Mello, S.J.

"The master was certainly not a stickler for etiquette and good manners but there was always a natural courtesy and grace in his dealings with others.

"A young disciple once was very rude to a toll collector as he drove the Master home one night. In self-defense he said, 'I'd rather be myself and let people know exactly how I feel. Politeness is nothing but a lot of hot air anyway.'

"'True enough,' replied the Master pleasantly, 'but that’s what we have in our automobile tires and see how it eases the bumps.'" - Anthony de Mello, S.J.

22 May 2017

National Healthy and Safe Swimming Week

This week, the week of 22-28 May, has been designated as National Healthy and Safe Swimming Week. Healthy and Safe Swimming Week 2017. The observance was formerly known as Recreational Water Illness and Injury (RWII) Prevention Week.

The annual observance is designed to focus on simple steps swimmers and pool operators can take to help ensure a healthy and safe swimming experience for everyone. It also focuses on the role of swimmers, aquatics and beach staff, residential pool owners, and public health officials in preventing drowning, pool chemical injuries, and outbreaks of illnesses; and it highlights swimmer hygiene and the need for swimmers to take an active role in helping to protect themselves and prevent the spread of germs.

Background information:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Healthy and Safe Swimming Week

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of the liturgical calendar.

On Changing One's Life by Following the Liturgical Calendar.

"Advent. Christmas. Ordinary Time. Lent. If you're a cradle Catholic, perhaps it all can become ordinary after a time, background music to busy Sundays. But if you are a church-goer, you have this schedule to the year that can help rearrange and even transform your life. And Chene Heady, in a book called Numbering My Days: How the Liturgical Calendar Rearranged My Life, wants to help. Heady, who teaches in the English Department at Longwood University in Virginia, shares some of his own experience."

In this recent interview with Dr. Heady, Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor at large of National Review Online and nationally syndicated columnist, offered a number of thoughts about using the liturgical calendar as a resource in living one's life each day."

To access her complete post, please visit:

Aleteia: Kathryn Jean Lopez: How following the liturgical calendar can change your life (16 FEB 17)

Reflection Starter from William Arthur Ward

"When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves." - William Arthur Ward

21 May 2017

Don Moen: "All Creatures Of Our God And King"

As we continue our Sunday celebration, I offer this version of Don Moen presenting "All Creatures Of Our God And King":

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Today the Church celebrates the Sixth Sunday of Easter. The assigned readings are Acts 8:5-8, 14-17; 1 Peter 3:15-18; and John 14:15-21. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 66 (Psalm 66:1-7, 16, 20).

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

YouTube: Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 66 "Let all the earth cry out to God with joy" 

The Gospel reading is as follows:

Jesus said to his disciples: "If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows him. But you know him, because he remains with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him."

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Salesian Sunday Reflections: Sixth Sunday of Easter (May 21, 2017)

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Sixth Sunday Of Easter (May 21, 2017)

Community in Mission: Living the Lessons of Love - A Homily for the 6th Sunday of Easter (20 MAY 17)

Aleteia: Deacon Greg Kandra: We are not orphans: Homily for May 21, 2017, 6th Sunday of Easter (20 MAY 2017)

The Sacred Page: Building the New Temple: The Samaritan Pentecost: 6th Sunday of Easter (20 MAY 17)

The Sacred Page: Jesus, the Advocate, and Confirmation (The Mass Readings Explained) (15 MAY 17)

Word on Fire: The Spirit on the March (Cycle A * Easter * Week 6)

Catholic World Report: The most mysterious and enigmatic Person in the Bible (13 MAY 17) 

Spirituality of the Readings: Remembering the Truth (Sixth Sunday of Easter A)

In Exile: The Power of Powerlessness (Sixth Sunday of Easter A)

Let the Scriptures Speak: Baptism in the Spirit (Sixth Sunday of Easter A)

The Word Embodied: Baptism in the Spirit (Sixth Sunday of Easter A)

Historical Cultural Context: Speaking Truth (Sixth Sunday of Easter A)

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary by John Chrysostom (Sixth Sunday of Easter A)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of Your law.

Msgr. Pope on the Connection Between Love, Law, and Joy

"In the Gospel [of the Thursday of the 5th Week of Easter], Jesus cuts right through the modern Western tendency to set law in opposition to both love and joy. He joins all three concepts and summons us to a new attitude.

"Jesus says, As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy might be complete. 

"To remain, to habitually abide in God's love, has this effect: we keep the commandments. Love and law are connected as cause and effect. This is not our usual thinking. The best that Western culture will admit of law is that it is a necessary evil. While this is the best assessment of it, the more routine assessment is that law is somehow an unloving imposition by the powerful on the weak, the hierarchy on the laity, the (evil, oppressive, Pharisaical - you fill in the adjective) Church on decent people. Law is something that restrains, not something through which we experience love or joy.

"Whereas the modern world disconnects law from love, Jesus links them. Jesus says that we both experience love and show it by keeping the commandments. The keeping of the commandments is the fruit of love! Jesus sets forth a vision whereby we, having experienced God's love, desire and rejoice in His commands."

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on God's law as an expression of His love and our obedience to His law as an expression of our love.

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

Community in Mission: On the Paradoxical Connection Between Love, Law, and Joy (18 MAY 17)

Reflection Starter from Pope Francis

"God makes His most beautiful flowers grow among the driest stones." - Pope Francis

20 May 2017

"Armed Forces Medley"

As we continue our observance of Armed Forces Day, I offer this version of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the United States Marine Band ("The President's Own") performing the "Armed Forces Medley":

Armed Forces Day

Today (Saturday, 21 May) is Armed Forces Day, 2017. This year's theme is "Courageous Steadfast Defenders".


President Harry S Truman led the effort to establish a single holiday for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country.

On 31 August 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Days. The single-day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under one department - the U.S. Department of Defense.

Presidential Proclamation: Armed Forces Day

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of cheerful smiles.

Cheerfulness and Charity

"Cheerfulness is a very great help in fostering the virtue of charity. Cheerfulness itself is a virtue. Therefore, it is a habit that can and should be acquired.

"Cheerfulness is perhaps best represented in the word affability. St. Thomas Aquinas places affability under the general heading of the cardinal virtue of justice, the virtue that prompts us to give to others what is their due under any sense of duty or obligation. You are obliged to help and not hinder others around you in the world on their way toward Heaven. Not only are you to help the needy by your alms, and the erring by your advice, but you are also to help all whom you know or meet by your kindliness, pleasant­ness, and affability of manner.

"Cheerfulness of attitude and manner is a great help to those who come into contact with you. If you are a sour, unsociable, gloomy-looking person, you will make people feel uneasy, and you will in­tensify your own temptations to give way to sadness. On the other hand, if you are cheerful, you will lift the spirits of people, invite their confidence, and increase their hope of serving God well."

Publisher/writer Charlie McKinney recently offered a reflection on the virtue of cheerfulness.

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

Catholic Spiritual Direction: Cheerfulness Helps Cultivate Charity (17 MAY 17)

Reflection Starter from Henry Ward Beecher

"Mirth is God's medicine. Everybody ought to bathe in it." - Henry Ward Beecher

17 May 2017

Antonín Dvořák: "New World Symphony"

It’s time for some classical music. This is a presentation of Antonín Dvořák's "New World Symphony" (Symphony No. 9 in E Minor - "From the New World"), as played by The Vienna Philarmonic:

Thank You. Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of family life.

“The Hollars” Pro-Family Message

The New York Post recently ran an article about young adults in the city who prefer owning pets to having children. One 29-year-old man quoted in the piece went so far as to say, “Dogs never learn to talk so that makes them more enjoyable company. Overall it’s a more mutually beneficial relationship.”

As loving as dogs can be, I think the young man might be missing some perspective that’s evident even to single people without kids, like myself. It’s a perspective that the Christopher Award-winning film “The Hollars” presents in a funny, dramatic, often tear-filled way.

The story revolves around John Hollar (played by “The Office” star John Krasinski) returning to his small hometown when his mother Sally (Margo Martindale) is hospitalized with what turns out to be a brain tumor. John’s brother Ron (Sharlto Copley) is having trouble dealing with the fact that his ex-wife has a new boyfriend, while dad Don (Richard Jenkins) is stressed both about the possibility of losing his wife and losing his business.

John himself is suffering an early mid-life crisis in that his career as an artist in New York City hasn’t achieved the success he’d hoped for. He’s also got a girlfriend, Rebecca (Anna Kendrick), who is pregnant and has him fearful of fatherhood and the responsibility of raising a child.

Children and family are at the core of Ron’s stress as well. We discover that he is the one who instigated the divorce from his wife several years ago, and he has become a lonely man who misses being around his children and simply experiencing the comfort and security of family. Ron likely saw marriage and kids as a burden instead of a blessing at the time, but his perspective has profoundly changed at the start of this story.

While the Hollars are definitely dysfunctional and get on each other’s nerves, we eventually come to see that there is a vast reservoir of love underneath the arguments. There’s nothing like the specter of death to make you realize how much your family means to you and how you’ve been taking each other for granted. Little moments of grace are sprinkled throughout the film to subtly make that point.

For instance, there’s a scene late in the movie in which Don is playing with his kids, and it beautifully conveys the joy that this ordinary event brings to his life. And walking through suffering with his mom makes John more aware of the deep bond between parents and children. There is a particularly moving scene when a nurse comes into Sally’s room to shave her head before brain surgery. The look of fear and humiliation on her face is heartbreaking. That’s when John offers to cut her hair off himself, bringing a measure of comfort that this sad-but-necessary act will at least be performed by someone she loves.

Spoiler alert: in the end, John and Rebecca get married because he realizes he’s ready to embark on the adventure of fatherhood with the woman he loves. And all the Hollars come to see that life would be much emptier without the deep and loving bonds they all share. The nurturing of those bonds requires sacrifice, responsibility, and tolerance of our family members’ quirks, but they are at the heart of the most mutually beneficial relationships any of us can experience.

While “The Hollars” includes some occasional foul language, its pro-family message should be welcomed in our world.

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

Background information:

The Christophers

Reflection Starter from Daniel J. Boorstin

"The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance - it is the illusion of knowledge." - Daniel J. Boorstin

16 May 2017

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the Truth to which You call upon us to bear witness.

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio on Bearing Witness to Christian Truth

"Since John Paul II coined the phrase, the call to the 'New Evangelization' has resounded across the Church universal. Every single Catholic, declared Vatican II, is called to evangelize.

"Many find this more than a little intimidating. So must we go door to door with Bible in one hand and rosary in the other? Must we become expert theologians, demonstrating from reason, scripture and history why Catholic doctrine is true?

"If these were the requirements, the call to evangelize could not possibly be a universal one. But if we examine the Scriptures, we don't find the Lord telling us 'you will be my theologians.' Instead he says 'you will be my witnesses.' (Acts 1:8)

"Many Catholics, hearing this, are immediately relieved. 'That’s right. I'll be a silent witness. That's more my style. People will just see my actions and learn about my faith that way.'

"Not so fast. A witness is called to the stand to give testimony. And that means to speak. Of course, the attorney who calls up the witness will try to demonstrate that the witness is honest, competent, and credible. If the judge and jury don't believe in the integrity of the witness, they won't put much stock in his or her testimony. But it is verbal testimony that is crucial to the case.

"Note this, however. The essence of testimony is a sincere sharing of personal experience – something that the witness has seen or heard that is pertinent to the case."

In a recent commentary, Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio reflected on the call of each Christian to be part of the New Evangelization.

To access Dr. D'Ambrosio's complete post, please visit:

The Crossroads Initiative: Bearing Witness: Cornerstone of the New Evangelization

Reflection Starter from Pope St. John Paul II

"The awareness of belonging to God will make you (like Francis and Claire) creatures who are soothed by his presence." - attributed to Pope Saint John Paul II

15 May 2017

National Bike Month

May is being observed as National Bike Month. Sponsored by the National Bike League, National Bike Month is designed to be an opportunity to celebrate the “unique power of the bicycle” and the variety of reasons people ride (whether one bikes to work or school) – including to save money or time, to preserve one’s health or the environment, to explore one’s community, or to get to one’s destination.

As part of National Bike Month, this week (15-19 May) is being observed as Bike to Work Week, and Friday, 19 May, is being observed as Bike to Work Day.

For more information about this observance, please visit:

League of American Bicyclists: National Bike Month

Background information:

National Bike League

National Bike League: Bicycle Friendly America Program

Thank You, Lord

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

A Thank You Note from Pope Francis

"You send someone a gift; you get a thank you letter. Not surprising.

"You send a gift to the Pope, who knows what will happen?

"Dr. William Abersold of Highland can tell you. Last November, the author and Ph.D sent his book 'Words about God' to Pope Francis. Then waited and waited. The agony ended in April when the mail arrived with an envelope marked the Vatican. Abersold couldn’t believe his eyes.

"'I was overwhelmed…overwhelmed,' he explains.

"His wife, Stella, thought a reply would never come.

"'I thought he was crazy. I didn't think the Pope would even see it.'

"But the Vatican letter says otherwise. . . ."

A recent article in the Inland Catholic Byte (diocesan newspaper of the Diocese of San Bernardino) profiled Dr. Abersold and reported on his experience.

To access the complete Inland Catholic Byte report, please visit:

Inland Catholic Byte: Retired Protestant minister, humorist makes a Catholic connection (1 MAY 2017)

Thank you, Deacon Greg Kandra, for the tip.

Reflection Starter from Johnny Ray Youngblood

""You are in no way optional. Some of us may be obsolete, but you are not optional. Nor, graduates, do you have any options.…the world family needs you. You are not optional and you have no options.

"We don't need more people who want to manage, maintain, critique, analyze, merely live off the blood and money and sweat and tears and backs of those who came before us, especially who built imperfectly the institutions and patterns of thought and behavior that we have fallen heirs to today. We need more teachers, not educational experts.…The world needs more engineers who love the shape and feel of lumber and glass and steel.…No more pastors and rabbis and priests and nuns who just take care of business as usual, but men and women who will approach even the sacred truths with new revelations.…We need men and women who want to roll up their sleeves and build or rebuild the backbone institutions of the public sector and the voluntary sector." - Johnny Ray Youngblood (in his 1993 Commencement Address at Boston University, in which he took on the role of a recruiter for real life)

14 May 2017

"Come, My Way, My Truth, My Life"

As our Sunday celebration continues, I offer this version of "Come, My Way, My Truth, My Life":

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Today the Church celebrates the Fifth Sunday of Easter. The assigned readings are Acts 6:1-72 1 Peter 2:4-9, and John 14:1-12. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 33 (Psalm 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19).

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

YouTube: Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 33 "Lord, let Your mercy be on us; as we place our trust in You" 

The Gospel reading is as follows:

Jesus said to his disciples: "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way."

Thomas said to him, "Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?"

Jesus said to him, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him."

Philip said to him, "Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us."

Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father."

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Salesian Sunday Reflections: Fifth Sunday of Easter (May 14, 2017)

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Fifth Sunday of Easter (May 14, 2017)

Community in Mission: Are You a Tombstone or a Living Stone? - A Homily for the 5th Sunday of Easter (13 MAY 17)

The Sacred Page: Building the New Temple: The 5th Sunday of Easter (12 MAY 17)

The Sacred Page: The Way, the Truth, and the Life (The Mass Readings Explained) (8 MAY 17)

Word on Fire: The Paradox at the Heart of Christianity (Cycle A * Easter * Week 5)

Catholic World Report: No Christ, No Church; Know Christ, Know the Church (13 MAY 17) 

Spirituality of the Readings: The Way (Fifth Sunday of Easter A)

In Exile: Where to Find Resurrection (Fifth Sunday of Easter A)

Let the Scriptures Speak: Snapshots of A Growing Church (Fifth Sunday of Easter A)

The Word Embodied: Deacons (Fifth Sunday of Easter A)

Historical Cultural Context: The Way, the Truth, the Life (Fifth Sunday of Easter A)

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary by Ambrose (Fifth Sunday of Easter A)