05 August 2017

Main Street: "Pop Songs Medley"

As this blessed week draws to a close, I offer this version of the barbershop quartet Main Street Quartet (the 2017 International Quartet Champion) presenting a Pop Songs Medley:

On Car Cruise Nights in Rhode Island

"Some things are just a quintessential part of summer in Rhode Island - Del's frozen lemonade, lobster rolls on Block Island, WaterFire concerts in Providence, and classic car cruise nights across the state.

"Car cruise events have become a summer staple in Rhode Island. Whenever the sky is clear, locals say you can count on a car show.

"And the crowd never disappoints - each event seems to draw at least a hundred participants, whether it be a small weekly event at Frederickson Farm in Scituate or the 28th annual 'Automotive Extravaganza' in Johnston War Memorial Park."

A recent article in The Valley Breeze gave a brief overview of car cruise nights in Rhode Island.

To access the complete Valley Breeze report, please visit:

The Valley Breeze: A summer staple, car cruise nights are without doubt a Rhode Island favorite (26 JUL 17)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many blessings You have bestowed on and through the Hawthorne Dominicans.

On Mother Mary Alphonsa of the Hawthorne Dominicans

"Nathaniel Hawthorne added the 'w' to his last name because one of his ancestors was John Hathorne, a Salem witch trial judge, and he wanted to distance himself from that legacy. Raised in a Calvinist milieu, Hawthorne was not a regular churchgoer, but as anyone who read The Scarlet Letter in high school knows, he was conversant with religious themes of sin, judgement, forgiveness, and mercy. A supporter of Franklin Pierce, the 14th president of the United States, he was rewarded with a diplomatic post - the consulship in Liverpool, England. The Democratic Party did not nominate Pierce to run for a second term, however, and the Hawthorne family toured Portugal, France and Italy in late 1850's after leaving that post.

"Hawthorne’s wife, Sophia Peabody, had been raised a Unitarian and both Nathaniel and Sophia were influenced by the Transcendental Movement, being friends with Bronson Alcott, Henry David Thoreau, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. They had three children, Una, Julian, and Rose. Nothing in the family background could have prepared them for the conversion of their youngest child to the Catholic Church - except perhaps those years in Europe where they encountered 'the Roman Church' in art and architecture, music, culture and prayer.

"Rose Hawthorne's conversion to Catholicism in 1891 shocked the family. Her father had died in 1864 and her mother moved the family to Dresden, Germany, where Rose met George Parsons Lathrop. . . ."

In a recent commentary, writer Stephanie Mann profiled Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, who founded the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne and became known as Mother Mary Alphonsa, Now called called a Servant of God, her cause for canonization was opened in 2003.

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

National Catholic Register: Blogs: Stephanie Mann: Mother Mary Alphonsa, Daughter of Nathaniel Hawthorne, is Now Called a Servant of God (9 JUL 17)

Editor's note: My aunt and godmother,  Elizabeth Lopatosky/Sister Mary Teresita, O.P., became a Hawthorne Dominican. She passed on the feast of Saint Dominic (8 August) in 2001, shortly before the 50th anniversary of her profession.

Background information:

Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne

Reflection Starter from Nathaniel Hawthorne

"Every individual has a place to fill in the world and is important in some respect whether he chooses to be so or not." - Nathaniel Hawthorne

04 August 2017

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of the sacrament of Reconciliation.

On the Terra Sancta Museum in Jerusalem

"Tucked away behind a high stone wall in the Old City of Jerusalem lies a serene garden, two chapels and a Christian history museum few people know about.

"Hailed as the world's first museum to focus on the roots of Christianity and the preservation of Christian heritage and holy places here, the Terra Sancta Museum is located on the Via Dolorosa - the route that follows the sites of Jesus' passion.

"The museum is housed in the Monastery of the Flagellation, the second of the 14 Stations of the Cross. It stands beside the site of the ancient Antonia Tower built by King Herod the Great to honor Marc Antony, and destroyed by the Roman General Titus in the year 70, along with the nearby Jewish Temple.

"It was here, according to tradition, where Jesus was flogged by Roman soldiers under the direction of Pontius Pilate and began his journey to Calvary bearing the cross.

"The museum was founded by the Custody of the Holy Land, the Franciscan authority that safeguards the Catholic Church’s Holy Land properties and institutions. The Studium Biblicum Franciscanum, the faculty of Biblical Science and Archaeology of the Pontificia Universitas Antonianum in Rome, is responsible for the museum's collections and exhibitions."

A recent National Catholic Register article profiled the Terra Sancta Museum and its ministry.

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

National Catholic Register: Jerusalem's Terra Sancta Museum Unearths Christian History (4 AUG 17)

Reflection Starter from Nikos Kazantzakis

"I said to the almond tree, 'Friend, speak to me of God,' and the almond tree blossomed." - Nikos Kazantzakis

03 August 2017

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of miracles of any size.

Fr. Longenecker on Miracles and the Shrous of Turin

"The Scottish philosopher David Hume famously disbelieved in miracles. He used a kind of Occam's Razor to cut through any suggestion of a miracle. He argued:
'By definition, a miracle goes against our very regular and extensive experience of how the world works. Therefore, on the basis of experience, the probability that a miracle has occurred must always be less than the probability that it hasn't. Because it is rational to believe what is most probable, we never have a good reason to believe that a miracle has occurred.
"So - 'The alternative to the miraculous answer is always to be preferred because it will always be more probable.'

"In other words, 'Miracles are impossible therefore miracles don't happen.'

"As more and more scientific research is completed on the Shroud of Turin, however, Hume's argument becomes more and more strained.

"The toss up is this: The Shroud of Turin is either the burial cloth of Jesus Christ on which is recorded evidence of the resurrection OR it is a forgery OR it is just a mysterious artifact for which we do not yet have a natural explanation."

In a recent commentary, Father Dwight Longenecker (parish priest at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, Greenville, SC) reflected on the challenges facing the choice of other than the miraculous as an explanation for the Shroud.

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

Standing on My Head: David Hume and the Shroud of Turin (3 AUG 17)

Background information:

Dwight Longenecker - Catholic priest and author

Reflection Starter from Archbishop Fulton Sheen

"Most commit the same mistake with God that they do with their friends: they do all the talking." - Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

02 August 2017

"Our Father"

As we continue to live this week, I offer this sung version of the Our Father, presented by the Missionaries of the Poor:

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways in which You disrupt our lives.

Allow Jesus to Disrupt You

In a recent post to The Christophers' Leadership in Mercy online storytelling platform, Jim Collins recalls having a moment of doubt when he first worked with the Missionaries of the Poor in Kingston, Jamaica. He writes, "At the end of the day, I shared with one of my friends that this was not for me." He had just spent the day bathing men who were dying, some of whom were suffering from AIDS.

Jim recalls, "Almost every sense I had was overwhelmed. Between the sight of the dying men, the smell, the sounds of the men when in pain as we gently tried to move them."

Jim's friend encouraged him to persevere, and a brother in the order challenged him to fully immerse himself in the life of a missionary.  Jim writes, "My life in the USA is hectic, with a corporate and demanding job, three hours of commuting a day and commitments at home and community." But then he started to let go of the expectations of that life and immersed himself in the prayer and service of the missionaries, and, he says, his "paradigm shifted."

Jim describes it as a gradual softening of his heart where he let go of his busy life to do things he never would have imagined doing. And in that process he came to a profound realization. He writes, "I no longer saw a sick and dying man that I was going to bathe, I saw Christ."

The Missionaries of the Poor were founded by Father Richard Ho Lung, called the Mother Teresa of the Caribbean and known for the award-winning Caribbean style Christian music he produces with friends, an endeavor that helps to fund the mission. Their order works with the poorest of the poor, people with no one to care for them, people who are, as Jim writes, "sometimes found literally abandoned in the gutters of Kingston."

In a sermon Jim heard at Mass in Jamaica, he recalls the priest saying, "Sometimes Jesus disrupts us." Then later the priest added, "If you allow Jesus to disrupt you, what makes you a little nervous no longer does."

Jim has returned to work with the Missionaries of the Poor since that first visit, and his most recent trip inspired his short but powerful account of his experiences. He tells of a moment at the end of a week of service when a brother told him that a man he had cared for earlier in the week had passed on. The brother looked Jim in the eye and said, "When you go home to Jesus yourself, he will tell you, when I was hungry and sick, you fed me."

What a blessing it is to hear these words. What a blessing to know that it is worth the struggle to challenge oneself to see Christ in others. It took Jim patience and detachment from the things of this world and regular engagement in the spiritual regiments of the brothers, who rise at 5:30 a.m. every day for Mass, prayer, and Eucharistic adoration.

Father Ho Lung teaches his missionaries that the Kingdom of God can be found with the poor. Jim's story about his work with the missionaries demonstrates how perseverance and self-discipline can wipe away every doubt and bring that Kingdom alive in our hearts and in all we do for others.

Jim closes his beautiful account with these words of wisdom: "If Jesus disrupts you, do not be afraid. He will mold you, and shape you and bring you closer to him."

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:

Missionaries of the Poor

The Christophers

Reflection Starter from Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

01 August 2017

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways You guide us to learn about Your creation through the sciences.

Cardinal Wuerl on the Church and Science

"Do faith and the Catholic Church in particular have anything to offer reason and science?  Some people think that they contradict one another, and that one cannot be committed both to science and be a faithful believer.  Actually, 'there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason,' and there is no conflict between faith and true science (CCC 159). Moreover, the Church has historically actively supported the sciences, and many Catholic faithful have led the way in astronomy, cosmology, physics, chemistry, genetics, mathematics, and even the scientific method itself.

"Christian faith, reason and science are all rooted in truth and need one another.  Perhaps the most apt point of departure to understand this is the opening of the Gospel of John, which speaks of Jesus as 'the Word.' This is also translated as the incarnate 'Logos,' who is the rational, ordering principle of the universe. Thus, our 'faith presupposes reason [and] human reason loses nothing by opening itself to the content of faith,' affirmed Pope Benedict XVI. Rather, reason 'enlightened by faith finds the strength to rise to knowledge of God and spiritual realities' (Angelus of January 28, 2007). And Pope Francis adds, 'Faith encourages the scientist to remain constantly open to reality in all its inexhaustible richness. . . By stimulating wonder before the profound mystery of creation, faith broadens the horizons of reason to shed greater light on the world which discloses itself to scientific investigation' (Lumen Fidei, 34)."

In a recent commentary in the Washington Post, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, reflected on the relationship between faith and science..

To access Cardinal Wuerl’s complete essay, please visit:

Seek First the Kingdom: Faith and Reason, the Church and Science (27 JUL 17)

Reflection Starter from St. Alphonsus Liguori

"Speak to Him often of your business, your plans, your troubles, your fears - of everything that concerns you." - Saint Alphonsus Liguori, whose memory the Church celebrates today (1 August)