31 May 2018

Chris Tomlin: "My Soul Magnifies The Lord"

As we continue our feast day celebration, I offer this version of Chris Tomlin presenting "My Soul Magnifies The Lord":

First Reading for Today's Feast Day.

Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. One of the two potential first readings, which I offer for reflection, is from Romans (Romans 12:9-16):

Brothers and sisters: Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor. Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the holy ones, exercise hospitality. Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Have the same regard for one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly; do not be wise in your own estimation.

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of beautiful spring days that act as a foretaste of summer.

On Becoming Couter-cultural Catholics in the United States.

"My teen years were in the late 80s & early 90s. I used to wear Vans and had long bangs (both have made a comeback). I lived those years in a constant search of being relevant and cool with my peers. In some ways I achieved my goal. I had friends and we all pretty much liked the same things - movies on VHS tapes, video arcades, Star Wars, Trapper Keepers, & MTV (when they had music). We thought we were cool.

"But, the story doesn't end there. We all change eventually, sometimes for the better. I grew up and left behind my childhood notions of what was relevant and cool. I now understand that cool is a cultural phenomenon that really doesn’t define who I am, what I care about, or how I live my life. Too bad it took me so long to figure that out.

"The modern Catholic Church in the United States is somewhat like a teenager who wants to be cool and accepted to those around her. For so long, we have been caught up in what it means to be relevant in our modern world, that we have forgotten our very purpose. We started to behave and believe like those around us, rather than having them do the same with us. Sure, it was really easy to be a cultural Catholic. You go to church, you learn a few things, live an average comfortable life, don't make waves. You may even send your kids to Catholic school. The goal is to be 'involved' some, but not a saint. No. Never a saint.

"Still, the fact is, the Catholic Church isn’t relevant or cool and that is a good thing - both for the Church in the USA and for the culture that surrounds us. Why? Because we aren’t meant to be relevant or cool. We are meant to be counter-cultural. . . ."

A recent Catholic Missionary Disciples post offered a few suggestions designed to help Catholics become face real issues in a counter-cultural way, living out the commands of Jesus.

To access the complete Catholic Missionary Disciples post, please visit:

Catholic Missionary Disciples: Catholicism Is No Longer Relevant & That is a Good Thing!

Reflection Starter from Luke

"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior." - Luke 1:46-47

30 May 2018

Andre Rieu: "Ode To Joy"

As we continue to live this week, I offer this version of André Rieu and His Johann Strauss Orchestra presenting "Ode To Joy":

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of the re-creative adventure of day trips.

Dr. Karel Sovak on Promoting Justice in the Workplace

"Justice is generally best known by its counterpart – injustice.

"Justice has been defined as giving everyone their due or using strengths as a means to provide for the betterment of those who are marginalized or vulnerable. Many might label as fair, honest or upholding integrity. Again, justice tends to be exemplified when it is most absent.

"In his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote, 'injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.' Dr. King went on to describe the steps necessary to mount a campaign against any injustice - 'collection of facts, negotiation, self-purification, and direct action'.  King called justice a 'positive peace'. We can see everywhere justice has been promoted has led to greater dignity for every person involved. There has to be human dignity in our work, and as Pope Francis stated, 'the world of work is a human priority.' Justice has to be on the side of the most vulnerable, in which work provides them with the greatest dignity. Upholding that dignity will also provide a service to the common good.  This is the greatest charity we can provide.

"In the workplace, many don’t think of charity in this way. . . ."

In a recent commentary, Dr. Karel Sovak, associate professor in the Gary Tharaldson School of Business at the University of Maryland, reflected on the role of charity and justice in the workplace.

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

Those Catholic Men: Virtue at Work: Promoting Justice in the Workplace (2 MAY 18)

Reflection Starter from Connie Stevens

"Nothing you wear is more important than your smile." - Connie Stevens

29 May 2018

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord. for parades.

Swiss Guard Gets New 3-D-printed Plastic Helmets

"The Swiss Guard has broken with centuries of tradition by adopting new helmets that are made out of plastic and created by a 3D printer.

"The new helmets are lighter to wear and, at £740 each, around half the cost of the old metal ones.

"Each PVC helmet is stamped with the coat of arms of Pope Julius II, who founded the private army of mercenary troops in 1506 and was known as 'the warrior pope'."

A recent article in The Telegraph reported on the Swiss Guard's new helmets.

To access the complete report, please visit:

The Telegraph: The Swiss Guard, the Pope's private army, unveil new 3D-printed plastic helmets (5 MAY 18)

Reflection Starter from Ralph Waldo Emerson

"All I have seen teaches me to trust the creator for all I have not seen." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

28 May 2018

Br. Irenaeus Dunlevy, O.P., on Memorial Day

"The upbeat greeting of 'Happy Memorial Day,' said with the same enthusiasm of Independence Day, has always seemed off to me. This somber national holiday honors the dead rather than focusing on a particular victory. Also known as Decoration Day, the holiday began in the wake of the Civil War. At that time, flowers began to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers from both sides of the war during the peak spring bloom - late April in the south and late May in the north. Placing a flower on a grave brings one face-to-face with death, sacrifice, and life after death. How does one have a Happy Memorial Day? It's akin to asking how one has a happy funeral.

"The question of how best to commemorate the dead is a question of religion. Without faith, Memorial Day consists solely in cookouts, trips, and parades that celebrate the freedom our nation enjoys. Sure, these activities celebrate the fruits of our servicemen and women's sacrifice, but it also turns Memorial Day into merely the start of summer, the day of dispensation to don white linen pants. . . .

"Our Catholic faith, particularly the Mass, helps us to celebrate Memorial Day as true patriots. For one, we pray for the dead. . . . In addition to praying for the dead, the Mass also brings time together. . . ."

In a recent commentary, Brother Irenaeus Dunlevy, O.P., reflected on the meaning of Memorial Day and on a good way for Catholics to observe this special day.

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

Dominicana: Happy Memorial Day? (28 MAY 18)

2018 National Memorial Day Concert

As we observe the 150th anniversary of the celebration of Memorial Day (originally called Decoration Day), I offer this presentation of the National Memorial Day Concert, as broadcast by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS):

PBS: 2018 National Memorial Day Concert

Note: This site also includes resources to help wounded warriors, to help military families, and to share remembrances.

Memorial Day: "Amazing Grace"

As we continue our observance of Memorial Day, I offer this bagpipe version of "Amazing Grace":

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day, a day designated to commemorate the men and women who died while in the military service.

We lift up to the Lord the souls of each of these men and women. We also thank Him, and them, for their sacrifice.

Your silent tents of green
We deck with fragrant flowers;
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours.
                  – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

YouTube: Memorial Day 2011 - Freedom Isn't Free

Paul Greenberg: Remembering, We Forget (30 MAY 11)

Community in Mission: On the "Memorare" of Memorial Day (27 MAY 18)

John McCrae: "In Flanders Fields"

YouTube: Memorial Day

Related posts:

Lop Notes: A Third Grade Song (3 MAY 10)

Lop Notes: Memorial Day Tribute (29 MAY 10)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of those who gave their lives for this nation and her people.

Remembering Heroic Catholic Chaplains on Memorial Day

"Acts of valor. Supernatural faith in the face of death.

"Five Catholic chaplains have received the nation's highest military award - the Medal of Honor. Two of them also have their causes for sainthood underway.

"As Memorial Day is solemnly marked across the United States May 28, the Register remembers these heroic chaplains, recalling their remarkable bravery and their courageous response to the needs of their fellow men in war."

In a recent article, National Catholic Register staff writer Joseph Pronechen briefly profiled these five chaplains: Fathers Joseph O'Callahan, Vincent Capodanno, Charles Watters, Angelo Liteky, and Emil Kapaun.

To access Mr. Pronechen's complete article, please visit:

National Catholic Register: Faith Under Fire: Remembering Heroic Catholic Chaplains (28 MAY 18)

Reflection Starter from John F. Kennedy

"My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." - John F. Kennedy

27 May 2018

New York Fellowship Mass Choir: "Come, Thou Almighty King"

As our Sunday celebration continues, I offer this version of the Rev. Timothy Wright and the New York Fellowship Mass Choir presenting "Come, Thou Almighty King":

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. The assigned readings are Deuteronomy 4:42-34, 39-40; Romans 8:14-17; and Matthew 28:16-20. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 33 (Psalm 33:4-6, 9, 18-20, 22).

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

YouTube: Blessed the People the Lord has Chosen To Be His Own

The Gospel reading is as follows:

The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they all 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:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Salesian Sunday Reflections: Trinity Sunday (May 27, 2018)

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: The Most Holy Trinity (May 27, 2018)

Community in Mission: One and One and One Are One - A Homily for Trinity Sunday (26 MAY 18)

The Deacon's Bench: Go with God: Homily for May 27, 2018, Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity (26 MAY 18)

The Sacred Page: Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity (24 MAY 18)

St. Paul Center: Family of Love: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity

Father George William Rutler Homilies: 2018-05-27 - Trinity Sunday

Word on Fire: The Trinity as Call to Action (Solemnities * Trinity Sunday)

Spirituality of the Readings: Show Us (Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity B)

In Exile: Eucharist as God's Physical Embrace (Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity B)

Let the Scriptures Speak: Revealed in Story (Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity B)

The Word Encountered: At the Bottom of Reality (Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity B)

Historical Cultural Context: Trinity (Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity B)

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary by Nicholas Cabasilas (Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity B)

Thank You, Lord

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

Msgr. Pope on Why There is Hatred for the Church

"In the final week of Easter, there were frequent references in the readings to the fact that the world would hate true Christians. . . .

"The word 'world' here obviously does not refer to the planet Earth itself, but to the collective attitudes, philosophies, economies, priorities, political powers, and cultural stances that are arrayed against God and His teachings. It is an accumulation of demonic influences and sinful human connivances, tendencies, and preferences. Because this 'world' involves people, human and demonic, it is capable of hate.

"The world hates us to the degree that we are true Christians. 

"Sadly, many Christians work hard to ensure that the world does not hate them. We do this most often by compromising the faith and hiding whatever practice of the faith we do have. It is also due to a love and preference for the world. . . ."

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on reasons why there is hatred for the Church (including because we cannot be easily exploited by agreeing to part with our money and because we cannot be easily exploited for worldly power or political gain).

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

Community in Mission: Why Is There Such Strong Hatred for the Church? (22 MAY 18)

Reflection Starter from Pope Francis

"A Church that loves the poor is always tuned to the God Channel. It never loses the Gospel signal." - Pope Francis

26 May 2018

Mason Williams: "Classical Gas"

As this blessed week draws to a close, I offer this version of Mason Williams presenting "Classical Gas":

Echotaps at RI Veterans Memorial Cemetery

"At the first Echotaps ceremony some 13 springs ago, there were only five buglers, and no one to hear them play other than the heroes they were honoring.

"Organizer Michael Jackson would tell you that was fine, since the cascade of taps is for the fallen at Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery.

"But since that first year, the ceremony has gotten louder, with hundreds more there to watch."

A recent WPRI-TV "Street Stories" segment report on the growth of the Echotaps ceremony at the Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Exeter.

To access the complete Street Stories report, please visit:

WPRI: Cascade of taps honors heroes in Veterans Memorial Cemetery (25 MAY 18)

Background information:

Facebook: Echotaps Rhode Island

Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery

Fire Apparatus Replicas Made by Orange, MA, Resident

"John Sylvester doesn't need to tell you he's a 'fire buff.' It's obvious.

"Right by his bed - within an arm's reach - is a radio scanner. Set to the local frequencies, the Orange resident can grab his scanner at any time of night and hear the firefighters rushing to do battle with the newest inferno.

"Knowing he's one of the first to know about a fire is a rush for Sylvester, he said.

"But, standing in his room, what makes Sylvester's love of the Orange Fire Department most obvious is not his scanner, or the way he animatedly describes fire equipment of decades past.

"Instead, it's the wall of replica fire trucks that reveals Sylvester's passion."

A recent article in The Recorder (Greenfield, MA) reported on Mr. Sylvester's collection and on the replicas he makes.

To access the complete The Recorder report, please visit:

The Recorder: Orange resident customizes replicas of town fire trucks (25 MAY 18)

Humanities Dept. Shut Down after Large Number of Students Converted to Catholicism

"FOCUS missionary Ethan Stueve recently tweeted about an amazing story: in the 1970s there used to be a humanities program at the University of Kansas that got shut down because too many of its students were converting to Catholicism."

A recent ChurchPOP post offers a look at the story behind this tweet.

To access this post, please visit:

ChurchPOP: The Amazing Humanities Dept. that was Shut Down After Too Many Students Converted to Catholicism (25 MAY 18)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of sleep.

Angelo Stagnaro on Waking Up in the Middle of the Night

"Do you ever wake up at 3 a.m. for unknown reasons? Plenty of people do. Sometimes one wakes with a start and is filled with apprehension or an inexplicable heightened state of awareness.

"It's a common enough occurrence that becomes even more common the older one becomes. When I led a rock star's lifestyle in my youth or that of a graduate student in my more mature years, I recall partying or studying well into wee hours of the night. Upon becoming too exhausted to stand without assistance, I would collapse into my bed and sleep the sleep of the obliviously innocent - or  somewhat innocent.

"That's no longer the case.

"Scientists have suggested, as they do, countless reasons for this phenomenon. Some propose that the cause is a blood-pressure adjustment. One study pointed to a peak in melatonin levels at 3 a.m. that might cause one to wake up then.

"Others have pointed out that the idea of a straight eight hours of sleep is a myth foisted upon us by know-nothings pretending to be health experts. She suggested that people just naturally rouse from sleep throughout the night. She referenced the tradition of Catholic monks and nuns who pray twice in the middle of the night."

In a recent commentary, writer Angelo Stagnaro reflected on how we can treat "waking up in the middle of the night as a call to remember that there's nothing to fear."

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

National Catholic Register: Blogs: Angelo Stagnaro: Ever Wake Up in the Middle of the Night for No Good Reason? (25 MAY 18)

Reflection Starter from St. Philip Neri

"It is an old custom with the servants of God always to have some little prayers ready, and to be darting them up to heaven frequently during the day, lifting their minds to God from out of the filth of this world. He who adopts this plan will get great fruit with little pains." - Saint Philip Neri, whose memory the Church celebrates today (26 May)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many blessings the season of summer brings.

25 May 2018

Roma Downey Remembers Two Mothers

Actress, producer, and Irish native Roma Downey may not be a member of the heavenly host like Monica, the character she portrayed for nine years on the hit TV series Touched by an Angel, but she has lived a life that is deeply connected to God - and she continues doing her best to serve as one of His messengers. That certainly holds true in her new memoir Box of Butterflies: Discovering the Unexpected Blessings All Around Us.

During an interview with me on Christopher Closeup, Roma recalled her mother Maureen's shocking death from a heart attack a week before Roma's 11th birthday: "Nothing could have prepared us for the absence that her loss created in our lives. It was as if the color had been removed and the lights had been turned out. My father leaned into prayer to help us cope and get us through that painful time. Of course, we had the promise and the hope through our faith that we would see our mother again. But I was still just a little girl, and I really missed my mom."

It was the first Mother's Day after Maureen's death that Roma developed her lifelong affection for butterflies. She and her father brought pansies to the grave because they were one of her mom's favorite flowers. Suddenly, a real butterfly flew by and her father suggested it could be a sign from her mother that she was still with them. Roma said,  'That was sort of the beginning of the butterfly helping create some sort of comfort. But I missed her all through my life … I don't think you can be too old to feel the ache inside of losing someone that you love. I wrote this book hoping it would be a comfort to someone who has experienced loss."

Though no one could ever replace Roma's mother, she did find an adoptive mother of sorts in her Touched by an Angel co-star, the late Della Reese. The two hit it off immediately, forming a bond that could be called transcendent. It was also a bond that ultimately proved necessary to both of them. Roma said, "Della's only daughter passed away unexpectedly while we were working together. Not long after, Della took me aside and said, 'You know, baby, God is so amazing. I always knew that He brought me into your life because you needed a mother. I didn't realize that He was bringing you into my life because I was going to need a baby girl. Will you be my daughter?"

"Yes," responded Roma affectionately.

"Then I am your mama," declared Della.

For 20 years, Roma says she benefited from Della's "wisdom, love, strength, and courage," and Della became godmother to Roma's own daughter Reilly. But Della was a larger-than-life personality who loved everybody. Roma said, "She would come on the set of Touched by an Angel, and we probably had to give at least 15, 20 minutes just for her to get around the room because she hugged everybody. It was like equal opportunity hugging, whether you were the star of the show, the director, the janitor, making a cup of tea, she came in the room and she said, 'God bless everybody in here.' She changed the energy in the room. She truly was an angel, one of the most remarkable women I've ever known."

This Mother's Day, Roma will remember both her biological and "adopted" mothers with love.

This essay is a recent "Light One Candle" column by Tony Rossi, Director of Communications, 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 Mother Teresa

"Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies." - Saint Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa)

24 May 2018

"God Bless America"

As we celebrate the100th anniversary of "God Bless America," I offer this version sung by Irving Berlin on The Ed Sullivan Show on 5 May 1968:

National Safe Boating Week 2018

This week, the week of 19-25 May, is being observed as National Safe Boating Week, an initiative designed to educate and inform the boating public about boating safety. This year's theme ("Wear It!") is designed to encourage boaters to always wear life jackets to save lives.

For additional information about National Safe Boating Week, please visit:

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways You touch our lives through composers of music.

Kathy Schiffer on the 100th Anniversary of "God Bless America"

"Singer and radio host Kate Smith first sang 'God Bless America,' one of the most beloved of American patriotic songs, on her radio show on Armistice Day in 1938. However, the song was actually written 10 years earlier by Irving Berlin (née Israel Beilen), a Russian immigrant with a great love for his adopted nation.

"This year marks the 100th anniversary of 'God Bless America'; and the centennial will be celebrated in our nation's capital on May 24, at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast. 'God Bless America' will be performed at the Prayer Breakfast by Luciano Lamonarca, Italian opera singer known as the 'Goodwill Tenor.' Lamonarca is an Italian immigrant well-known for his philanthropic initiatives and, like songwriter Irving Berlin, he has a deep appreciation for our country."

In a recent commentary, writer Kathy Schiffer reflected on the origin of this beloved song.

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

National Catholic Register: Blogs: Kathy Schiffer: Irving Berlin’s ‘God Bless America’ Turns 100 (23 MAY 18)

Reflection Starter from Thomas Browne

"Rough diamonds may sometimes be mistaken for worthless pebbles." - Thomas Browne

23 May 2018

National Public Works Week

This week, the week of 20-26 May, is being observed as National Public Works Week, a celebration of the men and women who provide and maintain the infrastructure and services collectively known as public works. This year's theme is "The Power of Public Works."


The American Public Works Association initiated the observance of National Public Works Week in 1960 as a means to call attention to the importance of public works in community life.
For more information about National Public Works Week, please visit:
Background information:

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of bees.

David Mills on a Friend Entering the Catholic Church

"On Sunday afternoon at the Church of the Holy Family in New York City near the United Nations, my young friend Barbara stood in front of a priest. She stood by herself except for a nun, her sponsor, standing at her side and slightly behind her.

"The priest, the nun, and my friend made a small island in the wide space in front of the altar. At the center was the small young woman in a long flowered skirt that was, like her, restrained and festive. Barbara had invited her friends to see her change her life.

"She said, 'I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.' The priest then confirmed her and she returned to her seat and the Mass went on."

In a recent commentary, writer David Mills writer on thoughts and emotions encountered when a friend entered into full communion with the Catholic Church.

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

Aleteia: David Mills: On entering the Church: When a friend becomes family (23 MAY 18)

Reflection Starter from John 14

"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." - John 14:6

22 May 2018

"I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say"

As we continue to live this week, I offer this version of "I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say":

National EMS Week 2018

This week, the week of 20-26 May, is being observed as the 41st annual National Emergency Medical Services Week. This year’s theme is "Stronger Together."

 National Emergency Medical Services Week is designed as an opportunity to publicize safety and honor the dedication of those who provide the day-to-day lifesaving services of medicine’s “front line.”

For more information about National EMS Week, please visit:

American College of Emergency Physicians: EMS Week

Facebook: National EMS Week

National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians: EMS Week

Journal of Emergency Medical Services: Celebrating EMS Week: Stronger Together (21 MAY 18)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gifts of the Holy Spirit and for the many ways in which You work through them in our lives.

Tom Hoopes on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit

"The readings for [Pentecost Sunday] tell the story of the dramatic way the Holy Spirit came to the Apostles and Mary.

"But the Holy Spirit comes to each of us in less dramatic ways: The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, bestowed on us in Baptism, are crucial to the Christian life."

In a recent commentary, Tom Hoopes (writer in residence at Benedictine College, Atchison, Kansas) reflected on some ways that may be used to help a person better understand the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

To access his complete essay, please visit:

Aleteia: Tom Hoopes:The 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit, illustrated (18 MAY 18)

Reflection Starter from Psalm 55

"Cast your care upon the LORD, who will give you support." - Psalm 55:23

21 May 2018

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, Your gift of Your Blessed Mother as Mother of Your Church.

Fr. Ron Rolheiser on a Chrisian Response to Protest Opportunities

"Dreaming is sometimes the most realistic thing we can do. Or, is there still something else we might do, like public protest, or something else?

"In his book on prophecy, Commandments for the Long Haul, Daniel Berrigan offers this advice. Prophetic gestures aren't always politically effective. Often they accomplish nothing that's practical; but he adds: If you can't save the world at least you can save your own sanity.

"Sometimes that's all that can be accomplished by our protests against injustice. Moreover struggling to salvage our own sanity is not as privatized as it first appears. When we protest something that's wrong, even though we know our protest is not going to practically change anything, the sanity we are saving is not just our own. We're also saving the sanity of the moment."

In a recent commentary, Father Ronald Rolheiser, O.M.I. reflected on an appropriate Christian response to issues that appear to call for protests - sometimes following up accordingly and sometimes "hold[ing] our own moral ground, humbly, prophetically - and perhaps quietly."

To access Father Ron's complete post, please visit:

The Boston Pilot: Protest, Sanity, and a Christian Response (9 MAY 18)

Reflection Starter from Ethel Waters

"We are all gifted. That is our inheritance." - Ethel Waters

20 May 2018

"Come, Holy Spirit, Let Your Fire Fall"

As we continue our Pentecost Sunday celebration, I offer this version of "Come, Holy Spirit, Let Your Fire Fall":

Pentecost Sunday

Today the Church celebrates the Pentecost Sunday. The assigned readings are Acts 2:1-11; 1 Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13; and John 15:26-27; 16:12-15. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 104 (Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-31, 34).

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

YouTube: Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 104 "Praise of God the Creator"

The Gospel reading is as follows:

Jesus said to his disciples: "When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.

"I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you."

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Salesian Sunday Reflections: Pentecost Sunday (May 20, 2018)

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Pentecost (May 20, 2018)

Community in Mission: The Spirit of the Lord Filled the Earth - A Homily for Pentecost (19 MAY 18)

The Sacred Page: The Feast of Pentecost! (16 MAY 18)

The Sacred Page: Pentecost (The Mass Readings Explained) (14 MAY 18)

St. Paul Center: A New Wind: Scott Hahn Reflects on Pentecost Sunday

Word on Fire: Walking According to the Spirit (Solemnities * Pentecost)

Spirituality of the Readings: Burning Question (Pentecost Sunday B)

In Exile: Who Am I to Judge? (Pentecost Sunday B)

Let the Scriptures Speak: The Church's Jewish Birthday (Pentecost Sunday B

The Word Encountered: Solidarity and Courage (Pentecost Sunday B)

Historical Cultural Context: Fear and Peace (Pentecost Sunday B)

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary by Aelred of Rievaulx (Pentecost Sunday B)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and for the many ways in which Your Spirit continues to work in the Church.

Msgr. Pope on the Role of the Church in the World

"Some years ago, Fr. Patrick Smith, a friend of mine and a priest of this archdiocese, preached a sermon in which he asked if the Church was a clubhouse or a lighthouse. 

"It seems that many people want the Church just to be a friendly place where people can gather. Many of these same people get angry when the Church shines the light of truth on something. They declare that the Church should just be open and inviting. They object when She is challenging or points to the demands of the gospel.

"The Church must be more than just a clubhouse; otherwise, She is no different than a bowling league or the Moose Lodge. She is most certainly meant to be a lighthouse, warning of danger and giving light to those in darkness, but She also must risk that some who are accustomed to the darkness will complain of the Light of Christ She reflects.

"It was indeed a fine sermon, and its message is essential and profound. I was mindful of that sermon when I ran across [a video from Ignitermedia.com] which asks if the Church is a cruise ship or a battleship."

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on the role of the Church in the world.

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

Community in Mission: Is the Church a Cruise Ship or a Battleship? (17 MAY 18)

Reflection Starter from Pope Francis

"There is no freedom greater than letting yourself be guided by the Holy Spirit and allowing Him to lead you wherever he wishes." - Pope Francis

19 May 2018

The Vocal Majority: "Armed Forces Medley"

As we continue our observance of Armed Forces Day, I offer this version of The Vocal Majority presenting the "Armed Forces Medley":

Armed Forces Day, 2018

Today (Saturday, 19 May) is Armed Forces Day, 2018. This year's theme is "Do You Know Your Military?"

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.

As we observe this day, we salute the members of our communities who are currently serving and have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Presidential Proclamation - Armed Forces Day, 2018

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of good books.

Joseph Pearce on Finding Ourselves in Middle-earth

"In his famous essay on fairy stories, J. R. R. Tolkien asserted that one of the most important facets of fairytales is that they hold up a 'Mirror of scorn and pity towards Man.' The fairy story, Tolkien wrote, 'may be used as a Mirour de l'Omme' (mirror of man), as something that shows us ourselves. If this is so, and it is, it means that the greatest fairy stories are not mere fantasies that serve as a flight from reality but are a powerful means by which we can see ourselves and others more clearly. In this sense, and paradoxically, the greatest fairy stories are also works of realism. They show us reality.

"The best way of putting Tolkien’s words to the test is to see how The Lord of the Rings, probably the most popular fairy story ever told, holds up a mirror that shows us ourselves."

In a recent commentary, Joseph Pearce, Senior Editor at the Augustine Institute and Tolkien & Lewis Chair in Literary Studies at Holy Apostles College and Seminary, reflected on some of the ways in which "Tolkien allows us to find ourselves in Middle-earth, seeing ourselves reflected in the characters and the lessons they teach us about what it is to be human."

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

National Catholic Register: Blogs: Joseph Pearce: Finding Ourselves in Middle-Earth (16 MAY 18)

Reflection Starter from J. R. R. Tolkien

"There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after." - J. R. R. Tolkien (in The Hobbit)

18 May 2018

National Police Week 2018

This week, the week of 13-19 May, is being observed as National Police Week, which was established to recognize the service and sacrifice of U.S. law enforcement.

For information related to National Police Week and related activities, please visit:

National Police Week 2015

Facebook: National Police Week

National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial: National Police Week

Concerns of Police Survivors: National Police Week

Federal Bureau of Investigation: National Police Week

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of electricity and for the many ways in which we are are to use this gift for work, home, life, recreation, and for other uses/activities.

In Praise of Mothers

It's fitting that we celebrate Mother's Day during May, a month that we also dedicate to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Knowing a good mother opens a window onto a spiritual relationship with Mary. And for those who have not been blessed with that earthly relationship, Mary can fill the void when our hearts are open to her tender guidance.

During this month, parishes and schools around the world will honor Mary with crowning ceremonies, processions, and prayers all aimed at calling to mind her holiness. Similarly, on Mother's Day, we will honor mothers for the sacrifices they make in bringing new life into the world and nurturing that life with love and devotion.

Mary both embodies the ideals of motherhood and serves as a role model for all mothers. When the angel Gabriel announced to her that she would conceive the Son of God, her response was, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." What a profound moment of acceptance of God's will and a beautiful example of the openness to life the Church asks of all married couples as they embark on their lives together.

Every mother is representative of Mary in the moment she says "yes" to the new life entrusted to her care. When we see single mothers or mothers who we think might be facing a crisis pregnancy due to poverty or other circumstances, we should recall the Blessed Mother in the early days of her pregnancy. She stood isolated, awaiting Joseph's "yes" and fearful of the scorn of society. The "yes" of mothers in crisis pregnancies echoes the courage of Mary's "yes" in a way that should gain the respect of all people of faith.

In Jesus' youth, Mary served as protector, as seen in the "Finding in the Temple," when she frantically sought him out after he had gone missing on a journey. How often have our own mothers acted as protectors, keeping us safe and guiding us down the right path?

Mary was present for Christ's first miracle, acting as intercessor by approaching him with the concern that they had run out of wine at the wedding at Cana. Isn't that so like our earthly mothers, to be there for all of our great accomplishments and to be the one who can call upon us to use our talents for the good of all?

And Mary was one of the few people to stand by Christ in His darkest hour, when He hung on the cross. Think of all of the most difficult moments in life, such as illnesses we have faced, mistakes we have made, and moments when we have been accused, falsely or otherwise. Mothers are the first to forgive, to lend a helping hand, to point us in the right direction when we go astray.

As Mary stood beside John at the foot of the cross, Christ said to her, "Woman, behold, your son!" Then he said to John, "Behold, your mother!" Christ extends this invitation of spiritual adoption to all people, calling us to cultivate a relationship with the Blessed Mother. When we answer that call, we will find our relationship with our own mothers deepening in respect and love.

So remember Mary this month, and on Mother's Day let's also recognize how much our earthly mothers embody the grace of the Blessed Mother, who guides their actions and inspires their loving service to the world around them.

This essay is a recent "Light One Candle" column by Father Ed Dougherty, M.M., 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 Maya Angelou

"Nothing will work unless you do." - Maya Angelou

17 May 2018

Thank You, Lord

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

Edward Pentin on "Oeconomicae et pecuniariae quaestiones"

"In a world of vast wealth inequalities, dishonest financial practices, and an emphasis profit over the authentic good, an ethical discernment is needed if the world is not to 'slide towards social collapse with devastating consequences.'

"These were the words of warning today from Archbishop Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, at the publication of Oeconomicae et pecuniariae quaestiones  - Considerations for an Ethical Discernment Regarding Some Aspects of the Present Economic-Financial System, a document written by the Congregation and the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

"Archbishop Ladaria said in view of current ethical challenges in the financial world, the considerations aim to take an 'honest look' at certain areas of finance, and to 'offer an ethical discernment on certain aspects of those areas.'"

In a recent commentary, writer Edward Pentin offered a reflection on this recently issued document.

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

National Catholic Register: Blogs: Edward Pentin: Vatican Calls for Ethical Discernment in Face of Great Economic Inequality (12 MAY 18)

Reflection Starter from Alexander the Great

"Remember upon the conduct of each depends the fate of all." - Alexander the Great

16 May 2018

Hector Berlioz: "Symphonie Fantastique"

It's time for some classical music. This is a presentation of Hector Berlioz's "Symphonie Fantastique", as played by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Mariss Jansons:

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the men and women engaged in evangelizing ministries.

Fr. John Cush on Life Lessons from Saint Paul the Apostle

"Saul of Tarsus, about whom we have been hearing so much in the Acts of the Apostles at the first reading of the Mass during this Easter season, is a fascinating man. I would like to suggest that there are three things that we can learn from the life of Saint Paul.

"First, it's OK to be human. Second, sometimes in life, you need to be knocked off the horse. And third, sometimes, you have to learn to give a person a chance."

In a recent commentary, Father John P. Cush, Academic Dean and a formation advisor at the Pontifical North American College, Vatican City, reflected on these lessons from the life of Saint Paul.

To access her complete post, please visit:

National Catholic Register: Blogs: Father John P. Cush: 3 Life Lessons from Saint Paul the Apostle (16 MAY 18)

Reflection Starter froom Josh Billings

"The trouble with people is not that they don't know but that they know so much that ain't so." - Josh Billings

15 May 2018

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of good food, good companionship, and community building that come with potluck suppers.

Bradley Birzer on an Odyssey that Changed His Faith Life

"The most fateful university holiday I ever experienced was way back in February 1988. Yes, during that magical and mystical decade of the 1980s. Back when we had a great president, and when Americans felt great pride in the leadership of Western civilization.

"Though I was officially enrolled at the University of Notre Dame, I spent the entire 1987-1988 school year - my sophomore year of college - at our sister school in Austria, the University of Innsbruck. I arrived in Austria in July of 1987, and I departed in July of 1988. During the academic year there, fall semester ended on the last day of January, and spring semester didn’t begin until March 1. A full month of exploration is just too close to heaven for a twenty-year-old. The possibilities seemed endless . . .

"After much thought and little planning, I decided to travel with two friends to North Africa for the break. I'd never been there, and my Eurail pass, amazingly enough, covered Morocco. Armed with little more than bravado, I visited not just my first non-Judeo-Christian country, but also my first third-world country in one fell swoop. . . ."

In a recent commentary, writer Bradley J. Birzer on an adventure in Morocco that helped lead him into "an adult understanding of the Catholic faith."

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

The Imaginative Conservative: Surprised by Faith: My Moroccan Odyssey (1 MAR 18)

Reflection Starter from B. C. Forbes

"It is only the farmer who faithfully plants seeds in the Spring, who reaps a harvest in the Autumn." - B. C. Forbes

14 May 2018

On the Abandoned Giant Arrows throughout the U.S.

"Being an airmail pilot in the 1920s was a dangerous occupation - according to Half as Interesting, the average person in that profession died after just 900 hours of flying. One of the biggest dangers had to do with navigating at night; once darkness fell, pilots often had no idea where they were going. Aviation maps didn't exist yet, and this was decades before the days of GPS. For a while, pilots had to rely on giant bonfires next to landing strips. But eventually the U.S. government hit on a solution: thousands of giant glowing arrows, known as airway beacons, showing the way across the country."

A recent Mental Floss post gave an overview of this system of giant arrows.

To access this post (and its related video), please visit:

Mental Floss: The Reason There's Over a Hundred Abandoned Giant Arrows Across the U.S. (5 MAY 18)