31 October 2019

As End of Daylight Saving Time Approaches, "Change Your Clock Change Your Battery" Reminder Issued

Daylight saving time will end on Sunday, 3 November. As families change their clocks, fire departments throughout this region (and the rest of the USA) are advising that it is a good time also for them to replace smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector batteries and to make fire safety an ongoing priority.

Background information and resources:

International Association of Fire Chiefs

Energizer: Change Your Clock Change Your Battery®

Goldried Quintett: "Mei Muata und mei Vota"

Various music traditions have developed over the years in different culture groups. One example is the tradition of Austrian folk music.

In this example, Goldried Quintett present "Mei Muata und mei Vota":

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of farmers and those whose supply them with the tools they need to care for their crops.

Elizabeth Scalia on Children's Songs and the Death of Art

"Famished after a particularly strenuous session in physical therapy, I sought out the fastest high protein lunch I could put together - a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a glass of milk. As I smeared the peanut butter onto fresh bread, an old Raffi song popped into my head - a favorite of my kids, when they were young and addicted to the affable kiddie troubadour: 

"A peanut butter sandwich made with jam
One for me, and one for David Amram…
stick, stick, stick, stick, stick!

"Suddenly, prompted by nothing conscious, I could imagine a voice objecting. 'We shouldn't sing that song! It's not inclusive! It's not sensitive to kids who are allergic to peanut butter and could die from it!'

". . . Well, never mind, I said to myself, bopping into the second verse:

"I can think of witches good and bad
But the best witch that I’ve ever had was
A peanut butter sandwich made with jam…

Again came the nagging voice, 'Why are we always talking about 'good' witches and 'bad' witches? It's just a belief system and this is perpetuating negative stereotyping of witches! Nobody talks about 'good' Christians and 'bad' ones. . .'

"In fact, people do talk about good and bad Christians, only they usually make their distinctions couched in ideological frameworks and narratives that end up making sweeping generalizations that demonize or lionize huge swaths of people, whether fair or not, relevant or not."

In a recent commentary, writer Elizabeth Scalia, content editor at Word on Fire Catholic Ministries, reflected on how a "world that will permit no nonsense on the grounds that everything in the world is much, much too serious to permit thoughtless, insensitive frivolity, is a world so full of insensitive, thoughtless and frivolous nonsense that there is no room for mindless joy, and the freedom necessary to sometimes make a mistake within the throes of it, in order to learn about things greater than ourselves - like mercy and second chances."

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

Word on Fire: Elizabeth Scalia: Too Woke for Peanut Butter, and the Death of Art (25 APR 19)

Reflection Starter from Robert Schuller

"Today, the social and pluralistic pressures in our pluralistic society threaten the Christian as never before! The temptations to 'become like' the non-religious persons around us can be terribly intimidating! . . . A warning! Compromise and abandon your principles, and you will literally lose your soul; you'll no longer be the person you were before.

". . . For a little bit of you dies every time you surrender a cherished ideal, abandon a noble value, or discard a moral principle." - Rev. Robert H. Schuller (in The Be-Happy Attitudes)

30 October 2019

Jane Roman Pitt: "Iowa Gold"

Over the years, a number of songs have been presented that relate to various geographical locations - cities, states, countries,and so forth. One such song is "Iowa Gold." Here is one version of the song as presented by Jane Roman Pitt:

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of holy water.

Sam Guzman on Ways to Have Hope in Dark Times

"Among Catholics who love our Lord Jesus, there is a great deal of interior suffering and perplexity of late. The reason is no mystery. The forces of evil have been unleashed on the world, and the the spirit of wickedness, the spirit of anti-Christ, grows ever stronger, like the thick, black clouds of a threatening storm devouring the horizon.

"Worse still, from this storm there seems to be no safe haven. For even our beloved Church has been infected by the spirit of the age. Confusion and dissension reign within her once sheltering walls. Catholics viciously attack one another with acid rhetoric. Shepherds who should guide and protest us abandon their flock in favor of political platitudes and corrupt cronyism. Priests who should be ministers of grace are mired in moral debauchery, luxury, or at the very least, lukewarm tepidity. Even good men who do care lose their courage and refuse to speak on behalf of truth.

"Faced with such looming darkness, the greatest temptation of all is despair and faithlessness. The devil whispers in our ear that it doesn't matter, the the Church has failed, that it is all a lie. The easiest thing in the world would be to believe it - to surrender to doubt and lapse into impotent anger and unbelief.

". . . When all that felt certain is crumbling around us, we must bear witness to the faith we hold."

In a recent commentary, writer Sam Guzman offered a number of "simple ways to keep the faith in difficult times," including nourishing our interior life, living sacramentally, and feeding ourselves with goodness.

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

The Catholic Gentleman: Be Not Afraid: 5 Ways to Have Hope in Dark Times (26 OCT 19)

Reflection Starter from Viktor Frankl

"We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way." - Dr. Viktor E. Frankl

29 October 2019

On a Maine Woman Becoming the First Person to Logroll across the Mississippi and Other New England Items

A number of articles/posts have recently been published on a variety of New England-related subjects worth considering.

To access some of these, please visit:

Portland Press Herald: Maine woman becomes first person to logroll across the Mississippi (27 SEP 19)

Foster's Daily Democrat: Eliot woman: Dog saved me from suicide (19 SEP 19)

Providence Journal: Mark Patinkin: For 70 years, Duva’s Gas Station has offered a personal touch (10 SEP 19)

The Patriot Ledger: Restored Mayflower II makes historic return to the water (8 SEP 19)

The Republican, Springfield: Bob the Bike Guy making 'a difference in this world’ while he still can, donates over 1,000 bikes to children in Connecticut, Massachusetts (8 JUL 19)

Kennebec Journal: At camp for Mainers with disabilities in Rome, volunteers collaborate to build barn from scratch in one day (28 SEP 19)

Bangor Daily News: Millinocket librarian wanted to get to know Baxter State Park, so he ran all the trails (2 OCT 19)

The Boston Globe: When the city was lawless: Recalling the Boston Police Strike of 1919 (7 SEP 19))

The Daily News: Newburyport to celebrate resident's cross-country walk for veterans (4 SEP 19)

Telegram & Gazette: The Fabric of A City: Thrift Store Culture in Worcester (5 SEP 19)

New Britain Herald: Marker honoring 'birthplace of public higher education in Connecticut' dedicated (12 SEP 19)

The Bristol Press: Graveyard tour at St. Thomas Cemetery to tell "untold stories" of Irish and Italian immigrants in Southington (24 SEP 19)

Something to Ponder

"There's a clever young guy named Somebody Else,
There's nothing this guy cannot do.
He is busy from early morning to way late at night,
Just substituting for you.

"You are asked to do this, or you're asked to do that
And what is your ready reply?
Get Somebody Else to do the job,
He'll do it much than better than I.

"So much to do in this weary old world -
So much and workers so few,
And Somebody Else, all weary and worn,
Is still substituting for you.

"The next time you are asked to do something worthwhile,
Just give this reply:
If Somebody Else can give time and support,
My goodness, so can I." - Source Unknown

Thank you, Fr. Brian Cavanaugh, TOR, for the tip!

Rosemary Siemens: "Amazing Grace"

As we continue to live this week, I offer this version of Rosemary Siemens presenting "Amazing Grace":

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for calling each of us to holiness and for the graces You offer to us to enable us to respond to this call.

Br. Bertrand Hebert, O.P., on the Simplicity of Holiness

"Living a holy life is not that difficult. In fact, it's quite simple.

"Let's start with holiness itself. Holiness is simple. And the road to get there is simple, too. If holiness is our full conformity to Christ (Rom 8:29; Eph 4:13), then prayer is the school in which we learn to imitate Christ's love of the Father and so become holy ourselves (CCC 2564). It is in this school of prayer that we encounter our teacher, the Holy Spirit, who not only enlightens our minds but also guides our actions to live in a holy way. In short, holiness is simple because we are made holy through the lucid instruction of the Holy Spirit. And he is a good and patient teacher. 

"Let's now consider this divine school in more detail. The Holy Spirit makes prayer simple. . . ."

In a recent commentary, Brother Bertrand Hebert, O.P., reflected on the simplicity of holiness - simple because the "Holy Spirit instructs us to turn away from those things that make it complicated". and, in so doing, turns us toward Himself.

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

Dominicana: Holiness is Simple (28 OCT 19)

Reflection Starter from Henry David Thoreau

"Good for the body is the work of the body, and good for the soul is the work of the soul, and good for either is the work of the other." - Henry David Thoreau

28 October 2019

National First Responders Day

Today, 28 October, is being observed as National First Responders Day, an observance designed to to recognize the "hard work of the heroic men and women who risk their lives and take action when disaster strikes."

Related media:

Public Safety Group Blog: National First Responders Day 2019

Twitter: National First Responders Day

Randy Travis: "The Old Chisholm Trail"

Music of various types has been interwoven into the history of the United States (going back to the original thirteen colonies). One of these songs is a cowboy/folk song, "The Old Chisholm Trail", presented here by the Randy Travis:

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of good auto mechanics.

Bishop Tobin on Motivation for Prayer

"My little dog Annie is a great companion and a constant source of joy. And she's always very happy to see me. When I return home from the office or from running some errands, she's always at the door to greet me - jumping, tail wagging, barking excitedly. And then she quickly turns and runs to the place where we keep her favorite treats, to be rewarded accordingly.

"But that routine got me wondering. Is she really happy to see me as her human 'best friend,' or is she excited just because she knows she's getting a treat? Does she really love me, or am I simply a dependable ATM - her 'automatic treat machine?' I guess I'll never know.

"But the inscrutable motivation of Annie's friendly behavior leads to an interesting, more profound reflection about our relationship to God. What is our image of God? Why do we pray?"

In a recent commentary, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, of the Diocese of Providence (RI), reflected on what our primary motivation is when we pray.

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

The Imitation of Christ: Is God Your ATM? (24 OCT 19)

Reflection Starter from Robert Brault

"There is a reason you were born and a bunch of things you've got to do today regardless." - Robert Brault

27 October 2019

"Holy, Holy, Holy"

As we continue our Sunday celebration, I offer this version of "Holy, Holy, Holy" (sung at the Church of Saint Michael, Stillwater, MN):

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18; 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18; and Luke 18:9-14. The Responsorial Psalm is from Psalm 34 (Psalm 34:2-3, 17-19, 23).

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

YouTube: 0:23 / 4:40 Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 34 "The Lord hears the cry of the poor"

The Gospel reading is as follows:

Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else. "Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, 'O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity - greedy, dishonest, adulterous - or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.' But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, 'O God, be merciful to me a sinner.' I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted."

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sunday Reflections: Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (October 27, 2019)

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (October 27, 2019)

Community in Mission: Standing in Need of Prayer - A Homily for the 30th Sunday of the Year (25 OCT 19)

The Deacon's Bench: Work in progress: Homily for 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time (26 OCT 19)

Rhode Island Catholic: The Quiet Corner: Humility is essential to all prayer (24 OCT 19)

The Sacred Page: Pride and Poverty: The 30th Sunday of OT (24 OCT 19)

The Sacred Page: The Pharisee and the Tax-Collector (The Mass Readings Explained) (21 OCT 19)

Rhode Island Catholic: Sunday Scripture: God Hears (24 OCT 19)

St. Paul Center: No Favorites: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Word on Fire: Paul at the End of the Race (Cycle C * Ordinary Time * Week 30)

National Catholic Register: Sunday Guide: Warning Against Worshipping an Imaginary God and the Prayer of Pride (25 OCT 19)

Spirituality of the Readings: The Cry of the Poor (30th Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

In Exile: Humility, Ego, and Greatness (30th Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

Glancing Thoughts: The Worst Kind of Pride (30th Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

The Perspective of Justice: Pharisaism (30th Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

Let the Scriptures Speak: How To Justify Yourself (30th Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

The Word Engaged: Self-Righteous (30th Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

Historical Cultural Context: Divine Reversal (30th Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary by Gregory Palamas (30th Sunday of Ordinary Time C)