31 October 2020

"Monster Mash"

 As this blessed week draws to a close, I offer this version of Bobby Pickett's "Monster Mash":

Connecticut's Fr. Michael J. McGivney Being Beatified Today

As posted previously, today, 31 October, Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney, a Connecticut priest who served his flock during the pandemic of 1890, before himself becoming ill and dying of pneumonia will be beatified (declared Blessed) by the Catholic Church. Father McGivney is the founder of the Knights of Columbus.

Additional media reports:

National Catholic Register: The Legacy of Father Michael McGivney, Holy Priest (27 OCT 20)

National Catholic Register: Commentary: Father Raymond J. de Souza: Father Michael McGivney: A Likely Patron for Every Parish Priest (30 OCT 20)

NBC Connecticut: Beatification of Father Michael J. McGivney To Be Held Saturday (30 OCT 20)

Thank You, Lord

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

Jaymie Stuart Wolfe on All Saints Day and the Universal Call to Holiness

"All Saints Day gives me hope. Don't get me wrong. I know that the distance between me and anything that could be called sanctity stretches longer, wider, and deeper than the Grand Canyon - maybe even the Milky Way. But I'm grateful to be a few lightyears closer than I used to be, not because of anything I've done or achieved, but simply because God's mercy is everlasting.

"Look, we all fall short. The first sinner I know I'll see every day is the one in my bathroom mirror. That's why I put a large decal there to remind me to 'Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his love endures forever' (Ps. 136:1). We might be tempted to complain when we don't get what we deserve, but when it comes right down to it, we all hope to receive far more than we deserve. Ultimately, we all need mercy."

In a recent commentary, writer Jaymie Stuart Wolfe reflected on the relationship between All Saints Day and the universal call to holiness.

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

The Boston Pilot: Echoes: Jaymie Stuart Wolfe: A work in progress (30 OCT 20)

Reflection Starter from Pope Benedict XVI

"In the name of freedom, there has to be a correlation between rights and duties, by which every person is called to assume responsibility for his or her choices, made as a consequence of entering into relations with others." - Pope Benedict XVI

30 October 2020

Franz Schubert: String Quintet in C Major

It’s time for some classical music. This is a presentation of Franz Schubert's String Quintet in C major as presented by the Borodin Quartet, with Alexander Buzlov on cello:


Thank You, Lord

 Thank you, Lord, for the beauty of October snow.

Embracing the Promises of God

Becky Eldredge, author of The Inner Chapel: Embracing the Promises of God, has been able to commune with God in the quiet, sacred space inside herself through practices found in Ignatian spirituality - and she has helped many others do the same in her work as a spiritual director. But life brings challenging times for everyone when God is hard to see, and that was the case when Becky's beloved grandfather, who she called Boppy, was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. In time, however, she was able to discern God's presence once again.

During a Christopher Closeup interview, Becky told me, "There comes this moment where everything is stripped away, where he knew death was coming and nothing physical or tangible could come with him. He came up out of complete poverty and had created his own business. And when it comes down to this, none of that actually matters. What matters is [his observation], 'God is with me, and God has my loved ones when I leave.'"

One particular moment of joy stands out for Becky. After surgery to remove a tumor, her grandfather began belting out Kris Kristofferson's classic song of gratitude "Why Me, Lord?" in the hospital. She said, "He was singing it, I was singing it, and it was this moment of him understanding that God is here. This is what the resurrection is. . . . Even though [Boppy] still had a few months to live after that moment, it was like watching [his] new life in Christ. It was this new understanding of hope, of all the gifts of his life, all God had done for him, and it propelled him through those last moments with this spirit of generosity. It was generosity of time, of letting people know how he felt about them. . . . I got to ask him, what do you want people to understand? He said, 'First, for us to learn to be gracious receivers, and then to be generous givers.'"

Becky's grandmother has been another generous giver in her life. And on a lighter note, Becky recalled wanting to learn to make her grandmother's Crawfish Étouffée, so she asked for the recipe. But her grandmother never measured ingredients so the recipe she gave Becky was a little too freeform to turn out edible. Becky decided to take another approach. She went to her grandmother's house to cook the Étouffée with her, and measure everything as they went along. This time it turned out great, and Becky saw the experience as a metaphor for prayer.

She said, "When I think about how we learn how to pray, it's similar. We learn, there's not this exact formula that we can give, spelled out like a recipe. There are some foundational elements. But then the rest is like learning Cajun cooking. It's an art to learning the ways God invites us into new seasons of prayer. And we need people to come alongside us sometimes and teach us a new way."

Reading The Inner Chapel might be what you need to teach you a new way and give you a spiritual boost. Summarizing her hopes for people who read the book, Becky concluded, "My hopes would be they have a deeper understanding that they're not alone, that God is always with them. And second would be that one of the prayer exercises in it brings them a little deeper in their walk with Christ, that they understand a little bit more one of these promises that's available to every one of us."

This essay is a recent "Light One Candle" column written 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 Psalm 31

"Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them. Majestic and glorious is his work, his righteousness endures forever." - Psalm 31:2-3

29 October 2020

Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers: "Fortunate Fellow"

It's time for some more doo wop. Here is a presentation of "Fortunate Fellow" by Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers:


Thank You, Lord

 Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of fine penmanship.

Knights of Columbus Founder to Be Beatified on Saturday

 On Saturday, 31 October, Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney, a Connecticut priest who served his flock during the pandemic of 1890, before himself becoming ill and dying of pneumonia will be beatified (declared Blessed) by the Catholic Church. Father McGivney is the founder of the Knights of Columbus.

Medic reports:

Aleteia: Fr. Patrick Briscoe: These accounts show why Fr. McGivney was so beloved in his lifetime (22 OCT 20)

National Catholic Register: Commentary: Father Roger Landry: Father Michael McGivney Serves as a Model for All Catholic Priests (28 OCT 20)

Editor's Note: I have been a member of the Knights of Columbus for a few decades.

Reflection Starter from St. Jane Frances de Chantal

"Must you continue to be your own cross? No matter which way God leads you, you change everything into bitterness by constantly brooding over everything. For the love of God, replace all this self-scrutiny with a pure and simple glance at God’s goodness." - Saint Jane Frances de Chantal

28 October 2020

Ken Carson and the Choraliers: "Wait For the Wagon"

Music of various types has been interwoven into the history of the United States (going back to the original thirteen colonies). Among this music is "Wait for the Wagon," presented here by Ken Carson and the Choraliers:


Thank You, Lord

 Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of quite beaches during the autumn.

David Mills on Al Smith and Ways of Dealing With Anti-Catholic Bigotry

"It's usually offered in indirect but aggressive ways. Behind a lot of American political arguments is the belief that Catholics don't belong in the political world - unless we-re willing to set our faith aside. 

"It comes out in claims like calling the commitment to the unborn child's right to life 'a Catholic issue.' We're said to be imposing our values. We point out that we're arguing on purely secular grounds, and an atheist should say what we're saying. No matter how many times we do that, someone tries to push us out of the discussion by saying we're dragging religion into it. . . .

"There we see two of the rhetorical tricks secularists pull. The first declares that anything the secular world disagrees with must be religious and therefore invalid. We appeal to universal truths; they howl that we're forcing our religion on other people. The second rhetorical trick declares that the Constitution only protects the 'freedom to worship.' It doesn't protect believers' freedom to live out their faith in the world.

"We can get some help from a man who dealt with Protestant bigotry almost 100 years ago. New York Gov. Al Smith was running for the Democratic nomination for the presidency. The first Catholic to run for president for a major party, he lost in part because so many Americans still felt such prejudice against Catholics.. . ."

In a recent commentary using the example of Al Smith and the way he responded to attacks on his faith, writer David Mills reflected on a number of five lessons for our own engagement in politics and in arguments about politics.

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

Reflection Starter from Erica Jong

"Everyone has a talent; what is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the far place where it leads." - Erica Jong

27 October 2020

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week

This week, the week of 25-31 October, is being observed as National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week. This year’s themes are 1) Get the Facts, 2) Get Your Home Tested, and 3) Get Your Child Tested. National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is observed every year during the last full week in October.

Childhood lead poisoning is considered one of the most preventable environmental disease among young children. However, an estimated 250,000 U.S. children have elevated blood-lead levels. A simple blood test can prevent permanent damage that will last a lifetime.

During National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week , the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strives to:

  • raise awareness about lead poisoning,
  • stress the importance of screening the highest risk children younger than six years of age (preferably by ages one and two) if they have not been tested yet,
  • highlight efforts to prevent childhood lead poisoning, and
  • urge people to take steps to reduce lead exposure.

During this week, a number of states and communities offer free blood-lead testing and conduct various education and awareness events.

Background information:

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week

CDC: Lead Poisoning Prevention Tips

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: National Lead Information Center

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes

Celtic Thunder and Celtic Angels: "Hallelujah"

 As we continue to live this week, I offer this version of  Celtic Thunder and the Celtic Angels presenting "Hallelujah":

Thank You, Lord

 Thank you, Lord for the blessing of taking time for silence in our lives.

Br. Pius Henry, O.P., on Taking Time to Listen to the Lord

"In this world of the 24-hour news cycles and the constant conjecture of talking heads, it becomes easy for the common observer to take in information and only make negative judgments, constantly rejecting this or that rather than embracing the good through a process of discovery. Instead of letting what Lord has given us in creation and in our families speak to us, we react negatively to things that exist beyond our reach and this ultimately forms our opinions and thoughts. 

"Our Lord calls us in an attractive way with his ever-present words. He invites us to embrace Him and the love He has for us. . . ."

In a recent commentary, Brother Pius Henry, O.P., reflected on the importance of being open to the Lord's voice in our daily lives and of taking time to listen to Him.

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

Dominicana: The Sound of Silence (27 OCT 20)

Reflection Starter from Morrie Schwartz

"So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half asleep even when they are busy doing things they think are important. This is the product of chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning." - Morrie Schwartz

26 October 2020

Four Dimensions: "The Longest Time"

It's time for some more barbershop harmony. Here is a presentation of "The Longest Time" by Four Dimensions:


Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of quiet morning meditation periods.

Philip Kosloski on Mornings and Meditation

"Finding time for prayer can be difficult, especially if we have many obligations between work, family and household chores. However, one time that can be the best for mental prayer and meditation is the morning."

In a recent commentary, writer Philip Kosloski reflected on some of the some of the reasons why, while not everyone is a morning person, that time of day can facilitate better prayer.

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

Aleteia; Philip Kosloski: Why the morning can be the best time for meditation (26 OCT 20)

Reflection Stater from St. Pope John XXIII

"See everything, overlook a great deal, correct a little." - Saint Pope John XXIII

25 October 2020

Jars of Clay: "They Will Know We Are Christians by Our Love"

 As we continue our Sunday celebration, I offer this version of Jars of Clay presenting "They Will Know We Are Christians by Our Love":

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today  the Church celebrates the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are Exodus 22:20-26, 1 Thessalonians 1:5C-10, and Matthew 22:34-40. The Responsorial Psalm is from Psalm 18 (Psalm 18:2-4, 47, 51).

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

YouTube: Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 18 I love the Lord my strength

The Gospel reading is as follows:

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a scholar of the law tested him by asking, "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?"

He said to him, "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sunday Reflections: 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time October 25, 2020

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time (October 25, 2020)

Community in Mission: The Gospel, Standing on One Foot - A Homily for the 30th Sunday of the Year (24 OCT 20)

Crossroads Initiative: The Radical Rabbi & the Greatest Commandment

St. Paul Center: Love Commanded: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Magis Center for Catholic Spirituality: Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Gregorian Institute at Benedictine College: This Sunday, How to Fall in Love With God (22 OCT 20) 

Word on Fire: The Law of Israel (Cycle A * Ordinary Time * Week 30)

National Catholic Register: Sunday Guide: The Radical Call of Our Lord to Love God and Love Our Neighbor (22 OCT 20) 

Spirituality of the Readings: Look What Love Is Doing (30th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A) 

In Exile: Love's DNA (30th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A) 

Glancing Thoughts: God's Breaking Point (30th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A) 

The Perspective of Justice: Expand Your Neighborhood (30th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A) 

Let the Scriptures Speak: How to Love God (30th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A) 

The Word Embodied: All You Need Is Love (30th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A) 

Historical Cultural Context: The Law of Love (30th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A) 

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary by Augustine (30th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A)