31 December 2020

"Auld Lang Syne"

As this blessed year draws to a close, I offer this version of The Choral Scholars of University College Dublin presenting "Auld Lang Syne":


On the Ministry of a Police Chaplain, Ways to Upgrade Remote Work Setups, and Other Topics

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

To access some of these, please visit:

The Republican (Springfield, MA): Fearing that underrepresented college students are being left behind during COVID pandemic, initiative launched to connect 100,000 students with mentors (1 OCT 20)

Lewiston (ME) Sun Journal: Pastor Chris Pomerleau ministers to those in need during tragedies (24 DEC 20)

ZDNet: Remote work: 10 ways to upgrade your working from home setup (24 DEC 20)

The Catholic Thing: Christmas in COVID-Time (24 DEC 20)

District Administration: 3 ways social studies teachers can combat 'truth decay'(December 2020)

The Atlantic: What the Snow Leopard Sought (The Hemingway Story That John McCain Read Aloud to Me) (October 2020)

Congratulations, Joe and Erin!!!

Congratulations to son Joseph, who married fiancée Erin Thomas today. They wanted to end the year on a positive note. Due to Covid restrictions, primary participation was via Zoom.

Celtic Woman: "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear"

As we continue our Christmas celebration, I offer this version of Celtic Woman presenting "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear":

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many blessings You have poured on us during the calendar year 2020.

Patti Maguire Armstrong on New Year's Resolutions to Get a Good Spiritual Start to 2021

"Goodbye 2020! It has been rough. The year actually incentivized making a good New Year's resolution. And by good, I mean holy. The world has always let us down - more so in 2020 - but we know that God has something better for us.

"Set goals for self-improvement in this world - such as exercise or quitting smoking - but then, go deeper, down to your soul, and consider ways to grow stronger and closer to God in 2021. Creating holy habits is what inspired me to write Holy Hacks: Everyday Ways to Live Your Faith and Get to Heaven to expand our capacity for holiness while going about the day. Through this approach, our resolutions can pick up speed throughout 2021 as new behaviors easily become habits. Here are some ideas."

In a recent commentary, writer Marilyn Grodi, reflected on some New Year's resolutions that may be used to get 2021 started on the right spiritual foot.

To access her complete column, please visit:

National Catholic Register: Column: Patti Maguire Armstrong: Holy Habits: 20 New Year's Resolutions (27 DEC 20)

Reflection Starter from Rainer Maria Rilke

"And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been." - Rainer Maria Rilke

30 December 2020

Quire Cleveland: "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks"

As we continue our Christmas celebration, I offer this version of Quire Cleveland presenting "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks":

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord for the example given us by the shepherds n the night of the Nativity.

Philip Kosloski on What the Shepherds Can Teach Us About Our Faith in God

"On Christmas night the Gospel of Luke explains how the shepherds 'went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger' (Luke 2:16).

"Do we have a similar urgency to our faith?"

In a recent commentary, writer Philip Kosloski reflected on these shepherds and on the question of whether we "go in haste" to encounter God on a daily basis.

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

Aleteia: Philip Kosloski: What the shepherds can teach us about our faith in God (30 DEC 20)

Reflection Starter from Charles Schulz

"Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use." - Charles M. Schulz

29 December 2020

On a Community Rock Garden, a Picture Book Celebrating Inventor of First Home Video Game, and Other New England-related Topics

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:

MetroWest Daily News (Framingham, MA): Oh, the drama! (5 SEP 20)

Lewiston (ME) Sun Journal: Scooter-riding rappers seek to dispel Augusta negativity in music video (7 SEP 20)

Providence (RI) Journal: At family vineyard in Foster, fruits of long labor still ripening (4 SEP 20)

The Bulletin (Norwich, CT): Community rock garden unveiled in Plainfield (3 SEP 20)

Concord Monitor: Picture book celebrates N.H. inventor who created first home video game (28 SEP 20)

Only In Your State: One Of The Highest Bridges In The Whole Country Is Right Here In Maine

The Enterprise (Brockton, MA): Changing the world 'one doll at a time': Brockton company teaches children about self love through toys that look like them (3 OCT 20)

Bangor (ME) Daily News: The 'most absurd bar in the world' is tucked into this quiet corner of Washington County (4 OCT 20)

Pope Francis Proclaims "Year of Saint Joseph", Part 7

A recent post offered the beginning of Pope Francis' proclamation of the "Year of Saint Joseph." This Apostolic Letter continues as follows:

"5. A creatively courageous father

"If the first stage of all true interior healing is to accept our personal history and embrace even the things in life that we did not choose, we must now add another important element: creative courage. This emerges especially in the way we deal with difficulties. In the face of difficulty, we can either give up and walk away, or somehow engage with it. At times, difficulties bring out resources we did not even think we had.

"As we read the infancy narratives, we may often wonder why God did not act in a more direct and clear way. Yet God acts through events and people. Joseph was the man chosen by God to guide the beginnings of the history of redemption. He was the true 'miracle' by which God saves the child and his mother. God acted by trusting in Joseph's creative courage. Arriving in Bethlehem and finding no lodging where Mary could give birth, Joseph took a stable and, as best he could, turned it into a welcoming home for the Son of God come into the world (cf. Lk 2:6-7). Faced with imminent danger from Herod, who wanted to kill the child, Joseph was warned once again in a dream to protect the child, and rose in the middle of the night to prepare the flight into Egypt (cf. Mt 2:13-14).

"A superficial reading of these stories can often give the impression that the world is at the mercy of the strong and mighty, but the 'good news' of the Gospel consists in showing that, for all the arrogance and violence of worldly powers, God always finds a way to carry out his saving plan. So too, our lives may at times seem to be at the mercy of the powerful, but the Gospel shows us what counts. God always finds a way to save us, provided we show the same creative courage as the carpenter of Nazareth, who was able to turn a problem into a possibility by trusting always in divine providence.

"If at times God seems not to help us, surely this does not mean that we have been abandoned, but instead are being trusted to plan, to be creative, and to find solutions ourselves.

"That kind of creative courage was shown by the friends of the paralytic, who lowered him from the roof in order to bring him to Jesus (cf. Lk 5:17-26). Difficulties did not stand in the way of those friends' boldness and persistence. They were convinced that Jesus could heal the man, and 'finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the middle of the crowd in front of Jesus. When he saw their faith, he said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven you"' (vv. 19-20). Jesus recognized the creative faith with which they sought to bring their sick friend to him.

"The Gospel does not tell us how long Mary, Joseph and the child remained in Egypt. Yet they certainly needed to eat, to find a home and employment. It does not take much imagination to fill in those details. The Holy Family had to face concrete problems like every other family, like so many of our migrant brothers and sisters who, today too, risk their lives to escape misfortune and hunger. In this regard, I consider Saint Joseph the special patron of all those forced to leave their native lands because of war, hatred, persecution and poverty.

"At the end of every account in which Joseph plays a role, the Gospel tells us that he gets up, takes the child and his mother, and does what God commanded him (cf. Mt 1:24; 2:14.21). Indeed, Jesus and Mary his Mother are the most precious treasure of our faith.[21]

"In the divine plan of salvation, the Son is inseparable from his Mother, from Mary, who 'advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son until she stood at the cross'.[22]

"We should always consider whether we ourselves are protecting Jesus and Mary, for they are also mysteriously entrusted to our own responsibility, care and safekeeping. The Son of the Almighty came into our world in a state of great vulnerability. He needed to be defended, protected, cared for and raised by Joseph. God trusted Joseph, as did Mary, who found in him someone who would not only save her life, but would always provide for her and her child. In this sense, Saint Joseph could not be other than the Guardian of the Church, for the Church is the continuation of the Body of Christ in history, even as Mary's motherhood is reflected in the motherhood of the Church.[23] In his continued protection of the Church, Joseph continues to protect the child and his mother, and we too, by our love for the Church, continue to love the child and his mother.

"That child would go on to say: 'As you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me' (Mt 25:40).  Consequently, every poor, needy, suffering or dying person, every stranger, every prisoner, every infirm person is 'the child' whom Joseph continues to protect. For this reason, Saint Joseph is invoked as protector of the unfortunate, the needy, exiles, the afflicted, the poor and the dying.  Consequently, the Church cannot fail to show a special love for the least of our brothers and sisters, for Jesus showed a particular concern for them and personally identified with them. From Saint Joseph, we must learn that same care and responsibility. We must learn to love the child and his mother, to love the sacraments and charity, to love the Church and the poor. Each of these realities is always the child and his mother." 


[21] Cf. S. RITUUM CONGREGATIO, Quemadmodum Deus (8 December 1870): ASS 6 (1870-1871), 193; BLESSED PIUS IX, Apostolic Letter Inclytum Patriarcham (7 July 1871): l.c., 324-327.

[22] SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 58.

[23] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 963-970.

Dolly Parton: "Mary, Did You Know?"

 As we continue our Christmas celebration, I offer this version of Dolly Parton presenting "Mary, Did You Know?":

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways in which Your Holy Spirit works through Your Church.

Br. Cyril Stola, O.P., on St. Thomas Becket

"In 1162, something scandalous happened. The monks of the cathedral chapter of Canterbury, under pressure from King Henry II, elected the deacon Thomas Becket as Archbishop. By any rendering, this was a political imposition. Henry hoped that Becket would be a tool, one who would cooperate with royal aims and help subordinate the Church to the Crown. Since the late 500s, Canterbury had been the most important diocese in England. Its bishop led the English Church, and he presided over the major national ceremonies, like the coronation of the king. Typically, the bishop was a monk, sometimes from the cathedral's monastery. The see had such notable monk-bishops as Saint Anselm, who, only a half-century earlier, had upended King Henry I's attempted power-grab during the investiture controversy.

"Thomas Becket was no monk. He was smart, but worldly. . . ."

In a recent commentary, Brother Cyril Stola, O.P., reflected on Thomas Becket and some of the ways in which the Holy Spirit worked through him and his ministry.

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

Dominicana: A Courtier Transformed (29 DEC 20) 

Reflection Starter from Charles Dickens

"I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year." - Charles Dickens

28 December 2020

Alexandra Greeley on a Maine Priest and His Food-related Ministry

"Father Anthony Kuzia, pastor of Our Lady of the Lakes parish in Oquossoc, Maine, recently won a recipe contest sponsored by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Portland. As a result, he has become something of a local cooking celebrity. . . .

"This is the second year that Father Kuzia has entered a recipe. Last year he contributed a corn chowder recipe for the contest with the theme that was 'One Pot Wonders.'"

In a recent commentary, writer Alexandra Greeley reflected on Father Kuzia's recipe and parish ministries.

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

National Catholic Register: Blogs: Alexandra Greeley: In Tough Times, Maine Priest Works Wonders With Spam and Spuds (28 DEC 20)

Background information:

Diocese of Portland: Our Lady of the Lakes Parish

Happy Belated Birthday, Will!!!

Belated birthday greetings to Will Geoghegan, husband of Myrna's daughter Robin, whose birthday was yesterday!!! May the upcoming year be filled with the Lord's choicest blessings!!!

United States Navy Band: "Go Tell It on the Mountain"

As we continue our Christmas celebration, I offer this version of the United States Navy Band presenting "Go Tell It on the Mountain":

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of altar servers and for all You do for them and through them.

Cecilia Zinicola on an Altar Server in Training Teaching a Priest a Lesson

"When Fr. José Rodrigo López Cepeda had been ordained a priest for six months, his bishop sent him to exercise his ministry at the parish of the Shrine of St. Orosia, in Spain. Fr. José replaced a priest who had been the pastor there for nearly 30 years.

"At the beginning, it was not easy for the young priest, because the people were accustomed to their former long-term pastor and his way of doing things. Fr. José says that 'although the task was hard, it was fruitful, and it wouldn't have been so fruitful afterwards without the help of a little boy named Gabriel.' . . ."

In a recent commentary, writer Cecilia Zinicola reflected on how Gabriel gave his pastor "a new understanding of Christ's love."

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

Aleteia: Cecilia Zinicola: A kiss from Jesus: An altar boy in training teaches a priest a lesson (25 DEC 20)

Reflection Starter from Dwight Moody

"There are many of us that are willing to do great things for the Lord, but few of us are willing to do little things." - Dwight L. Moody

27 December 2020

Norton Hall Band: "O Little Town of Bethlehem"

As we continue our Christmas celebration, I offer this version of the Norton Hall Band presenting "O Little Town of Bethlehem":

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

Today  the Church celebrates the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph . The assigned readings are Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14; Colossians 3:12-21; and Luke 2:22-40. The Responsorial Psalm is from Psalm 105 (Psalm 105:1-6, 8-9).

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

YouTube: Lectionary Psalms, Year B: No. 5, Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

The Gospel reading is as follows:

When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord," and to offer the sacrifice of "a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons," in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: "Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel."

The child's father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted - and you yourself a sword will pierce - so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."

There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sunday Reflections: Fourth Sunday of Advent December 20, 2020

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (December 27, 2020)

Crossroads Initiative : Holy Family Feast - Piety in the 21st Century?

St. Paul Center: Our True Home: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Feast of the Holy Family

Magis Center for Catholic Spirituality: The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

The Gregorian Institute at Benedictine College: This Sunday, Jesus Reconfigures Family Life (24 DEC 20)

Word on Fire: What Makes a Family Holy?

National Catholic Register: Sunday Guide: The Holy Family Teaches Us That Love of Neighbor Begins at Home (21 DEC 20) 

Spirituality of the Readings: In the Shade? (The Holy Family B) 

In Exile: The Family as Church and Religious Community (The Holy Family B) 

Glancing Thoughts: 
Peace, Consolation, and Glory (The Holy Family B)

The Perspective of Justice: The Good of the Family (The Holy Family B) 

Let the Scriptures Speak: It Takes a Covenant to Raise a Family (The Holy Family B) 

The Word Encountered: God Made Flesh (The Holy Family B) 

Historical Cultural Context: Children of God (The Holy Family B) 

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary by Cyril of Alexandria (The Holy Family B)