28 February 2021

"Christ, upon the Mountain Peak"

As we continue our Sunday celebration, I offer this version of the Anglican Chorale of Southeast Florida presenting "Christ, upon the Mountain Peak":

Second Sunday of Lent

Today the Church celebrates the Second Sunday of Lent. The assigned readings are Genesis 22:1-2, 9A, 10-13, 15-18; Romans 8:31B-34 and Mark 9:2-10. The Responsorial Psalm is from Psalm 116 (Psalm 116:10, 15-19).

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

YouTube: Responsorial Psalm (Psalm 116) I will Walk Before the Lord in the Land of the Living, Feb 28, 2021

The Gospel reading is as follows:

Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus.

Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, "Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.

Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; from the cloud came a voice, "This is my beloved Son.  Listen to him." Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them.

As they were coming down from the mountain, he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant.

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sunday Reflections: Second Sunday of Lent February 28, 2021

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Second Sunday of Lent (February 28, 2021)

Crossroads Initiative: Isaac, Abraham & the Meaning of Lenten Sacrifice - 2nd Sunday of Lent B

Birthday Blessings, William!!!

Birthday greetings to grandson William Christopher, whose birthday is today!!! May this day, and the upcoming year, be filled with the Lord's choicest blessings!!

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for Your great Love and the universe You created.

Msgr. Pope on God's Love and His Creation

"In my years as a priest, I have often had people ask me why God, who we say needs nothing and is fully content and joyful in Himself, created anything outside Himself. Does His act of creation indicate that He lacked something or that He needed others?

"This is difficult for us humans to understand. To some degree that difficulty arises from us, who are often motivated most by need. We tend to project our own realities onto God. But need and incompleteness are not the only things that motivate."

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on Gods infinite love and its relationship to all creation.

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

Community in Mission: C=JL² This is the Metaphysical Math and Source of All Creation; It is the Grand Unified Theory (9 FEB 21)

Reflection Starter from Pope Francis

"In this Lenten Season, accepting and living the truth revealed in Christ means, first of all, opening our hearts to God's word, which the Church passes on from generation to generation." - Pope Francis

27 February 2021

André Rieu: "You'll Never Walk Alone"

As this blessed week draws to a close, I offer this version of André Rieu and His Johann Strauss Orchestra presenting "You'll Never Walk Alone":


On Starvation Haunting Ethiopia's Tigray, a Teen Helping Community by Starting Nonprofit, 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:

Officer Magazine: Hot Chocolate Stand Hosted by 8-Year-Old Boy Raises $13,000 for Fallen Officer’s Family (25 JAN 21)

Route Fifty: 'We Can't Have Different Facts': Why Lt. Gov. John Fetterman Still Believes in Universal Truths (26 JAN 21)

Crux: 'Extreme urgent need': Starvation haunts Ethiopia's Tigray (17 JAN21)

WATE-TV: Teen helping community by starting nonprofit, Terry’s Give Back Organization (11 JAN 21)

Governing Magazine: Stronger Hurricanes Challenge Housing Recovery Plans (6 JAN 21)

Fast Company: The future of cities is walkable, healthy, resilient places (4 JAN 21)

Next Big Idea Club: Radical Uncertainty: Decision-Making Beyond the Numbers (5 JAN 21)

The Discoverer: 7 Cities and the Foods That Made Them Famous

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of logic puzzles.

On Doing Evangeliztion Right (Now)

"Will Catholics resume going to again Mass once states lift all the COVID-19 restrictions?  Or will the restrictions result in yet another decline in Mass attendance?

"Only God knows the answer to these questions.  But this does not mean we should just sit back and wait to see what happens.

"This past week, my parish held a group meeting for interested parishioners regarding next steps for our parish. It was evident that our new pastor did not want to take a wait and see approach regarding the future of the parish, post restrictions.

"Our pastor shared information from a recent survey regarding our parish's mission. The results included responses about what we love most about being Catholic and what already works in the parish. Our pastor also provided us with a list of questions he hoped we could collectively answer."

A recent post in Catholic Stand offered a reflection on some of the ways to reach-out to fallen away Catholics (with special emphasis on person invitations).

To access the complete post, please visit:

Catholic Stand: Do It, Do It Right, Do It Right Now (20 JAN 21)

Reflection Starter from the Gospel According to Matthew

"'You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy." But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.'"  - Matthew 5:43-45

26 February 2021

On Wrestling with Foam-Pillow Atheism, Science as God's Gift to Man, and Other Catholic-related Topics

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

To access some of these, please visit:

National Catholic Register: Commentary: David Mills: Wrestling With Foam-Pillow Atheism (3 JAN 21)

Magis Center: Science: God's Gift to Man (30 DEC 20)

Denver Catholic: George Weigel: Catholic coherence, Catholic integrity (6 JAN 21)

The Catholic Thing: A Face (10 JAN 21)

U.S. Catholic: Connect with your kids - and yourself - while running (January 2021)

Our Sunday Visitor: Be friends with the radicals: Dorothy Day and what it means to love our neighbors (January 2021)

Leopold Mozart: Trumpet Concerto in D major

It's time for some classical music. This is a presentation of Leopold Mozart's Trumpet Concerto in D major, as presented by the Drottningholms Barockensemble with Niklas Eklund on trumpet, conducted by Nils-Erik Sparf:


Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for assigning each of us a guardian angel.

Scott Hamilton's Wife Led Him to Jesus

Olympic gold medal-winning figure skater Scott Hamilton has faced struggles in his life,especially his battles with cancer and three brain tumors. And while he now exudes a spirit of Christian hope, he didn't always have that firm grounding. Though he always felt he had a guardian angel looking out for him, he didn't understand the Bible when he first picked it up to read it. "One day," recalled Scott during an interview with me, "I sat and opened my heart to allow God in because I didn't know how to reach Him. I was hoping He would reach me. . . . When I was up against [tough times], I would pray. I didn't know how I was praying or who I was praying to. Anytime I had a problem, if I verbalized it, that solution would come to me."

After meeting and dating Tracie, the woman who would become his wife, Scott's spiritual seeking found both a direction and a destination. One day, Tracie asked him, "Where are you in your relationship with Jesus Christ?" Scott replied, "Where do you want me to be?"

Since they both realized they wanted their relationship to move forward, Tracie introduced Scott to her minister, who recommended that Scott read the Bible again, but this time focus on how God interacted with the people in its stories. That became the key to Scott's new understanding of Scripture.

"Then, when I got to the red letters in the New Testament," he explained, "I understood that every single thing I need to know was given to me by Jesus. Every way of solving a problem, every way of redeeming a relationship, every way of rising above any affliction. . . . I look at it as the four legs of a chair. It's got the four pillars of the foundation of our lives. 1) The physical, we've got to be healthy. 2) Emotional, we've got to feel good about ourselves. 3) Intellectual, we've got to be interested in growing and our understanding of who we are in the world and how we fit in it. 4) And then the last piece is the Spirit. . . . If any one of those four legs are missing, you’re probably going to fall down."

Scott then shared a story of a watershed moment which revealed to him how much he truly relies on his faith: "A couple of Memorial Days ago, I felt ill suddenly. I got to the point where no one could figure out what was wrong with me, but I could not stay awake. I felt my life force slipping away. . . . I knew I was going to die, and I was 100% comfortable with that. I was like, 'Thank you.' What a gift that was to understand that when I get to the end of these days, I'm going to be okay, and I'll be able to accept it and to embrace it, because of what I've learned about who I am in Christ."

Ultimately, Scott's focus is on giving back. He created the Scott Hamilton Cares Foundation to fund research for cancer treatment options, and he hopes that his "Live Your Days" podcast encourages viewers to live their lives to the fullest. He concluded, "My brain tumor started to grow back a little bit, and we're keeping an eye on it. [But] I'm not going to just sit down and think about that thing all day long. I have options. . . . I'm still fighting and I'm still craving every opportunity to live joyfully and productively."

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

Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation

Reflection Starter from St. Francis de Sales

"Make yourself familiar with the angels and behold them frequently in spirit; for without being seen, they are present with you." - Saint Francis de Sales

25 February 2021

On a Community Coffee Pot in Vermont and Other New England-related 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:

Bangor Daily News: Retired Maine newspaperman still chronicling his community with bestselling zine (14 FEB 21)

Bennington (VT) Banner: Community Coffee Pot offers hot drinks amid winter chill (15 FEB 21)

The Herald News (Fall River, MA): Fall River resident pens children’s book on climate change (11 FEB 21)

Lewiston (ME) Sun Journal: Anonymous donor pays overdue fines for Lewiston library children and teens (19 FEB 21)

Rhode Island Monthly: The Mental Health Load is Heavy for Rhode Island's Public-Facing Restaurant Staff (February 2021)

WMUR-TV: Wallet returned to retired Navy lieutenant 53 years after lost in Antarctica with help from NH researchers (11 FEB 21)

The Enterprise (Brockton, MA): Whitman: Jonathan Finn plays guitar in Fall of House of Usher opera (17 FEB 21)

Only In Your State (Massachusetts): Rime Ice Is Best Natural Phenomenon In Winter In Massachusetts

National Invasive Species Awareness Week

This week, the week of 22-26 February, is being observed as National Invasive Species Awareness Week (Part I). It is a week initiated to focus on advocacy and education on issues related to invasive species prevention, detection, monitoring, control, and management at local, state, regional, national, and international levels. National Invasive Species Awareness Week Part II – Local Events and Awareness, to be observed 15-22 May, is designed to focus on local  invasive species prevention, removal, and educational events.

For more information related to this observance, please visit:

National Invasive Species Awareness Week

Facebook: National Invasive Species Awareness Week

Background information:

National Invasive Species Council

Birthday Blessings, Mike!!!

Birthday greetings to brother-in-law Mike (Barbara's husband), whose birthday is today!!! May this day, and the upcoming year, be filled with the Lord's choicest blessings!!!

Cricket Blue: "June"

One of the treasures of New England is the great variety of music in our region. Some of this music (of whatever genre) is provided musicians from the region; other music is provided by artists visiting the region from other areas.

One such example is the Vermont-based Cricket Blue from Burlington.

Background information:

Cricket Blue

In this video, Cricket Blue is presenting "June":


Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for Your guidance and help on our spiritual journey.

Bishop Tobin on Staying Safe on Our Spiritual Journey

"If on occasion, you find yourself flying somewhere (presumably on a plane) you are no doubt very familiar with the safety instructions that are dutifully announced at the beginning of the flight. As you settle into your seat for the journey, the flight attendants begin by demonstrating how to fasten and release your seatbelt. They also talk about securing your luggage, the emergency lighting system along the floor, the proper use of oxygen masks, locating the exit doors - 'keeping in mind that the closest door might be behind you' - and the floatation devices under the seat - 'in the unlikely event of a water landing.'

"But a curious thing I've noticed is that while the attendants are conscientiously announcing the safety instructions, no one is paying attention to them. . . ."

In a recent commentary, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, of the Diocese of Providence (RI), reflected on the parallel between "widespread disregard of the airline safety instructions" and our spiritual journey ("namely, that we often disregard the clear instructions Jesus has given us about travelling safely, spiritually") and on the importance of avoiding spiritual dangers, traveling safely, and arriving happily at our final destination (heaven).

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

The Imitation of Christ: Staying Safe While Travelling, Spiritually (18 FEB 21)

Reflection Starter from Psalm 51

"A clean heart create for me, God; renew within me a steadfast spirit. Restore to me the gladness of your salvation; uphold me with a willing spirit." - Psalm 51:12, 14

24 February 2021

Count Basie: "Corner Pocket"

It's time for some jazz, a genre of music I enjoy. Here is a presentation of "Corner Pocket" by Count Basie and his Orchestra:


Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of good opportunities for education.

Michael Pakaluk on "Quo Vadis" and Our Lives

"By chance, I picked up Henryk Sienkewicz's novel Quo Vadis from the family bookshelf last week, when I was looking for a next book to read for enjoyment.  (How desperately we all need such reading now!)

"But it wasn't really by chance. I asked my guardian angel to guide me, as I often do, and nothing happens by chance anyway. Everything is under God's providence. So, I thought, I'll write something about this providential book.

"I confess that I chose it against my inclination because, well, it has sold tens of millions of copies; movies have been based on it; and my children have been assigned it in school.  Someone might think these are all good reasons to read it.  But my personal inclination runs against the common and obvious."

In a recent commentary, Dr. Michael Pakaluk, Professor of Philosophy at Catholic University of America, reflected on what the end of all our activity is and if it is leading us to or away from Christ.

To access Dr. Pakaluk’s complete essay, please visit:

The Catholic Thing: Michael Pakaluk: "Quo Vadis?" - Always a Good Question (2 FEB 21)

Reflection Starter from Henry George

"Let no man or woman imagine that he or she has no influence. Whoever one may be, and wherever one may be placed, the man or woman who thinks becomes a light and a power." - Henry George

23 February 2021

Brentwood Baptist Virtual Choir/Orchestra and Travis Cottrell: In Christ Alone/The Solid Rock

As we continue to live this week, I offer this version of the Brentwood Baptist Church (Brentwood, TN) Virtual Choir & Orchestra and Travis Cottrell presenting the medley "In Christ Alone/The Solid Rock":

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the guidance and strength You give to your Vicars on earth.

Br. Damian Day, O.P., on the Chair of St. Peter

"Few experiences are as unexpectedly unnerving - and embarrassing - as settling yourself into a chair only to have it buckle and break, dropping you flailing on the floor. Chairs are supposed to be secure and trustworthy, things that hold us up and protect us. Most chairs will eventually fail; one won't. [Yesterday we celebrated] that sturdiest of chairs, the Chair of St. Peter.

"While the physical Chair of St. Peter, magnificently encased in bronze by Bernini, has proved surprisingly durable for a sixth-century piece of wooden furniture, the spiritual stability it represents is eternally rock solid. The pope's teaching authority is a gift Christ gives to the Church which, like a good chair, gives stability and security to our faith.

"What prevents the pope's chair from collapsing, however, is not bronze, but the true rock: 'And the rock was Christ' (1 Cor 10:4)."

In a recent commentary, Brother Damian Day, O.P., reflected on the sturdiness of the Chair of Saint Peter.

To access Br. Damien's complete reflection, please visit:

Dominicana: Why the Chair of Saint Peter Will Never Break (22 FEB 21)

Reflection Starter from Fulton Sheen

"It is a characteristic of any decaying civilization that the great masses of the people are unconscious of the tragedy. Humanity in a crisis is generally insensitive to the gravity of the times in which it lives. Men do not want to believe their own times are wicked, partly because it involves too much self-accusation and principally because they have no standards outside of themselves by which to measure their times." - Venerable Fulton Sheen

22 February 2021

Happy Birthday, George Washington

Today is George Washington’s birthday. Washington, the first President of the United States (under the U.S. Constitution), is considered by many people to be one of the greatest Presidents the U.S. has had.

This is an excerpt from his official White House brief biography:

"Born in 1732 into a Virginia planter family, he learned the morals, manners, and body of knowledge requisite for an 18th century Virginia gentleman.

"He pursued two intertwined interests: military arts and western expansion. At 16 he helped survey Shenandoah lands for Thomas, Lord Fairfax. Commissioned a lieutenant colonel in 1754, he fought the first skirmishes of what grew into the French and Indian War. The next year, as an aide to Gen. Edward Braddock, he escaped injury although four bullets ripped his coat and two horses were shot from under him.

"From 1759 to the outbreak of the American Revolution, Washington managed his lands around Mount Vernon and served in the Virginia House of Burgesses. Married to a widow, Martha Dandridge Custis, he devoted himself to a busy and happy life. But like his fellow planters, Washington felt himself exploited by British merchants and hampered by British regulations. As the quarrel with the mother country grew acute, he moderately but firmly voiced his resistance to the restrictions.

"When the Second Continental Congress assembled in Philadelphia in May 1775, Washington, one of the Virginia delegates, was elected Commander in Chief of the Continental Army. On July 3, 1775, at Cambridge, Massachusetts, he took command of his ill-trained troops and embarked upon a war that was to last six grueling years.

"He realized early that the best strategy was to harass the British. He reported to Congress, 'we should on all Occasions avoid a general Action, or put anything to the Risque, unless compelled by a necessity, into which we ought never to be drawn.' Ensuing battles saw him fall back slowly, then strike unexpectedly. Finally in 1781 with the aid of French allies - he forced the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown.

"Washington longed to retire to his fields at Mount Vernon. But he soon realized that the Nation under its Articles of Confederation was not functioning well, so he became a prime mover in the steps leading to the Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia in 1787. When the new Constitution was ratified, the Electoral College unanimously elected Washington President.

"He did not infringe upon the policy making powers that he felt the Constitution gave Congress. But the determination of foreign policy became preponderantly a Presidential concern. When the French Revolution led to a major war between France and England, Washington refused to accept entirely the recommendations of either his Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, who was pro-French, or his Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, who was pro-British. Rather, he insisted upon a neutral course until the United States could grow stronger.

"To his disappointment, two parties were developing by the end of his first term. Wearied of politics, feeling old, he retired at the end of his second. In his Farewell Address, he urged his countrymen to forswear excessive party spirit and geographical distinctions. In foreign affairs, he warned against long-term alliances.

"Washington enjoyed less than three years of retirement at Mount Vernon, for he died of a throat infection December 14, 1799. For months the Nation mourned him."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A selection of quotes from George Washington:

"The ways of Providence being inscrutable, and the justice of it not to be scanned by the shallow eye of humanity, nor to be counteracted by the utmost efforts of human power or wisdom, resignation, and as far as the strength of our reason and religion can carry us, a cheerful acquiescence to the Divine Will, is what we are to aim." (in a letter to Colonel Bassett, 25 April 1773)

"By the all-powerful dispensations of Providence, I have been protected beyond all human probability and expectation; for I had four bullets through my coat, and two horses shot under me, yet escaped unhurt, altho' death was levelling my companions on every side." (in a letter to John A. Washington, 18 July 1755)

"“Nothing but harmony, honesty, industry, and frugality are necessary to make us a great and happy people." (to Marquis de Lafayette, Mount Vernon, 29 January 1789)

"I am sure the mass of citizens in these United States mean well, and I firmly believe they will always act well whenever they can obtain a right understanding of matters; but in some parts of the Union, where the sentiments of their delegates and leaders are adverse to the government, and great pains are taken to inculcate a belief that their rights are assailed and their liberties endangered, it is not easy to accomplish this; especially, as is the case invariably, when the inventors and abettors of pernicious measures use infinite more industry in disseminating the poison than the well disposed part of the community to furnish the antidote." (in a letter to John Jay, 8 May 1796)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
For a chronology of George Washington's life, please visit:

Smithsonian Institution: George Washington ' A National Treasure: Chronology

Other information/media posts:

The Catholic Thing: Happy Birthday, George Washington (21 FEB 20)

Foundations Magazine: George Washington's Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation

Chili Treat: "You Don't, You Won't"

It's time for some more barbershop harmony. Here is a presentation of "You Don't, You Won't" by Chili Treat:


Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the beauty of freshly fallen snow.

Fr. Patrick Briscoe, O.P., on Encountering God in the Desert

"Run to the desert! Our heavenly Father reveals the glory of his beloved son at our Blessed Lord's baptism by John, and then straight away Jesus is thrown into the contest of temptation in the desert. 

"At first glance the desert may seem the place of struggle, the place of abandonment. Gazing at the arid dry wilderness of our lives may lead us to believe that God has left us; that he is far from us. However, over and over again in the Scriptures, God shows us that the desert, the place far away, the place of travail and combat, is the privileged place of encounter with God."

In a recent commentary, Father Patrick Briscoe, O.P., reflected on why the desert is a privileged place of encounter with God.

To access Fr Patrick's complete post, please visit: 

Aleteia: Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP: Run to the desert! Why we should seek out this place of struggle (21 FEB 21)

Reflection Starter from St. Thomas Aquinas

"Distinctions drawn by the mind are not necessarily equivalent to distinctions in reality." - Saint Thomas Aquinas

21 February 2021

"Jesus Walked This Lonesome Valley"

As we continue our Sunday celebration, I offer this version of "Jesus Walked This Lonesome Valley":

First Sunday of Lent

Today the Church in the United States celebrates the First Sunday of Lent. The assigned readings are Genesis 9:8-15, 1 Peter 3:18-22, and Mark 1:12-15. The Responsorial Psalm is from Psalm 25 (Psalm 25:4-9).

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

YouTube: Psalm 25: Your Ways O Lord are Love and Truth to those who Keep your Covenant- Feb 21, 2021 

The Gospel reading is as follows:

The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.

After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: "This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel."

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sunday Reflections: First Sunday of Lent February 21, 2021

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: First Sunday of Lent (February 21, 2021)