30 April 2021

National Playground Safety Week

This week, the week of 26-30 April, is being observed as National Playground Safety Week, an observance designed to assess playground safety and express gratitude to those who are making playgrounds safe.

Safe at Play: National Playground Safety Week

Background information:

National Program for Playground Safety

Prevent Child Injury

Safe at Play

Optional Memorial of Saint Pius V, pope, religious

Today the Church celebrates the memory of St. Pius V (Myrna and I are parishioners at Saint Pius V Parish in Providence, RI). The readings for the feast day include 1 Corinthians 4:1-5 and John 21:15-17, with a Responsorial Psalm from Psalm 110 (Psalm 110:1-4).

Background information:

Franciscan Media: Saint of the Day: Saint Pius V

Joseph Haydn: Piano Concerto No. 11 in D major

It's time for some classical music. This is a presentation of Joseph Haydn's "Keyboard Concerto No. 11 in D major" as presented by the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen (Bremen German Chamber Philharmonic) with Mikhail Pletnev on piano, conducted by Iván Fischer:


Birthday Blessings, Adalynn!!!

Birthday greetings to granddaughter Adalynn, whose birthday is today!!! May this day, and each day of the upcoming year, be filled with the Lord's choicest blessings!!

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the Holy Spirit's inspirations.

Harry Connick Jr. Inspired by Catholic Faith

The coronavirus pandemic prompted music great Harry Connick Jr. to create an album inspired by  his religious beliefs. Titled Alone With My Faith, it consists of Christian classics, such as "Amazing  Grace," Catholic hymns like "Panis Angelicus" and "Be Not Afraid," and original songs, including  the title track. In that song, Harry explores the idea that despite not having all the answers to life's  big questions, he knows he's never alone. The singer notes that he has found a way to integrate questions, and even occasional doubts, into a strong faith life.

During a Christopher Closeup interview, he told me, "My dad is my spiritual hero. His faith is stronger than almost anyone I've ever met. We talk about faith and what it means, and what it means to question things. . . . My dad was raised by two extremely devout Roman Catholics. They said the rosary every day, my dad had an incredibly fertile Catholic upbringing. My mom was Jewish and was non-denominational by the time I was born so I didn't even get baptized as a baby. I was 13 when I got baptized and confirmed. So my dad and I have a lot of good conversations. And I like where I am because I've asked a lot of questions, but I've also found a lot of answers."

Harry's faith was also shaped by his Catholic schooling in New Orleans. He recalled, "I went to Jesuit High School. I became close to many of the priests there. They were great spiritual advisors to me, and friendly to me. I lost my mom around the time I went to high school. I think about the President of Jesuit High School then, Fr. Tony McGinn. I was struggling, having some hard times, and he was incredibly patient and kind with me, so I felt at home in the Catholic Church."

Harry's father has taught his son to be aware of the movings of the Holy Spirit. When certain opportunities present themselves, for instance, the elder Connick says, "That’s the Holy Spirit talking to you. Say yes and listen." That's why Harry’s dad, age 95, is working to build a chapel to the Holy Spirit. He's even got an architect lined up and has already tapped his son to hold fundraisers for the project.

In retrospect, Harry can see how the Holy Spirit has worked in his life. For instance, his first job when he moved to New York City at age 18 was in a church. He recalled being broke and stopping by Our Lady of Good Counsel to ask if they needed a piano player. Father Richard Guastella offered Harry $25 to play two Masses on the weekends. Harry felt ecstatic. He recalled thinking, "You know how many ramen noodles I can buy with $25?! That'll set me up for the week!"

"The great thing about Fr. Richard," continued Harry, was that almost every Sunday, "he would take me across the street, and buy me a hamburger at this little restaurant. He was calm, he was measured. I was 18, and I needed someone like that in my life. He was so kind. He eventually became a monsignor, moved to Staten Island. I asked him if he would marry me and my wife, Jill, so he came down to New Orleans [in 1994]. Sadly, we found out that he died last year from COVID. So it's been a tough year. But those are happy memories for me, playing in that church."

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

Harry Connick Jr. - Official Site

Reflection Starter from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

"A person who takes a walk of 100 feet and a person who walks 2,000 miles have one major thing in common. They both need to take a first step before they take a second step." - Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

29 April 2021

On a Variety of 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: Vatican's Doctrinal Office: Catholic Church Cannot Give Blessings to Same-Sex Unions (15 MAR 21)

Knowing Is Doing: The devil desires to isolate you from Christ, don't let him (22 FEB 21)

Religion Unplugged: 5 Catholic Books You Should Read This Easter Season (16 MAR 21)

The Pilot: Echoes: Echoes: Jaymie Stuart Wolfe: Tell it like it is (16 APR 21)

The Catholic Thing: Our Fourth-Century Christianity (19 FEB 21)

Standing on My Head: The Relevance of Reverence (10 APR 21)

First Things: Francis X. Maier: Somebody Needs To Be Dad (February 2021)

U.S. Catholic: There's more to St. Patrick than shamrocks and beer (March 2021)

Lee Andrews and the Hearts: "Teardrops"

It's time for some more doo wop. Here is a presentation of "Teardrops" by Lee Andrews & the Hearts:


National 9-1-1 Education Month

The month of April is being observed as National 9-1-1 Education Month, an observance designed to ensure that the public is ready to access help during emergencies.

Background information:

National 911 Program

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord for Your Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament and all that this means.

Philip Kosloski on Jesus in the Eucharist

"The Eucharist is a central teaching of the Catholic Church that is today often misunderstood.

"While it is easy to see how the Eucharist might symbolically represent Jesus' Last Supper with his apostles, it isn't always clear that Catholics believe Jesus is present in a unique way.

"For Catholics, the Eucharist is not merely a symbol, but Jesus Christ himself."

In a recent commentary, writer Philip Kosloski reflected on Jesus' Real Presence, including its scriptural basis and other related truths.

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

Aleteia; Philip Kosloski: 5 Fascinating facts about Jesus in the Eucharist (18 APR 21)

Reflection Starter from St. Catherine of Siena

"Start being brave about everything. Drive out darkness and spread light. Don't look at your weaknesses. Realize instead that in Christ crucified you can do everything." - Saint Catherine of Siena, whose memory the Church celebrates today (29 April)

28 April 2021

The Sunrise Jazz Combo: "Blue Bossa"

It's time for some jazz, a genre of music I enjoy. Here is a presentation of "Blue Bossa" by The Sunrise Jazz Combo:


Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of free will You have given to each of us and for the grace to choose to follow You.

Fr. Longenecker on Seeking and Saving

"I was asked recently what I thought was the most difficult thing about priestly life. I stumbled looking for an answer, but on reflection I have to say the most difficult thing is knowing what wonderful things God can do for people and knowing how their lives could be transformed, how they could receive healing, forgiveness and blessings - only to have them turn away and reject God's grace."

In a recent commentary, Father Dwight Longenecker (parish priest at Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church, Greenville, SC) reflected on God's mercy, free will, and salvation.

To access Fr. Longenecker's complete post, please visit:

Fr. Dwight Longenecker: To Seek and To Save (21 APR 21)

Background information:

Dwight Longenecker - Catholic priest and author

Reflection Starter from Daniel Webster

"How little do they see what really is, who frame their hasty judgment upon that which seems." - Daniel Webster

27 April 2021

Belated Birthday Blessings, Alison!!!

Belated birthday greetings to sister-in-law Alison (Jan's wife), whose recently celebrated her birthday!!! May each day of the upcoming year be filled with the Lord's choicest blessings!!!

National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week

This week, the week of 26-30 April, is being observed as National Work Zone Awareness Week. This annual observance is designed to bring national attention to motorist and worker safety and mobility issues in work zones. This year's theme is "Drive Safe. Work Safe. Save Lives."

Background information:

Federal Highway Administration: Office of Operations

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials

American Traffic Safety Services Association


"My Lord, What a Morning"

As we continue to live this week, I offer this version of "My Lord, What a Morning":

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of popcorn and other little treats.

Br. Linus Martz, O.P., on Food, the Eucharist, and Eternal Life

"Food goes bad. That's why we use expiration dates. Bread eventually molds. Dairy sours and fruit rots. Even the manna, the miraculous bread from heaven for the wandering Israelites, 'bred worms and became foul' when they disobediently kept it overnight (Exod 16:20). Corruption, at least for ordinary food, is natural. . . .

"Eating food is, in a way, a memento mori. It reminds us that we will die. 

"The Eucharist reminds us of something else. . . ."

In a recent commentary, Brother Linus Martz, O.P., reflected on how, for now, the sacraments are the means by which we share in God's life and how, through the Eucharist, He "preserves our souls in divine life and prepares even our bodies for the day of resurrection."

To access Br. Linus' complete reflection, please visit:

Dominicana: Corruptible Food, Incorruptible Life (23 APR 21)

Reflection Starter from St. Louis Mary Grignion de Montfort

"Have you strayed from the path leading to heaven? Then call on Mary, for her name means 'Star of the Sea, the North Star which guides the ships of our souls during the voyage of this life,' and she will guide you to the harbor of eternal salvation." - Saint Louis Mary Grignion de Montfort, in (The Secret Of The Rosary)

26 April 2021

Severe Weather Preparedness Week in Southern New England

The week of 26-30 April is being observed as Severe Weather Preparedness Week in Southern New England. During this week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is collaborating with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to provide information to the public about the hazards of severe weather and steps people can take to ensure they’re prepared.

Every year, thousands of people are impacted by severe weather threats such as tornadoes and severe thunderstorms. In 2012, there were more than 450 weather-related fatalities and nearly 2,600 injuries.

The goals of National Severe Weather Preparedness Week are to:

  • inform the public about the severe weather hazards in their locality;
  • provide information that can be used to prepare individuals and communities for severe weather events; and
  • motivate individuals and communities to take actions that will prepare them in the event of a severe weather disaster and to share their preparedness steps with others.

For additional information related to National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, please visit:

National Weather Service: Severe Weather Preparedness Week: April 26th – 30th, 2021

FEMA: Ready.gov: Severe Weather

Afternoon Delight: "An Old Fashioned Girl/Sweet And Lovely" Medley

It's time for some more barbershop harmony. Here is a presentation of a medley of "An Old Fashioned Girl" and "Sweet And Lovely" by Afternoon Delight:

YouTube: Afternoon Delight - An Old Fashioned Girl/Sweet And Lovely medley

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of those people in our lives who have guided us and encouraged us.

Bishop Tobin on Avoiding Gossip and Rumors

"Unless you're from Western Pennsylvania or are fluent in Pittsburghese, you're probably not familiar with the word 'nebby.' Although it has distant British roots, the word is found most often today in the Pittsburgh lexicon. It's a very useful adjective that one dictionary defines as being 'nosy, snoopy or inquisitive.' There are some nouns that derive from the word nebby but since this is a family-friendly newspaper, I can't repeat them here. Pittsburghers will know what I mean.

"On one hand, being nebby is a normal human activity. I guess we all want to know what's going on, and what the real story is. We're curious to find out the details; what happened, how did people react, who said what to whom.

"But being nebby quickly crosses the line into unhealthy, unholy gossip. . . ."

In a recent commentary, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, of the Diocese of Providence (RI), reflected on how good communication and transparency are positive values to be sought and practiced, but trafficking in rumors and gossip is contrary to the Gospel.

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

The Imitation of Christ: Don't Be So Nebby (22 APR 21)

Reflection Starter from the Gospel According to Mark

"[Jesus] summoned the crowd again and said to them, 'Hear me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.'" - Mark 7:14-15

25 April 2021

Mississippi College Singers: "My Shepherd Will Supply My Need"

As we continue our Sunday celebration, I offer this version of the Mississippi College Singers presenting "My Shepherd Will Supply My Need":

Fourth Sunday of Easter

Today the Church celebrates the Fourth Sunday of Easter. The assigned readings are Acts 4:8-12, 1 John 3:1-2, and John 10:11-18. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 118 (Psalm 118:1, 8-9, 20-23, 26, 28-29). 

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

YouTube: The Stone Rejected by the Builders Has Become the Cornerstone. Psalm 118 (B049)

The Gospel reading is as follows: 

Jesus said: "I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd. This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father."

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sunday Reflections: Fourth Sunday of Easter April 25, 2021

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Fourth Sunday of Easter (April 25, 2021)

Crossroads Initiative: Is Jesus, the Good Shepherd, the Only Savior?

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of spring rain.

Msgr. Pope on Our Lives Not Just Being About Us

"In Wednesday's reading, the Acts of the Apostles sets forth an event that amounts to a tale of one Church in two cities or regions. It illustrates well a couple of points: that the Church is always in need of reform and that our lives are not merely about us and what we want. . . ."

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on how our lives are not just about us, but also about "what others need, and what others see and can contribute."

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

Community in Mission: Your Life is Not About You, As Illustrated in a Biblical Story (22 APR 21)

Reflection Starter from Pope Francis

"The Lord of life wants us to be full of life, and he tells us the secret of life: we come to possess it only by giving it away." - Pope Francis

24 April 2021

"Waltzing Matilda"

As this blessed week draws to a close, I offer this version of Wendy Matthews, John Schumann, and Brian Cadd presenting "Waltzing Matilda":

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for Your constant presence in our lives, whether or not we are aware of it.

When God's Goodness is Hard to See

Lent 2021 may officially be over on Easter Sunday, but for many people, it feels like Lent 2020  never actually ended due to the hardships brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Still, if we  open our eyes and hearts, we can see and experience the light of Christ brought about by the  Resurrection. That's what happened with Catholic author and radio host Katie Prejean McGrady.   In August 2020, Katie, her husband Tommy, and their three-year-old daughter Rose moved in with her grandfather because they had to evacuate their Louisiana home due to Hurricane Laura. And, oh yeah, Katie was nine months pregnant at the time. The storm destroyed much of their town, so three weeks later, Katie gave birth in a different hospital than she had planned - though, thankfully, baby Clare was healthy.

Several weeks later, the McGradys returned home, only to have to evacuate again due to another hurricane. When they came back after that one, they discovered more damage to their home. Katie felt fed up. During an interview with me on Christopher Closeup, she recalled, "[I was] shaking my fist at the sky going, 'What did we do to deserve this? . . . We have gone where You've asked us to go, we have done what You've asked us to do, we have been open to life, we have been generous with what we have, and You're still going to come and topple the town and destroy our schools?!'"

Then, Katie felt the presence of God, reminding her that He is always faithful, even when His goodness is hard to see. "He will hand us things that we certainly can't handle on our own," Katie explained, "but that's an even deeper and more challenging invitation to continue to trust. . . . I can't say that there haven't been plenty of moments in prayer where I have raged and screamed and cried. . . . So I'm a work in progress in figuring that out."

Raging at God doesn't have to be a bad thing, however. Katie observed, "I think [God] would rather us tell Him how we feel than hide it. If I know my daughter is upset, I don't want her to run off and hide in her bedroom. I want her to sit there and tell me: I'm sad, I'm frustrated, I'm lonely. . . . The same thing is true of God. God wants to know [if] I'm upset, I'm confused, I'm angry. Don't be afraid to tell Him."

Despite the times of darkness, Katie was able to look back at those events and find God's presence as well, through her experiences with her grandfather. He had been living alone for more than a year, since her grandmother had to move into an assisted living facility due to dementia. And she died in June 2020. While the McGradys lived with him, he had a fuller house than he'd had in ages! Katie said, "There was so much life in that house for those eight weeks! Every morning, he would wake up - and he and my daughter . . . would sit on the back porch . . . and eat an oatmeal cream pie for breakfast. . . . They became best buds. . . . I got to bring my newborn daughter into the house. . . . [My grandfather] was so attentive and loving. . . . There was so much joy in being there."

Katie and her family are continuing to bring him that joy by visiting often, and FaceTiming with the kids on other days. Her story reminds us that we can be Christ for one another. Consider some ways that you can do the same. Happy Easter!

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 Rev. Peter Marshall

"Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned." - Rev. Peter Marshall
Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned. Peter Marshall
Read more at https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/peter-marshall-quotes

23 April 2021

Jan Ladislav Dusík: Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra

It's time for some classical music. This is a presentation of Jan Ladislav Dussek's Concerto for two pianos and orchestra, op. 63, as presented by the Czech Philharmonic with František Maxián and Jan Panenka on piano, conducted by Sir John Barbirolli:


Thank You, Lord

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

Philip Kosloski on a Brief Overview of the Bible and Its Development

"The Bible is one of the most influential books of all time, yet many of us are not familiar with its history or development.

"The Bible didn't simply appear out of nowhere, or come down from the sky.

"The Bible is a written account composed by various individuals who were inspired by the Holy Spirit to record what they experienced.

"It was compiled over many centuries and has been in its current form since the 4th century."

In a recent commentary, writer Philip Kosloski offered a brief overview of the Bible and its development (including where it came from and its division into chapters and verses).

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

Aleteia; Philip Kosloski: Brief overview of the Bible and its development (21 APR 21)

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

Tomorrow (Saturday, 24 April) the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is again coordinating a collaborative effort with state and local law enforcement agencies (including many agencies throughout New England) to remove potentially dangerous controlled substances from medicine cabinets. The free event will be held from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM. These sites include (as of this writing) 71 in Connecticut, 143 in Maine, 191 in Massachusetts, 120 in New Hampshire, 39 in Rhode Island, and 55 in Vermont.

This National Take-Back Day is designed to provide an opportunity for the public to surrender expired, unwanted, or unused pharmaceutical controlled substances and other medications for destruction. These drugs are a potential source of supply for illegal use and are considered an unacceptable risk to public health and safety.

This one-day effort is designed to bring national focus to the issue of increasing pharmaceutical controlled substance abuse. The program is anonymous, and it focuses on prescription and over the counter solid dosage medications (i.e., tablets and capsules). Intravenous solutions, injectables, and needles will not be accepted. In addition, illicit substances such as marijuana or methamphetamine are not a part of this initiative.

To view a list of collection sites in a specific state, please click on the following:

US DEA: National Take Back Initiative Collection Site Search

Reflection Starter from Mother Teresa

"It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start" - Saint Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa)

22 April 2021

The Paragons: "The Vows Of Love"

It's time for some more doo wop. Here is a presentation of  "The Vows Of Love" by The Paragons:


Thank You. Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of good religious art and opportunities to reflect on the images portrayed.

On Sr. Orsola Maddalena Caccia's Work Goint to the Met

"Thanks to an unexpected bequest, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art now boasts the largest collection of works by the Mannerist painter and nun Orsola Maddalena Caccia (1596–1676) outside the artist’s native Italy.

"Upon hedge-fund manager Errol M. Rudman's death last year, he surprised the Met with a gift that included three works by Caccia, whose art is rarely represented in US museum collections - or even outside of the convent in Moncalvo, Italy, where she lived and worked."

A recent article in Artnet News,reported on this bequest.

To access the complete Artnet News report, please visit:

Artnet News: Meet Orsola Maddalena Caccia, the Remarkable Painting Nun Whose Work Just Entered the Met's Collection in a Surprise Donation (4 FEB 21)

Reflection Starter

"Be the person your dog thinks you are." - Sign outside an auto repair shop in North Providence, RI

21 April 2021

Administrative Professionals Day

Today is observed as Administrative Professionals Day. It is a time to offer our appreciation for and our gratitude to the to the hard working executive assistants and other office workers who make such a great difference to the administration of government functions in our communities.

Lester Young: "Pennies from Heaven"

It's time for some jazz, a genre of music I enjoy. Here is a presentation of "Pennies from Heaven" by Lester Young and associates: