31 August 2021

Tennessee Ernie Ford: "Take My Hand, Precious Lord"

As we continue to live this week, I offer this version of Tennessee Ernie Ford singing "Take My Hand, Precious Lord":


Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of a good night's sleep.

Br. Bertrand Hebert, O.P., on Praying to a Generous King

"The maxim 'With great power comes great responsibility' has become a bland phrase. But it's still a truism, and that makes it, by definition, true - even if we divorce it from the world of Peter Parker. The proof is in the many examples of those with the power to rule. Some use their position open-handedly like Saint Louis of France, whom the Church celebrates today. Others selfishly clutch their authority with pride and fear. But no matter when and where we live, we have another King who transcends our earthly maxims: Jesus Christ. 

"The saints pray with conviction to Christ as their King. They know he will hear their supplications in his heavenly court, even when earthly kings refuse. Their confidence in this royal imagery informs their life of prayer. . . ."

In a recent commentaryBrother Bertrand Hebert, O.P., reflected on the generosity of Christ the King, a king who "gives generously to those who love and serve him" and whose "gifts are for his glory and our benefit."

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

Dominicana: We Pray to a Generous King (25 AUG 21)

Reflection Starter from St. Francis De Sales

"When you encounter difficulties and contradictions, do not try to break them, but bend them with gentleness and time." - Saint Francis de Sales

30 August 2021

Ringmasters: "Smile"

It's time for some barbershop harmony, a genre of music I enjoy. Here is a presentation of "Smile" by the Ringmasters:


Thank You, Lord

Thank You, Lord, for the blessing of examples given by Your saintly people.

Katie Gillio on St. Monica and Persistence

"Everyone was screaming. My oldest son was exhausted and cranky after a long day of kindergarten and wanted cookies instead of fruit for a snack. My toddler was furious that I would not let him continue to dump his milk on the couch. The baby was screaming after being awakened from his nap by his older brothers' cacophonies of outrage. Tears came to my eyes, and I did not know what to do.  

"Children are a blessing, and yet they can also be a challenge. As a young mom of three little boys, I found myself overwhelmed. Often I just didn’t know how to best handle a difficult situation. . . . 

"Surrounded by screaming children, I took a deep breath and announced that we were taking a walk around the block. Before long, my children were calm, and peace was restored. I mindlessly grabbed the mail upon our return home. Once everyone was settled, I flipped through the stack. Inside one envelope - and I have no idea where it had come from - were a few information cards about various saints.  Since my children were quiet for the moment, I began to read.

"And that is how I met St. Monica."

In a recent commentary, writer Katie Gillio, reflected on Saint Monica and the challenges she faced and on how this inspired her not to give up on the challenges in her own life..

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

Aleteia: Katie Gillio: The mother and saint who taught me to never give up (27 AUG 21)

Reflection Starter from Viktor Frankl

"You cannot control what happens to you in life, but you can always control what you will feel and do about what happens to you." - Viktor E. Frankl

29 August 2021

Lincoln Brewster: "Love the Lord"

As we continue our Sunday celebration, I offer this version of Lincoln Brewster presenting "Love the Lord":

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-8; James 1:17-18, 21B-22, 27; and Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23. The Responsorial Psalm is from Psalm 15 (Psalm 15:2-5). 

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

YouTube: The One Who Does Justice Will Live in the Presence of the Lord. Psalm 15 (B081)

The Gospel reading is as follows: 

When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus, they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands. - For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews, do not eat without carefully washing their hands, keeping the tradition of the elders. And on coming from the marketplace  they do not eat without purifying themselves. And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed, the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds. - So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him, "Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?"

He responded, "Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written:
    'This people honors me with their lips,
        but their hearts are far from me;
    in vain do they worship me,
        teaching as doctrines human precepts.'
You disregard God's commandment but cling to human tradition."

He 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.

"From within people, from their hearts, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile."

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Salesian Sunday Reflections: Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time August 29, 2021

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time (August 29, 2021)

Crossroads Initiative: Does Scripture bash Tradition?

St. Paul Center: Pure Religion: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Magis Center for Catholic Spirituality: Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Gregorian Institute at Benedictine College: This Sunday, Stop 'Virtue Signaling' (26 AUG 21)

Word on Fire: The Beauty of the Law (Cycle B * Ordinary Time * Week 22)

National Catholic Register: Sunday Guide: Cultivating the Word That Has Been Planted in Us (26 AUG 21) 

Spirituality of the Readings: The Heart of the Matter (22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year B)

In Exile: Editing Your Own Life (22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year B)

Glancing Thoughts: Washing Your Hands Before Dinner (22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year B)

The Perspective of Justice: Free and Responsible (22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year B)

Let the Scriptures Speak: Clean Hands, Dirty Hands (22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year B)

The Word Embodied: Disturbing Words (22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year B)

Historical Cultural Context: Conflict (22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year B) 

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary by Irenaeus (22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year B)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of Your presence in each person we encounter each day.

Msgr. Pope on Sacred Music Onomatopoeias

"Do you remember the meaning of the literary term onomatopoeia? In case you've forgotten, it's a word that sounds like the object it describes. Words like oink, meow, wham, sizzle, and my personal favorite: yackety-yak are examples of onomatopoeia.

"There are times when music, including sacred music, has an onomatopoetic quality; they sound like what their words are describing. For example, there are songs that describe the crucifixion featuring hammer blows in the background, and songs about the resurrection and ascension that feature notes soaring up the scale."

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on examples of sacred music that "powerfully take up the very sound of what the words are describing."

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

Community in Mission: The Genius of Sacred Music as Heard in Seven Musical "Onomatopoeias" (25 AUG 21)

Reflection Starter from Pope Francis

"Saint Augustine said: 'I fear that Jesus will pass by me unnoticed'. It is important to remain watchful, because one great mistake in life is to get absorbed in a thousand things and not to notice God." - Pope Francis

28 August 2021

"50 Years - A Salute to Film Composers"

As this blessed week draws to a close, I offer this version of John Williams conducting the Boston Pops Orchestra in an Academy Award medley, "50 Years - A Salute to Film Composers":

On Conversion as a Lifelong Process, Hillbilly Thomists, 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:

Catholic News Agency: What happens when the pope receives a head of state? (27 AUG 21)

Aleteia; Theresa Civantos Barber: Here's how a t-shirt can help you evangelize (24 JUN 21)

U.S. Catholic: Conversion is a lifelong process, says this professor (May 2021)

Denver Catholic: Jared Staudt : I AM Who Am: God is greater than anything we can imagine (8 JUL 21)

National Catholic Register: How John Henry Newman's Writing Fought the Nazis (29 AUG 19)

The American Conservative: The Hillbilly Thomists Are Back (31 JAN 21)

Aleteia: J-P Mauro: Catholic priest among winners of first TikTok awards (9 JUL 21)

Fr. Dwight Longenecker: O Lord, Make Me Happy, But Not Yet… (27 AUG 21

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessings You have planned for the various educational institutions who are beginning their new academic year.

Dr. Ines Murzaku on U.N. Honoring Mother Teresa with a Postage Stamp

"A United Nations stamp to honor a Catholic saint? 

"Yes. On Aug. 12, the UN issued a commemorative stamp honoring Mother Teresa, one of the most celebrated women and Catholic missionaries of the 20th century. On the right side of the stamp appears one of Mother Teresa's most celebrated quotes: 'Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.'"

In a recent commentary, Dr. Ines Angeli Murzaku, Professor of Ecclesiastical History, Director of the Catholic Studies Program, and Founding Chair of the Department of Catholic Studies at Seton Hall University, reflected on this and another honor given to Mother Teresa by the United Nations.

To access Dr. Murzaku's complete post, please visit:

National Catholic Register: Blogs: Ines Murzaku: United Nations Honors Mother Teresa With a Postage Stamp (26 AUG 21)

Reflection Starter from St. Augustine

"Remember this. When people choose to withdraw far from a fire, the fire continues to give warmth, but they grow cold. When people choose to withdraw far from light, the light continues to be bright in itself but they are in darkness. This is also the case when people withdraw from God." - Saint Augustine of Hippo, whose memory the Church celebrates today (28 August)

27 August 2021

Joachim Raff: Symphony No. 11 in A minor

It's time for some classical music. This is a presentation of Joachim Raff's Symphony No. 11 in A minor (Op. 214) ("Der Winter"), as presented by the Slovak Philharmonic, conducted by Urs Schneider:


Note: This composition was unfinished. It was completed by Max Erdmannsdörfer shortly after Raff's passing.

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Feel Your Faith Recharged on Father Kapaun Pilgrimage

For the past 13 years, the people of the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas, have gathered annually for the Father Emil Kapaun pilgrimage, four days of walking, companionship, and prayer, culminating in the Father Kapaun Day Mass held at St. John Nepomucene Church. As Joe Bukuras recently reported for Catholic News Agency, "The 2021 walk was unique because the Wichita diocese is preparing to welcome the bodily remains of Fr. Kapaun."

Servant of God Father Emil Kapaun was a United States Army chaplain who served in World War II and the Korean War. He displayed tremendous heroism while on the front lines of the Korean War's Battle of Unsan, when he braved enemy fire to rescue nearly 40 men. He was captured with other survivors and marched 87 miles to a prisoner of war camp. As a POW, he inspired his men through courage and sacrifice, stealing food for those who were starving, smuggling medicine for those who were sick, standing up to communist indoctrination, and regularly leading his men in prayer. On March 25, 1951, Father Kapaun led an Easter sunrise service in a near death state, and he died from malnutrition and pneumonia on May 23, 1951.

In 1953, Operation Glory returned the remains of 1,868 soldiers to the U.S. as part of the Korean Armistice Agreement. Father Kapaun's remains were known to be among this number, but they were unable to be identified and were buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (NMCP) in Honolulu, Hawaii. It wasn't until 2018 that the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency's Korean War Disinterment Project began a plan at the NMCP to disinter all remaining Korean War Unknowns. And on March 4, 2021, it was confirmed by U.S. Senator Jerry Moran and the Catholic Diocese of Wichita that Father Kapaun's remains had finally been identified.

Father Kapaun was ordained to the priesthood in the Diocese of Wichita, and he celebrated his first Mass at St. John Nepomucene Church in Pilsen, where his memory is kept alive through the Chaplain Kapaun Museum. Also based in the Diocese of Wichita is the Father Kapaun Guild, which promotes his cause for canonization. The Father Emil Kapaun Pilgrimage is a 60-mile walk in the heat and over mostly gravelly roads. It is challenging, and pilgrims sometimes need to take breaks by riding in support vehicles that follow the group. "This is a humbling experience," said veteran pilgrim Sharon Norden, "but even Jesus needed help on His way to the cross."

Norden describes the pilgrimage as a bonding experience where people share stories of faith, suggest books and podcasts to each other, and avail themselves of the sacraments provided by priests who say Mass and hear confession daily. "No one scoffs at saying a rosary on the road or the divine mercy chaplet between conversations," says Norden. "It is where you feel your faith recharged, just like Father Kapaun recharged the men and they all continued to go on in their imprisonment."

What profound insight this pilgrim shares about the call Christ extends to each of us to strengthen each other in trying times. Often, we cannot relieve each other's burdens, but we can help each other cope with difficult situations, and we can keep hope alive for each other. So let's all take up this pilgrimage, at least in spirit, to walk in the footsteps of Father Kapaun and answer the call of Christ to recharge the faith of those entrusted to our care.

This essay is a recent "Light One Candle" column by Father Ed Dougherty, M.M., The Christophers' Board of Directors ; it is one of a series of weekly columns that deal with a variety of topics and current events. 

Background information:

The Christophers