30 September 2021

Presentation by Ebony Steel Band

It's time for some steelpan (or steel drum) music, a type of music I enjoy. This video is a presentation by Ebony Steel Band:


Birthday Blessings, Myrna!!!

Happy Birthday, Myrna!!!

The celebration of a person's birthday celebrates that person and his/her life. Each such person is a gift of God to the world, and each brings his/her own special touch to this world that He made.

You are a truly blessed person, and I am grateful to have you in my life. The gift that you are has touched me (and a multitude of others) in a variety of good ways. Thank you for the many ways You open yourself to the blessings God sends Your way! Thank you for being a blessing to me and to each person whose life you touch!

May this day and the upcoming year be filled with an outpouring of the Lord's choicest blessings!

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for Your mercy and Your love.

Marlon De La Torre on What God Does When We Sin

"Awareness of your sins I argue is perhaps one of the most valuable charisms a person can possess. The ability to renounce sinful behavior and embrace an active relationship with Jesus Christ is what St. Paul would describe as the way not be conformed to this world but instead be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. The first time my youngest daughter recognized that she had committed a sin, there was a very long drawn out pause, her face in disbelief and her eyes swelling up at the very thought that she had just offended God.

"It was important that my daughter understood three things, first, Jesus came to save us from our sins, two, sin has no authority over her through the grace of Jesus Christ in the sacrament of confession, and finally God will never stop loving her, even if she sins. The last point is very important because when someone begins to develop an initial relationship with God, a sense of trust is one of the first things that is to develop between God and man. . . ."

In a recent commentary, Marlon De La Torre, Director of Catechesis for the Diocese of Fort Worth, reflected on the gift of grace and on what God does when we sin.

To access Mr. De La Torre's complete post, please visit:

Knowing Is Doing: What does God do when I sin? (27 SEP 21)

Reflection Starter from St. Jerome

"It is not enough for us to restrain from doing evil, unless we shall also do good." - Saint Jerome, whose memory the Church celebrates today (30 September).

29 September 2021

"Blue Bossa

It's time for some jazz, a genre of music I enjoy. Here is a presentation of "Blue Bossa" by Diego Coelho, Gero Vieira, and the MP Bass:


National Chimney Safety Week

This week, the week of 26 September-2 October (the week before Fire Prevention Week), is being observed as National Chimney Safety Week.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an average of 17,600 chimney fires occurred annually in the United States between 2015 and 2017,. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that over 500 people die per year due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Background information:

CSIA: National Chimney Safety Week

Chimney Safety Institute of America


Fr. Patrick Briscoe, O.P., on G.K. Chesterton and What Is Wrong with the World

"At the end of the first chapter of part one [of his book, What’s Wrong with the World?], [G. K. Chesterton] writes, 'I have called this book "What Is Wrong with the World?" and the upshot of the title can be easily and clearly stated. What is wrong is that we do not ask what is right.'

"It is easy to agree on what is wrong. The COVID-19 pandemic should be resolved. There should be peace in the Middle East and in the Pacific. Abject poverty should be ended. Priests should be faithful and not cause scandal. No one should suffer injustice because of their race. Who in their right mind would disagree?

"But like doctors debating a course of treatment, it is the remedy which gives us pause.

"And so we quickly find ourselves back at our point of departure. Because although institutions and policies matter, for the Christian - that is, for every adopted Son and Daughter of the Father - my heart matters first."

In a recent commentary, Father Patrick Briscoe, O.P., reflected on some of the things we can do to help bring peace to the world, including praying prayers of gratitude, not passing along every feeling via social media, and resisting the urge to compare.

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

Aleteia: Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP: Whence does conflict come? (18 SEP 21)

Reflection Starter from the Book of Tobit

"Bless God and give him thanks before all the living for the good things he has done for you, by blessing and extolling his name in song. Proclaim before all with due honor the deeds of God, and do not be slack in thanking him." - Tobit 12:6

28 September 2021

Tajci: "I Believe"

As we continue to live this week, I offer this version of Tatiana "Tajci" Cameron presenting "I Believe":


Thank You, Lord

 Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of those who minister to troubled/lost/runaway children.

Br. Bertrand Hebert, O.P., on What We Can Give

"Sometimes, the early Church seems so removed from the Church we experience now. Saint Peter, for example, was a disciple and a leader of disciples, 'a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ' (2 Pet 1:1). Disciple though he was, he was also a miracle worker. Here is the trouble: many of us continue to follow Christ like St. Peter - or at least try - so why aren't we seeing more miracles? Are we, then, supposed to give something else, something different than Peter's miracle? He gave healing instead of money, but what do we have that we can give?"

In a recent commentaryBrother Bertrand Hebert, O.P., reflected on our weaknesses and what we can give based on what we have been given.

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

Dominicana: What Can We Give? (27 SEP 21)

Reflection Starter from Frederick Douglass

"Truth is proper and beautiful in all times and in all places." - Frederick Douglass

27 September 2021

Party of Five: "What'll I Do"

It's time for some more barbershop harmony. Here is a presentation of "What'll I Do" by Party of Five:


Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of clean running water.

Bishop Tobin on What a New Spiritual Heart Would Do

"I will sprinkle clean water upon you to cleanse you from all your impurities
and from all your idols I will cleanse you. I will give you
a new heart and place a new spirit within you. (Ez 36: 25-26)

"These verses appear pretty regularly in the morning prayer of the Church so I come across them frequently. But one day, the phrase that says, 'I will give you a new heart,' caught my special attention.

"The People of Israel who first read those words - I wonder how that impacted them. Giving someone a new heart would have been unthinkable in those days. And even now, hearing about heart transplants is newsworthy since it involves a rather serious and complex surgical procedure.

"In this prophecy the Lord isn't speaking about a new physical heart, of course, but, rather, a spiritual heart. But, it got me thinking, what would a new spiritual heart mean for us? What difference would it make?"

In a recent commentary, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, of the Diocese of Providence (RI), reflected on some of the
reasons for us to "pray for that new heart and new spirit that God promised to give us."

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

The Imitation of Christ: What Would A New Heart Do? (23 SEP 21)

Reflection Starter from St. Saint Vincent de Paul

"We must love our neighbor as being made in the image of God and as an object of His love." - Saint Vincent de Paul, whose memory the Church celebrates today (27 September)

26 September 2021

"In Christ There Is No East or West"

As we continue our Sunday celebration, I offer this version of the First Methodist Houston Downtown Sanctuary Choir ()Houston, TX presenting "In Christ There Is No East or West":

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are Numbers 11:25-29; James 5:1-69 and Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48. The Responsorial Psalm is from Psalm 19 (Psalm 19:8, 10, 12-14). 

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

YouTube: The Precepts of the Lord Give Joy to the Heart. Psalm 19 (B085)

The Gospel reading is as follows: 

At that time, John said to Jesus,"Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us."

Jesus replied, "Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us. Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.

"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off. It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna, where 'their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'"

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Salesian Sunday Reflections: Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time September 26, 2021

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (September 26, 2021)

Community in Mission: Of Friends and Foes: A Homily for the 26th Sunday of the Year (25 SEP 21)

Crossroads Initiative: Surpass the Pharisees - Cut it Off!

St. Paul Center: To Belong to Christ: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Twenty-sixth Sunday Ordinary Time

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

The Gregorian Institute at Benedictine College: This Sunday, His Friend Is My Friend; His Enemy Is My Foe (23 SEP 21)

Word on Fire: We Just Don't Get It (Cycle B * Ordinary Time * Week 26)

National Catholic Register: Sunday Guide: All the People of the Lord Are Prophets Now (23 SEP 21)

Spirituality of the Readings: The Inside Story (26th Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year B)

In Exile: Prophecy - Challenge and Comfort (26th Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year B)

Glancing Thoughts: Tribalism (26th Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year B)

The Perspective of Justice: At the Same Table (26th Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year B)

Let the Scriptures Speak: Psychic Surgery? (26th Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year B)

The Word Embodied: Perils of Wealth (26th Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year B)

Historical Cultural Context: Importance of Loyalty (26th Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year B) 

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary by Symeon the New Theologian (26th Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year B)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for inspirations and opportunities to offer You praise.

Msgr. Pope on the Mystery offTime and the Continuing Praises from God's Church

". . .Time. What could be simpler than for me to look at the clock and say that it is 9:00 PM on Wednesday, February 17th? But on the other hand, what could be more mysterious? Time is a human reckoning of a mysterious passage.

"And yet the mystery is also beautiful. At any given time, some people are asleep in the night, while others are at midday.. . ."

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on the mystery of time and on our praises being "caught up in the ever moving sweep of time."

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

Community in Mission: While Earth Rolls Onward into Light - A Beautiful Meditation on Time from an Old Hymn (23 SEP 21)

Reflection Starter from Pope Francis

"Saints are witnesses whom we venerate and who in thousands of different ways bring us to Jesus Christ, the only Lord and Mediator between God and humanity. They remind us that holiness can blossom even in our lives, however weak and marked by sin." - Pope Francis

25 September 2021

Bing Crosby: "Swinging On A Star"

As this blessed week draws to a close, I offer this version of Bing Crosby presenting "Swinging On A Star":


On the First Latin American Baseball Superstar, Painting Gift to Massachsetts Fire Dept., 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:

The Daily News of Newburyport (MA): Newburyport Fire gets gift of painting by local artist (14 JUN 21)

New England Historical Society: Ted Williams, The First Latin American Superstar

Connecticut Post (Bridgeport, CT): Trumbull groups partner to help teens help their peers (2 JUL 21)

The Boston Globe: 'It's not hard work for me': At 101 years old, this Maine lobsterwoman still works the water (15 AUG 21)

New England Today: Best Beginner Hike in Every New England State

Governing Magazine: The Rhode Island Mayor Who Loved a Good Fourth of July Parade (July 2021) 

The Enterprise (Brockton, MA): Brockton police stocks cruisers with rescue tools after drownings (3 JUL 21)

Rhode Island Monthly: Rhody Maker: Dwo Wen Chen of Three Wheel Studio (June 2021)

Anniversary Blessings, Mary and Chris!!!

Anniversary greetings to daughter Mary-Elizabeth and her husband Chris, whose wedding anniversary is today!!! May this day and the upcoming year be filled with the Lord's choicest blessings!!!

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessings You have planned for us during this season of autumn.

A Conversion Story

"I was baptized Christmas Eve 2001. I was six years old, and my family was very active in our local Baptist church in Largo, FL. We were members of a homeschooling co-op group in our church, so we were often there multiple times each week. At home and in our Sunday school class, the stories of Scripture were recounted to me, and I was taught to memorize important Bible verses. I developed a deep love of God’s Word and was instilled with a zeal for evangelism. I wanted to talk about Jesus with anyone who would listen.

I entered the public school system in fifth grade, and the following year my family moved to Tennessee, the 'buckle of the Bible Belt.' Two unfortunate and, these days, increasingly common things happened to me during middle school: I developed an addiction to pornography, and my parents got divorced. After that, my family stopped going to church, and I was very upset: I remember crying and wondering why we no longer went."

In a recent commentary, writer Jeff Shott reflected on his conversion story.

To access Ken's complete post, please visit:

The Coming Home Network: From Mocking Jesus to Worshipping Him (9 SEP 21)

Reflection Starter from Émile Zola

"The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work." - Émile Zola

24 September 2021

National Public Lands Day

Saturday, 25 September, is being observed as National Public Lands Day, considered to be the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands (federal, state, regional, and municipal). This year’s observance is the 28th Anniversary of National Public Lands Day.

During this annual day of caring for public lands, volunteers assist at parks and other public lands by collecting invasive plants; building and maintaining trails; planting trees, shrubs and other native plants; removing trash from trails and other places; and offering a number of other services.

Among NPLD efforts currently listed in New England, volunteers plan to be working at two sites in Connecticut, one site in Maine, seven sites in Massachusetts, one site in Rhode Island, and one site in Vermont.

Background information:

National Environmental Education Foundation: National Public Lands Day

Facebook: National Public Lands Day

Antonio Vivaldi: Concerto for Guitar in D major

It's time for some classical music. This is a presentation of Antonio Vivaldi's Concerto for Guitar in D major as presented by the San Francisco School of the Arts String Orchestra, with Peter Varga on guitar and conducted by Jerry Pannone:


Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of those who minister to injured veterans.

While We Have Time, Let Us Do Good

[A recent weekend marked] the 20th anniversary of the tragedy of 9/ll. So much time has passed since the attack on our nation in 2001, and we should pray that healing has entered the lives of all survivors. We must also never forget those we lost that day, the heroism of first responders, and the heroism of all those who have put their lives on the line ever since to protect our nation from future attacks.

The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk has been at the forefront of keeping these heroes alive in our hearts. This event has been held annually on the last Sunday in September ever since 2002, when 1,500 people gathered to retrace the steps of FDNY firefighter Stephen Siller, and it has grown since then into one of the top 5K runs in America.

The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation - which hosts the 5K Run & Walk, along with 70 other events in their "Run, Walk, Climb" series - has grown and thrived because of the tremendous spirit of the family of Stephen Siller, a father of five whose story is one of exceptional bravery.

On September 11, 2001, Stephen had just gotten off duty at Brooklyn's Squad 1 when he heard over his scanner that a plane had hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center. He called his wife and told her he was returning to the firehouse to get his gear so that he could head to Manhattan to do whatever he could to help out. Arriving at the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel only to find a traffic jam, Stephen got out of his car, strapped 60 pounds of gear on his back, and raced on foot through the tunnel and to the towers, where he made the ultimate sacrifice while saving others.

The following year, Stephen’s family organized The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk, a charity event that raises money for first responders and catastrophically injured veterans. Since that time, their foundation has raised $250 million for American heroes and their families, and they've educated over half a million people with their 9/11 Never Forget Mobile Exhibit. This year, to mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Frank Siller, Stephen's older brother, set off in early August on a nearly 600-mile walk from the Pentagon to Ground-Zero in Manhattan to honor all those who lost their lives on that tragic day.

In 2019, The Christophers were honored to present our Leadership Award to Frank for the work he and his family have done through their charity to help first responders and Gold Star families, as well as their efforts to build smart homes for injured veterans. In his remarks upon receiving our award, Frank said, "My parents had seven kids. We were very poor, but we were never too poor to do something good for our neighbors." He also mentioned how his parents regularly quoted St. Francis of Assisi, saying, "While we have time, let us do good"” a quote Siller and his siblings have adopted as the mantra for their foundation.

The Siller family's response to their unspeakable loss in the tragedy of 9/11 exemplifies how we are all called to respond to suffering in this world - and especially to the loss of loved ones. While we mourn their loss, we must also take inspiration from the good they have done. And we must remember, "While we have time, let us do good."

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

Tunnel to Towers Foundation