30 November 2021

"Be Still, My Soul"

As we continue to live this week, I offer this version of "Be Still, My Soul":


Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of librarians and other staff members who serve You people vis their ministry in libraries.

Br. Pius Henry, O.P., on Christ's Kingship as Reflected in the Rosary

"So many of the cultural movements of our time have developed a theory of salvation  that promises change and progress, if only they had more power. If only there were more support, they say, then the movement would  be successful, then would the pining cease, then would there be peace among men. But these movements are mistaken. It is only Christ who brings about salvation for all men. It is only Christ who can bring about this peace because it is only in him that our hearts find rest, and it is only his truth that brings about reconciliation. 

"We encounter Jesus' supreme authority throughout the Gospel, which is made more present to us when we pray the Rosary. . . ."

In a recent commentary, Brother Pius Henry, O.P., reflected on how the mysteries of the Rosary show how Christ is king.

To access Br. Pius' complete post, please visit:

Dominicana: Crown Him with Many Crowns (22 NOV 21)

Reflection Starter from Desmond Tutu

"You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them." - Desmond Tutu

29 November 2021

National Runaway Prevention Month

November is being observed as National Runaway Prevention Month, an observe designed to "Shine a Light" on the experiences of runaway and homeless youth that often remain invisible. It is also designed to be an opportunity to spotlight the resources available to support youth in crisis throughout the nation.

Background information:

National Runaway Safeline

Sound Hypothesis: "I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby / She's Out of My Life"

It's time for some barbershop harmony, a genre of music I enjoy. Here is a presentation of a medley, "I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby / She's Out of My Life," by Sound Hypothesis:


Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways in which You work through the Liturgical Year.

Bishop Tobin on the Liturgical Year

"If you're into classical music at all, you're already familiar with Boléro, the one-movement symphonic piece written by the French composer, Maurice Ravel (1875-1937). It's a fascinating piece of music built on just two simple musical themes that are repeated over-and-over again during the 15 minutes it takes to perform the piece.

"The interesting thing about Boléro, though, is that each time the themes are repeated different instruments are used and the volume is gradually increased. It begins quietly and peacefully but ends in a grand explosion of symphonic music. . . .

"The same themes repeated over-and-over, but presented slightly differently each time they appear. Isn't that exactly what the liturgical year is for Catholics?"

In a recent commentary, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, of the Diocese of Providence (RI), reflected on the Liturgical Year as a "living, dynamic event, in which the life and ministry, the death and resurrection of Christ come to life once again each year."

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

The Imitation of Christ: The Liturgical Year: The Boléro Of The Church (25 NOV 21) 

Reflection Starter from C. S. Lewis

"If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this." - C. S. Lewis

28 November 2021

“Wake, Awake, for Night is Flying"

As we continue our Sunday celebration, I offer this version of the St. Olaf College (Northfield, MN) Massed Choirs presenting "Wake, Awake, for Night is Flying":

First Sunday of Advent

Today the Church celebrates the First Sunday of Advent. The assigned readings are Jeremiah 33:14-16; 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2; and Luke 21:25-28, 34-36. The Responsorial Psalm is from Psalm 25 (Psalm 25:4-5, 8-10, 14). 

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

YouTube: Responsorial Psalm October 24, 2021 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Gospel reading is as follows:

Jesus said to his disciples: "There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will die of fright  in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.

"Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth. Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man."

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Salesian Sunday Reflections: First Sunday of Advent November 28, 2021

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: First Sunday of Advent (November 28, 2021)

Community in Mission: A Recipe for Readiness - A Homily for the First Sunday of Advent (27 NOV 21)

Crossroads Initiative: Advent - The Reason for the Season - 1st Sunday Advent C

The Quiet Corner: Vehicles for building a parish partnership (25 NOV 21)

Saint John's Seminary: Fr. Thomas Macdonald: Sunday Reflection: First Sunday of Advent

St. Paul Center: Heads Up: Scott Hahn Reflects on the First Sunday of Advent

Magis Center for Catholic Spirituality: Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Word on Fire: Look Back, Look Around, Look Forward (Cycle C * Advent * Week 1)

Spirituality of the Readings: A Wake Up Call (First Sunday of Advent - Year C)

In Exile: Advent - A Time to Learn How to Wait (First Sunday of Advent - Year C)

Glancing Thoughts: Getting Ready and Being Blameless (First Sunday of Advent - Year C)

The Perspective of Justice: Fulfilling God's Promise (First Sunday of Advent - Year C)

The Word Engaged: The End Times (First Sunday of Advent - Year C)

Let the Scriptures Speak: Between Two Advents (First Sunday of Advent - Year C) 

Historical Cultural Context: Vigilance and Prayer (First Sunday of Advent - Year C) 

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary by Gregory the Great (First Sunday of Advent - Year C)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessings You have planned for us as we live and celebrate the season of Advent this year.

Msgr. Pope on True Thanksgiving

"One of the dangers in presenting New Testament moral teaching is reducing the gospel to a bunch of rules to follow using the power of one's own flesh. This is an incorrect notion because for a Christian the moral life is not merely achieved; it is received. The moral life is not an imposition; it is a gift from God.

"The Gospel chosen for Thanksgiving Day features the familiar story of the ten lepers who are healed by Jesus, but only one of whom returns to thank Him. The ingratitude of the other nine prompts an irritable response from Jesus, who more than suggests that they also should have returned to give thanks. Reading this Gospel on the surface, it is easy to conclude that it is a moral directive about being thankful to God and others. Well, that's all well and good, but simply reminding people of a rule of polite society isn't really the gospel message.

"True thankfulness is receiving from God a deeply grateful heart so that we do not merely say thank you in a perfunctory way, but are deeply moved with gratitude. We are not merely being polite or justly rendering a debt of obligation; we actually are grateful from the heart. True gratitude is a grace, a gift from God, which proceeds from a humble and transformed heart. . . ."

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on the basis for a deepening awareness of gratitude, including an awareness of the truth that we are contingent beings who depend upon God for our very existence, how every good thing we do is a gift from God, and how gifts sometimes come in strange packages.

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

Community in Mission: True Thanksgiving Isn’t Just Something We Do; It’s Something That Happens to Us (24 NOV 21)

Reflection Starter from Pope Francis

"Let us not to forget to thank God. If we are bearers of gratitude, the world itself will become better, even if only a little bit, but that is enough to transmit a bit of hope. Everything is united and connected, and each one can do their part wherever they are." - Pope Francis

27 November 2021

Diana Krall: "'S Wonderful"

As this blessed week draws to a close, I offer this version of Diana Krall presenting "'S Wonderful":

On Young Catholics Restoring Wayside Crucifixes across France, Why Trust the Catholic Church, 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: Young Catholics Restoring Wayside Crucifixes Across France (26 NOV 21)

The Catholic Thing: Gratitude, Expectation, and Advent (26 NOV 21))

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: An Artist's Connection to Dorothy Day (26 NOV 21)

Crossroads Initiative: The Mustard Tree and the Growth of the Kingdom of God

Magis Center: Why Trust the Catholic Church (in Good Times and in Bad)? (8 JUL 21)

Catholic News Agency: Pope Francis recognizes miracle attributed to WWII martyr Bl. Titus Brandsma's intercession (25 NOV 21)

Neal Obstat Theological Opining: Humble yet great builders (11 AUG 21)

America Magazine: The best holiday tradition you’ve never heard of: Venezuelans roller skating to Christmas Mass at sunrise (December 2021 Issue)

Birthday Blessings, Evelyn!!!

Birthday greetings to granddaughter Evelyn, 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 blessing of the beauty and quietness of the  first snowfall of the season.

Fr. Jack Loughran, OSFS, on Giving Thanks in Prayer

"St. Francis de Sales says that gratitude is the beginning of humility because it recognizes that all we have and are gifts from a loving and generous God. Today the people of the United States celebrate Thanksgiving from sea to shining sea. It is a day we celebrate with those closest to us, family and friends. It is an opportunity for each one of us to step back and reflect on the blessings we know are from God, and, if given the chance, share them with those who are important in our lives."

In a recent commentary, Father Jack Loughran, OSFS, reflected on the celebration of Thanksgiving and offered a prayer of thanksgiving is based on the writings of St. Francis de Sales.

To access his complete post, please visit:

De Sales Weekly: Provincial's Reflection: Prayer of Thanksgiving (26 NOV 21)

Reflection Starter from Camille Pissarro

"Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing." - Camille Pissarro

26 November 2021

Small Business Saturday

A number of communities throughout this region and the rest of the nation are urging residents to save some energy (and money) by turning out to support locally-based, small businesses on Saturday, 27 November – Small Business Saturday (the business day between Black Friday and Cyber Monday).

This promotion has been initiated for a number of reasons:

  • It supports the type of independent, unique businesses that make local communities vibrant and distinct places.
  • It keeps spending and tax revenue local, verses having them "leaking" out to neighboring jurisdictions.
  • Profits go to local owners instead of national headquarters located somewhere else.
  • It helps demonstrate that local government is supportive and invested in local business success.

Small Business Saturday, which was established by American Express in 2010 and cosponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration since 2015, is an effort to help small businesses get more exposure during one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year. According to American Express, over 100 million people came out last year to shop at independently-owned small businesses during Small Business Saturday.

For more information about this observance, please visit:

Small Business Saturday

Facebook: Small Business Saturday

U.S. Small Business Administration: Small Business Saturday

Johann Sebastian Bach: Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor

It's time for some classical music. This is a presentation of Johann Sebastian Bach's "Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor" by the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra:


Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord. for the many blessings You bestowed on yesterday's family and community Thanksgiving celebrations.

Reflections for Thanksgiving

"If you cannot thank God when things are easy, how much harder will it be to thank God when [life] is  hard?" That’s a question author Hannah Brencher asked herself, and it caused her to reflect on the nature of gratitude, an appropriate topic for this Thanksgiving week.

On her website HannahBrencherCreative.com, she wrote, "I really believe good things are happening every single day. They pass us by without us even realizing it. A lot of times, our focus is on whatever is coming 'next,' and we fail to see the beauty God has set before us for this day, this hour, this moment. Just this morning I've experienced so much: another chance at life. A good cup of coffee. A chance to bond with my husband. A home that keeps me warm and dry…If I am not careful, I will consume all of this without ever murmuring a prayer or a response of gratitude. Today I am urging all of us: let's not go another minute or hour without stopping everything to be grateful…Who do you love right now? How have you been blessed recently? Where do you see God moving? There is so much to be thankful for even if we have to dig a bit deeper to find it."

A surge of gratitude hit Katie Powell Bell unexpectedly before Thanksgiving one year. She headed to Kroger's with her two-year-old daughter to pick up some groceries. Katie got done quickly and scanned all her items in the self-checkout lane only to discover that her debit card was registering as "Not Authorized." A store employee came to help, but with a restless two-year-old and a growing line of people behind her, Katie felt more than a little "frazzled." Then, she got some unexpected good news.

The lady who had been checking out next to Katie and witnessed her struggles had paid for all her groceries but slipped out to remain anonymous. On the Today Show's Community blog, Katie wrote, "I burst into tears, incredibly touched by the generous stranger's act of kindness."

Before you sit around the Thanksgiving table this year, take account of the simple kindnesses and blessings for which you are grateful. And if you need a prayer to say before your meal, here is one that I composed: "Gracious Lord, as many of us in this country gather around the table with our loved ones on this special day, we praise and thank You for the blessings in our lives. May we never take them for granted, and may we live with a grounding in gratitude all year long. For some of us, blessings may be hard to see because of struggles we are enduring with family, friends, work, health, or even faith. Remind us, Father, that You are with us every step of the way and help us to see Your presence always.

"Open our eyes to the beauty that surrounds us: from the vibrant colors of nature, to the delightful laugh of a baby, to acts of kindness between strangers. Remind us also that 'it is in giving that we receive,' so that we can serve as conduits of Your divine love and bring blessings into the lives of others.

"Finally, Father, thank You for the gift of life. Help us to make the most of our days on this earth, so that when we eventually pass into eternal life with You, the people we leave behind will be grateful for having known us. Amen."

This essay is this week's "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 Charles Swindoll

"We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations. " - Rev. Charles R. Swindoll

25 November 2021

"Thanks to God"

As we continue our celebration of Thanksgiving Day, I offer this version of "Thanks to God":


Presidential Proclamation: Thanksgiving Day, 2021

Thanksgiving provides us with a time to reflect on our many blessings - from God, this Nation, and each other.  We are grateful for these blessings, even - and especially - during times of challenge.

That is why George Washington declared a day of Thanksgiving for his troops as they marched into that dark winter at Valley Forge.  It is why in the midst of the Civil War - in proclaiming the Thanksgiving holiday we now celebrate today - Abraham Lincoln urged us to remember our "fruitful fields and healthful skies."  Just as 400 years ago when the Pilgrims were able to celebrate a successful first harvest thanks to the generosity and support of the Wampanoag, today we too express our gratitude for those who have helped us get through this difficult past year. 

We are grateful for the farm workers and frontline workers, many of whom are immigrants, who make sure our food is harvested and shipped, keep our grocery stores stocked, and keep our cities and towns clean and safe.

We are grateful for the educators who are welcoming children back into their classrooms, helping them make up for lost learning and lost time, both academically and socially.

We are grateful for the parents who have carried their families through this challenging time, helping their children navigate this difficult chapter in our Nation’s history.

We are grateful for the health care professionals working to vaccinate our Nation, the nurses who comfort and help people, and the doctors who provide care and compassion.

We are grateful for the researchers and scientists who have developed safe and effective vaccines and treatments, allowing us to safely enjoy a Thanksgiving this year with more family around the table.

As always, we are grateful for our troops serving far from home, keeping us safe and defending our values.

For the First Lady and me, Thanksgiving has always been a cherished time to enjoy annual traditions that have evolved into sacred rituals with our children and grandchildren:  throwing the football, preparing family recipes, lighting candles, and setting the table.  For many Americans, this Thanksgiving will be the first time gathering with loved ones in person since the start of the pandemic - a time of full tables and full hearts.  

As we celebrate, we will also be thinking of the many families feeling the pain of an empty chair at the Thanksgiving table.  You are not alone, and our Nation stands with you. 

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 25, 2021, as a National Day of Thanksgiving.  I encourage the people of the United States of America to join together and give thanks for the friends, neighbors, family members, and strangers who have supported each other over the past year in a reflection of goodwill and unity.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fourth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-sixth.