31 December 2021

Rod Stewart: "Auld Lang Syne"

As this blessed year draws to a close, I offer this version of Rod Stewart presenting "Auld Lang Syne":


Anniversary Blessings to Debbie and Josh!!!

Anniversary greetings to niece Debbie and her husband Josh Kyle, whose wedding anniversary is today!!! May this day and each day of the upcoming year be filled with the Lord's choicest blessings!!!

Anniversary Blessings to Mark and Becky!!!

Anniversary greetings to brother Mark and his wife Becky, whose wedding anniversary is today!!! May this day and each day of the upcoming year be filled with the Lord's choicest blessings!!!

Anniversary Blessings to Joe and Erin!!!

Anniversary greetings to son Joseph and his wife Erin, whose wedding anniversary is today!!! May this day and each day of the upcoming year be filled with the Lord's choicest blessings!!!

"Go Tell It on the Mountain"

As our Christmas celebration continue, I offer this version of Melvin Crispell III, Chandler Moore, and the Mav City Gospel Choir.presenting "Go Tell It on the Mountain":

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many blessings You have poured on us during the calendar year 2021.

Kicking the Stigma

As another year draws to a close, one of the things that should be left behind is the stigma around mental illness. That's why it's so great to hear about the initiative undertaken by the Indianapolis Colts football team, called "Kicking the Stigma." It’s an effort to destigmatize mental illness so that people can understand how common it is to struggle with these issues and to highlight the inherent human dignity of all who suffer.

In an interview with Rich Eisen, Colts owner Jim Irsay said, "The stigma that’s attached with mental illness literally kills people and destroys families." Irsay goes on to ask everyone to consider how destructive it would be for a stigma to be attached to seeking treatment for any other disease, and then he explains that this is exactly the dilemma faced by those who suffer from mental health issues. Irsay says, "They don't want to come out and . . . be called crazy. They don't want to be called unemployable."

The reality is that 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experience mental illness each year, 1 in 6 youth ages 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year, and suicide is the second leading cause of death among people between the ages of 10 and 34. So when Irsay says that society's stigmatization of mental illness kills, he's backed up by the numbers. But this does not have to be the case. We can cultivate an atmosphere where people feel comfortable talking about their problems and seeking help.

Colts' linebacker Darius Leonard has become a leading voice in destigmatizing mental illness, grounded in his own experiences. In a story put out by the NFL, Leonard said, "It's OK to not be OK. I knew I needed help, and for a long time, I didn't reach out. Once I did reach out, I knew that's what made it better for me. A lot of people have a stigma, especially as men, that you can't show weakness. I'm letting the world know, as a professional football player, a linebacker, one of the most aggressive positions on the field, there's still no weakness because you're having mental health issues."

This is a powerful message that can help break down the barriers to seeking help that exist in many people's minds, and it's a message that coincides with the Christian message. Within our faith, we're encouraged to recognize our broken nature and to constantly submit to the process of seeking healing. When we walk that path, we become better people, who are better able to give of ourselves to others.

Irsay has had his own struggles that have contributed to his vision for "Kicking the Stigma." He has battled addiction and sought help, saying, "I'm diligent about my recovery. It's like amazing grace; it comes from a higher power, and it just starts with the willingness for people to say, 'Help me, I surrender, I can't do it. God, You can, I'm turning my life and my will over to the care of God.'"

Irsay now finds meaning in a life of service, which demonstrates the path we are all called to walk. We must seek healing in order to build ourselves up, and only then can we utilize our gifts to make the world a better place. Engaging in this process is the path of true courage. So let's join in "kicking the stigma" and build a society where the acts of both seeking and offering healing are celebrated for the compassion and courage they entail.

This essay is this week's "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

Indianapolis Colts: Kicking The Stigma Initiative

Reflection Starter from Paul Smith

“You can find inspiration in everything. If you can't, then you’re not looking properly." - Paul Smith

30 December 2021

Andre Rieu: "Silent Night"

As our celebration of Christmas continues, I offer this version of Andre Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra presenting "Silent Night":


Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of eyeglasses and contact lenses.

Msgr. Pope on Paradoxes of Christmas

"In the ancient Church and up until rather recently, one genuflected at the two references to the Incarnation during the Mass: during the Creed and in the Last Gospel (John 1). Why was this done? It was explained to me that the mystery of the Incarnation is so deep, one can only fall in silent reverence.

"There are many paradoxes and seeming impossibilities in the Incarnation. They cannot be fully solved, so they claim our reverence. We genuflected in the past, and today we bow at the mention of the Incarnation in the Creed, for it is a deep mystery.

"As we continue to celebrate Christmas, I would like to list some of the paradoxes of Christmas. I want to say as little about them as possible—just enough to make the paradox clear. This paucity of words (not common with me) is in reverence for the mystery and also to invite your reflection."

In a recent commentary (with a reminder that "mysteries are to be lived more so than solved"), Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on some of the paradoxes related to Christmas..

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

Community in Mission: Paradoxes of Christmas (27 DEC 21)

Reflection Starter from Bob Hope

"If you haven't got any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble." - Bob Hope

29 December 2021

Old Friends Quartet: "Glory to God in the Highest"

As our Christmas celebration continues, I offer this version of the Old Friends Quartet presenting "Glory to God in the Highest":

Thank You, Lord

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

Bishop Barron on Long Movies/Books and Our Attention Span

"I like to watch old movies. Over the past several months, I've watched (or re-visited) a number of Alfred Hitchcock thrillers, some screwball comedies from the thirties and forties, and a couple of film-noir classics. Last week, over the course of three evenings, I managed to get through the three hours and forty minutes (yes, you read that correctly) of the Charlton Heston version of the Ten Commandments from 1956. With delight, I took in the still marvelous technicolor, the over-the-top costumes, the wonderfully corny faux-Shakespearean dialogue, and the hammy acting that is, one might say, so bad that it's good. But what especially struck me was the sheer length of the film. Knowing that it required a rather extraordinary act of attention on the part of its audience, it is astonishing to remember that it was wildly popular, easily the most successful movie of its time. It is estimated that, adjusted for inflation, it earned a box office of roughly two billion dollars. Would moviegoers today, I wondered, ever be able to muster the patience required to make a film like the Ten Commandments equally popular today? I think the question answers itself."

In a recent commentary, Bishop Robert Barron, founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, reflected on the attention span of viewers/readers when it comes to long movies, books, and other presentations..

To access Bishop Barron's complete post, please visit:

Word on Fire: "The Ten Commandments" and Our Pathetic Attention Span (28 DEC 21)

Reflection Starter from Bishop Michael Burbidge

"In the midst of the world's darkness, we are told how to walk in the Light: keep God's commandments; love one another without exception; stay close to Mary who will help you to carry your cross; and trust in her Son's plan for you. If we do all this, our days will be bright." - Bishop Michael F. Burbidge (Diocese of Arlington, VA)

28 December 2021

On the Christmas Octave, Christmas in Prison, 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:

The Pillar: Is it still Christmas? The octave, the 12 days, and what you need to know (27 DEC 21)

The Pilot: Echoes: Michael Reardon. 'Peace in our days'.(24 DEC 21)

Catholic News Agency: Christmas in prison? What it's like to celebrate behind bars (24 DEC 21)

Building Catholic Culture: How Young Saints Teach Us Holiness (22 DEC 21)

LifeCraft: Enduring Change (25 AUG 21)

National Catholic Register: Blogs: Father Dwight Longenecker: How to Know If You're a 'Coca-Cola Catholic,' and How to Fix It If You Are

Aleteia: Meg Hunter-Kilmer: Saints who weren't pushovers (10 JUL 21)

Catholic Culture: The Book of Normal (12 MAY 21)

"It Came Upon a Midnight Clear"

As our Christmas celebration continues, I offer this version of "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear":

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of our postal workers and the services they provide.

Br. Christopher Daniel, O.P., on Family Time with the Holy Family

"The liturgy of the Church is not only an act of worship, but is also meant to teach us. This extends to the liturgical calendar. The harmony of its order and structure teaches us every year. And on special occasions this extends to the coincidences of when different feast days fall in relation to one another. For example, in 2016 we had the very rare situation where Good Friday fell on March 25th, the usual date for the Annunciation. Because the Annunciation is such an important feast its celebration was moved that year instead of simply being skipped, but the remembrance of our Lord's death on a day normally dedicated to the first moments of his Incarnation opened up theological depths for prayerful reflection.

"A similar coincidence has taken place over the course of the last few days, not in a single day as in 2016, but in the sequence of celebrations. . . ."

In a recent commentary, Brother Christopher Daniel, O.P., reflected on the importance of, in the midst of this holiday season and times spent with our relatives, spending time with the Holy Family in prayer.

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

Dominicana: Family Time (27 DEC 21)

Reflection Starter from Rev. Richard Fairchild

"May the hope, the peace, the joy, and the love represented by the birth in Bethlehem this night fill our lives and become part of all that we say and do." - attributed to Rev. Richard J. Fairchild

27 December 2021

Birthday Blessings, Will!!!

Birthday greetings to Will Geoghegan, husband of Myrna's daughter Robin, whose birthday is today!!! May this day, and each day of the upcoming year, be filled with the Lord's choicest blessings!!!

"Angels We Have Heard on High"

As our Christmas celebration continues, I offer this version of "Angels We Have Heard on High":

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of Your peace.

Fr. Patrick Briscoe, O.P., on the Peace of Christ

"[Thirty years ago on] Christmas Day, the Soviet flag flew over the Kremlin for the last time. Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev resigned. That fateful Christmas brought a peaceful end to a bloody and tumultuous regime. . . .

"The first Christmas in Bethlehem came to pass during the reign of Caesar Augustus. Augustus was the founder of the Roman Principate, the first period of the Roman Empire. His reign was effective. His leadership brought about a period of relative peace, known down through the ages as the Pax Romana. These two centuries, absent large-scale conflict, were remarkable years of peace for Rome.

"Since the birth of Christ, kings have faltered and fallen. Empires have arisen and crumbled. The unscrupulous engine of history steams ever onward.

"So how is this child king rightly called the 'Prince of Peace'?"

In a recent commentary, Father Patrick Briscoe, O.P., reflected on how the peace of Christ is not a technique or state of mind, but is a peace based on knowing and loving God.

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

Aleteia: Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP: Beyond the mighty schemes of men (25 DEC 21)

Reflection Starter from the Letter to the Colossians

"And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him" - Colossians 3:17

26 December 2021

Carrie Underwood: "Away In A Manger"

As we continue our Sunday celebration, I offer this version of Carrie Underwood presenting "Away In A Manger":

Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The assigned readings are Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14; Colossians 3:12-21; and Luke 2:41-52. The Responsorial Psalm is from Psalm 128 (Psalm 128:1-5). 

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

YouTube: Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph: Psalm 128 - Blessed Are Those Who Fear The Lord [YEAR C]

The Gospel reading is as follows:

Each year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.
After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, "Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety."
And he said to them, "Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?"
But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man.

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Salesian Sunday Reflections: Feast of the Holy Family December 26, 2021

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Feast of the Holy Family December 26, 2021

Crossroads Initiative: Holy Family Feast - Piety in the 21st Century?

St. Paul Center: Our True Home: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Feast of the Holy Family

Magis Center for Catholic Spirituality: Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

Word on Fire: Love the Ones You're Given (Cycle C * Christmas * Week Holy Family)

National Catholic Register: Sunday Readings: Holy Family Sunday: God’s Plan for Marriage and Family Life (26 DEC 21) 

Spirituality of the Readings: There He Sat (Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph - Year C)

In Exile: Family Life As Sacrament (Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph - Year C)

Glancing Thoughts: Tempted But Without Sin (
Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph - Year C)

The Perspective of Justice: The Holy Family (Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph - Year C)

The Word Engaged: The Holy Family (Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph - Year C)

Let the Scriptures Speak: The Open Family (Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph - Year C) 

Historical Cultural Context: Vigilance and Prayer (Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph - Year C) 

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary by Origen of Alexandria (Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph - Year C)