Saturday, May 30, 2009

Veni Creator Spiritus

Here's another piece in anticipation of Pentecost.

"Veni Creator Spiritus":

Veni Sancte Spiritus

Tomorrow is Pentecost Sunday. So, for this week's YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend, here are some Taizé settings in various languages beginning with "Veni Sancte Spiritus" (Come, Holy Spirit).


Thursday, May 28, 2009

"The Dating Graph"

I spied the graph below on Facebook. I'm not necessarily endorsing its conclusions but it's interesting food for thought:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mary's Month

For many Catholics, the month of May is a special time for remembering Mary, the mother of Jesus. One way to do this is to pray the rosary, a series of prayers that are said while meditating on specific events in the lives of Jesus and Mary.

From Spain, here are two videos for the month of May featuring young people who pray the rosary:

Hat-tip: Karlo M. Leonor

In honor of Mary's month, A Concord Pastor has found this great clip, too, with Bobby McFerrin performing a version of "Ave Maria":

"Oy vey, Maria" :-)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day: We Remember, We Pray

In prayer and remembrance this Memorial Day for all men and women who died while serving in the military:

This day also should be a day of prayer for peace, for an end to all wars and violence.

God, grant us peace!:

First Video Hat-tip: Deacon Greg

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Consecrated in Truth

Today, some U.S. Catholics will be observing the Seventh Sunday of Easter. Others will be observing the Feast of the Ascension.

Catholics here in the Archdiocese of New York are observing the Seventh Sunday. So, at the Mass I attended (the 12:45 p.m. Mass in English at St. Patrick's Old Cathedral), we heard a gospel passage in which Christ prayed to God the Father on behalf of his disciples.

From John Chapter 17:

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying:

"Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one.

"When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me, and I guarded them, and none of them was lost except the son of destruction, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

"But now I am coming to you. I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely. I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.

"I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one.

"They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth."

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Lost Coastlines

For this week's "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend," I'm going with a tune by Okkervil River, a band I just learned about this week.

Here they are with "Lost Coastlines."


Hat-tip: Ta-Nehisi Coates

Thursday, May 21, 2009

"He Was Lifted Up"

For many Western Christians, today (Thursday) is the Feast of The Ascension of the Lord.

From Acts of the Apostles Chapter 1:

When they had gathered together they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"

He answered them, "It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority.

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them.

They said, "Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven."

A Concord Pastor chose this unique painting by Salvador Dali to help illustrate the day:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Stepping Right Into The Issue

Food for thought from Ta-Nehisi Coates on the POTUS' speech at the Notre Dame commencement:

Making Your Enemies Look Petty

Obama really excels at it. I was a kid during Reagan's day, so I'm not sure if that was the key to his success. But I watched Obama's speech yesterday, and he did it again. His basic pose is--"I'm willing to concede your good will, and maybe even a couple of periphery issues." When his adversaries can't do the same, they just look small-minded.

It's almost unfair to people who disagree with him--if I truly believed that abortion was the murder of children, I don't think I'd be interested in trading "fair-minded words" with pro-choicers. It's murder, and I think I'd pursue it with exactly the sort of zeal as those who were booing Obama. But that's my perspective, and my outlook--obviously it isn't the outlook of all pro-lifers. I'm just saying, I can see why you might be an extremist on the issue.

Politics aside, I think you have to give Obama credit for stepping right into the issue. I've seen weaker politicians drowning in handlers, reading from a carefully prepared text which fails to acknowledge the elephants dancing in the room. Obama, like he did in his race speech, went right at it. It likely won't please a lot of folks on either side, but if your goal is to grow the base, and expand the party, you've got the best man for the job--even if it, at times, grates on people like me. But, hey. Expanding the party isn't my job--it's his.


I wouldn't call myself a Rachel Maddow fan. But, it's hard to deny that she nailed it with this one:

Hat-tip: Patrick Appel at The Daily Dish

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Stomp, Clap

I've been meaning to post this YouTube clip for weeks.


Hat-tips: Deacon Greg and Mike

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lighthouse & Crossroads

I do not agree with President Obama's positions on abortion or embryonic stem cell research.

And, I know that some of my pro-life and conservative friends might not like to hear me say it.

But, the POTUS' speech today at the Notre Dame commencement was memorable and contained many fine elements. I was especially impressed by his personal remembrance of the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago.

In case you missed it:

An important passage on faith that caught Sully's eye:

In this world of competing claims about what is right and what is true, have confidence in the values with which you’ve been raised and educated. Be unafraid to speak your mind when those values are at stake. Hold firm to your faith and allow it to guide you on your journey. Stand as a lighthouse.

But remember too that the ultimate irony of faith is that it necessarily admits doubt. It is the belief in things not seen. It is beyond our capacity as human beings to know with certainty what God has planned for us or what He asks of us, and those of us who believe must trust that His wisdom is greater than our own.

This doubt should not push us away from our faith. But it should humble us. It should temper our passions, and cause us to be wary of self-righteousness. It should compel us to remain open, and curious, and eager to continue the moral and spiritual debate that began for so many of you within the walls of Notre Dame. And within our vast democracy, this doubt should remind us to persuade through reason, through an appeal whenever we can to universal rather than parochial principles, and most of all through an abiding example of good works, charity, kindness, and service that moves hearts and minds.

Blogs with Attitude & Gratitude

I have no idea where the "Lemonade Stand Award" started but I'm proud that, last Sunday, this blog was given the nod by A Concord Pastor.

Muchas gracias!

A Concord Pastor was nominated by Deacon Greg who was selected by Deacon Scott Drudge who was affirmed by A Roman Catholic Convert who was given the shout-out by the okie-booklady who was saluted by Book Bird Dog -- and the list could continue.

Part of the award involves my selection of five new blog awardees. According to the good pastor, "The best thing about this award is that there's no voting - bloggers just hand it on to others whom they qualify as bloggers 'with great attitude and gratitude.'"

So, here are my picks:

Wish I could have chosen more! See my links lists at left for many other great blogs and Websites.

"Love One Another"

Today is the Sixth Sunday of Easter. The Gospel at Mass today contains phrases that will ring familiar in the ears of many.

From John Chapter 15:

Jesus said to his disciples:

"As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and remain in his love.

"I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy might be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.

"It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another."

I pray that this passage is in the hearts of everyone today at the University of Notre Dame where President Obama is to be awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree and speak at the university's commencement.

Prayers for peace and understanding among all those today in South Bend, especially those who are protesting.

Prayers for the conversion of hearts, especially that of President Obama on abortion.

From A Concord Pastor, the Notre Dame alma mater:

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Secret Cord

For this week's "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend," I thought I would use another a cappella clip.

Here's a group of youg men performing Leonard Cohen's powerful 1984 tune "Hallelujah" that was covered by Jeff Buckley, Rufus Wainwright and others. (I posted two of those versions in April '08.)


And, from a group of young ladies:

A Bridge Between Old and New

Last Saturday night, while I was still back in Western Pennsylvania, we caught the new "Star Trek" movie at Destinta Theaters in Bridgeville.

It was an enjoyable flick that I think will be appreciated by both longtime Star Trek fans and those less familiar with the franchise.

My only major critique of this prequel is the overuse of a "time continuum" storyline that we've seen before (most notably, of course, in "Back to the Future").

In his L.A. Times review, film critic Kenneth Turan correctly observes:

... it is pleasant to report that though it's not perfect, the reconstituted "Star Trek" is successful enough for everyone to breathe a sigh of relief. Though it has its over-caffeinated aspects and its missteps, this "Star Trek" has in general bridged the gap between the old and the new with alacrity and purpose.

I would be remiss if I failed to note that Zachary Quinto, who does a fine job portraying a young Spock, grew up in the Pittsburgh area and is a graduate of Central Catholic High School.

As of this writing, "Star Trek" has a well-deserved 95 percent approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The True Vine

My trip to Western PA -- and being generally busy since I got back -- are to blame for the lack of blogging these past few days.

For starters, I've been remiss in posting the Sunday Gospel. I heard it proclaimed at the 4 p.m. Saturday vigil Mass at my hometown parish, St. Alphonsus in McDonald, PA. I can't deny it was a well-attended liturgy. But, I'm still not certain what I think of a vigil Mass that early on a Saturday.

Sunday was the Fifth Sunday of Easter.

The Gospel was a well-known passage from John Chapter 15:

Jesus said to his disciples:

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.

"You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.

"I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.

"Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.

"By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples."

Image hat-tip: A Concord Pastor, who has posted his homily for this past Sunday.

Friday, May 08, 2009

On My Way ...

I'm headed to Pittsburgh this afternoon for a weekend visit -- to see my new niece and for Mother's Day. Early Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers, grandmothers and Godmothers out there!

In honor of my Western PA visit, for this week's "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend," here is a fun take on the great tune "Send Me on My Way" by Pittsburgh's own Rusted Root.


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Torturing Democracy

Tonight, while doing an hour on the elliptical at the gym, I watched much of a documentary on WNET called "Torturing Democracy."

The program detailed the interrogation of enemy combatants during the Bush Administration at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp as well as the abuse of the prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

It was very disturbing, notably the interviews with the U.S. Department of Defense attorneys who argued against the use of torture in defiance of the Geneva Conventions.

You can watch the entire program on-line here or here.

One clip:


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Make It Better

I would love to take part in one of those large faux-spontaneous events in the T-Mobile commercials. They look like so much fun.

Here's the latest -- "Hey Jude" from Trafalgar Square in London:

Hat-tip: Jay R.

Intellectual Honesty

Monday evening, I went to Theology-on-Tap NYC at Metro 53. The Midtown East bar was packed for a talk by Denver's Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.

It was the largest crowd I've ever seen at a TOT with folks almost out the door.

Archbishop Chaput's remarks, titled "This Dual Life Will Self-Destruct," were forceful and intellectually honest in the kind of way that would make many uncomfortable (including, at times, yours truly).

The archbishop was unambiguous in his strong critique of the secular domination of our culture. He called upon Christians not be "part-time" in their faith -- and to be fully engaged in bringing Christian ideals and morals to the civic debate.

The archbishop also critiqued those who would downplay the identity of Jesus as "Lord" or "Son of God."

To frame his talk, Archbishop Chaput told the story of Blessed Franz Jägerstätter (1907-1943). The Austrian layman, a conscientious objector during World War II, has been named a martyr by the Church.

Blessed Franz was a Christian who, to paraphrase the archbishop, lived his faith "full-time."

Monday, May 04, 2009

GOOB in Union Square

Sunday night, en route home after Mass and a young adult event at St. Paul's, I stopped at the Virgin Megastore at the southern end of Union Square.

I was surprised to see the store's doors covered in "Going Out of Business" and "Everything on Sale" signs. Inside, a cashier told me that the store will close May 31 -- and that they were out of the item I had specifically gone there to buy.

This news broke in late February. One of my co-workers told me at the time but I didn't believe it to be true.

The recession is hitting home.

There's even a blog called Going-Out-Of-Business (GOOB), which just days ago reported on the demise of the Balducci's locations in Manhattan.

The image above is from here.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

One Flock

For Western Christians, today is the Fourth Sunday of Easter. Catholics call today "Good Shepherd Sunday."

The Church also has designated this Sunday as the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

The Gospel at Mass is a discourse of Jesus from the Gospel of John.

From John Chapter 10:

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."

The image above is from here via A Concord Pastor, who also has posted his homily and music for Good Shepherd Sunday.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Even Got the Month of May

On Wednesday, while still at the NCCL conference in Dearborn, MI, I attended the gathering's Motown-themed lunch. Among the musical selections was "My Girl," the smooth tune made famous by The Temptations in 1964 and 1965.

Here is that classic for this week's "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend."


And, here's an even more mellow version: