Monday, May 31, 2010


In observance of Memorial Day:

God, may all those who have died be in your warm embrace. May the family members and friends they have left behind find peace of heart.

And God, grant that we may one day know a world with no wars and no violence. God, grant us peace in our day.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

In Three Persons

For many Western Christians, tomorrow is Trinity Sunday. ("Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity" in Catholic-speak.)

In observance, this week's "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend" features Sufjan Stevens on the old hymn "Holy, Holy, Holy." I've actually featured it in this space before. But, I'm repeating it because I've yet to find another rendition that's more calm and reflective.


Friday, May 28, 2010

The Hard Way

Peggy Noonan’s WSJ column this week is a must-read. In it, she speaks of the impact the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is having on President Obama's political standing.

I don’t agree with everything in the column. But, Noonan makes several points worth considering.

Money quote:

When your most creative thoughts in the middle of a disaster revolve around protecting your position, you are summoning trouble. When you try to dodge ownership of a problem, when you try to hide from responsibility, life will give you ownership and responsibility the hard way.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Brayden Charles

What is your first memory?

What is the earliest moment of your own existence that you can clearly recall?

Mine is from October, 1981. I was five-year-old. The image is of the hallway of my maternal grandparents' house. The ceiling light was on. A brown clothes basket was on the floor (Grandma was a big laundry-doer).

It was on or around the day my sister Kristy was born. My brother Joey and I were staying there while my mom was in the hospital.

Fast forward:

This morning, as I was walking north on Mulberry Street toward the 6 train, I received the call that Kristy had just given birth to a new baby of her own.

Her son, Brayden Charles, was born at 8:06 a.m. He weighed in at 6 pounds, 3 ounces and was 19 inches long. Reports are that he is crowned with quite a bit of dark hair.

Brayden is a new brother for Ethan, age 6, and Mariah, age 1. He also is a new cousin for Aiden.

Welcome to the party, Brayden! May the Holy Spirit always be your guide.

The occasion calls for a tune. "What A Wonderful World" seems appropriate -- and here's an especially cute rendition:

A Strong Driving Wind

On Sunday, I went to the 10 a.m. Mass at the Church of Saint Paul the Apostle on Manhattan’s West Side. It was the final liturgy together for this year’s parish RCIA group, for which I was blessed to serve as a "welcomer" and sponsor.

The Mass for Pentecost Sunday, the final day of the Easter Season, was celebrated by Fr. Brett Hoover, C.S.P.

Pentecost is a day of reflecting on, and invoking, the Holy Spirit. The first reading included this account from Acts of the Apostles Chapter 2:

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were.

Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them.

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

For reflections on Pentecost, go to A Concord Pastor and Fran.

Flashbacks: Pentecost Sundays 2009, 2008 and 2007.

The painting above is by Emil Nolde.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Not A Robot

The weekend is almost over. Some might say it's too late to post a "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend." Bah humbug, says I.

For this week's installment, here's the great PS22 Chorus with "I Am Not A Robot" by Marina and the Diamonds.


Here is the original:

Friday, May 21, 2010

Life-Giving Water

For a second week in a row, I've been a blogging slacker. As much as I wanted to comment on the week's events (notably the Pennsylvania primary election and Rand Paul's win in Kentucky), the days came and went without a post.

But, despite this passage of time, I did want to again record a get-away: Last weekend, I went to Cape May, NJ, with my friend Rachel. (Rachel is the elder sister of my old college buddy Waldie.)

It was a very relaxing trip. We chilled with Rachel's 'rents (who live there), lounged on the beach, sampled the offerings at the Cape May Winery, shopped at The West End Garage and enjoyed a cover band called The Loop at The Ugly Mug.

On Sunday, I went to the 11 a.m. Mass for the Seventh Sunday of Easter at St. John of God Church in Town Bank, NJ. It’s a fairly large church with a modern design.

Having spent some time the previous day pondering the Atlantic waves, this verse from the second reading (from Revelation Chapter 22) stuck out to me:

“ … The Spirit and the bride say ‘Come.’ Let the hearer say, ‘Come.’ Let the one who thirsts come forward, and the one who wants it receive the gift of life-giving water. … ”

Flashbacks: Seventh Sundays of Easter 2009 and 2008.

The image above of the Delaware Bay is from here.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Janelle MonĂ¡e, as seen in "Tightrope," reminds me of Lena Horne:

Hat-tip: Dave

R.I.P. Lena Horne

Sally Kalson penned an article for Tuesday's Post-Gazette about the Pittsburgh connections of the singer and actress Lena Horne, who died Sunday at the age of 92. Horne lived in the Steel City for a few years during her childhood and again as a young newlywed, Kalson reports.

Horne's funeral took place today at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola here in New York.

In memoriam, here is Horne's 1940s rendition of "Stormy Weather" for this week's "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend."


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Recording a Visit

I was remiss earlier this week in doing my usual post related to Sunday Mass.

Even though the week has nearly gone by, I did want to record that I went to the 8:30 a.m. (!) liturgy with my maternal grandmother at our hometown parish, St. Alphonsus Church in McDonald, PA.

Sunday was the Sixth Sunday of Easter. The Gospel reading at Mass was from John Chapter 14. To my mind, the great take-away from the passage was Jesus' urging:

"Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid."

(Sixth Sunday of Easter Flashbacks: 2009, 2008 and 2007.)

I was in Western Pennsylvania Saturday afternoon to Monday evening for a Mother's Day visit (hence the carnation above). It was a enjoyable time spent visiting family and friends.

An especially nice part of the visit was getting to better know some of the bumper crop of recent additions, including Aiden, Mariah, Nora, Lucy and my cousin Casey's youngest son, Nicholas.

God speed, little ones, for all of those first steps and new teeth! Know that you are always in the prayers of your uncle/Godfather/cousin in the Big Apple.

All That

Food for thought:

“Let your heart be filled with the mysteries of God. The greatest mystery is that God loves you. Think about it … He loves every human being with an intense personal love. That includes you. He loves you in all your defects, in all your sins, in all your clumsy efforts to love other people and to love him back. He knows exactly how hard you work, how embarrassed you get, how easily you make mistakes. He knows all that and still loves you.”

-- Fr. Michael Scanlan, TOR, from "The Truth About Trouble" (Servant Books)

Hat-tip: E-Spirations

Thursday, May 06, 2010

And There's Another Country

Today's general election in the United Kingdom has been on the brain. I've been intrigued by the reports of the close polls and the possibility of a hung parliament.

In honor of this notable day in British history, here is "I Vow To Thee, My Country" for this week's "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend."


An aside: I am 12.5 percent English thanks to David Summerville, one of my paternal great-grandfathers. David and his Swedish wife, Edith Erickson, lived in Monaca, a borough along the Ohio River in Beaver County, Pennsylvania.

Monday, May 03, 2010

The Practice of Listening

Food for thought:

" ... if you’re somebody who only reads the editorial page of The New York Times, try glancing at the page of The Wall Street Journal once in a while. If you’re a fan of Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh, try reading a few columns on the Huffington Post website. It may make your blood boil; your mind may not be changed. But the practice of listening to opposing views is essential for effective citizenship. It is essential for our democracy.

And so, too, is the practice of engaging in different experiences with different kinds of people. I look out at this class and I realize for four years at Michigan you have been exposed to diverse thinkers and scholars, professors and students. Don’t narrow that broad intellectual exposure just because you’re leaving here. Instead, seek to expand it. If you grew up in a big city, spend some time with somebody who grew up in a rural town. If you find yourself only hanging around with people of your own race or ethnicity or religion, include people in your circle who have different backgrounds and life experiences. You’ll learn what it’s like to walk in somebody else’s shoes, and in the process, you will help to make this democracy work. ... "

- The POTUS, from a commencement address Saturday at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Hat-tip: Sully

Sunday, May 02, 2010

How All Will Know

This Fifth Sunday of Easter was a warm and sunny one here in Gotham. I spent most of the day outside -- and have a little sunburn to prove it.

I had a brunch date this afternoon. The excursion included Eggs Benedict at Riveria, chatting on the Christopher Street Pier and a walk on the High Line.

It was a fourth date and, as it turns out, a final one. But, the amicable, in-person conclusion will likely lead to a new friendship.

So, finding myself near Chelsea in the late afternoon, I decided to go to the 5 p.m. Mass at the Church of St. Francis Xavier on 16th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues. It was my first visit to the Jesuit parish since the completion of its extensive restoration.

What a renewal! Light flooded the formerly dreary sanctuary. The frescoes along the walls depicting the Stations of the Cross have been cleaned and restored. And, I was stunned to see beautiful, colorful paintings near the ceiling that I had never really noticed before.

The Gospel at Mass included the powerful words of Jesus from John Chapter 13 in which he articulates a new commandment:

" ... love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Deacon Greg has an excellent homily on this Sunday's Gospel in which he pays tribute to the now-closed St. Vincent's Hospital.

Flashbacks: Fifth Sundays of Easter 2009, 2008 and 2007.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

140 Characters or Less

This afternoon, I bit the bullet and created a personal account on Twitter.

I'm not exactly new to Twitter as I've been tweeting for my gig for a while.

But, as more and more news and professional interaction was taking place on Twitter, I knew it was time to pitch a more personalized tent.

A number of friends are already there including Brian, Natalie, Heidi, Scott, Vince, Senator Pippy, Tom, Amanda, Mike, Greg, Dave, John, Bill, Deacon Greg, Fran, Leo, Chandler, Lisa, Ashley, Dominic and Mandy.

And, I look forward to re-tweeting (RT) an occasional post by folks I hold in esteem like Sr. Rose, Sr. Anne, Grant, The Anchoress, Sully, Scott, Amy, Ann, Matt, Barbara, Meredith, Robert, Renee, Nickiee, Meghan and Peggy N.

(Apologies to anyone I missed!)

If you too are on Twitter, please consider following my tweets. I'll try to be interesting -- in 140 characters or less. :-)

Nightingale Song

Kids grow up. It's a fact of life. So, there are new faces and voices in the PS 22 Chorus.

Here they are for this week's "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend" with Toad the Wet Sprocket's "Nightingale Song."


Here's the original: