Sunday, August 29, 2010


Sometime last week, I noticed that Jason Mraz's cheerful love song "Lucky" has been translated into Spanish with Ximena Sariñana on the female vocals. Liked it immediately.

Since I've already posted "Lucky" in this space before, I passed on using it for last week's "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend."

But, I had a great date tonight that left me feeling quite blessed. So, here is "Suerte" for this weekend's musical entree.


Here's a live version:

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

In Memoriam: John Tobin, 1935 - 2010

Word has come of the death Monday of John Tobin, a friend from my hometown of McDonald, PA. He was only 74.

Soft-spoken and generous, John was a true gentle-man.

While I knew John as a child and a teenager, I came to know him well as an adult through activities at our parish, St. Alphonsus Church.

John had been a member of St. Alphonsus' parish council and was an acolyte at funeral Masses. But, in actuality, he did so much more for the parish over the years -- quietly lending a hand in many anonymous capacities.

I also knew John through the McDonald Lions Club, a fraternal organization dedicated to community service with a special emphasis on serving the blind. He was the kind of Lion that makes the organization work -- through faithful attendance at the regular gatherings and always volunteering at special fundraisers and events.

Please keep John's wife, Roberta, his children, grandchildren and all of his family members and friends in your prayers. His passing leaves a void and he will be missed.

From the prayers at end of the funeral Mass:


May the angels lead you into paradise,
may the martyrs come to welcome you,
and take you to the holy city,
the new and eternal Jerusalem.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Last and First

For Mass today, I went to the 12:45 p.m. liturgy at Old St. Pat's. After two weekends on the road, it was good to able to just walk to Church in my 'hood.

Today's Gospel passage, which I posted in 2007, was from Luke Chapter 13. It includes Jesus' well-known words of warning:

"Strive to enter through the narrow gate ... "


"For behold, some are last who will be first, and some who are first will be last."

For reflections on these verses and the rest of today's Scripture readings, visit Fran, City Father, Bishop Gumbleton, Fr. Jboy and Fr. Mulcahy.

The narrow gate pictured above comes via A Concord Pastor.

24 - 17

Yesterday evening, my friend Michelle and I took NJ Transit trains from Penn Station to The Meadowlands to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers take on the New York Giants in a preseason game. Michelle is a fellow 'Burgh-area native who went to NYU in the '90s. We scored some last-minute, inexpensive tickets.

It was a good game. The Black and Gold trumped Big Blue 24 to 17.

The new Meadowlands stadium was impressive (it has four jumbotrons). And, I can report that, despite being fairly high up, we could easily see the action on the field. Two views:

An aside: A bottle of water at the stadium ran me $4.75. And, if that wasn't bad enough, they take the cap off for you -- and keep it!

Unbelievable. Precaution taken to an outrageous extreme.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


This morning, some Internet surfing led to the blog of St. Mary's Church of Westfield, MA. I noticed that, a few weeks back, St. Mary's used a clip featuring the singer and guitarist Coffey Anderson.

He seems to have a wonderful, joyful style. (He starts his videos with a resounding "Hello!".)

So, here is Coffey with "Open the Eyes of My Heart" for this week's "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend."



Coffey's take on "Lord, I Lift Your Name On High":

Thursday, August 19, 2010

His Promise of Mercy

On Sunday, the day after my high school class reunion in Western Pennsylvania, my maternal grandmother and I went to the 10:30 a.m. Mass (a.k.a. "the late Mass"!) at St. Patrick Church in the village of Noblestown.

On the liturgical calendar was the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is the day Catholics celebrate our belief that, after her time on earth was complete, the mother of Jesus was assumed body and soul into heaven.

Sunday morning's Gospel reading was the account from Luke Chapter 1 in which, after learning she was to be the mother of Jesus, Mary "set out and traveled to the hill country" to the house of Zechariah and Elizabeth.

The passage provides much of the Hail Mary prayer as well as Mary's beautiful (and revolutionary) proclamation known as The Magnificat:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm,
and has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.”

For reflections on Sunday's scriptures and the Assumption, visit City Father, Deacon Greg, Father Mulcahy, Bishop Gumbleton, Busted Halo, Fr. Jboy, Sr. Jo-Anne and Fr. Tito.

Assumption Flashbacks: 2009, 2008 and Bertha.

The image above is "The Holy Virgin in Old Age" or "La sainte Vierge âgée" by James Tissot. It is from the collection of the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

A Heart Resolved

Quote of the day:

" ... a heart resolved to love can radiate goodness without limits."

- Brother Roger of Taizé, d. 2005

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pull an Angelina

In what I think is a first since I began the series in October, 2007, I did not post an installment last week of the "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend."

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea máxima culpa.

Well, not really. I was on the road again sans laptop for another long weekend. This time I was in Western Pennsylvania for the 15-year reunion (a year late, by tradition) of the Fort Cherry High School Class of 1994. We convened Saturday for a family picnic at Mingo Creek County Park and an after-party at Cadillac Ranch.

Friday afternoon, en route on a JetBlue flight from JFK to PIT, I had the chance to listen to some XM Satellite Radio. (Why don't all planes have in-seat, personal entertainment systems?)

One of the tunes I most enjoyed was Travis "Travie" McCoy's single "Billionaire" featuring Bruno Mars.

I don't endorse the song's message or it's greedier lyrics (which certainly don't jive with the "treasure in heaven" message of Matthew 19 in the daily Mass readings yesterday and today).

But, "Billionaire" has a Mraz-esque mellow beat that's rather catchy. So, for your consideration, here it is as a belated "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend." (Advance apologies for the F-bombs.)


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Do Not Be Afraid

I'm writing tonight from the lone desktop computer at the "courtesy wifi station" at my gym. I'm here, and not in the comfort of my pad, due to what may be the death of my laptop. After three-plus years of use, it looks like both the battery and charger are fried.

Ah, well. It had a good run. A new charger still may be in the offing. But, a replacement also is on order.

My week sans laptop has been a positive thing for book reading and getting more sleep. But, it's been a negative for blogging -- causing an already slow writing patch to get even slower.

I have been particularly remiss in recording that I paid a fourth visit last weekend to Wichita, Kansas. Once again, I visited that little city to exhibit for my gig at the Midwest Catholic Family Conference.

It was a fine gathering. I even met the members of L'Angelus at the hotel pool.

For Sunday Mass, I joined about 2,000 fellow conference-goers for the solid liturgy celebrated in the arena of the Century II Convention Center.

The Gospel passage, which I posted in 2007, was from Luke Chapter 12. It included one of the verses in the New Testament in which Jesus states:

"Do not be afraid ... "

It is a simple message -- but one that has helped to steady yours truly during some of life's challenging moments. I will never forget the Papal Mass in New York City's Central Park in October, 1995, when Pope John Paul II said four consecutive times, "Do not be afraid!" and concluded, "God is with you!"

For more in-depth take-aways from last Sunday's scripture readings, visit A Concord Pastor, Deacon Greg, Fran, City Father, Bishop Gumbleton, Fr. Mulcahy, Fr. Richard, Fr. Jboy, Sr. Mary and Fr. Larry.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Tag, You're It!

On Tuesday, a little round of "tag" ensued at this end of the Catholic blogosphere. Those tagged were asked to name their five favorite devotions.

I was honored to be nominated by A Concored Pastor. He got the nod from Deacon Greg whose charge came from Julie, which wasn't at all Ironic.

(Jen was also among Julie's picks. Deacon Scott and The Anchoress were among Deacon Greg's selections.)

So, I should stop stalling ... hmmm ...

... My favorite devotions are:

1. Silent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

2. Personal prayers that come to me in the morning on the subway and Metro North train from the city to Yonkers while I'm en route to work.

3. Personal prayers during Communion (sometimes after dedicating a particular reception of the Eucharistic to a need of my own or another).

4. Reading about the lives of saints, esp. those saints with whom I'm not already familiar such as the martyrs from Elizabethan England and 19th century East Asia. (Shameless plug: these readings often originate with my gig.)

5. Sharing some of the faith on-line. For me, this includes providing links on my blog to Sunday homilies as well as tweeting prayers and scripture verses here.

Now it's my turn to tap some folks. I choose my pals Fran and Mike. Tag, you're it!

The image above is from the Daily Mail (UK). It accompanies a February, 2007, article titled "Children banned from playing tag in school playground."

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


On Sunday, I attended the 12:45 p.m. Mass at Old St. Pat's. The day's scripture readings touched on vanity, desire, possessions and wealth accumulation.

The Gospel passage, which I posted in 2007, was from Luke Chapter 12. It included these verses:

“Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.”

"‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves but are not rich in what matters to God.”

When I read or hear this verse, I usually content myself with the smug thought that I live a fairly simple life and don't have much in the way of earthly treasure.

Then I remember my 401k retirement account. There's not a lot there. But, does God see it as "stored up treasure"? It certainly would be to someone sleeping on the street.

I don't know the answer to this question. But, it's something we should think about.

For more reflections on Sunday's scriptures, pay a visit to Fran, Mike, Fr. Mulcahy, Fr. Richard, Fr. Tito, Fr. Jboy and Bishop Gumbleton.

The photo above can be found in a few places on the Internet, including here. My apologies to the creator for not giving proper credit.