Saturday, December 31, 2011


As most of my political expression this past year moved to Facebook and Twitter, the (too infrequent) posts on this blog were often about milestones in the lives of family members and friends.  I do appreciate the opportunity this space affords to both welcome and say goodbye.

I have been remiss, however, in issuing one welcome.  And, it seems that celebrating a new life would be a fine topic for this final post of 2011.

Lena, pictured above, was born November 26 at 10:19 a.m., weighing in at seven pounds, two ounces.  She is the daughter of my old NYU friends, Tim and Melissa, and a sister for Ann.

Like yours truly, these "Firework Babies" will often find themselves "between the 'Burgh and the City" as their mom grew up in Bethel Park, PA, and their maternal grandparents still live there.

In mid-January, I will have the honor of serving as Lena's Godfather.  She will be my fourth Goddaughter (joining Georgianna, Nora and Lucy).  United by prayer despite being half a world away, Waldie will be serving as Lena's Godmother.  Just a few days ago, Waldie and her husband, Chris, arrived in Tanzania in East Africa.  They will live and work there for three-plus years as  Maryknoll Lay Missioners.

Welcome to the party, Lena!  May God abundantly bless you with many, many wonderful New Years.

The Jackpot Question

Another New Year's Eve. The steady has a bit of a cold so we're staying in. Which is just fine. At the moment, we're both checking e-mail and surfing the Internet while watching "Julie & Julia" on TV. (A movie about food and blogging set in New York City and Paris -- LOVE it.)

It's time to post my final "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend" of 2011. Would you object, gentle reader, if I opted for the obvious?

Here with Frank Loeser's "What Are You Doing on New Year's Eve?" are Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.


Monday, December 26, 2011

O Great Mystery

"O Magnum Mysterium" is a traditional prayer of the Church at Christmas. One English translation reads:

O great mystery,
and wonderful sacrament,
that animals should see the new-born Lord,
lying in a manger!
Blessed is the Virgin whose womb was worthy
to bear Christ the Lord.

A living American composer who has set the prayer to music is Morten Lauridsen. For a belated "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend," below is his beautiful offering.


Sunday, December 25, 2011


Merry Christmas!!

Like so many Christmas mornings of my life, I'm up while the rest of the house is still quiet. My inner seven-year-old is curious to see if Santa came, I guess.

But, unlike the Christmas mornings of my past, today I find myself in Auburn, Indiana, at the home of the steady's parents. It's a blessed first. I arrived here yesterday at 6:45 a.m. on the Amtrak train from Pittsburgh (where I had been visiting with my family for few days).

Last night, we went to the 11 p.m. service at the First United Methodist Church. It was quite nice. And, we'll soon head out for the 10:30 a.m. Mass at Immaculate Conception Church. (See: Ecumenism in necessary practice.)

Over at Dating God, Br. Dan has posted a reflection called "Christmas is Not a Holiday…It’s a Game-Changer!"  Here are two snips to ponder:

" ... Christmas marks the most important moment in Salvation History -- the Incarnation, the coming of the Lord, the birth of a child who reveals to us the unseen God, makes visible the invisible and shows us that God's Reign unfolds in the making of the impossible possible!

" ... with God's entrance into the world as one like us, the game has totally changed. Jesus Christ is the game-changer par excellence! The way that humanity related to God previously had become outdated and finally recognized as imperfect, because, whereas once we were able to know about God, now we can personally know God."

Flashback: Christmas 2009 and 2008

The image above is "The Adoration of the Shepherds" or "L'adoration des bergers" by James Tissot. It is the property of the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Celebrating Guadalupe

For Catholics, today (December 12) is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. To help celebrate the day, here is a photo of Texas-based artist Federico Archuleta's contemporary take on the miraculous Guadalupe image: