Sunday, July 31, 2016

If I Might Interject: Quick Quips: Election Errors Edition

David Wanat's post on his blog, If I Might Interject: Quick Quips: Election Errors Edition: Now that we finished the conventions, Catholics on social media are…pretty much doing the same thing they’ve been doing since January, explains very astutely the issues thoughtful Catholics are considering.



Here's the money quote (which is a quote from Cardinal Ratzinger):

[N.B. A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favour of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.] 


 Click over to his post for his explanation.

The First Bishop of Boston

On the death of Cardinal Cheverus, 180 years ago: This month marks 180 years since the death of Cardinal Jean Cheverus, the first Bishop of Boston. The papers of his successor, Bishop Benedict Joseph Fenwick, reveal the work and love Bishop Cheverus.  He almost fell victim to the revolution in France but escaped to London.  He didn't even speak English!  Upon hearing the need for priests in the colonies, he came to Boston in 1796.  The rest is history.  Thanks be to God!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Cruelty Continues

Pope Francis: Cruelty did not end at Auschwitz; it continues today: KRAKOW, Poland (CNS) -- Humankind's cruelty did not end with the Holocaust, but rages on in the suffering of those living through war, homelessness and persecution, Pope Francis said.  All you have to do is read newspapers and watch TV.  "Man's inhumanity to man" seems a given.

Catholic senator earns victory in federal court against HHS mandate


I wonder.  How is the senator going to handle this?  Will he give his employees money--here go buy the health care you want?   What will result?  Catholic senator earns victory in federal court against HHS mandate: ST. LOUIS (CNS) -- A Missouri senator won't be forced to pay for health insurance that includes covering abortion, etc.

Evangelization Opportunities Come Knocking


Boston churches become hotspots for Pokémon: BRAINTREE -- In the days following its first debut in New Zealand and Australia on July 5, and then its release in the United States the following day, the mobile game Pokémon GO has become a cultural phenomenon.  Young people (mostly) are playing and looking for the little creatures here and there. Think of it as a virtual scavenger hunt.

Instead of freaking out because ALL THESE PEOPLE ARE ON OUR PROPERTIES (HORROR), use the opportunity to talk to them.  Be friendly and welcoming.  Take an interest in what they're doing.  Invite them in for refreshments and tell them of your parish's activities that they might be interested in.  Give them your parish's facebook page to stay abreast of activities that will interest them.

Good grief!  Does the Holy Spirit have to knock you off your donkey!  Pokemon Go may be a godsend.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Catholics Urged to Fast, Pray for Peace; Plans Novena for Nation

Me too.  I've dedicated Wednesday as my day of fast--no computer and only one meal.  I offer my sacrifice for my country to be drawn closer to God's will and peace for the world. Catholics urged to fast, pray for peace; group plans novena for nation: MANCHESTER, N.H. (CNS) -- Bishop Peter A. Libasci of Manchester is urging Catholics to pray and fast for peace in response to the ongoing violence in the U.S. and around the world.

Omniscience

One reason I like to write is because I can play god.  I create my world and people it with characters that suit my creation.  Even better, I can make them think what I want them to think and do what I want.  In fact (in a burst of hubris) my world is better than our real world.

Omniscience is a narrator's technique.  The author has either the first or third person express the narrator's point of view.  Hence, omniscience is a point of view. The narrator's techniques may change, but the narrator herself does not.  The story really only has one point of view--the narrator's.  So don't think of what person is the point of view, but rather, what technique.

The Answer to “Do Clothes Make the Man?”
Every time Sally put on that white dress, her personality changed.  Was it her imagination?  She didn’t think so.  Admittedly, she did look extraordinarily pretty in it.  It showed off her slim figure, her long dark hair and tan.  She received many compliments.  People approached her.  They seemed to want to hang around her.  Were they basking in the aura of the attractive dress, or was it her confidence in appearance?

Whatever!  Sally didn’t think about it too much.  She just reveled in feeling good about herself, the dress, everything.  She was planning to wear it to her cousin’s graduation.  It was perfect, not too dressy and not too casual.

The entire family was going to Beth’s high school graduation.  It was quite an achievement.  Beth had always been in “special needs” classes because of her hearing problems.  Her auditory perception was poor.  In a way, the disability was a gift, because she was forced to work harder than everybody else.  She did, and it paid off; she was graduating with honors.

Beth’s father was so proud.  Beth’s mother had died when she was young, so their life wasn’t easy.  Her dad had medical problems, so there never seemed to be enough money.  He also was kind of clueless when it came to “girly” things.  Beth didn’t have the nicest or the latest clothes, never mind make-up.  Sally was never sure whether Beth dressed poorly because she didn’t know any better, or she couldn’t communicate with her father, or they didn’t have the money.  She always felt sorry for Beth.

So Sally wanted Beth to have a good graduation.  Beth deserved some happiness.  She couldn’t wait to see her and catch up on each other’s lives. 

Sally slept in Beth’s room, in a sleeping bag.  They usually watched TV, talked, giggled, talked, play cards, and talked.  Sally had grown up a lot since Beth had seen her last.  She was interested in boys.  There was one boy in particular whom Beth would like to know better.  His name was Dave.  He had never asked her out, but he seemed interested when they talked together.

Sally perceived that Dave was maybe clueless about Beth liking him.  Yet he and Beth talking together was a sign that he knew Beth was alive and wasn’t adverse to her attention. 

In their all night “gab” session, Sally learned that Dave’s parents were having a graduation party, after the ceremonies.  Sally offered to help Beth with her hair and makeup. 

Despite the lack of sleep, both girls were up early and jazzed to go.  Sally helped Beth fix her hair to fit under the square mortarboard.  The girls talked about makeup and clothes.  They decided Beth was to wear just a little makeup for the ceremony and shower afterward and start over from scratch, for the party.  Off they went.

Sally thought Beth was one of the prettiest girls graduating.  She could compete with every girl in that school, in looks alone, never mind brains.  She spotted the boy-friend-to-be, Dave, too.  He was attractive.   Dave and Beth had much in common, according to their yearbook bios.  Sally didn’t see any reason why the two of them wouldn’t get along.

After the ceremony, Sally and Beth rushed home with an aura of special happiness.  So far the day was perfect.  While Beth showered, Sally looked in Beth’s closet.
 It was sad.  No dresses, no skirts, only tops and jeans. 

What to do?

It was too late to go shopping.  The only thing Sally, herself, had in her suitcase was jeans, shorts, and carpenter pants.  “Oh dear!”

Sally wanted so much to make it happen for Beth.  She’d give her the shirt off her back if she could.

Er…she could. 

Sally could take off her lucky dress and let Beth wear it—just this once.  After all, Sally wasn’t going to this party; she wasn’t invited.  And it would mean the world to Beth.

When Beth came out of the shower, Sally was in shorts, and the beautiful dress was on a hanger waiting for Beth.

The girls reeled around the room giggling, with a curling iron, mascara wand, and all kinds of female accouterments.  Thank goodness the shoe style was thongs because Beth’s feet were too big for Sally’s shoes.  Beth was no Cinderella.

The piece de resistance was the dress.  As Sally dropped the dress over Beth’s head, she felt kind of sad, but she ignored it.  Sally couldn’t ignore the vision before her.  The ordinary tee shirt and jeans, hair in a ponytail girl, was transformed into Cinderella.  Extraordinary--breath-taking extraordinary. 

Sally took pictures with her cell phone.  No one is going to believe this is Beth.  What a transformation!

As Sally watched Beth walk down the street, again she felt sad.  She wondered if the dress was magical.  Does the dress make the wearers feel beautiful and that’s what everyone sees; or is it the beautiful dress itself?  Beth is a beautiful girl, inside and out.  Why doesn’t everyone see that?  Should Sally be asking the same question about herself? 

When Beth returned a few hours later, she had to shake Sally awake.  Sally had fallen asleep watching TV.  Sally rubbed her eyes and then opened them in shock.  Her dress was ruined!  It was a wilted, damp, soggy mess. 

Beth was happily waltzing around the room relating her tale of Prince Charming rescuing her.  She babbled on and on—Dave asked her for a date.

“But the dress…” Sally managed to croak.

Beth said, “Dave wants to go to a concert.”

“The dress?”  Sally asked.

Beth continued, “Dave works at Patriot’s Place and we have our pick of concerts.”

“The dress?”  Sally voice got louder.

“Actually, any event, Dave said.”  Beth was in a dream.

“THE DRESS!  THE DRESS!!!” Sally screamed.

“Oh.”  Beth looked down and remembered.  “Oh, someone pushed me in the pool, and Dave jumped in to save me.”

Sally was speechless.


Beth apologized about the dress and said, “I don’t know how to swim.  I panicked until Dave saved me.  Everyone remarked what a shame such a pretty dress was ruined.  It was, I mean, I was the talk of the party.  I was a big hit.”

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Selfie


Here's my contribution.  I don't have a large picture of Saint Dominic, plenty of holy cards of him, though.  But I do have a statue of Our Lady of the Rosary.  The Blessed Mother is giving the rosary to St. Catherine of Siena and the baby Jesus is giving a rosary to Saint Dominic.


Cardinal O'Malley encourages WYD pilgrims to embrace mercy every day

Cardinal O'Malley encourages WYD pilgrims to embrace mercy every day: KRAKOW, Poland (CNS) -- Jesus did not stop talking about mercy even though he was nearly thrown from a cliff after his first public talk in a Nazareth synagogue, and the rest of his life can serve as a witness to mercy.

Two Interesting Questions

Here are two interesting questions from the Pilot.   One tells the story of a 70-year-old woman who goes to confession but is so anxious about it that she doesn't think she's ever made a good confession. Fear of confession:   Following that question is one about not liking your parish church/priests/style and going to another parish.  I found both questions pertinent.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A Day of Fasting

I don't know about you, but that prophecy I posted a few days ago, shook me.  I can't get it out of my mind.  Consequently, I feel moved to fast and pray.  Due to my age and illnesses, I may not be able to completely fast from food, so other things may have to be given up.  Wednesday will be my day of fast for my country and the world.  Lord have mercy on us, sinners.  I'm off the net on Wednesdays.  See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Panel Discussion on Prayer


Last night my "cloistered brothers" and I held a panel discussion on prayer.  There were three men on the panel.  Russ spoke about meditation.  He is a revert from Buddhism (born Catholic, went to Buddhism and then back to Catholicism).  Gerry talked about the rosary.  He was a nominal Catholic.  He said that he attended Our Lady of Assumption Church and didn't know what Assumption meant.  He also said he was there when the Mass changed from Latin to English and he didn't notice the difference (shows how much he was paying attention). Then he went to Medjugorje and it was like a Saul to Paul experience. Lastly, there was Peter.  Pete is a Lay Dominican who practices Lectio Divina, every day.  Lection Divina consists of taking an excerpt from a reading (Lectio) and reading and meditating upon it (Meditatio).  Then this meditation will move you to pray to God (Oratio).  Finally, you want this experience to be with you throughout the day, so you pick out something short to bring the experience to mind (Contemplatio).  Since Pete is a Lay Dominican, he follows their way of Lectio Divina, which means they add one more step--Studium.  The Studium is reading the Lectio with a commentary to help you understand the reading more fully.  Pete does: Lectio, Studium, Meditatio, Oratio, Contemplatio.

There was suppose to be one more panel member.  He was supposed to talk about music; he was sick and unable to participate.

Each man spoke a few minutes about why this type of prayer was their favorite.  Then I asked for questions from the audience.  Since I expected no response, until the congregation warmed up, I had planted a few questions to be asked.  It worked.  Some of the questions:

  • Are distractions a problem?
  • How did you get interested in this type of prayer?
  • What do you pray after receiving the Eucharist?
  • What moves you to pray?
  • Do you experience God?
Answering the questions carried the session.  I wasn't sure how the whole discussion went over.  It seems to have been a hit.  Afterwards, people came up to me and asked advice on how to pray.  Me?  I felt like such a hypocrite telling people how to pray better because I probably am the worst at praying.  Prayer often is a session of distraction.  My monkey brain won't focus.

What gave me encouragement, however, was the timing.  It was so coincidental that the readings and homily tied so conveniently into our panel discussion, that it had to be Godincidental.  The first reading was about persistent in our prayers.  Genesis 18: 20-32--Abraham asks God to not destroy Sodom if there are ten good people there.  The Gospel was Luke 11: 1-13 where Jesus teaches his disciples the Our Father. Plus, Father Chris talked about prayer in his homily.  

So, the Holy Spirit had my back.  

Monday, July 25, 2016

Dominic Meets Francis

Dramatization of the meeting between St. Dominic and St. Francis
Sacred Movement

3 people: Narrator, St. Dominic, St. Francis
The setting is a church in Rome, the year 1216.Tradition holds that during Dominic’s second visit to Rome, in 1216, he met Francis of Assisi and they instantly recognized each other.


The legend begins with Saint Dominic praying. St. Dominic has nine ways of praying and on this particular night he was praying before a crucifix with his own arms spread out just like our Savior’s arms on the cross.  His shoulders were shaking from his weeping.  St. Dominic was blessed with the gift of tears and he spent many nights weeping his prayers, until he fell into blessed sleep.

Across town in another church, knelt St. Francis.  Francis was praying for papal confirmation of his new order.  He had never intended to start a religious order, but so many followers wanted to live his life of poverty, chastity, and obedience to the Gospels, that soon it had become obvious that some sort of order needed to be formed.  Francis’ eyes became weary and his head nodded off to sleep, in his contemplation.

Our two saints slept the sleep of those blessed by angelic visions.  Here we have Saint Dominic, an introverted mystic, dreaming of his sons and daughters, protected under the mantle of the Blessed Mother, Mary.  And over here we have Saint Francis, burning with passion to do great things for the Lord.

Saint Dominic envisions the necessity of educating his preachers to give them the tools necessary to explain the faith to the pagans and argue with the Albigensians heretics.  Saint Francis felt that his friars should tell the world what was in their hearts.  The love they carried would spread Jesus’ love.  Both dreamt of telling the pope of their visions and receiving confirmation and approval of their orders.
During these dreams, separate as their visions appear to be, something bizarre occurred.  They both dreamt of meeting without knowing each other.  

What?

Saint Dominic dreamt of going to his papal audience and meeting a poor religious man.  His heart almost leapt out of his chest because he recognized a kindred spirit.  This man was holy.  This man was his brother.  Together the two of them would complement each other and build up the church and sustain it throughout the years.

Simultaneously, Saint Francis dreamt of going to see the pope about approval of his plans to start an order, and on his way, he met a poor religious man.  His heart wanted to fly out of his chest because it knew he was in the presence of a kindred spirit.  This was a holy man.  This man would light the world on fire with his preaching.  This was a brother.  They would help each other.  The church needed them—the contemplative and the active.  Together they would support the church.

The sun woke Saint Dominic.  His dream was still vivid.  He jumped up because he needed to see the pope and appeal for approval for his Order of Preachers.  He didn’t have time for breakfast, besides he would fast today as prayer for success.

The birds woke Saint Francis with their singing.  He wanted to just sit and listen to their song, but he had too much to do.  He had an appointment with the Pope!  He blessed himself and prayed quickly before he set off on his journey.

It was early and not too many people were out and about.  The morning air was cool and the walk was pleasant.  Both saints thanked God for the day and a good night’s sleep.  Both remembered the visions they had of meeting a holy man.
Suddenly, Saint Francis stopped.  Saint Dominic stopped.  Saint Francis blinked a few times and shook his head.  Saint Dominic rubbed his eyes.

Could it be?

Were they still dreaming in their sleep?

But their hearts were telling them that this was real.  Simultaneously, they both started running.  They fell into each other’s arms laughing and talking at the same time.  Somehow they managed to convey that they had dreamed of meeting.  This couldn’t be a coincidence.  This was the work of the Holy Spirit. 

Since they both were going to see the pope, they walked on, together.  Saint Francis spoke of his plans.  Saint Dominic did likewise.  They agreed to work together.  In the spirit of shared purposes, they even exchanged belts.  Saint Dominic gave Saint Francis the cord he wore around his waist to hold his rosary.  Saint Francis gave Saint Dominic the black belt some kind benefactor had given him. It would look good with Dominic’s white habit.  Both continued on to meet the pope and make their proposals.

There is a happy ending to our story.  Pope Gregory IX gave his papal confirmation to the Order of Preachers and the Order of Friars Minor. A close friendship sprang up between the two, and to this day Dominicans and Franciscans exchange visits on each other’s founder’s feast days as a sign of unity towards a common goal. The mutual influences of Dominic and Francis can be seen in the development of their orders: Francis may have influenced Dominic to expand the practice of the vow of poverty, and the Friars Minor adopted the Dominican constitutional system as a result of their turbulent history after Francis’ death. 



The Prayer Warriors for the World


Pope issues rules to help contemplative women be beacons for world: VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In an effort to help contemplative women religious renew their life and mission in the church and the world, Pope Francis issued a series of new rulings dealing with formation.

Hungry Venezuelans

Hungry Venezuelans turn to church, which doesn't have enough to help all: SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (CNS) -- Even on the days he lines up hours before the store opens in his neighborhood in Caracas, Venezuela, Ernesto Salazar is not assured he'll be able to buy basic food for his family.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Importance of Raising a Memorial to a Feast Day

A New Feast of Mercy: For the first time in its two millennial history, the Catholic Church celebrates  St. Mary Magdalene with a Feast, which is an important manifestation of the extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. She was a Memorial.  She will be known as Apostle to the Apostles.

Reflections of a senior priest -- Father Joseph K. Fagan

Father Joseph Fagan
Reflections of a senior priest -- Father Joseph K. Fagan: I was ordained to the priesthood on June 7, 1967. For this, I give credit to my family, schools, and parish community at St. Augustine's in South Boston, which influenced me early on to be drawn to the priesthood.  

A Prophecy


The prophetess spoke:  "Women of the United States awaken, come before me and bow your heads reverently and ask for your country to be saved.  Embolden your tongue before your God and man.  Be as astute as Esther was, and long for freedom.  Freedom from all the capital vices of this country.  Freedom from the winnowing cry of your people in the darkened room of fear.  Freedom from the tyrannical rule upon which the course is being set.  I love you and want to see you free to love and honor me.  You must first gird yourself with prayer and fasting.  Then it is time, as holy women to step forth and save your country.  Do not read these words and turn away.  Do not read and forget them.  Stand up and be women who will save your race.  Man times I have called you to pray for your country and many times you have prayed.  But woe, woe to you who do not heed my voice and awaken your sleeping land.  You are about to see the slaughter and I your God would like to protect you from it.  You who are willing and able, I give you hope.  But hope is useless without faith.  Do you have faith that I will stop the terrible dirge from coming?  If you have hope women, begin to call.  Now I beg you, begin to keen in my ear that which I want to hear, which I need to hear, for I so want to save you.  Oh Esthers of the New World!  Esthers, who can save their land.  Oh Esthers! whom I am calling.  The time is now.  Do not hesitate.  Save your land.  I am waiting for your call.  I am waiting for your keening.  I am waiting for your love.  Oh where are you Esthers of this present earth? Are you there?  Show yourselves.  Speak loudly.  I am a Lord of specifics and I specifically tell you, I am listening.  Are you calling?  Cry out in a loud voice for land, for your people, for your children.  Pray to your Blessed Mother.  She will help.  She has helped beyond reason, but you are condemning yourselves.  Where are you now?  Where are you when you are needed to stem this tide of filth and decay? Where are you?  Oh my children, how I love you! Awaken to my cry."
Spoken at an Anne Marie Schmidt retreat at the Marist House, Framingham, MA.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Archdiocese Appointments

Archdiocese announces leadership and parish appointments: BRAINTREE -- Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley announced July 18 a series of leadership and parish appointments. Follow the link to see the list.

Tastes Change


What is it that makes our taste change?  Maturity?  Finally sick of seeing the same thing?

I'm referencing movies and books.  When I was about 20, I absolutely loved the movie Lawrence of Arabia.  I sat through it twice, when I first saw it.  Then I kept bringing friends to see it.  Once I learned that Lawrence of Arabia was about T. E. Lawrence, I wanted to get his book, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, which he wrote to record his experiences.  This is way before Amazon and Barnes and Nobles.  I went to a local bookstore and found it among the rare books.  I forgot how much it was but it was an exorbitant amount because it was considered rare.  I couldn't read it; it was over my head and thus boring to me.

About thirty years after first encountering Lawrence of Arabia, I watched it again.  I fell asleep.  How could I ever have been so enthralled by it?

The same is true with the book Gone with the Wind.  Upon first reading it in my twenties, I wanted to be Scarlett.  She was beautiful, interesting and fun. The character, Melanie was a bore.  Fast forward to twenties years later, Scarlet was a flirt, opportunist, and a flake.  Melanie was beautiful, interesting, fun and desirable.

What happened?

I grew up.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Loose Cannon


Yes, I've been called a loose cannon. So?  Is that supposed to be a detriment?  Wasn't Jesus Christ a loose cannon?  Some thought so.  Wasn't Peter, the first pope?

It's a vacuous concept.  Does it mean I'm a psycho?  Hellion?  Troublemaker?  Unpredictable?
I don't think so at all.  My friends don't either.  Does it mean I'm always ready to jump in and help?  Passionate?  Give my all?  Aggressive?  Excuse me, but I think these are positive attributes.

You know what?  Maybe the person who called me a "loose cannon" was projecting himself.  Now there's a new definition of "loose cannon:" someone who spontaneously stamps a label on a person who challenges them!    

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Neocatechumenal Way Co-founder Carmen Hernandez Dies at 85


Neocatechumenal Way co-founder Carmen Hernandez dies at 85: Madrid, Spain, Jul 19, 2016 Carmen Hernandez, co-founder of the Neocatechumenal Way, died today at home in Madrid, Spain. She was 85 years old.

Hernandez, along with Kiko Arguello and Fr. Mario Pezzi, made up the international team responsible for the ecclesial movement, which focuses on post-baptismal adult formation. It is estimated that the movement contains about 1 million members, in some 40,000 parish-based communities around the world.

Express Your Outrage


A CALL TO ACTION! On July 8, the Democratic Platform Committee took a radical pro-abortion position in the draft platform. It calls for:


A. The promotion of abortion as a “core value” of Americans.
B. The repeal of the Hyde and Helms amendments prohibiting the use of taxpayer funds for abortions.
C. The repeal of reasonable safety regulations for the abortion industry.


Thus, the party has moved from a position of “safe, legal, and rare” to “unlimited and state-supported."


We are asking you to express your outrage in as many social media outlets as possible. Unless you speak out, the media and the party will not take notice!


So send out your personal message on Twitter, Facebook, and elsewhere. Emphasize the stupidity of this move, or quote US Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) who responded: “That’s crazy!”


Say things like: "Have you seen the Democratic Platform on abortion? Radically out of the mainstream! Are they crazy? Are they trying to run off voters?" Use the hashtags ‪#‎thatscrazy‬ ‪#‎openthebigtent‬.


Ask all the other pro-life friends and organizations you know to join the clamor in social media, spreading the word as far as we can about this affront to American values that is destroying the Democratic Party. 

Note: this is not Republicans bashing Democrats--This is a campaign promoted by DFLA and joined by all Americans who want to voice their opposition to this platform.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Angels with Sickles and God's Fury

Angels with Sickles and God's Fury: There's a haunting text in the Book of Revelation where poetic image, for all its beauty, can be dangerously misleading. The author there writes:

Politics and the court

Politics and the court: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg caused quite a stir this month by saying what was on her mind about Donald Trump to the New York Times.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


A Semblance of Guilt by Claudia Reiss is a true mystery. 

How in the world does your good friend turn on you so fast?  And why?  Nevermind that she’s found dead and you’re the chief suspect!  This is the precise situation, our heroine, Ellen Davis finds herself.

“Do you have any idea why we’re here, Ellen—may I call you
Ellen?” Pete inquired, fixating somewhere over her left shoulder.
“Is it something to do with Sophia? She said some terrible things
to me tonight, untrue things.” Ellen was fighting back the tears. She
did not want to bawl, not now, not in front of them.
“It’s everything to do with Sophia,” Hurley answered, leaning
forward. “She’s been murdered. You may have been the last guest to
see her alive.”

This is the crime Ellen Davis is accused of in A Semblance of Guilt by Claudia Reiss, the lauded author of Stolen Light and Reclining Nude.  Reiss once again has wrapped suspense and intrigue into a romantic mystery.  Ellen is newly divorced, which means she’s open to a new romance.  Good thing because her new interest is a cop who believes in her, even though the evidence against her is damning.  Ellen is also a writer and interested in some courses to improve herself.  Because of this, she meets the school dean and his wife.  The wife Sophia, and Ellen bond fast, until Sophia is murdered.  Everything happens fast and you keep reading to figure out how and why.  Yes, the book hooks you and pulls you in.  You can buy the book for 99 cents during the month of July. 

Semblance of Guilt can be purchased at:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
iTunes
99¢ EBOOK SALE!
runs July 1-30, 2016 
And although I received the book for free in exchange for a review, I wasn’t paid for liking the book, which I did.  I think it’s a good summer read.   Here are some details:
Claudia Riess, a Vassar graduate, has worked in the editorial departments of The New Yorker and Holt Rinehart and Winston. On her first novel, Reclining Nude, Oliver Sacks, M.D. commented: “exquisite—and delicate.” Her second, art suspense Stolen Light earned: “complex and intriguing” —Kirkus Review

Semblance of Guilt Book Summary:
Ellen Davis’s husband left her for another woman. Post-divorce, she’s trying to reassert her independence and lands a job as a reporter for her local newspaper. One of her assignments is covering weekly items on the police blotter, which is how she gets to know Lieutenant Pete Sakura—a handsome, witty Japanese- American Ellen is drawn to immediately.

Another of Ellen’s assignments is interviewing for the paper’s “Around The Town” column, and in this capacity, she meets Graham and Sophia Clarke, newcomers to the community. He’s an administrator at Columbia; she’s his beautiful Greek wife. Ellen and Sophia become fast friends, so it comes as a great shock when Sophia ends up dead.

Sophia Clarke is found murdered, and to all appearances, Ellen is the last person to have seen her alive. When Ellen’s fingerprints are found on the murder weapon, she’s arrested, and evidence steadily mounts against her. Ellen takes matters into her own hands as her romantic feelings for Pete intensify. Closing this case could either save Ellen or lead to her destruction.

"A determined amateur detective who'll garner fans with her refusal to either back down or give up." -Kirkus Reviews


99¢ EBOOK SALE!
runs July 1-31, 2016


Price/Formats: 
99¢ ebook, $21.99 paperback, $39.95 hardcover
Genre: 
Mystery
Pages: 
328
Publisher: 
Archway
Release: 
April 5, 2016
ISBN: 
9781480827851

Amazon buy link
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DWXBGRW?tag=tributebooks-20

Barnes and Noble buy link
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/semblance-of-guilt-claudia-riess/1123612832?ean=9781480827851

iTunes buy link
https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/book/semblance-of-guilt/id1100615156?mt=11

Here’s a chosen excerpt:
After navigating past the desks, she knocked on the door of the cubicle. No response. The second, more deliberate, rap was answered with an impatient “Come!”

Ellen entered the office and was somewhat taken aback by the sight of an attractive Asian man in shirt-sleeves awkwardly poised by the side of his desk, arms out, legs spread one behind the other, the front one slightly bent, the rear rigidly locked. He looked, she thought, as if he were trying to keep his balance on a skateboard. His attention was fixed on an open book sitting at the edge of his desk. “Give me a second,” he said testily, without taking his eyes off the book and at the same time adjusting the position of his front foot to a more pigeon-toed angle.

“I won’t ask what you’re doing,” Ellen said.

“Smart.” There was a sound of raised voices coming from the outer room. “The door!”

She closed it. “However, maybe you’d like to know what I’m doing?”

He ignored her question. “Damn, I’m not getting it.” He glanced up. “Do me a favor, take a look at number fifty and tell me what the hell is wrong here.”

Ellen approached the desk and peered down at the open book. A two-page spread of photographs showed a man in what looked like an usher’s uniform demonstrating a series of exercises. “Is this tai chi?”

“This is a pain in the ass. Could you look at the picture, tell me where I’m off, please?”

“‘Fair Lady works at Shuttles,’” she read aloud. She looked up from the page at him then back down again. “I see where you are. Figure fifty-A. It says: ‘Elbow bent, your right hand comes to your center line, fingers pinched together…’” She looked up. “For starters, your fingers aren’t pinched together.”

“Just hold the book up so I can see it from a better angle, okay?”

She held the book, show-and-tell style. He went through a variety of disconnected motions, clearly becoming more frustrated. “Shit.”

Ellen had formed a perception of the Japanese male as meditative, controlled, mysterious, soft-spoken, one who quietly went about transcending the material world while politely manipulating it. She had never realized she harbored this fully defined and fallacious stereotype until that moment, as she was looking at what appeared to be its antithesis. “If your phone rings, should I answer it?”

“Forget it.” He dropped the pose, took the book from her and put it back on the desk. “I’m all out of sync.”

“Now I’ll ask. What are you doing?”

“Getting my goddamn yin and yang together. My doctor tells me I have an ulcer and prescribes pills, but I don’t like pills. I’m taking up the eastern approach.”

“But isn’t tai chi Chinese?”

“Yeah, so?”

“‘Sakura’ sounds like a Japanese name.”

“Let me ask you a question. You ever eat chow mein?”

“Well, yes.”

“I rest my case.” He waved her toward the chair on the other side of the desk and dropped down into his own. “Sit.”

She remained on her feet. “I’m Ellen Davis. I was told you had the data for the Chronicle’s ‘Blotter’ column. I’m just here to collect it.”

He threw up a hand. “What’s the point of that column? All it does is stigmatize the poor saps who appear in it. There’s no investigation of circumstances, no disclaimers stating charges could be erroneous. Just a cold-blooded list of citations.”

“It’s supposed to serve as a deterrent,” she said without conviction. “Actually, I don’t particularly like the column myself, but I don’t make up the rules. I’m sorry I messed up your exercise routine. May I have the material, please?”

She became aware of herself as an unattached, uncompromised individual as she once was at Penn. She sensed the boundaries of her being as clearly as she felt the hem of her knit dress pull tightly against her legs with each step she took. It was as if she had never been married, had instead dressed for an interview and walked straight out of west Philadelphia into Morningside Heights.

Mid-block between 109 and 108 Streets, as she was passing a shoe store and scanning the view across the way, her attention was drawn to the bright blue awning of Charlie’s Snack Bar. At that moment the door to the restaurant opened, and a tall young woman with cropped red hair and wearing a tight black turtleneck sweater, clingy black pants and black cowboy boots, stepped out into the daylight. The girl stood aside to allow the man behind her to pass, and as he emerged completely into the sunlight, Ellen recognized Graham. She was about to hail him, when he took a step toward the redhead and Ellen realized he was with her. Unable to tear her focus from the scene or insinuate herself into it, she backed up into the shadow cast by the overhanging eave of the shoe store.

While Graham snapped down and adjusted the removable sun-visors of his eyeglasses, the young woman reached into the breast pocket of his blazer, drew out a pair of sunglasses he must have been holding for her, and put them on, in the process grazing her breasts against his left elbow. The act defined them as intimate friends, yet the distance springing up between them immediately afterward seemed devised to refute it. They stood apart talking to each other, their postures stiff and formal, their not touching as conspicuous as an open embrace.

Ellen watched them as her years at Penn were sucked into a black hole, and all she could remember was her husband Kevin dropping the bomb, telling her he was leaving her. Watching Graham and the redhead across the street was like catching the discovery scene she had missed, seeing it replayed for her benefit, like a burlesque in which she was both captive audience and object of scorn.

Almost at once she felt a connection with Sophia.

Sophia pulled her hands away and struck out at Ellen in one continuous movement, throwing herself off balance and stumbling sideways. She stared in horror at the gouge one of her nails had made on Ellen’s chest, and Ellen, stunned by the violence and not yet feeling the pain, gazed in disbelief at the drop of blood tracking toward the scalloped edge of her white satin bustier.

“Go—get out of here,” Sophia rasped. “I’m afraid what I might do to you. Get out, get out.”

The blood trickled onto the rim of smooth white fabric, forming a small, irregular stain. Ellen looked up at Sophia. The woman she thought she knew had become a trapped animal, her eyes wary-wild.

A sharp pain from the nick in her chest jolted her from her numbing inertia. She moved quickly from the room, feeling the tears coming, holding them back, postponing them as she ran silently down the hall. She descended the steps with blazing deliberation, her pace quick and even, her focus on reaching the door and disappearing into the sheltering night. She could feel her eyes, static-wide in bewildered alarm, betraying her attempt to appear in total control. Still, she focused straight ahead, concentrating on her goal, hearing Anna calling her name but moving through the sound, pacing herself to simulate haste without flight as she sliced through the clear zone of the foyer and pushed open the storm door. Midway across the porch she collided with an incoming guest, all pearls and black silk, the woman’s staccatoed “Shit!” like a gunshot in an open field of combat.

Picking up speed, she hurtled down the bluestone drive, anticipating the sound of the engine starting up even before she could spot her car.

***

Tuesday, March 13. First day in court. The jury sat knit-browed and entranced, leaning forward so as not to miss a word, not yet settled in their role of deliberative body. To Ellen, they looked as if they’d been caught off guard at the supermarket, a rainbow assortment of shoppers rounded up one afternoon and transported to a box at the opera, best seats in the house.

Ellen sat in a heavy, slat-back chair drawn up close to a long oak table. She was wearing a gray suit and paisley print blouse because Rosenthal had told her to wear something conservative but not somber. The skirt buckled and slid around her waist every time she moved because in the last two months she’d lost ten pounds from under-eating and over-exercising. As she’d taken her seat in the courtroom, she’d snagged her pantyhose on a rough spot on the table leg and felt the rip crawl up her leg, making her feel exposed to the prying eyes in the room. She’d been unable to choose earrings that morning, vacillating between small and large, shiny and dull, gold and silver, fixating on this final aspect of her attire as if she could determine the decision of the jury by choosing the politically correct objects to hang on her earlobes. When Rosenthal blew his car horn in the driveway she’d grabbed for familiarity, the small gold hoops, before allowing herself to be whisked off to the mind-boggling unknown.

Sitting next to her at the oak table, “Try to relax,” Rosenthal whispered in her ear, leaning toward and away from her in one smooth, condensed motion.

Ellen sat back in the chair, her rigid spine meeting hard wood, the word “relax” banned from her body’s vocabulary. Through an impromptu technique of auto-suggestion and deep breathing, she was barely managing to bring under control the strangulating tension in her neck and the explosive blood-humming in her ears. It was not her lawyer’s fault she hadn’t been prepared for Mark Gilbert’s speech. Rosenthal had described the prosecutor’s meticulous approach, but there was no way he could have prepared her for the immediacy of the event: the way Gilbert cocked his left hip as he stood facing the jury; how his dark eyes seemed to glow from some deep passion or conviction; how he flashed her alternating looks of consternation and pity; how he stressed syllables unexpectedly, so that his words jumped against the wall of her chest—“enter the room,” “points of the scissors,” “homicidal violence”; how his brow suddenly furrowed as he reminded the jury—“You and I, we represent the People. We have been charged not to avenge a wrong, but to deliver justice.”

***

“Come up to the bedroom.”

“Yes.”

“Stay the night.”

“Yes.”

“Hurry.” She wanted to be taken on the spot, jammed against the table or pinned to the floor, but delay would set the act apart. She could foresee it, her first experience of absolute exposure—the loss of her true virginity on her sex-worn bed. The chaste and devilish nuances of amazing contradiction lifted the event to the peak of desire. He was one step behind her, holding on to her hand as they climbed the staircase. She was aware of every footfall, every breath, every sound of this outwardly conventional drama. She led him down the hall, almost turning in at the wrong doorway, almost forgetting where she slept, his presence casting an aura of unfamiliarity on the surroundings. He caught her hesitation and uttered a short, nervous laugh, sharing her bewilderment.

As they entered her bedroom, it seemed to lose all connection to her past, as if it had come into existence at that very moment just to harbor them.

In rapt silence they helped each other with the shedding of clothes, marveling at the unhurried pace of the ritual, as if their bodies had agreed to temper urgency with curiosity.


They lay on the white comforter, barely disturbing it in their intent exploration, the upheavals taking place inwardly, while over audacious globes and rises and along newly accessible furrows, their fingers, lips, tongues concentrated movement in targeted pressures, exacting exquisite modulations of sensation from each focal point.

99 Cents!

Yes!  That's right.   A 99¢ EBOOK SALE! For Semblance of Guilt by Claudia Riess.  It runs July 1-31, 2016


Churches In Pokemon Go Craze

A priest at a nearby shrine was complaining about the people playing Pokemon Go, on the property.  He was concerned about the damage done to the grounds.  I hope he changes his attitude and uses this opportunity to evangelize.



If the priests came out of their house, dressed as priests and walked the grounds of the shrine to engage the Pokemon Go players in conversation, maybe they'd make some friends.  And who knows where friendship will lead?



Churches among those swept up in Pokemon Go craze: ST. LOUIS (CNS) -- Since its release in the United States July 6, Pokemon Go has quickly become a cultural phenomenon. In the first week, the mobile game attracted nearly 21 million users.

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Gift of Retrocognition


A Matter of Time by Michael J. Bowler  is a new novel that will grab you.  Mystery and history are intertwined in a work that gets into your head and heart.  Jamie is a writer with a gift of retrocognition.  Jamie dreams he’s a radio operator on the Titanic.  His dreams are real.  Besides being on the Titanic, Jamie’s blood or rather Jack’s,( who is Jamie on the Titanic) is being sucked out by a vampire.  Without the vampire, Jamie would just have shoved his dreams to the back of his mind.  However, when Jamie can’t stand the sun and is getting weaker and weaker, and when the sun goes down, he’s revitalized, he realizes that his dreams are more than dreams.

Jamie is blessed with friends who believe in him, parents who love him, and a teacher who also believes.  Jamie is  honest, hardworking, smart, and talented.  He wouldn’t make up a cockamamie story; that would be out of character. 

Jamie realizes he has to try to go back and get on the Titanic to get rid of the vampire and hopefully save the Titanic.  Sounds crazy, but there really is no other alternative.  What has he got to lose?  He is literally becoming a vampire.
Once there, he finds his nemeses, falls in love, and even trades watches with the captain.  This trade is important.  Near the end of the story, it’s the Captain watch that proves he was there, plus a locket that helps him find his long lost love. 

How? 

That’s the story for you to enjoy.  I won’t spoil it for you.  You will read this different historical novel with prophetic insight because you know what happened to the Titanic.  But you will enjoy it more because of the intimate personal stories played between the characters.  The Vampire adds the gripping horror that intermingles with the pressing time, the sinking ship, missing children,…  Oh! You’re just going to love this book.


I did receive a copy of A Matter of Time to review, but no monetary incentive was included.  This is my true opinion.  The following data will help you get a handle on everything.

The blog tour's official site is:
http://amatteroftimeblogtour.blogspot.com      

Michael J. Bowler's Web Site: 

http://www.michaeljbowler.com/

Michael J. Bowler's Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/michaeljbowlerauthor

Michael J. Bowler's Twitter:

https://twitter.com/BradleyWallaceM
 
Michael J. Bowler's Goodreads:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6938109.Michael_J_Bowler

Michael J. Bowler's Blog:
http://sirlancesays.wordpress.com/

Michael J. Bowler's Tumblr:
http://michaeljbowler.tumblr.com/

Michael J. Bowler's Pinterest:
http://www.pinterest.com/michaelbowler/pins/

Michael J. Bowler's Instagram:
http://instagram.com/stuntshark

A Matter of Time Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/14438165-a-matter-of-time?from_search=true&search_version=service

Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tribute-Books-Blog-Tours/242431245775186

A Matter of Time
 blog tour site:

http://amatteroftimeblogtour.blogspot.com

Michael J. Bowler's Bio:

Michael J. Bowler is an award-winning author of nine novels––A Boy and His Dragon, A Matter of Time (Silver Medalist from Reader’s Favorite), and The Knight Cycle, comprised of five books: Children of the Knight (Gold Award Winner – 2013 Wishing Shelf Book Awards; Reader Views Honorable mention; Runner-Up Rainbow Awards; Honorable Mention - Southern California Book Festival), Running Through A Dark Place (Bronze Award Winner – 2014 Wishing Shelf Book Awards), There Is No Fear (Finalist – 2015 Wishing Shelf Book Awards), And The Children Shall Lead, Once Upon A Time In America, Spinner (Winner - Hollywood Book Festival; Honorable Mention - San Francisco Book Festival; Bronze Medal from Readers’ Favorite; Literary Classics Seal of Approval; Runner-Up - Southern California Book Festival; Honorable Mention - Halloween Book Festival; Finalist – 2015 Wishing Shelf Book Awards), and Warrior Kids: A Tale of New Camelot(Honorable Mention in the London Book Festival and The New England Book Festival; Finalist – 2015 Wishing Shelf Book Awards.)

His horror screenplay, “Healer,” was a Semi-Finalist, and his urban fantasy script, “Like A Hero,” was a Finalist in the Shriekfest Film Festival and Screenplay Competition.

He grew up in San Rafael, California, and majored in English and Theatre at Santa Clara University. He went on to earn a master’s in film production from Loyola Marymount University, a teaching credential in English from LMU, and another master's in Special Education from Cal State University Dominguez Hills.

He partnered with two friends as a producer, writer, and/or director on several ultra-low-budget horror films, including “Fatal Images,” “Club Dead,” and “Things II.”

He taught high school in Hawthorne, California for twenty-five years, both in general education and to students with learning disabilities, in subjects ranging from English and Strength Training to Algebra, Biology, and Yearbook.

He has also been a volunteer Big Brother to eight different boys with the Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters program and a thirty-three volunteer within the juvenile justice system in Los Angeles.

He has been honored as Probation Volunteer of the Year, YMCA Volunteer of the Year, California Big Brother of the Year, and 2000 National Big Brother of the Year. The “National” honor allowed him and three of his Little Brothers to visit the White House and meet the president in the Oval Office.

He has finished writing a novel based on his screenplay, “Like A Hero,” and another book aimed at the teen market. He hopes to find a publisher or an agent for both.

His goal as an author is for teens to experience empowerment and hope; to see themselves in his diverse characters; to read about kids who face real-life challenges, and to see how kids like them can remain decent people in an indecent world. The most prevalent theme in his writing and his work with youth is this: as both a society, and as individuals, we’re better off when we do what’s right, rather than what’s easy.

 

Prices/Formats: $2.99 ebook, $12.95 paperback, $14.95-$21.83 Audible
Genre: 
Historical Fiction, Suspense
Pages: 
340
Release: 
March 2, 2012
Publisher: 
Outskirts Press
ISBN: 
9781432787110

Amazon buy link:
https://www.amazon.com/Matter-Time-Michael-Bowler-ebook/dp/B007GOAC9C?ie=UTF8&tag=tributebooks-20

Barnes and Noble buy link:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-matter-of-time-michael-bowler/1109296752?ean=9781432787110

iTunes buy link:
https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/audiobook/a-matter-of-time-unabridged/id1035392958?mt=3
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