Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Evangelization: Being Moved by What Christ Does

A Shepherd's Post: Evangelization: Being Moved by What Christ Does Evangelization is not advertising. Evangelization is encountering the power of God and bearing witness to the joy that comes from that encounter.

Mama Antula Beatified

Argentine laywoman who kept Ignatian spirituality alive beatified: VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The life of Blessed Maria Antonia de Paz Figueroa, who continued to lead Ignatian spiritual exercises in Argentina after the expulsion of the Jesuits, remains an example of Christian witness and perseverance.


This is Christian meditation.  I think most people think of Buddhist meditation when one speaks of
"meditation," but that's not my personal experience.  I've found Christian meditation beneficial chiefly because I'm confident I'm aligning myself to God's will, in addition to the physical and mental benefits of meditation.

It consists of at least two daily periods of meditation, while also reciting a prayer word.  My prayer word is Jesus.  The meditation leads me to want to do other types of prayer, i.e., rosary, Lectio Divina, novenas, extemporaneous prayer ejaculations, pious reading, etc.

Think of a bicycle wheel.  The two periods of meditation are the hub and the tire rim.  All the spokes are all the other types of prayers your wheel may spin to bring you into the realities of your life.

The meditation is silent.  Difficult? At first it is, but give yourself a couple of months of 10 to 15 minutes of quiet and soon you will look forward to it.  It settles me in the morning.  It's like that last nursing of the baby before sleep.  Ah-h-h, peace.

Internally, I continue to pray my prayer word, Jesus, all day.  The prayer word begins my silent times.  Sometimes I imagine internally saying that one prayer word my entire quiet time.  Don't judge the meditation by what happens during the meditation, rather judge the meditation by what gradually begins to happen in your life.  I bet you'll find yourself calmer and just more prepared to handle craziness.

All it takes is commitment.  The benefits are palpable.  Can you do it?

Sunday, August 28, 2016

No, Nay

Discernment required.  As for me, I say, "No."  In the first place, chalices are made of precious
metals, i.e., gold or silver.  This chalice is glass.  So I doubt a priest would use a glass chalice for Jesus' Precious Blood.  A priest would need special permission because it's not permitted.

In the second place,  isn't it awfully convenient that the host in question just happened to be in this GLASS chalice.

Thirdly, it's just too, too, too coincidental.

Besides I don't see the face of Jesus, do you?

Labor Day statement ties lack of good jobs to decline in family life

St. Botolph
Labor Day statement ties lack of good jobs to decline in family life: WASHINGTON (CNS) Is it me?  Isn't this a no brainer?

Bishop Carroll's Letter to John Hancock

Bishop Carroll's letter to John Hancock: A letter from Bishop John Carroll of Baltimore to Gov. John Hancock of Massachusetts, dated Aug. 28, 1791, is full of praise and thanks for Hancock, who hosted the bishop during his visit to Boston.  The Bishop was here to assess the situation of a pastor for Boston.  Believe it or not, a couple of priests were in contention over it.  Click on the link to read the details.
Holy Cross Cathedral, Boston

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Louisiana Floods called Worst U.S. Natural Disaster

Photographer: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Louisiana floods called worst U.S. natural disaster since Superstorm Sandy: BATON ROUGE, La. (CNS) -- The line of destruction caused by historic flooding in southern Louisiana stretches for 25 miles, and according to Red Cross officials.

"We are fortunate we have each other and that's a blessing. 

Rosary for Quake Victims

Pope leads 11,000 pilgrims praying rosary for quake victims: VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- After a strong earthquake struck central Italy and with the early news reporting many deaths and serious damage, Pope Francis turned his weekly general audience Aug. 24 into a prayer group.While the pope and some 11,000 pilgrims and tourists recited the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary in St. Peter's Square, six Vatican firefighters were on their way to the town of Amatrice, about 85 miles east of Rome, to help search for victims under the rubble. The pope sent six Vatican police officers to join them the next day.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

New Mexico's bishops reject governor's plan to reinstate death penalty

New Mexico's bishops reject governor's plan to reinstate death penalty: ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (CNS) -- The Catholic bishops of New Mexico in an Aug. 18 statement said they oppose Republican Gov. Susana Martinez's plan to reinstate the death penalty.  The New Mexico bishops' quoted the Catechism of the Catholic Church and St. John Paul II in saying that cases where it is "an absolute necessity" for the state to employ the death penalty to ensure the safety of the community "are very rare, if not practically nonexistent."

In Confession, Forgive Others

"All liturgy is a place where mercy is encountered and accepted in order to be given, the place where the great mystery of reconciliation is made present, proclaimed, celebrated and communicated," said the papal message, which was released by the Vatican Aug. 22.  Receive forgiveness in confession, learn to forgive others, pope says: VATICAN CITY (CNS) --

My Catholic Bucket List

10 Things To Do As A Catholic Before You're Dead by Mark Shea got me thinking.  Those things are Mark Shea's things, not mine.  I hate to travel.  I hate to drive.  I hate getting up off the couch.  Fortunately for me, nowadays, I don't have to; I've got TV and a computer and I know how to read (Thank You! Jesus!)

So here is my bucket list of things to do at home, on the couch.

(1)  Go on retreat.  Virtually.
(2)  Go to a shrine.  Virtually.                                                                            
(3)  Go to a Cathedral.  Virtually.
(4)  Go to a Basilica.  Virtually.
(5)  Go to Mass in Latin.  Virtually.
(6)  Go to Rome.  Virtually.
(7)  Go to the Holy Land.  Virtually
(8)  Watch Bishop Barron's Word on Fire.
(9)  Watch Catholic TV and/or listen to Catholic radio.
(10)  Get in the habit of praying a Daily Rosary.

More to do if you're more ambitious but you shouldn't have to leave your state.

(1)  Go to a Life in the Spirit Seminar.
(2)  Go to a Cursillo.
(3)  Do a stint in a soup kitchen.
(4)  Visit a sick friend.
(5)  Visit someone in prison.
(6)  Go to Confession
(7)  Get in the habit of going to Daily Mass.
(8)  Join a Scripture Sharing Group or Bible Study.
(9)  Go to Talks.
(10)  Go to the library, which you can order from the couch, but you have to go out to go get the books.

Whatever you do, pray for me.

Monday, August 22, 2016

First Confession LOL

LOL is internet slang for Laughing Out Loud or Lots of Laughs--either way, you get the idea. Well I LOL reading a short story of Frank O'Connor's, called First Confession.  I am working on points of view in writing.  First Confession is an excellent example of first person point of view.

The story is told through the narration of a little boy making his first confession.  He has a grandmother, whom he doesn't like and a sister who doesn't like him.  Listen to this video and enjoy.  Frank O'Connor is a master story teller.  

Friday, August 19, 2016


Aleteia has a poll about staying civil in this election time.  Take it by click here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Mystagogy of Mercy in the Mass

The Mystagogy of Mercy in the Mass: As we continue to examine, throughout this Jubilee of Mercy, God's call to recognize our need for, receive, be transformed by and share the extraordinary gift of God's merciful love, it's key to turn to the best prayer there is, the Mass.

A Happy Death

A Happy Death: In the Roman Catholic culture within which I grew up, we were taught to pray for a happy death. For many Catholics at the time, this was a standard petition within their daily prayer:  What's a happy death to you?

To me it's the confidence that I'm going to God.  Can't wait!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Lectio Divina for Matt. 19: 23-30

Jesus said to his disciples: “Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For men this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” Then Peter said to him in reply, “We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you that you who have followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”  (Mt 19:23-30)
In the beginning of this discourse, Matt. 19: 16-23, speaks of the rich man who departs from Jesus because of his attachment to his worldly goods. Remember that Jesus is speaking to his poor disciples, who needed to be reconciled to their position in life. They should be content that they don’t have the temptations of those born into wealth and prominent social positions. Note the word, Amen. The following admonishment is important: “Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven.” And in case you missed it—it’s repeated Again! “ Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”

Did you take note? The way to heaven is the narrow road with the small gate that the poor can walk through, but not the prosperous man with a camel burdened with goods, especially if that prosperous man refuses to get off his camel and get rid of some of his goods. He can’t walk through the gate heavily laden with so much unnecessary wealth.

Rich people have great temptations to resist. Many demands turn them away from opportunities to help others. It takes the grace of God for a rich man to enter the gate.

The Apostles were surprised at Jesus’ assessment of the rich. They asked “Who then can be saved?” Jesus’ reply was to tell them that only with God, can people be saved. Mankind can’t save the soul, neither in itself, nor in any one else, but with God all things are possible.

Peter then asks about the apostles’ salvation, after all, they have nothing because they left everything behind to follow Jesus. If you think about this you will come to see that they couldn’t have left everything, after all, they had families to provide for. They had renounced all. Nowhere does it say that the apostles gave everything they had to the poor, or sold their goods and gave to the poor. They walked away in renouncing everything to honor and serve Jesus. They trusted Him.

Jesus in response tells them that they will sit on twelve thrones, when He comes, again. They will join Jesus. In fact, all who sacrifice for Jesus will be rewarded. Don’t be surprised to see the rich man last, and the poor man, first.

When my three children were young, I would sometimes hear this refrain:

First is worst. Second is best. Third wins the treasure chest!

Needless to say, the first child did not compose this verse. However, it brings to mind that human desire to be the first, to be the best, and/or win a treasure chest. According to Thomas Aquinas, God created us this way, i.e., to always search for happiness. We find satisfaction in our search, only in God. God is the treasure chest. Only in God is perfect happiness. What happiness we have on earth is imperfect, compared to what God has to offer.

It is impossible for any created good to constitute man’s happiness. For happiness is that perfect good which entirely satisfies one’s desire; otherwise it would not be the ultimate end, if something yet remained to be desired. Now the object of the will, i.e., of man’s desire, is what is universally good; just as the object of the intellect is what is universally true. Hence it is evident that nothing can satisfy man’s will, except what is universally good. This is to be found, not in any creature, but in God alone, because every creature has only participated goodness. Therefore, God alone can satisfy the will of man, according to the words of the Psalms (102:5): “Who alone satisfies your desire with good things.” Therefore, God alone constitutes man’s happiness.” (Summa Theologica Part 2. Q.1. Article 8)

Don’t waste any time worrying that you don’t have the best of any material wealth, or achievement. “You can’t take it with you”, anyway. Be satisfied that our good God provides you with what you need. Trust the Father, as the apostles trusted Jesus.
My Beloved, I know that you love me. Your suffering and death proved Your love. The Eucharist is proof of your everlasting care over us. Help me never to doubt your care and love. May I receive the grace of perseverance and fortitude. I desire to be with You, always.
Many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.  As long as I am with You, my Love.

Do Your Best, God does the Rest

photo from Aleteia
Paige McPherson, 25-year-old Taekwondo phenom  she says it’s God’s presence in her life that firmly cements her strength and success. “I’ve put in the work; I’ve done what I’m supposed to do. I’m learning, though, that there are certain things I just can’t control, and that’s when I give it up to Him.”  She's competing in the Olympics and tells the story of how she came to be there.  It's God's will.  She does her part, and depends on God for the rest.  Read about her faith and journey on Aleteia.  

Monday, August 15, 2016

2016 Election Marked by Coarseness, Incivility

Picture from this Pilot article
Are you as turned off as I am, about the 2016 election marked by passionate electorate, coarseness, incivility: WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CNS)?  The Pilot talks about crude behavior from people we're supposed to elect as our president.

Pre-Cana Needs An Upgrade

U.S. Catholic had an article about pre-cana classes, Pre-Cana needs an Upgrade by Annarose F. Steinke.  Yes, definitely!  Most couples know more than the facilitators, especially if they're older than the leaders, or have been cohabiting longer than their teachers have been married.  Read the article for yourself.

Parish Welcome Wagon

All Catholics are responsible for building a community within our church. Parish coffee hour is the ideal place to start.  U.S. Catholic had an article by Molly Jo Rose about the value of coffee hour after Mass.  She's an advocate and she gives many good points. 
 However, being an old grouch, I would never go.  Well, maybe I would if I had a young family and the kids wanted to go, but I don't think we'd have had time.  Sundays we went to grandma's for breakfast and everyone enjoyed that and would have hated to miss it. 
 But if that weren't the case?  Nah!  
They'd probably be hockey practice, or some other sport to go to.  IOW, Sundays were always family fun times.  
I think post Mass coffee hour works in Protestant Churches because they only have one or two services on Sundays.  We have Masses Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings.  We don't usually go to the same Mass, every Sunday, because one of the kids was an acolyte and we went to the Mass she was assigned to. 
 BTW, that's the best way to get to know your parish.  Join choir, CYO basketball or other kids' sports, teach faith formation, prayer shawl, St. Vincent de Paul or Holy Name, etc.  The parish doesn't have anything for you?  Good, they need you.  You start something.  
In fact, start a parish welcome wagon.  When someone new registers in the parish, give them a call and see if you can come over to their home and welcome them to the parish and talk about their new faith community.  Bring little samples from local businesses and pamphlets, school information, doctors, hospitals, etc.  
Much better than  donuts.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Lay Dominican Fun

Our Lady of Mercy Chapter of Lay Dominicans roasted our chapter president, today.  We played a quiz type game of "How Well Does Our President Know His Chapter?"

Drawing by MEK

Each person in our chapter filled out a 20 question paper, as did the president, Peter.  Then we took the chapter's answers and collated them.  Peter's answers should have corresponded with the majority of the chapter's.  They didn't.  He flunked.  So at the end, we all crumpled up our papers and threw that at him, like we were stoning him.

Some questions were serious: Out of the four Dominican pillars, which is the chapter's strongest?
                                                 Out of the four Dominican pillars, which is our weakest?
                                                 What is the Dominican Study Group reading?

Some questions were silly:  Who has the best singing voice?
                                              Who is the grouchiest in the chapter?
                                              Who makes the worst coffee?

Most were just OK:  Who has been in the chapter the longest?
                                  Who doesn't know the Salve Regina?
                                   Who is in charge of our prayer intentions book?

But in the end, we all had a good time, especially, the president, Peter.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

When a Franciscan is Invited to the Dominicans

It is a tradition that on the Feast of Saint Dominic, a Franciscan is invited to preach, and visa versa.  This is what happened at Pius V, Providence Rhode Island.  The Franciscan who preached was none other than my Cardinal Archbishop Sean O'Malley.  Here is what he wrote in his blog.

In the Franciscan order, we have a tradition that on the Feast of St. Francis we invite a Dominican to come and preach and preside. In turn, the Dominicans, on the feast of St. Dominic, always invite a Franciscan.
So, this year I was invited to celebrate the Mass and preach for the Feast of St. Dominic at St. Pius V Parish in Providence, Rhode Island. This is also the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Dominican order. So this celebration of St. Dominic’s day had a particular significance this year.
The parish is right across the street from Providence College, and is named for Pope Pius V who was a Dominican. Pope Pius was pope in a very tumultuous time in the Church. He is actually the pope who ended up excommunicating Queen Elizabeth I of England. He was also the pope who helped resist the invasion of Europe by the Turks. He called for a novena of the rosary before the Battle of Lepanto and out of that comes the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary that we celebrate in October.
As I mentioned in my homily, della Robbia, Fra Angelico, Dante and so many writers and artists speak about these meetings between St. Dominic and St. Francis.

I was very honored to be part of the celebration and happy to continue a tradition that goes back to the special friendship that existed between St. Dominic and St. Francis.

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Apostolic Penitentiary

Unlocking forgiveness: Vatican tribunal promotes pardon: VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Apostolic Penitentiary has nothing to do with a jail cell and everything to do with ensuring repentant sinners experience God's mercy. Click on the link for more.

Muslim-on-Muslim Violence

Muslim-on-Muslim violence highlighted in new State Department report: WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The report said: "Societal passions associated with blasphemy -- deadly enough in and of themselves -- are abetted by a legal code that harshly penalizes blasphemy and apostasy. Such laws conflict with and undermine universally recognized human rights.  Please read the entire article.
While in past years the wave of Muslim violence against Christians has been prominent in the U.S. State Department's annual report on international religious freedom, now it is against Muslims, also.  

People Need to Be Close to their Pastor

WYD 2016: Source of Hope: When Bishop Barron arrived in Kraków for the 2016 World Youth Day, he was pretty exhausted, having left Los Angeles some fifteen hours earlier and having had to change planes in Munich. But he was excited to meet the very same group of people, (in the photo) that Pope John Paul II had ministered to--as a parish priest--as a pastor--as a bishop--as an archbishop--as a cardinal-- and YES, even as a pope.  He still kept in touch with them and met with them consistently, yearly, until he died.  Read the article, click on the link.

Personally, I don't know a single parish priest that comes close.  Although, I do know some religious order priests that keep in touch with their friends, like JPII.  Why?

Once, when I was in the abbey, alone in prayer, I was asking God for inspiration.  I needed a speaker for a women's club.  I listened for an answer.  I heard the door open.  I looked up and saw my favorite parish priest walk in.  THANK YOU JESUS!

We smiled at each other and I approached him and told him that I was praying for a speaker and he walked in--the answer to my prayers.  He was in my parish last year and was transferred, so I knew everyone would enjoy seeing him again.  He sadly told me it was against the rules to associate with former parishioners.

??????  I'm not sure that's exactly true, but have you ever heard anything so wrongheaded?  Thank God for priests like Karol Wojtyla.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Novena for Our Nation

I wholeheartedly endorse the Novena for Our Nation (Starting August 15) and the Rosary Rally on October 7th next, the 445th anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto. I urge as many as are able to participate in these great spiritual works for the sake of our entire nation. In a special way, as the spiritual advisor to the Holy League, I urge everyone to give strong leadership in this great campaign of prayer for our nation.  For more information follow the day by day prayers, here.

Church of the Imperial Autonomous Self

The Washington Post and the Church of Me: My (George Weigel) local paper, the Washington Post, is best read for its sports and op-ed pages and its often-sensible editorials on foreign policy. Alas, the Post editorial board's IQ drops...
George Weigel explains that the Washington Post, US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and Frank Sinatra--all pontificate their selfish, self-absorbed whims as "freedom" and even "rights" and worse--they dismiss everything else as wrongheaded.  And he's sick of it.  Click on the link.

High Court in Ireland Rules an Unborn Baby Has a Right to Life

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Bloody Sunday Bishop Died

Irish bishop of Bloody Sunday fame remembered for his peaceful witness: Derry, Northern Ireland, Aug 8, 2016 CNA/EWTN News.- Bishop Daly died in the hospital Monday morning, Bishop Emeritus Edward Daly of Derry's ministry advocating for peace during the Troubles of Northern Ireland.  Please click on the link to read how Bishop Daly ministered to the wounded in spirit and body.  He is famous for waving a white flag--a blooded white flag -- to bring the wounded to be ministered.

Necklace Rosaries

Aleteia this morning had an article by my favorite Kat.  That's Katrina Fernandez.  Her article is about a young girl who wears an heirloom rosary as a piece of jewelry.  Rosaries are sacred to Catholics, so understandably, this drives them nuts.  Kat advises us to cool it.  Rather than freak out, she suggests (very sensibly) to use it as an evangelization tool.

Carry pamphlets explaining how to pray the rosary.  Now when you meet someone wearing a rosary, ask them if they pray it.  If the response is in the negative, then express the idea that wearing something you don't understand is a pity.  Give them a pamphlet and say, "Read this and you'll appreciate what you're wearing and advertising and you'll be able to explain what it means. May God bless you with introducing His Mother Mary to you."

Monday, August 8, 2016

I have met hope ... in person

I have met hope ... in person: In July I traveled to Serbia, Greece and Lebanon to review the refugee situation now that the borders to Northern Europe are closed. While the flow of people has diminished, it has not ceased. Migration is now largely dependent on traffickers who charge individuals 4,000 to 6,000 euros to facilitate illegal crossings..Please read the rest of the story.  Follow the link.

Impoverished without Contemplation

Impoverished without Contemplation: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in one of his Gulag books tells of how he and other prisoners were kept in buildings without any windows, yet each day, when they were being marched from one prison bloc to another they slowly gazed at the sliver of light from outside...

I hear similar stories all the time from my "cloistered brothers," as they are transported to doctors or the hospital.  They hungrily soak in the views from the windows as they rush by, all too fast.

Read the article; it'll will inspire you to be grateful.

In Odium Fidei

Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney, Australia, a Dominican, said that Pere Jacques Hamel died in "hatred of the faith."  The Latin term is "in odium fidei."  IOW, he died a martyr for his faith.  Read more in this article from the Catholic Herald.

Orwell's Pro-Life Stance

Much to my surprise, I came across George Orwell's epiphany on capital punishment.  I was reading his essay, A Hanging, where he was describing a prisoner walking to the gallows.  The setting is a prison camp in India.  Orwell is an English policeman.  At this time in history, India is a colony of England.  This story really isn't much of a political treatise, but rather an opinion on  capital punishment.

The condemned man doesn't resist.  I noticed how human, Orwell depicts him.  He never calls him inmate, convict, criminal, in fact we don't know what capital crime he committed to deserve the ultimate punishment.  He is named a man, or a Hindu.  He had a dog who loved him very much because the dog goes crazy when he sees him.  But it isn't that fact, that brings about Orwell's epiphany.  (But Orwell knows the reader will start to see a human being.)  Orwell describes the event.

It was about forty yards to the gallows.  I watched the bare brown back of the prisoner marching in front of me.  He walked clumsily with his bound arms, but quite steadily, with that bobbing gait of the Indian who never straightens his knees.  At each step his muscles slid neatly into place, the lock of hair on his scalp danced up and down, his feet printed themselves on the wet gravel.  And once, in spite of the men who gripped him by each shoulder, he stepped lightly aside to avoid a puddle on the path.
       It is curious; but until that moment I had never realized what it means to destroy a healthy, conscious man.  When I saw the prisoner step aside to avoid the puddle I saw the mystery, the unspeakable wrongness, of cutting a life short when it is in full tide.  This man was not dying, he was alive just as we are alive....

And Orwell goes on the describe the humanness of the man.  I can easily imagine what Orwell would say about abortion.  I watched the embryo.  The tiny heart that rhythmically pulsed a beat to a miraculous dance of eyes and limbs leading to a crescendo of a real human being.  It is curious; but until that moment I had never realized what it means to destroy a healthy, potential human person.  When I saw the baby move away from the instrument of death, I saw the unspeakable wrongness, of cutting a life short when it has just begun.  This human being is not a tissue blob, he is alive just as we are alive...

Yes, it is unspeakable wrongness.  Who do we think we are to decide birth, death--life?  

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Stormy Seas

Having seen and appreciated the Tall Ships, during our country’s bicentennial, I appreciated the locale of A Black Sail, by Rich Zahradnik.  The back and forth between the ships and the city arced the story from mob to tong and city to harbor.  The major protagonist, Coleridge Taylor is not only jumping and ducking locales, but the bad guys, too.  Taylor is an investigative reporter who isn’t assigned to investigate the murder of the poor woman who was dragged up from the harbor, but he wants to—needs to—is called to.  His assignment is to report on the Tall Ships and the ceremonies involved in New York Harbor, for the Bicentennial in 1976. 

Our story begins with Taylor cruising the harbor to report on the Tall Ships, when he sees the police pull up a dead woman from the water, with bags of drugs attached to her.  Taylor’s boss wants him to just write on the goings on for the Bicentennial.  You might as well ask the sun not to shine.  Taylor works on his Bicentennial assignment in between following leads to find who was murdered and why.
The victim was Bridget Collucci.  Attached to her body was heroin (China white).  Stamped on the bags were Chinese junks with black sails. Was this a message from the tong to the mob about whom controls the drug trade?

Bridget Collucci was indirectly connected to the mob.  She was a daughter of someone connected.  Her husband was a lawyer whose career was indirectly involved with the mob.  Taylor scribbles off some fluff on the Tall Ships for his boss, but then interviews Bridget’s husband.  He’s upset, naturally, but Taylor wonders why someone who works for the mob calls the police when his wife is missing.  While interviewing the husband, Bridget’s father- a small-time mobster, blusters in the house and wants to know what’s going on.  These mob types seem clueless but are still very threatening.  They seem not to know what’s happening, either.

Taylor figures he’ll follow the drugs.  He ends up in a drug den and tries to rescue a girl.  Up until the introduction of this druggy, Mary, I couldn’t figure Taylor out.  I’ve never read a Taylor mystery before and thought Taylor kind of a lame hero.  He got sea sick.  He couldn’t shoot straight and near the end of the book he considers not carrying a gun at all because it was of no use to him.  He had a job he hated because he lost a good job before and was sliding downwards. He had to fall back on his grandfather for financial support, and if it weren’t for his very competent girlfriend, Samantha, Taylor would be dead a zillion times.  But when Taylor tried to help Mary, I could see what type of hero he was—my type.  His priorities were people first—helping them.  Money was last, next to he, himself.  He was a nice guy and that’s not an oxymoron when it describes Taylor.

In rescuing Mary, Taylor runs into the tong.  They’re scary! But not as scary as Nick Lucco.  Lucco is Carl Carlucci’s body guard.  The FBI is also involved.  Of course the local police are in on the action, too.  And guess who is in the middle and told to butt out, by all of them.  Taylor managers to straightened out this knot of gangsters and also eek out enough information to keep his news job. 

The real news is the final story.  The bad guy isn’t who you will think it is.  And Taylor manages to satisfy his boss, if not his own personal conscience.  He has one regret and I’m not spoiling the story for you.  Taylor relates the story and the plot doesn’t give you a break.  The reader races to keep up.  I enjoyed it and will be looking for the other two Coleridge Taylor mysteries.  Even though the book was free in exchange for my review, I wasn’t pressured to write a good review.  I don’t know if my review is good, but A Black Sail by Rich Zahradnik is a good mystery.

The blog tour's official site is:

Rich Zahradnik's Web Site:

Rich Zahradnik's Facebook:

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Rich Zahradnik's Goodreads:

Rich Zahradnik's Blog:

A Black Sail Goodreads:

Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook:

A Black Sail
 blog tour site:

Rich Zahradnik's Bio:

Rich Zahradnik is the award-winning author of the critically acclaimed Coleridge Taylor Mystery series (A Black Sail, Drop Dead Punk, Last Words).

The second installment, Drop Dead Punk, won the gold medal for mystery/thriller ebook in the 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPYs). It was also named a finalist in the mystery category of the 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Last Words won the bronze medal for mystery/thriller ebook in the 2015 IPPYs and honorable mention for mystery in the 2015 Foreword Reviews IndieFab Book of the Year Awards.

"Taylor, who lives for the big story, makes an appealingly single-minded hero," Publishers Weekly wrote of Drop Dead Punk.

Zahradnik was a journalist for 30-plus years, working as a reporter and editor in all major news media, including online, newspaper, broadcast, magazine and wire services. He held editorial positions at CNN, Bloomberg News, Fox Business Network, AOL and The Hollywood Reporter.

In January 2012, he was one of 20 writers selected for the inaugural class of the Crime Fiction Academy, a first-of-its-kind program run by New York's Center for Fiction.

Zahradnik was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1960 and received his B.A. in journalism and political science from George Washington University. He lives with his wife Sheri and son Patrick in Pelham, New York, where writes fiction and teaches kids how to publish newspapers.
A Black Sail Book Summary:
On the eve of the U.S. Bicentennial, newsman Coleridge Taylor is covering Operation Sail. New York Harbor is teeming with tall ships from all over the world. While enjoying the spectacle, Taylor is still a police reporter. He wants to cover real stories, not fluff, and gritty New York City still has plenty of those in July of 1976. One surfaces right in front of him when a housewife is fished out of the harbor wearing bricks of heroin, inferior stuff users have been rejecting for China White, peddled by the Chinatown gangs.

Convinced he’s stumbled upon a drug war between the Italian Mafia and a Chinese tong, Taylor is on fire once more. But as he blazes forward, flanked by his new girlfriend, ex-cop Samantha Callahan, his precious story grows ever more twisted and deadly. In his reckless search for the truth, he rattles New York’s major drug cartels. If he solves the mystery, he may end up like his victim—in a watery grave.

Prices/Formats: $4.95 ebook, $15.95 paperback
Historical, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
October 1, 2016
Camel Press

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Saturday, August 6, 2016

At Rio's Christ the Redeemer statue, cardinal blesses Olympic torch

At Rio's Christ the Redeemer statue, cardinal blesses Olympic torch: RIO DE JANEIRO (CNS) -- High above the city, beneath the statue of Christ the Redeemer, Rio Cardinal Orani Tempesta blessed the Olympic torch, held by Brazil's former Olympic volleyball player, Maria Isabel Barroso Salgado.  Don't you just love the camera views with the statue reflecting above the games?

Support St. John's Seminary

Next time you're buying something on Amazon, you can simultaneously be giving to St. John's Seminary in Brighton, MA.   Online shopping helps fundraise for local parishes and schools: BRAINTREE -- When you think about giving money to your local parish or Catholic school, the Catholic Appeal or the offertory at Sunday Mass probably comes to mind.But here's another way.  Once you register for the AmazonSmile Foundation, they will donate .5% of that item's cost to St. John's Seminary, or another charitable organization--at no additional cost to you.

Friday, August 5, 2016

A tale of two Catholic candidates -- looking at the 2016 vice president picks

A tale of two Catholic candidates -- looking at the 2016 vice president picks: Washington D.C., Aug 4, 2016 CNA.- Although both major 2016 vice presidential nominees were raised Catholic and still profess to be Christians, their public policy records have drawn concern from some.

Just remember, whoever is elected president, it is for four years, but Jesus Christ is King, forever.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

10 Priests to Pray For

Good Idea!    10 Priests to Pray For: August 4th marks the feast day of St. John Vianney, the saintly priest of Ars, and patron saint of parish priests.  This day affords us the opportunity to pause and pray for our priests.  Here are ten priests from your life you should pray for.

and prayers especially for Father Gordon MacRae.

The Priest's Seal of Confession Rights

Louisiana court upholds priest's 'seal of confession' rights: Baton Rouge, La., Aug 4, 2016 CNA/EWTN News.- A state appeals court in Louisiana reaffirmed that Catholic priests cannot be forced by law to violate the seal of the confessional.  The role of the confessor is strictly confidential.  He can not tell anyone what was said in confession.  He can not tell anything, any time, any where.  The confessor can be put in jail; he still will not tell.

Blessed Romero an example of faith for youths, Panama bishops say

Blessed Oscar Romero was assassinated in 1980 while celebrating Mass in the chapel of a local hospital, one day after calling on the government to end its violation of human rights against the population. Pope Francis recognized his martyrdom; he was beatified May 23.Blessed Romero an example of faith for youths, Panama bishops say: VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- For the young people who will attend World Youth Day 2019 in Panama, the life and martyrdom of Blessed Oscar Romero is a shining example of Christian faith in the midst of struggle and is the perfect patron for World Youth Day in Panama in 2019.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


Wednesday is my day of fasting in reparation for a culture of violence.

Day of Fasting and Prayer in Reparation for a Culture of Violence 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

My First Giveaway

Digital Missionary: How to Evangelize in the Digital World hooked me.  I thought it was so useful, that I'm tempted, giving it to the first eight people who click:    https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/80d39695e22aae35
  I've never done a "giveaway" before, so if the link doesn't do what it's supposed to do, email me or tell me in the comments.  I'll fix it.
  BTW, this giveaway ends on the Feast of St. Dominic.  This beloved saint gave away his books, so I'm only emulating my holy father.
  Good luck and hope you will be blessed.

Blessing Yourself Before Swimming

Back in the day, we all did it.  At least, all Catholics did this.  Before entering the water, not bath, but pools, lakes, ponds, and the ocean, we bent down to dip our fingers in the water and blessed ourselves--in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  A prayer to the Trinity to unite ourselves to God and protection from harm (drowning).  So I was not surprised that Katie Ledecky prays.  She's not being overly devotional, just smart.

World record-holder swimmer still says 'a prayer -- or two -- before any race': WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Four years ago, at age 15, swimmer Katie Ledecky won Olympic gold in the women's 800-meter freestyle. Since then Ledecky, who attended Catholic schools in Bethesda, Maryland, has

Je Suis Prêtre

Slain French priest was attack on 'all of us,' imam said: WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Father Jacques Hamel's gruesome murder in northern France July 26 -- by men claiming allegiance to the Islamic State -- prompted sorrow and outrage from Muslim leaders around the world.  In fact, many French Muslims went to the funeral Mass of Pere Jacques Hamel, who was martyred by terrorists, in the name of their religion, in protest to the terrorists' false interpretation of Islam.  Also, these imams refused to bury the terrorists.  They cut off all association with the terrorists' twisting of their Islamic religion.

It is good to see something visibly noticeable, as a response to terrorists claiming to be Islamic.  We are descendants of Abraham.

Monday, August 1, 2016

It's not right to equate Islam with violence, pope says

It's not right to equate Islam with violence, pope says: ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM KRAKOW, Poland (CNS) -- An economy that focuses on the God of money, not human beings, is the foundation of terrorism, Pope Francis said.

Speaking to journalists aboard

The Third Death

Today as I was praying and walking through the cemetery , I came across a gravestone that I couldn't see due to the overgrown bush ...