Sacred Music Friday: We Gather Together

A grand performance from  St. John’s Catholic Church in downtown St. Louis, complete with organ and trumpet.

Here’s a much more modest, but certainly sincere rendition from the Academy at the Lakes school choir. I love seeing the young woman in the front row wearing the traditional Muslim garb and a head covering.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving blessings to your and yours.

Come Ye Thankful People Come

From a British congregation. Have a great Thanksgiving!

stardust, the milky way, and dung beetles

Most of us are aware that the atoms that compose human beings are the same as the ones found in stars, and that in fact most of those atoms were created in stars. And you may have seen a science news note earlier this year describing how dung beetles can navigate using the Milky Way. It’s an amazing universe.

This New York Times article published last August reflects on that idea:
Stars, Gold, Dung Beetles and Us


reaching across boundaries

Another marvelous quote courtesy of Fran, this from Joan Chittister:

quoteMonastic spirituality says that we are to honor one another. We are to listen to one another. We are to reach across boundaries and differences in this fragmented world and see in our differences distinctions of great merit that can mend a competitive, uncaring, and foolish world.

Secular Music Friday: Abraham, Martin, & John

Performed by Dion, who originally made this song a hit, on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Tom and Dick do the introduction completely straight. Take a deep breath and have a box of Kleenex nearby.

November 22

There is something synchronistic in the fact that tomorrow, the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, occurs on the same day of the week that the actual event occurred. It was a Friday.

CBSNewsbulletinI was in the fifth grade at Hemet Elementary in Mrs. Peyton’s class. We were all sitting there working on what subject I don’t remember when the principal, Mr. Elliott, came in and said, “There’s something on television I think you need to see.” Mrs. Peyton asked, “Channel 13?” Channel 13 being the Los Angeles independent station that in those days carried educational programming during the day, and on which we had our Spanish lessons. Mr. Elliot replied, “Two, four or seven,” the CBS, NBC, and ABC affiliate stations. Mrs. Peyton turned the TV on Channel 2. The screen showed the static CBS news bulletin slide and we heard Walter Cronkite’s voice telling us that something had happened somewhere. It took a couple of minutes for us to figure out what had happened.

November 22 is my Dad’s birthday. (Happy birthday, Dad!) He and my mother had plans to go into San Bernardino to see a play. They went as scheduled, and my brother and I spent the night at my grandparents as planned. As expected, the performance was cancelled and the box office was handing out refunds. But my parents let us stay with Grandma and Grandpa as planned (one of our favorite things to do), and we learned about that in the morning.

After the period of mourning, the lying in state of the body, the procession with the riderless horse, and the funeral mass we eventually returned to some semblance of normal. Shortly after that, the questions started coming. Did Lee Harvey Oswald act alone? Was there a conspiracy? If so, who was responsible? The mob? Disaffected Cubans? The Soviets? Did Oswald have the marksmanship skills to hit both the president and Governor Connally? Was there a gunman on the grassy knoll? Those questions persist today.

One popular book recently published presents the thesis that there were a lot of things that made people believe there was a conspiracy. The killing of Lee Harvey Oswald. The destruction of the president’s medical records. Mistakes made in the Warren Commission investigation and in who was allowed to be interviewed. Yet the author maintains there probably was no conspiracy.

We will never know. Questions will remain unanswered. And for those of us who remember that tragic day there will never be full closure.


Pope Francis and Molly Ivins

What do Pope Frances and Molly Ivins have in common? They both are committed to the ongoing fight for social justice.

Pope Francis:
quoteThe fight against evil is long and difficult. It is essential to pray constantly and to be patient.
Moly Ivins:
quoteWe have to have fun while trying to stave off the forces of darkness because we hardly ever win, so it’s the only fun we get to have.

our Rocca’s routine

I haven’t written about our local Rocca’s Market for some months, but Rocca’s has become part of our weekly routine. Each member of the senior staff, Tom, who runs the meat department, Dan Rocca, who manages groceries and wine, Dan K, the sausage guy who often works the meat department, and Mike “Poppy,” our long-time seafood guy, knows who we are. Dan K and Tom call me by name.

Terry and I both enjoy going there. I won’t say we fight over who gets to go, but it’s much more of an “I can go,” and almost never a “Why don’t you go,” unless there is a specific reason. For example, last week Terry was coming back from an appointment up in Mountain View,  meaning it was on her way, and she needed to select a steak for herself for our surf ‘n turf  Saturday dinner. That means Terry has a steak and I have halibut. When she got back, I asked her as I always do who was working the meat counter. She told me it was Mike, but I really didn’t need to ask. Simply looking at the meat wrappers gave me the answer. Tom and both Dans do a  good job of being descriptive when they mark the wrappers. Mike not so much. For example, if we buy both country breakfast sausage and a pair of hot Italian sausages for spaghetti, he will mark both packages “SAUS.” Right. Thanks. But we love Mike anyway.

We rarely buy our meats and seafood anyplace other than Rocca’s now, and after that nasty Foster Farm’s salmonella scare, we are even happier to be buying the free-range chicken that Rocca’s sells. We ordered our organic Thanksgiving turkey in late October and will pick it up on Tuesday. Last time I went in to Rocca’s I asked Mike for some of that aforementioned country sausage. He said, “I think we’re out. No, wait, I guess he [Tom, probably] made some while I was out to lunch.” At what supermarket would you hear that?

Those are my Rocca’s thoughts. That and $3.40 will get you a personal grande decaf cappuccino, dry.

moving around one center

This is from my friend Fran. It’s been sitting in my file for many months, but I looked at it differently the last time I read it:

quote My ideas area always changing, always moving around one center, and I am always seeing that center from somewhere else. Hence I will always be accused of inconsistency, but I will not be there to hear the accusation.
— Thomas Merton, A Vow of Conversation, 1964

I love the idea of always seeing the same center, but from a different place. It makes me much more comfortable with the fact that my ideas and beliefs continue to evolve.