A bishop, a blogger, a Tweeter, a FaceBooker, a preacher and a Patriots fan!

The bishop above with the familiar logo as a backdrop is Christopher Coyne, once a pastor in the Archdiocese of Boston, then an auxiliary bishop in Indianapolis and as of this week, the Bishop of the Diocese of Burlington Vermont.  Bishop Coyne is also the chair-elect of the United States Bishops Conference Committee on Communications.  He's certainly deserving of that post as he is a blogger (always linked on my sidebar), a presence on Twitter (@BishopCoyne) and a regular poster on FaceBook.  As you'll hear in the video below, his talents extend to one of the oldest forms of communication: preaching the gospel!  The text of the homily can be found here, thanks to Rocco.

Welcome back to New England, Bishop Coyne!


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Pause for Prayer: SATURDAY 1/31

Suppose the Lord were waiting in the next room:
   waiting to spend some time with you,
      waiting to listen to you, 

         waiting to speak with you...
            waiting to be with you... 
               waiting for you... 

Well, he's not waiting in the next room:
   he's much closer than that:
      he's already with you, 
         waiting for you in your heart...

You don't have to move an inch
   to spend time with him, 
      to speak to him,
         to listen for his word of peace...
            to be with him...

Lord, slow me down, close my eyes

   and open my heart 
      to your presence within me, now...

You're here by my side, 
   waiting to spend time with me,
      waiting to listen to me,

         waiting to speak your word of peace:
            you are with me and waiting for me, now...

Be with me, Lord, and hear my prayer:

   right here, right now,
      in my heart of hearts...


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Pause for Prayer: FRIDAY 1/30

Mid Summer Night's Gathering by Laurie Pace

 Folks will cross my path today
   and ask for my time,
   seek my company,
   lean on my shoulder,

   tell me their story,
   reach for my help,
   reveal their grief,

   share their joy,
   request my prayer,
   look for a smile,
   shed a tear,
   and need a friend...

May I be there for them, Lord,
   as you're always there for me...


I'll meet folks today who'll 
  give me their time,
  walk by my side,
  lift me up,
  hear me out,
  lend me a hand,
  bear my grief,
  share my joy,
  promise their prayer,
  smile upon me,
  dry my tears,
  and be my friend...

Open me up to their love, Lord,
   as I open my heart to yours...


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Pause for Prayer: THURSDAY 1/29

Forgive us, Lord,
for letting snowfall rule our lives
even when it measures
not by inches but in feet... 

Forgive us, Lord,
for stocking up on comfort food
when all year 'round
so many perish, hungry...

Forgive us, Lord,
for griping 'bout the cold
when we have warmth to spare
and others, none at all...

Forgive us our obsessing
over troubles small and passing
when neighbors 'round the world
engage the struggle to survive...

Forgive us, Lord,
for worries over footballs
when greater crises everywhere
compete for our attention...

Forgive us our forgetting
names of places torn by war,
where danger and where terror
threaten life each night and day...

Remind us, Lord,
of those who truly suffer
pain and want unending,
those who cry to us in need...

Give us some perspective, Lord,
to see how blessed we are,
how much we have to give
and all we have to share...

Keep us from believing
that our troubles are much worse
than the trials of so many:
O Lord, how blest we are!

Make us grateful, Lord,
and let us never take for granted
what we have in good supply,
the bounty that is ours...

Make us generous, Lord,
freely giving 'til we feel it,
'til we feel the want ourselves
'til we know we've served you well...



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Word for the Weekend: February 1

Time to take a look at the Word of the Lord for the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time.  The scriptures for this Sunday's liturgy along with some background on them can be found right here.  Will you be taking children to Mass with you?  Take a look here to help them prepare to hear the readings.

The first scripture for this Sunday is from Deuteronomy and finds the Israelites begging Moses for a prophet and the Lord responding favorably. There's a stern warning for the prophet, however, lest the prophet speak in the Lord's name anything the Lord had not given him to speak.  This becomes background for Sunday's gospel where Jesus, hailed as a prophet, exorcises a man with an unclean spirit.

In the day's second scripture, St. Paul writes the Corinthians that he wants them to be free from anxieties.  Who wouldn't want to be free from anxieties?  Paul addresses some anxieties shared by spouses.  What he says may sound strange until you recall that he was writing expecting Christ to return in glory at any moment.

Both the first reading and the gospel raise questions about whom we listen to and whom we trust.  Remembering that the prophet is one who teaches and heals with the authority of God:
• To whose prophetic word do we listen?
• What anxieties come between us and our faith in the Lord?
  • From what "unclean spirits" might we want Jesus to free us?

Serious questions to ponder...  Why not click here right now and read over the scriptures and prepare to hear the Lord's Word this weekend...


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Pause for Prayer: WEDNESDAY 1/28


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An extra Pause for Prayer today...

Image source

Let us pray...

For the homeless
   and for those who warm and shelter them,
       let us pray to the Lord...

For those who serve in public health and safety,
   regardless of the weather,
      let us pray to the Lord...

For those who plow the roads,
   24/7, again and again,
      let us pray to the Lord...

For those who live on the shore
   and whose homes are endangered,
      let us pray to the Lord...

For those who have lost power and heat
   and for its swift return,
      let us pray to the Lord...

For  those who live alone
   and who fear the threat of storms,
      let us pray to the Lord...

For any who are injured by ice
   on roads and walkways,
      let us pray to the Lord...

For an end to the blizzard
   and the return of good weather,
      let us pray to the Lord...


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Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY 1/27

Photo by CP

I'm warm in my recliner
in the middle of the night,
looking out my window
through sheets of falling snow,
whipped by windy gusts of cold...

I'm looking cross the square
to where my church beckons
to deserted streets,
two lanterns at her doors
keeping watch to welcome in
what prayers might come
this stormy night...

And in that church there burns
a light to mark the place,
the ark, wherein there rests
the Bread of Eucharist,
the Body of my Christ,
my Lord and God...

I cannot see the candle
glowing bright and
keeping faithful watch
at the tabernacle's side
but I know it burns
as surely as I know the heart of Jesus 
waits to welcome in
what prayers might come
this stormy night...

Such was my prayer at 1:30 in the morning...
Perhaps you'll find time to Pause for Prayer today
and turn your heart to your parish church
and to the Lord who waits there
to hear what prayer might come from you...

You might find this music helpful
as background for your reflection... 


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Monday Morning Offering: 1/26

Art by George Mendoza

Good morning, good God!

There are moments, Lord,
when there's a harmony,
a perfect blending
of all that's in me
with all that's 'round me...

Such harmony is peace, it's grace,
it heals and consoles,
it restores my faith in you
and my trust that I'm pursuing,
that I'm doing what you ask...

It's the harmony I hear, Lord,
when the word you speak
and the song my people sing
unite as one
and in the chorus of our prayer
I know your Spirit's presence
in my heart and all around me...

It's the harmony of differences
resolving in the faith we share
and turning all our hearts as one
to you and to your truth...

It's the harmony of joyful sounds
that pleases heart and soul
and brings a song
where silence needed to be broken
and filled in, filled up
with more than I had dreamed...

It's the harmony of hope,
a descant reaching high beyond
the range of my old day-to-day:
your Spirit, a soprano, counterpointing
with a lilt of grace notes
only you could add...

There are moments, Lord,
when there's a harmony,
a perfect blending
of all that's in me
with all that's 'round me...

Such a moment with its harmony
came yesterday and sounded in my ears
and in places in my soul
where only you can speak
and only I can hear...

For such a gift,
my praise and thanks, Lord:
you are good, too good to me...

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Homily for January 25

Image source

Homily for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
(Scriptures for today's Mass)

Audio for homily

A few weeks ago Boston was named as the United States candidate
for hosting the summer Olympics in 2,024.
When I read about that I thought,
 “Hmm…  2024.  Wonder if I’ll still be around for that…”
That was the first time such a thought crossed my mind in a real way.
Could be, I won’t be here then…

2024 is only 9 years away but 9 years from now I’ll be 76 years old.
And after checking some charts I found that the life expectancy
of a white American male is 76.2 years, but –
and this is the good news – 
the life expectancy of a white American male
living in Massachusetts 
is 77.5 years!

I certainly hope to live longer that but, as we heard from St. Paul today,
“The time is running out…”

What a precious gift is time.   
But for all of us, all of us, 
time is running out…

What a precious gift is the promise of tomorrow.
But for all of us, the number of our tomorrows dwindles
with each passing day.
I think of Dr. Michael Davidson 
going to work this past Tuesday morning  
at the Brigham and Women's Hospital.
We never know how much time we have…

St. Paul certainly means for his words to have 
the sobering effect they do
though when he writes about “time running out”
he’s referring to his expectation that the risen Jesus
would return at any moment, in Paul’s own day.
But that didn’t happen. 
Paul’s time ran out before the Lord’s second coming.

And Jesus has yet to return so time continues to run out,
my time, your time, young and old alike.

We also heard from Paul this morning that:
“the world in its present form is passing away.”
In other words, time is running out for the world, too.
Time is running out on all material things
for all material things will pass away.

You see Paul’s purpose here is to get us to look at
what doesn’t pass away, what endures
in contrast to our letting our lives be shaped and programmed
by what really doesn’t last.

That’s why Paul asked us this morning to look again
at what makes us weep and what makes us happy.
That’s why he asks us not to own or use material things
as if they could fulfill our deepest needs and desires.

My guess is that St. Paul would have a problem
understanding our fascination and concentration
on deflated footballs.

What passing, material things do I desire?  work for?  
collect? save?  hoard?

What transitory things capture my imagination, rule my calendar,
shape my career, inform my thoughts and opinions?
And what’s the importance of all these things
relative to my heart’s deepest and truest longings?

Time is running out, writes St. Paul.
The time we have to get our priorities in order 
- is running out.
The time we have to do the right thing 
- is running out.
The time we have to reconcile with God and one another 
- is running out.
The time we have to grow a real prayer life 
- is running out.
The time we have to be generous with all we have 
- is running out.

Jonah’s message to the city of Nineveh 
was like Paul’s message to the city Corinth.
Jonah preached that time was running out:
40 days, he told the folks, that’s what you’ve got left 
- 40 days and then time’s up!

Jesus’ message in the gospel today is even more immediate
– no warning of how much time is left, but rather:
 “The kingdom of God is now, it is at hand, it is today!”
And, he’s right.
Jesus has not yet come again – but he has already come.
Time for waiting, time for delay has run out: 
the time to act, the time to change, is now, is today.
It’s time, now, to take an accounting of my life
and to act on what I find
and to change what needs to be changed.

The world in its present form is passing away
and if all I end up with is this world’s goods
then I’ll find myself left with very little
and with my hands and my heart empty.

The good news is that in every moment,
without a day’s delay, without a day’s wait,
the Lord is ready to meet me right where I am – now –
and help me make the best of the day I have, the day at hand.
He stands ready to forgive me and heal me,
to reconcile my past, and to be with me today
as I wait to see what tomorrow may bring,
as I wait to see if tomorrow will come...

At this table, the Lord who came 2,000 years ago
but who has not yet returned in glory,
this same Lord will come this morning, 
to be with us, to nourish and strengthen us
in the Bread and Cup of the Eucharist.

At this altar then, let us consider 
what makes us weep,
what makes us rejoice,
in what, in whom, do we place our trust?

Let us come, today, to Jesus.
Let us come back to him, today - 
because time is running out...

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