My World of Religion, Politics, Entertainment and Social Issues

If you are visiting my blog, expecting to see 'Toward a Progressive Catholic Church,' I have changed my title to reflect my wide assortment of interests. Having retired from my secular job, I hope to devote the rest of my life to my hobbies, ministries and perhaps a part-time job that makes good use of my communications skills. This blog will be designed to address my multi-faceted interests.

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Location: Rochester, New York, United States

I have an M.A. in Theology and an M.Div (Master of Divinity) from St. Bernard's School of Theology and Ministry. I am currently a media consultant and promoter of classical music. I am also certified as an officiant by the Federation of Christian Ministries for baptisms, weddings and funerals and minister independently of the Rochester Diocese. My life has encompassed many interesting paths: broadcasting, free-lance writing, video-production, music, ministry and a secular job in government. In addition to this blog, I have a YouTube site at www.youtube.com/priestray and I have a Facebook page.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Meryl Streep: A Great Actress



Dear Blog Visitors:

Whenever I reflect on my past experiences and people I have met, I often think about the evening I met Meryl Streep, which occurred several years ago. The occasion was her being honored at the George Eastman House in Rochester. I had the honor of asking her the first question of the evening, whereby I inquired about her experience of working with Clint Eastwood (my favorite actor and director) on 'Bridges of Madison County.' She liked the manner in which Clint shot scenes quickly, whereby he rarely asked to do anything over-and-over again, which has been the case with some directors Meryl has worked with.

One of the many things my wife share in common is our love for Meryl Streep. We have seen all her films, some of which we have seen several times. We also admire her for her ability to balance her family life with her amazing career as an actress.

I am delighted that Meryl is receiving one of the Kennedy Center honors this year. It was also a delight for me to see her featured on last night's edition of '60 Minutes.'

In tribute to the great Meryl Streep, I produced the video that appears above.

Peace to all,
Ray

Friday, December 09, 2011

'Hallelujah Chorus' Sing-a-long



Dear Blog Visitors:

In addition to the religious significance of Christmas, I also love the traditional music of the season. Although I have ventured into many areas throughout my life, I am often drawn back to my original ambition, which was to become a symphony orchestra conductor. Despite the fact this ambition never materialized, I am nevertheless thankful for the musical education I received in high school and as an undergraduate student at the Eastman School of Music.

As part of my musical training, I had an opportunity on several occasions to conduct Handel's 'Hallelujah Chorus' from 'The Messiah.' As I reflected back, I thought it might be interesting to produce a video in which I conduct the 'Hallelujah Chorus' facing the camera, in such a way that would invite viewers who know individual choral parts to join in the singing. So, with appreciation for all the musical instructors who were part of my life, I offer this video as a thank-you.

Peace to all,
Ray

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

New Book: 'Women Deacons: Past, Present, Future'


Dear Blog Visitors:

I always take notice when Phyllis Zagano comes out with a new publication. She is one of our country's best scholars on the historical issue of women deacons in the Roman Catholic Church.

I had the privilege of meeting Phyllis several years ago at a conference, and she and I have corresponded on a few occasions since then.

I am very excited about the latest book authored by Phyllis and her two co-authors, Gary Macy and William T. Ditewig, entitled 'Women Deacons: Past, Present, Future.'

Through meticulous scholarship, Phyllis Zagano has been a long-time advocate for women deacons. As her research bears out, women deacons had a long history in the church, and it is encouraging that a few members of the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church have been willing to look at her research on this important matter.

In an attempt to get bishops to read 'Women Deacons: Past, Present Future,' there is a 'Books to Bishops' campaign underway. Paulist Press will send a copy of this book if contributors send Phyllis Zagano a check for $10.00 per bishop. Phyllis in turn will send checks and individual letters naming donors to Paulist Press, which adds a book order form for more and sends each bishop a copy of the book. Checks may be sent to Phyllis at her office: Phyllis Zagano, Religion-104 Heger Hall, 115 Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY 10549.

Let's hope that U.S. bishops are persuaded by the above mentioned book.

Peace to all,
Ray