Editor Emeritus - Ed Wilkinson

Can You Picture This?: It’s Cold Out There

Oh, baby, it’s cold outside! You could hear those words all around the diocese – and all across the country – this past week

First, it was the foot of snow that was dumped on the city that closed the Catholic as well as the public schools on Jan. 3. A few days later, the arctic blast of cold air put a chill into our steps.

The Catholic High School Athletic Association cancelled all its games and then hustled to figure out when they could be rescheduled.

“I said Mass in the convent this morning, and my hands have never been so cold,” said one Brooklyn pastor. “We just put in new pipes this week, and so this will be the big test.”

In Chicago, the Catholic Press Association announced it was closing its offices on Tuesday because of -30 degree wind factors.

Of course, the snow and the ice make for some great photos. So, I spent one day walking around Bay Ridge, making pictures for my newly created Facebook page. I had resisted Facebook up until now but finally gave in so that I have a place to share my photography.

Snap! There’s Our Lady of the Narrows covered in snow outside Xaverian H.S., Bay Ridge. Only a few feet away, the school’s 9/11 eternal flame, a tribute to fallen alumni, appears brighter when it’s surrounded by fluffy white snow.

Snap, snap! The Narrows Botanical Gardens makes for some great shots of evergreen trees blanketed by a cover of white. A chilly freighter sitting in the harbor amidst wind-swept waves. The lonely benches looking out onto the water awaiting a visitor. An intrepid jogger. Two ladies trying to maneuver through the slippery streets.

A few days later, I’m in Williamsburg and come across a monument dedicated to the Society of Our Lady of the Snow. It seems only appropriate to take a shot of it surrounded by what’s left of the storm. A perfect post for Facebook.

The sights of the city appear different when they’re painted with a coat of white. I’m happy to share what I see through my new outlet.

One of the discoveries about my newly found friend is that it keeps you in touch with so many other people, who are posting items of interest to themselves and hopefully to you. I learn that I’m not the only one who was outraged by some of the inaugural speeches that were delivered on the steps of City Hall on Jan. 1. I responded to one post in which I found the remarks of the new Public Advocate Letitia James lacking in class. She felt her new bully pulpit (which is all her job really is) was the perfect place to insult the man sitting only a few feet away who had just spent the last 12 years making New York City a better and safer place to live.

Hey, this social media stuff can be fun. But it’s not without its pitfalls. As reported by Catholic News Service this week, the National Catholic Reporter (NCR), the liberal weekly out of Kansas City, has just shut down its comments section on its website.

Management ordered its web editor to suspend the comments and to hide all previously posted comments because of the malicious, abusive nature of the comments that have bombarded the site in recent days.

NCR editors say they will explore options that will allow commenting to return in a way that respects its writers, the subjects of its stories and its readers.

That’s just a chilling reminder that with all our advances in technology, it’s the human spirit that drives or destroys progress.

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