The furniture program at St. John's/St. Ann's Center in Albany is up and running - and in need of beds and sofas. To donate, call (518) 472-9091, ext. 12....

Local singer-songwriter KATIE LOUISE will give a concert Dec. 9, 7:30 p.m., at the Eden Cafe in Loudonville to partially benefit Catholic Charities USA's disaster relief services. See https://www.facebook.com/events/117702482262560/?ti=as.

Catholic Charities of the Albany Diocese honored 11 more community supporters with centennial medallions in November as part of its year-long 100th anniversary celebration. Honorees included CONGRESSMAN PAUL TONKO, FORMER CONGRESSMAN CHRIS GIBSON AND MARYJO GIBSON, JIM CASHEN, JOHN COPPOLA, JOYCE FLANAGAN, KATHY KAVANAUGH, MARIA AND ROGER MARKOVICS, JOHN MURRAY, REV. FRANK O'CONNOR, GLORIA TOWLE-HILT and SANDRA WALTERS....

LaSalle Institute alumnus RYAN REILLY is the first American to win the Frenchilla-Zuloaga international piano award. He won first prize in the competition, as well as the prize for the best performer of Spanish music and the audience award. The competition took place in Spain in November, with 22 international pianists competing in three rounds. A native of Delmar, Mr. Reilly also graduated from The Juilliard School and is earning a second master's degree at the Haute Ecole de Musique in Switzerland. He was once a member of the Empire State Youth Orchestra....

OFFICER MIKE ROMANO of the Albany Police Department, father of technology teacher MISS ROMANO of St. Pius X School in Loudonville, brought his police car to the school. Third- and fourth-graders learned about the car, his job in traffic safety and how technology works inside the car, including a computer, internet, printer, lights and sirens....

Local Catholic GARY GUSTIN JR. offered some thoughts on "a disposable society: Recently, I asked a friend about some mutual friends. She responded that she had a disagreement with one of them and simply removed them from social media and her phone. When I asked if she had tried to discuss the issue, she said no. Just like that, a friendship of several years was ended. My late Grandma Gustin once noted this trend in our society: 'We now have disposable napkins, plates and even cameras,' she would say; 'but we also have disposable friends, marriages, families and even human lives.'
"I have to wonder how we would feel if Jesus took the same approach with us, and simply discarded us whenever we sinned. How many of our relationships fell apart without any attempt to understand the origin of a mistake, or perhaps due to an overreaction on our part? Sometimes we take things more personally than we should. Do we do justice to the Gospel message by throwing away people?
"During the holiday season, instead of asking for something new, why not attempt to repair a relationship that is falling apart? Even if the attempt doesn't work out, at least you can move forward knowing that you didn't embrace a disposable mentality, but one that does true justice to the Gospel message."