Prudent Charity


The Picnic Table Outside my Window

By Charlie Johnston

I had planned to go back down the mountain to Denver yesterday for the Triduum. But when I woke up yesterday morning, there was a foot and a half of snow on the ground and it kept snowing all day. We ended with a little over two feet. The picture above of the picnic table out back was taken today, after we had some melt-off. Pray that it gets nice and warm today and tomorrow so I have a chance of getting off the mountain in time for Easter, or I will spend my Easter with the good folks from EWTN. (That is not entirely bad – I have enjoyed some of the Daily Masses on EWTN and been delighted to see them celebrated by Priests I got to know last year and will get to visit with again this year.) All through Lent, we only got one snow of any note up here, just four inches, and it melted off within two days. Then we get the biggest I have ever seen the night before I was to leave….hmmm…I wonder what message there might be in that.


You will want to start checking the “Upcoming Events” link at the top of the Page regularly. While I am not going to do an extended tour like last year, I am in the process of working with my volunteer assistant, Mary, to confirm visits now. I will be in the Northeast for a series of presentations from April 1-11 (even if I have to get a snow-cat squad to get me off the mountain). The first two events will be as follows:

Upcoming Visits

Holliston, MA

1:00pm:  April 2, 2016

Fatima Shrine

Xavier Meeting Hall (Entrance to the left of the Bookstore)
101 Summer Street
Holliston, MA  10746


Manchester, New Hampshire

7:00 p.m.  Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Yard Seafood & Steak House
Salon A & B
1211 South Mammoth Rd
Manchester, NH 03109
Contact:  Doug or Jacki

Other events will be listed as the details are confirmed.


Our friends at Focus TV in Covington, Louisiana suffered tremendous flood damage recently. Since they are supported by donors, it is a real challenge to them. Focus independently produces Catholic content for television stations around the country and through the internet. It was founded by the late Archbishop Philip Hannan.

Focus TV did a half-hour interview with me last year that I thought turned out very well. If you can help them, they would much appreciate it – and so would I. I expect to visit with them again later this year, hoping that the chair I sit on will have dried out or have been replaced by then.


There is a reason why direct charity is best handled locally. When it is done that way, people can most easily verify the circumstances and filter out manipulators who try to game others’ compassions.

We had a situation here the last week and a half where a woman using the screen name, “halfpint,” appeared with a narrative about losing everything but her car and being tossed out of her home. She asked for prayers, but naturally people started suggesting where she could go to get direction on how to get help. She quickly explained that she was not able to do any of those things and was being turned down by all the local religious and charitable outlets. All was quiet until someone asked the obvious question of whether we might be being played. Suddenly, halfpint become furiously indignant and accusatory. One person who visits here (I’ll call her A) and was deeply sympathetic managed to make direct contact and halfpint referred her to a Priest who would vouch for her. Unfortunately, A was never able to reach the Priest and could get no callbacks. Most recently, I got a note from an intermediary that halfpint is complaining that A, who wanted to go the extra mile to help, is harassing her. I am hearing from a few people here that halfpint is trashing me and other people here who were sympathetic to her with bitter invective. She has ended up staying with someone who has been a reader here. I hope that goes well. But this has been an ugly episode.

Halfpint may just be distraught from severe upheaval in her life recently. But manipulators typically give quick reasons why they can’t get any help from normal local religious and charitable outlets, give references that can’t be verified, and get accusatory and angry when efforts are made to simply verify their story. I don’t know that she is manipulating anyone, but I do know that she has behaved in precisely the way manipulators do.

I should have cut this off as soon as it started getting ugly and accusatory. People who are sincere generally do not get furiously angry when asked to give evidence of their bona fides. When I was on my pilgrimage I was stopped nine times by police to check on what I was up to. It never occurred to me to be offended that police might want to check what an obviously itinerant fellow walking in the middle of nowhere was doing. In fact, in a little Mississippi town, I had been stopped by the local police chief. When I went on into town looking for a library where I could work online, the police station was in the same building. The chief walked out, saw me and laughed, saying, “Hey, old buddy, if I knew you were coming here I could have saved myself a trip.” I laughed back and told him, “Well, you get a report of an old guy with a funny hat and heavy pack walking in the middle of nowhere, you gotta  check it out.” He slapped me on the back and said, “I guess you’re right. Be safe out there.” He started by running my license to check me out – and ended by patting my back and giving me a couple of canned sodas for the road. I doubt it would have ended in laughter had I been indignant he wanted to check me out in the first place.

The TNRS Answers team is working up an FAQ giving direction to people in need, so they can easily navigate the local resources that are available to them. The link I have set up for it is not complete yet, but that is where we will direct such questions from now on. I will run a little bit of a tighter filter henceforth. While we enjoy serious debates here, if someone is just trying to disrupt or make accusations, they will have to go somewhere else. The community here is getting much bigger and drawing more attention – and that means we are targets more and more of phishing efforts and trolls. It is my job to protect this community from such things while keeping our exchanges open. Time to up my game.

This does not mean there will never be a direct appeal referenced here, but if there is, it will be quite unusual – usually something like the call for Focus TV just above – and will have to have been personally vetted and verified by me or a member of the TNRS team.

When the early Christians had to retreat to the catacombs, they set up signs and verifications to defend the community from manipulators and hostiles trying to subvert the community. As the darkness grows, it is best we don’t get side-tracked from our fundamental purpose, which is to acknowledge God, take the next right step and be a sign of hope. Everyone knows that some manipulators use people’s malice against them; the reality is that the best manipulators use people’s very compassion against them.

We will stay focused here.


About charliej373

Charlie Johnston is a former newspaper editor, radio talk show host and political consultant. From Feb. 11, 2011 to Aug. 21, 2012, he walked 3,200 miles across the country, sleeping in the woods, meeting people and praying as he went. He has received prophetic visitation all his life, which he has vetted through a trio of priests over the last 20 years, and now speaks publicly about on this site. Yet he emphasizes that we find God most surely through the ordinary, doing the little things we should with faith and fidelity. Hence the name, The Next Right Step. The visitations inform his work, but are not the focus of it. He lives in the Archdiocese of Denver in the United States.
This entry was posted in Call for Help, Discernment, Family of God, Solidarity and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

396 Responses to Prudent Charity

  1. deereverywhere says:

    When Jesus decended into hell, limbo, everyone was silent. A voice near the back said “Son, how is your mother” the voice of St. Joseph is heard.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Linda says:

    /Users/lindagraziani/Downloads/12885708_576500579183196_5289644164688470616_o.jpg – by Charlie…I think I did it?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. singingjuls says:

    Wow, Charlie, that’s a lot of snow! As a true Minnesotan I love the snow and we sure didn’t seem to get enough this year. Hope you are able to ‘dig’ your way down the mountain for Easter Sunday. May yours be blessed. ~juls

    Liked by 3 people

    • Snowy Owl says:

      Juls, it snowed most of the day here where I am up toward the northern part of MN🙂 the flakes were the size of quarters! They keep changing the amount we are getting tonight..last I read it was up over 3 inches. I love it, it was just beautiful.

      Liked by 6 people

      • singingjuls says:

        Wow Snowy, those must have been some big snowflakes! Send some south to us will you? I know some people will think I’m just a little bit off my rocker and I love spring, but I am already missing winter! There’s just something about a comfy chair, a cozy cup of coffee and a ‘Good Book’ that melts my heart.🙂

        Liked by 7 people

  4. LJD says:

    Charlie, it is here! I have seen it twice already and can now move on to whatever scenario is to come.
    Hope you get a chance to take out the 2 1/2 hours of your time to see it.
    Just comedic relief to break up the seriousness discussed here. God bless my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Beckita says:

    Happy Easter Everyone!

    Liked by 16 people

  6. Kim Sevier says:

    God bless you all and happy and joyous Easter! I pray for all here every day and remember especially all who are in need of extra prayers.

    Liked by 6 people

  7. Mick says:

    Happy Easter, everybody!🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Lilia Florentiae says:

    Happy Easter to everyone.
    Lilia from Italy

    Liked by 4 people

  9. janet333 says:



    Liked by 4 people

  10. Murf says:

    Happy Easter to all. Thanks Charlie. Love the chocolate bunnies LOL

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Carmel says:

    Wishing all the blessings of Easter. Heaven touched earth momentarily during the Triduum here in my parish in Sydney, Australia – it was almost palpable during the Holy Thursday ceremonies – a very great blessing. On Good Friday night we processed around the local streets behind the Bishop carrying the Blessed Sacrament followed by a bier with the statue of the Dead Christ (overlooked by the Blessed Mother dressed in mourning black) remembering the procession to the tomb. Last night at the Easter Vigil ceremonies a number of candidates received the Sacraments for the first time – a wonderfully moving ceremony. May the blessings of Easter illumine and strengthen each of us for the times ahead. Thanks to everyone here for their wonderful witness and Charlie for his encouragement. Know that I pray in response to all the prayer requests though only occasionally commenting.

    Liked by 6 people

  12. Linda says:

    Happy Easter Charlie and ALL of Charlie’s TNRS Angels!!😇😇😇😇😇😇😇😇😇😇😇😇😇😇😇😇😇😇😇😇😇😇😇😇😇😇😇😇😇💕etc…etc…etc…

    Liked by 6 people

  13. Linda says:

    BTW..Beckita.. You made me laugh out loud!!! God bless you😇 and Happy Easter💕💕💕

    Liked by 3 people

  14. I have attended many Easter vigils over the years but last night was a new experience. As a member of the choir, I sat in the dark church waiting for the congregation to come in after the lighting of the Easter fire. The darkness, of course, symbolizes how dark the world was until the light of Christ came. I was thinking about how dark our world is today and how the light of Christ will be needed once more to dispell it. The congregation began filing into the Church in silence. To my surprise, many of them clicked on their cell phones to provide light to get to their seats. Since a lot of people did this, it was no longer dark. How ironic, I thought. This generation is not willing to wait for the light of Christ. They are going to try to light up the world without Him. When the lit Paschal candle entered the church and the light from that candle was gradually spread from person to person, candle by candle, the contrast was startling. The flames glowed with a warm, golden, wavering, dancing, living light. One by one, the cold, dead, blue, electronic lights went out and there was only “Christ, our light” illuminating the Church. This is, I think, a symbol of what is coming. Happy Easter morning, Family. Christ is risen.

    Liked by 7 people

    • janet333 says:

      “When the lit Paschal candle entered the church and the light from that candle was gradually spread from person to person, candle by candle, the contrast was startling. The flames glowed with a warm, golden, wavering, dancing, living light. One by one, the cold, dead, blue, electronic lights went out and there was only “Christ, our light” illuminating the Church. This is, I think, a symbol of what is coming. Happy Easter morning, Family. Christ is risen.”

      A beautiful description SF.
      Happy Easter! 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

    • the phoenix says:

      How wonderfully spiritually observant, singingflowers! Happy Easter to you!

      Liked by 1 person

    • jlynnbyrd says:

      Singing, I love the picture you painted of your Easter Vigil experience in contract to the way of the world. Happy Easter to you too dear!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Beckita says:

      Poetically beautiful and inspirational, SF. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Patricia says:

    Happy Easter all!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. zeniazenia says:

    Happy Easter TNRS!! Jesus has risen just as He said, alleluia. Indeed He is truly risen!! alleluia🙂
    I was listening to a fabulous online rant :o) by Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., Ph.D. a Jesuit priest, philosopher, educator, author, speaker, and retired President of Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, Magis Center President, (Check out his website) I thought his words might be of interest to any one non-Christian possibly visiting this site on Easter. Here are some of his thoughts on one particular piece of possible evidence for Jesus’ Resurrection.
    “We have evidence from the Shroud of Turin, which has given us evidence from the 1988 carbon dating testing. Do not trust that 1988 test! There are literally eight pieces of contravening evidence, that show that the proper dating should be around 50 ad. just about the time of Jesus’ crucifixion. What is more fascinating than the dating evidence itself, is the fact that there is real evidence for the Resurrection on there. The only way this image has been duplicated, and by the way, there is no other image like it, there’s no vapors, no dyes, no paints, this is no scorching, this is dehydration of the surface parts, the very very surface parts of the fibrils, and that dehydration requires a very very bizarre process in order to duplicate it. Essentially what it requires is a burst of 1/40 billionth of a second of vacuum ultraviolet radiation, and the wattage of that burst of light, that vacuum ultraviolet radiation has to be along the magnitude of several billion watts. More than 14000 excimer lasers can produce which is more than all of the lasers than we have in the world today. How does a dead body produce a light burst of that magnitude lasting only 1/40 billionth of a second? It has only been duplicated by Paolo Di Lazzaro and his colleagues in three different labs across Europe, but what is of real importance is that God has left us with this wonderful remnant of the Resurrection”.( …which by the way the Roman guards could not prevent.🙂 ) For more evidence beyond the Gospels, Fr. Spitzer suggests books by N.T. Wright and John P. Meier.
    You are all in my very grateful Easter prayers!! Off to Mass now to listen to those humble Gospel readings, which are testimonies given in order to help us now and at the time of our own resurrections! Wesołych Świąt Wielkanocnych alleluiah!!

    Liked by 3 people

  17. the phoenix says:

    Wishing everybody here a Happy and Holy Easter, and I will pray for you today at Mass.

    Haven’t touched on the topic of “Prudent Charity” when it first appeared because it’s been a rough Lent, though many have had it rougher.

    Sometimes I refer to a best friend whom I lost to heart disease.

    In certain ways, she parallels Halfpint.

    Her real name is Heidi (and actually, I still do consider her a best friend and pray for her every day). I first saw her in the Prayer Intentions section of the Catholic Answers Forum, where she had posted a thread called “Almost Homeless.” CAF is a big forum, and there are many prayer intentions. Hers stood out, so as her situation became more dicey, I sent her a Private Message and got her phone number.

    One thing I learned is how many charities I had grown up believing in were there to help people in their time of need … really weren’t. I could name names, but that would not be charitable. The one good charity I can recommend, having come through that experience with Heidi, long-distance though it was, is the St. Vincent de Paul Society. They provided a table, a chair, and some kitchen utensils after Heidi went through a harrowing experience of being abandoned by family due to serious chronic illness, being nearly dumped on the street by a hospital in a wheel chair and with a breathing machine, making phone call after phone call, finding what she thought was a temporary safe haven, only it turned out the people were shady and dangerous … me being woken up in the middle of the night by my guardian angel to pray for her … a family member crossing state lines to rescue her at that point from the temporary living place and then dumping her in an extended stay motel with only $500 to her name (which rescue I believe saved her life) … with many prayers her finally moving into a HUD apartment.

    Meanwhile, what I learned is that if you are a single woman in your 50s, there are all kinds of phone numbers to call … and the vast majority will not help. You fall through the cracks for one reason or another. You’re not old enough, you’re too sick and they don’t want the legal responsibility for plugging your breathing machine into the wall while you sleep on their floor, you don’t have dependent children, you’re not escaping an abusive husband at the moment, you’re not an alcoholic, you can’t walk or drive to the food pantry … “Sorry, no help for you. Where’s your family?”

    There definitely are scammers, and people asking for help should not attack the people they are asking help from. I don’t have much information on Halfpint. I’m glad she was able to get a roof over her head and hope things work out for her.

    As for Heidi, I had quite a dream about her after she died, and I believe she’s continued to help me by her prayers. We became quite close friends even though we never met in person, and I wouldn’t have ever wanted to trade her friendship for that of a millionaire. Her story checked out, but I can tell you it was so strange that many people would have just given up on her.

    I’m sorry, but I just had to post this. After Heidi finally did get a HUD apartment, she advocated for the poor as best she could armed with her computer, and would want me to speak out, even though she was way better at doing so.

    Heidi always wanted everyone to pray for her salvation. This would make a great Easter gift for her. Thank you for listening.

    Liked by 8 people

    • YongDuk says:

      Bless you for sharing this.

      Yes, the United State’s government grant monies that run charities, even Catholic ones, are very specific and the charities are accountable to the IRS. They, as you imply, have their hands tied.

      I was shocked working with one well-known and centuries old Religious Order that they, since they took government monies, were not allowed to evangelise. I was flabbergasted… They could leave Bibles and Rosaries laying around, but that’s it.

      So, blessings for your advocacy.

      Anyone dealing with chronic illness more and more are expected to jump through hoop after hoop after hoop to get services from / through / subsidised by the government and that you remind us just how much charities have their hands tied due to the U.S. grant regulations is all the more disconcerting.

      Liked by 4 people

    • Beckita says:

      Joining you in praying for the repose of Heidi’s soul, Phoenix. Honoring you by honoring Heidi’s wishes.

      Liked by 4 people

    • anne ovari says:

      Thank you for sharing your story Phoenix. There is such a great need for true charity in our world. It is so sad that it is hard to find even from the organisations that are set up to help others. It has to start with us. After reading your story I also wanted to tell you that after Mass yesterday I met a young couple with a new born baby and her name is Heidi😊 God bless you and keep up the good work.

      Liked by 4 people

      • the phoenix says:

        You’ve got the right idea, anne ovari! That sometimes we’re better equipped to help than organizations are, because we are freer to do so. And if not money, than even one Hail Mary can mean so much. Nice to hear about the new springtime baby! Easter blessings to you too.

        Liked by 3 people

  18. CrewDog says:

    Some interesting Easter themed articles from my military blog:

    MILINET: Happy Easter – 27 March

    1) Hope for the dead: All is possible if freedom lives–Judge Andrew P. Napolitano,…apolitano-on-easter-hope-for-the-dead/?page=2

    2) What Is Passover?: The holiday’s history and observances

    3) Was Jesus’ Last Supper a Seder?–Jonathan Klawans…storical-jesus/was-jesus-last-supper-a-seder/

    4) 12 Reasons Jesus’ Trial Was Illegal–Part 1

    5) 12 Reasons Jesus’ Trial Was Illegal–Part 2

    6) The Water from His Side–John Craig

    7) Jewish Burial Traditions and the Resurrection of Jesus–Craig A. Evans

    8) The Nails From Caiaphas’ Tomb…and-the-Nails-From-Caiaphas-Tomb.aspx#Article

    9) Easter celebrations around the world…ebrations-around-the-world.html?frame=2508809


    Liked by 5 people

  19. Anniecorrinne says:

    A Happy and Blessed Easter to All.

    Liked by 5 people

  20. jlynnbyrd says:

    Happy Easter to you and yours Annie!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s