Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pascal Tridumm

The Tridumm - the three holiest days of the Christian liturgical year - begins today.  There is no morning Mass today - in preparation for the beginning of the Tridumm - marking the official end of Lent and the beginning of the Tridumm with The Holy Mass of the Last Supper. As Lent and that period of reflection now ends - we focus our attention on the ritual of The Mass of The Last Supper. Tonight at that Mass - we celebrate the institution of the Eucharist and the Priesthood - for it was at the Last Supper - that Jesus said " take and eat - this is my body - take and drink - this is my blood" the first time that He performed the mystery of transubstantiation - changing bread and wine - into His body and blood. It is also at that time when He gave the authority and power of His disciples to do the same. As He did - so were they to also do - to perpetuate this mystery until the end of days.
As the final three days of the discipline of Lent -  the Easter Triduum has traditionally been observed with even stricter fasting and abstinence - as well as prayer and almsgiving. Since 1956, however, the Paschal Triduum has been regarded as its own liturgical season, and thus liturgically Lent ends before the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday.  The Tridumm consists of Holy Thursday - Good Friday - Holy Saturday and ends with the beginning of the celebration of the Easter Vigil - celebrated at sundown - the ending of the day and the beginning of the night of the next day. In these three very holy days we celebrate Eucharist - the Priesthood - the Crucifixion - and wait at Vigil - for the Easter Resurrection. Three very special days - three very holy days - three days of preparation - leading to Christ's victory over sin and death. In all this we can only be active participants - not bystanders.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Holy Week

Holy Week officially began with Palm Sunday. Now three days into this special week preparations are being made around the world for all the special activities that will take place in churches of all denominations. Training sessions - reviewing liturgies - cleaning vestments - checking communion supplies - making sure the welcome mat is out - all occupy the minds of those responsible for making Holy Week a special experience for all worshipers - the regulars as well as the casual. Of course there will be glitches - copy machines that run out of toner - who forgot to order more - paper supplies that are not available - last minute runs to pick up forgotten supplies - a thousand things to do - just to make sure  the holy house is in order for the guests that will visit. Challenging and exhilarating all at the same time - all done to make sure that this Easter - this special Easter is better than the last. 
God must have one grand ole time watching all our activities - all our busy activities - all our concerns - about perfection.  In reality - all He asks - is a pure heart - a loving heart - a heart accepting all. He doesn't care about things like how new - or how shiny - or how many. No - He cares only about one thing - Your Heart.  Is it in the right place - have you opened it up to all the possibilities He has provided for you - have you allowed old hurts to be healed - have you created room for His love - for others - for those who challenge you - for yourself?

Deacon Dale 

Monday, March 25, 2013


Palms come in all sorts of sizes - children's, teens and adults - among adults they vary in size from small ladies to large men's sizes. The palm is the center of the hand to which are attached the wrist - thumb and fingers. It is the palm that holds most objects - creating a center into which objects are held and contained. Without the palm - the fingers and thumb would have a much more difficult time grasping and holding onto object - thus we see quite readily the value of the palm. Of course the one palm that is most important to Christians is not the one in their hand but rather the one held high yesterday on Palm Sunday - when palm branches were carried aloft and waved triumphantly as they commemorated the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem and the beginning of Holy Week.
Waving palms and branches was the custom of years gone by to celebrate the event of kings and soldiers returning home from a triumphant victory - such was the case when Jesus entered Jerusalem.  His followers were sure that he was the Messiah - the promised one - who would come to remove their oppression and difficult lifestyle. Little did they know that His kingdom was not an earthly one - but a much higher - loftier - one - unseen by human eyes - untouched by human hands - in the realm of the One true God.  Palm Sunday joy rapidly turned to sadness and confusion as the events leading up to the Crucifixion played themselves out.  This year as in years past we remember - we recreate - we celebrate and at the same time we beat our breast - we ponder - we wonder how this all could have happened - then we remember - in all this - in everything that we will celebrate this week - the Passover - the Last Supper - the Crucifixion - the Resurrection - all is in God's time and a part of His plan for the world - today as much as it was in the time of Jesus.  This week allow yourself to dine at the table of His grace.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


The word retreat means to draw back - to move away from the present action - to go to a quiet place - away from the action. When battles are being lost - soldiers will retreat - to take the time to gather themselves - their thoughts - to asses the current situation - before moving forward. In the Church we often "go on retreat" - similar to the action of a soldier - to do exactly the same thing. We pull away from the hustle and confusion and business of our lives - to reassess - to evaluate - to investigate - where we have been - where we are going.  It is a special time - to be alone - with ourselves - with our thoughts - with our God. In the quiet - in the stillness - we re-imagine ourselves - our lives - our priorities. Armed with new information - our path to follow - once again becomes clear.
Jesus retreated into the desert where he prayed for 40 days and nights. In the isolation of the desert - he was tempted - challenged. He reviewed what He had accomplished - looked at the task ahead of Him. Refreshed - He re-engaged His mission - went forward to preach - to teach - to love - to forgive - to embrace the cross.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, March 14, 2013


A smile is possibly one of the best communication tools - among humans - it is an expression denoting pleasure - happiness - amusement. Smiling is understood by everyone - despite culture - race - religion - it is internationally known.  Smiling is a means of communication - throughout the world - no words needed. There are different types of smiles - genuine - fake - Duchenne - Pan-Am. Different muscles are involved in the different smiles - one muscle raises the corners of the mouth while another raises the cheeks and forms a crow's feet around the eyes. Recent research indicates that a smile which involves the cheek muscle and forms the crow's feet shows positive emotion. The Pan-Am smile - originally perfected by flight attendants - was a fake smile - formed as a matter of obligation - which only involved the muscles of the mouth - sort of a matter of fact - oh yes, I have to smile at you - kind of smile. Smiles sometimes reflect anxiety - having been suddenly placed into an awkward situation.
The smile seen on Pope Frances' face as seen above - reflects a smile of positive emotion - combining the anxiety of just being selected as the new Pope - with the pleasure of seeing the thousands upon thousands of faithful awaiting his presentation in Vatican square. It is his smile - his record of humble service - his austere lifestyle - that gives the peoples of the world - true joy and hope as Pope Francis I prepares for the future as the new Vicar of Christ. Viva il Papa!

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected today to serve the Roman Catholic Church as its new pope. Taking the name of  Pope Francis I   - as the newest Bishop of Rome - now takes on the awesome responsibility guiding the faithful of the Church 

Viva il Papa!

Deacon Dale 

Viva il Papa - Habemus Papam!

Long live the Pope - We have a new Pope!  At 2:09 ET white smoke issued forth from the chimney at the Sistine Chapel indicating that a new pope has been elected by the Cardinals. 

The world waits for the presentation of the new pope. The new pope will change into his new attire - rejoin the cardinals for prayer - then be presented to the faithful - waiting in Vatican square.  Viva il Papa!

Deacon Dale 

Washing Machine Theology

The Gospel according to Tide - or Gain - or whatever laundry soap you may use. To get your clothes really clean you need their product - no hot water necessary - just some magic granules mixed with water and agitated with your clothes for a wash - that is not only sparkling white - but smells of sunshine. Over the years the rules for washing clothes have changed - according to some - you no longer have to separate the white from the colors - the darks from the lights - the coarse fabric from the delicate. One rule does still remain - no reds with the white or lights - unless you are daring enough to risk various shades of pink. Discussing the various hows and whys of laundry is similar - to the way many people approach religion. Is water really necessary for baptism - does water baptism compare to baptism of the Spirit - is Holy Scripture really holy - why do  those words have more importance than other words - is the Bible really the Word of God - or just a nice book that has been #1 on the best seller list for decades - is Jesus really present in the Eucharist - or maybe just a symbol as some claim - is a priest really necessary for confession - or can I just talk with God direct. Like throwing clothes in a washing machine - people take bits and pieces of theology and throw it all together in their "spiritual" washing machines - to come up with their own theology - their own knowledge - of the truth of God. In some cases - they select well - following the teachings of the Church - in other instances - a mixture of poor theology results - causing confusion - dissension - unhappiness.
Jesus made it very clear when asked which commandment was the most important - He said to love the Lord your God with all your heart - with all your mind - with all your soul - and your neighbor as yourself. Simple - to the point - direct. No need to pick and chose - no confusion - simple and easy. Yet today - many - complicate - confuse - add - subtract - from those words. In this Lenten time of prayer and reflection - all of us - need to get back to the basics - to love as He commanded - simple and easy.

Deacon Dale 


Preparation is the action of making ready - anticipating a future event - being ready for that which is anticipated.  Each day of our lives we go through various rituals of preparation. We run the water to allow it to warm up before we enter the shower - we fill the water reservoir prior to starting the coffee pot - we gather dishes and bowls in anticipation of eating - we sit quietly with folded hands waiting for prayer.  Every action we plan to execute requires a step prior to that action - a period of preparing for that which is to commence. 
As we anticipate the coming of Holy Week and the celebration of Easter - we prepare oursleves - to be properly disposed - to be attentive to God working in our lives - to make ready for He who is to come again. We fast - we pray - we meditate - we sit in adoration - we wonder - we hope - that our time of preparation is enough - enough to fill us - to guide us - enough to sustain us in all our efforts.  As we continue our Lenten preparation - Jesus continues His - waiting for each of us to accept Him as Lord and Savior. 

Deacon Dale 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Dem Bones

Dem Bones - Dry Bones - Dem Dry Bones - is a popular spiritual song - the melody composed by African - American author and songwriter James Weldone Johnson. Over the years it has been recorded by numerous artists.  It was inspired by Holy Scripture from Ezekiel 37:1-14 in which the Lord proclaims that he will reassemble and bring life back into the valley of dry bones. Bones play an important part in Christian history - bone of my bone - flesh of my flesh - it connects us to our ancestors - to those Christians who lived before us - to saint and sinner alike. It is a physical connection which reminds us of the spiritual connection.  Today I had the honor to be present at the viewing of a tibia bone from Saint Mary Magdalene. As far as anyone knows it is the genuine bone - a bone from a person who was one of Jesus' closest friends. Watching the hundreds of people who attended Holy Mass and who came during the day to see and venerate this very special relic was inspiring. 
That is exactly what Jesus tried to do while He was alive - inspire people - inspire them to faith - inspire them to conversion - inspire them to action. It is awesome - that Saint Mary Magdalene -  one of His closest disciples does that - today - in our lifetime - inspires us - to live out our own lives of discipleship - inspiring others.

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, March 9, 2013


A scrutiny is a searching examination or investigation - an inquiry - surveillance - guarded watching.  When one undergoes a scrutiny - they may feel like they have been placed under a microscope - in some ways they have.   The person is queried - probed - asked about their past - what their vision for the future holds - what actions have been taken to minimize or correct faults and short comings.  In the Catholic Church - during the 3rd - 4th and 5th weeks of Lent - those seeking baptism - reception into the Church - undergo a series of scrutinies - to help prepare them for full reception into the Catholic Church - at the Easter Vigil. Days of reflection - days of prayer - days of preparation - focus on Holy Saturday night - when the Holiest of all Catholic Masses is celebrated.  That night - that one Holy Mass - is there - for the Elect - the Candidates - to be baptized - anointed with Sacred Chrism - receive Holy Eucharist - for the first time.  In the Sunday rituals of the Scrutinies - they receive blessings and prayers for their continued conversion - continued rejection of sin - continued acceptance of Jesus as their personal savior. The Church joins them in a special way - at this time - praying with them - for them - for the conversion of the Elect and Candidates - for their personal conversion.  By the time Holy Saturday - the Vigil Mass - Easter Sunday finally arrives - all should be in a state of grace - awaiting the Easter Celebration.
As Jesus was taken by the soldiers and cross examined by Pilate - by others - by the guards - by the priests of the Temple - so do we also share in that time of intense scrutiny.  Each year we are invited - given the opportunity - to share with Jesus His Passion. As Lent continues - Jesus stands - waiting - hands outstretched - offering us Salvation.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Relic Travels to Yorkville

Relics are body parts of saints or those venerated as potential saints or very holy people.  The word relic come from the Latin reliquiae meaning "remains".  In Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Shamanism and other religions - relics are objects - perhaps a bone chip - from the body of the saint - which is placed on display and reverenced by the faithful.  This Monday - March 11, 2013 - at St. Patrick Parish - in Yorkville, Illinois - a first class relic of Saint Mary Magdalene is being brought to the parish.  The entrance procession will begin at 7:45 am with Holy Mass to immediately follow.  Other activities are scheduled during the day - allowing the faithful time to come during the day to see - pray - reverence - the relic.  Unlike most relics which are very small - this particular relic is quite big - easily seen.
God has allowed for these relics to be obtainable - for those of us - who like doubting Thomas - need visible evidence of His presence in the world.  By viewing these bones and chips of the holy men and women who have lived before us - we are drawn closer to each other - closer to God.  If you are in the Yorkville area - feel free to stop by the parish and spend a few minutes this Monday with one of God's special people.

Deacon Dale 

Friday's Child

Friday's Child does not refer to the Star Trek episode of the same name - rather it is a misrepresentation of a poem called Monday's Child.  It was written as a way of helping children learn the names of the days of the week.  Each day was given a character or quality - thus some may refer to the poem as Monday's Child, Tuesday's Child and so on.  It is interesting to note that Friday is described as "Friday's child is loving and giving".  We could only hope that all of us would be a Friday's child -willingly sharing what we have with others as well as our love.  Too many people close their ears - shut their eyes - turn their heads - to the needs of others. 
God knows what each of us needs - when we need it - where we need it.  He is attuned to us and the world around us.  He knows what we wish and hope for - our hearts desire - what we think we need and what we really need.  When you ask God for blessings - help - grace - always add to you prayer - according to Your Will.  God will give you exactly what you need - when you need it - in His time.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


According to Wikipedia - in psychology - frustration - is a common emotional response to opposition. Related to anger and disappointment - it arises from the perceived resistance to the fulfillment of individual will. The greater the obstruction - and the greater the will - the more the frustration is likely to be.  Everyone has moments in their lives when they will be frustrated about something or someone.  We do not live in a perfect world - thus many opportunities for disappointments - irritating situations - unhappy moments. Unfortunately you cannot avoid these - they are as much a part of life as eating and drinking. Everyone is allowed a frustrating moment or two - those who constantly frustrate others - are another issue.  
When Jesus entered the temple and saw it filled with those bartering and selling - He became frustrated - irritated - angry - at their actions. He acted on His frustration - in short order - revealed His feeling about the situation.  Jesus teaches us that we are to be tolerant of others - forgiving - forgetting.  We are also reminded that we need to be thoughtful - to think through our actions - before we act - to avoid situations - that will irritate and frustrate others. Life will throw situations at us - irritating - frustrating - that require patience - understanding - acceptance. You do not have to be happy about these moments - just remember that on occasion - you may be the guilty one.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, March 1, 2013


When you mention "Stations" in the Catholic Church - everyone knows you are referring to the devotion known more formally as The Stations of the Cross. Every Friday evening during Lent at 7:00 pm we gather as priests - deacons - altar servers - the faithful - to pray the Stations of the Cross. It is a prayerful devotion that takes about 15 minutes but is very meaningful. In this devotion we walk - figuratively and literally - through the steps that Jesus took on His way to Calvary. It is a meditation - a reflection - on how He got to that point in His life - how we - the sinners - put Him there - what we did - what we did not do - to cause His death. It is sad - solemn - tearful - enlightening. We pause - if only for 15 minutes - to reflect on where we fit in - in God's plan - what we are called to do - how we may make things better - in our own life - in the lives of people around us.
Jesus walked everywhere He went - though desert - through villages - through cities - often alone - often with His disciples. In Lent - Jesus invites each of us - to walk the Stations - with Him.

Deacon Dale