Sunday, December 21, 2014

Saint Gianna - Advent - Preparation

As we enter the Fourth week of Advent - with Christmas only a few days away - we listen to the announcement by the angel Gabriel to Mary - that she will bear the Son of God, the Holy One of Israel - He who will take away the sins of the world. Some people would say that Jesus failed in His mission - that He did not help the Jews - the Chosen People of Israel - but as a side note - did make a difference to the gentiles of the world. As the one Jew who influenced the world more than any other person - whose act of sacrificial love - set the path for many others to follow - in particular - all the women who die in childbirth - bringing new life into the world - embodied and represented by an ordinary Italian woman - a wife - a mother - a physcian - a Catholic Christian - who proclaimed God's message of Divine Mercy - thinking not of her self - but the child due to be born - preparing herself - her family - for the Advent of New LIfe. 


As Advent comes to a close and the celebration of Christmas begins - a season of - Immanuel - God With Us - may each if us prepare room in our hearts - for Christ to be born newly in each of us.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sleeping In The Pew

Recently I was asked to participate in a sleep study - my snoring - irritating to my wife - she concerned that my health was being affected. So I did the study - twice - uncomfortable - no fun. Try to sleep in a strange place - sticky leads - on the face - hair - shoulders - legs - with a harness - laying on the back - not ideal for good sleep. It is what it is - for better - or worse - a study - a test. The second time - with a face mask - even more uncomfortable. Sleep is important for everyone - young and old - to function well during waking hours - for learning - developing memory - focusing on tasks - learning new things - listening well to others. As a preacher - not uncommon to notice people in the pew - drowsing - looking away - bored. When it is my turn to deliver the homily - sermon - speech - every effort made to keep it - interesting - short - meaningful. Eye contact - with as many people as possible - gauging their level of interest - keeping them engaged - to inspire - to encourage - to spread the Gospel.

Mr. Bean Sleeping

When Jesus preached - people did not drowse - sleep - lose interest. He was able to engage completely because His message was fresh - carried value - brought the truth. As we grow in spirituality we often tune out - having heard the same message - time and again. Journeying to the end of the Advent season - our duty - to open our ears - to listen with new interest - to dive deeper into the words spoken - to hear again - maybe for the first time - the message of God's love - forgiveness - redemption. To listen to the announcement of the impending birth of the baby - some 2000 years old - that Jesus be born - freshly into our hearts - to grasp - again or the first time - what Emmanuel really means - God is with us.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Do Bee

Most older adults remember the old Romper Room television show - a long-running children's series that was broadcast in the United States from 1953 to 1994 and internationally in Canada, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, Japan and Finland. The program's targeted audience was pre-schoolers under five years old.  One of their regular segments had to do with with an over sized bumblebee called Mr Do-Bee whose task was to teach the children proper manners. He would often say "do be a do-bee - don't be a don't-bee.  The focus was positive imagery - project a positive do-bee attitude rather than a negative don't-bee attitude.  Many teachers have realize that thinking positively  - leaving the negative out of teaching moments - tends to work best - even with adults.  For example when a parent yells "don't slam the door" - children often only hear the end of the command "slam the door" and of course the door is noisly slammed close.  If - on the other hand - they would say "close the door quietly" - the person would hear "door quietly" and surprisingly the door would be quietly closed.  Using a do and don't type of teaching only reinforces the negative since it is the second and last part of the comment that the individual hears.  Rather than "do be generous - don't be selfish" - it would gain better outcomes if the statement was "be generous at all times" - positive on positive - better results - better for all involved.



Saint Paul tells us - pray constantly - in everything you do pray - make your work a prayer - pray for all - positive - positive - positive - positive.  Attitude makes a world of difference - in personal relationships - in public gatherings. As we walk through this third week of Advent - we are called to rejoice - to think positive - to be do-bees.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Camel's Back

Most of us have heard the phrase "the straw that broke the camel's back" - an idiom that refers to a "final point".  Obviously one single straw would not break any one's back - one single drop of water - does not make the cup overflow - a single lost breath does not make a person suffocate to death.  A lot of straw - a large volume of water - multiple prolonged breaths - come to a point where the volume - weight - reaches a critical point at which a single straw - one lonely drop - one final breathe - tips the scales in an unfavorable way. All of us have a breaking point - that point where we can no longer tolerate - ignore - avoid - the inevitable.  Most of the time that reaction is not dramatic - often hidden well from others - on occasion - manifested in unpleasant outbursts - reactions.  Recently I have been quietly coping with an acquaintance - a self proclaimed atheist - a former Catholic - who has been aggressively posting - anti-Christian - anti-God - messages on social media - ridiculing anyone who does believe - as ignorant - uneducated - simple minded. I have been tolerant - offering polite commentary in response to his posts.  Today was the final straw - a video of a group of "atheists" singing a vulgar Christmas Carole - demeaning all Christians and other people - with any belief in God - Christian - Jewish - Muslim - Hindi - Buddhist.  I admit he has a right to post whatever he wants - that is his right - I also have my rights - so I finally gave in to - this last straw - and have blocked him and his posts  so that I am not subjected to his insults against any belief in God.


Jesus had His detractors in His time - those who ridiculed Him and His message - those who feared Him - feared God - feared themselves. His answer to them much easier than blocking on social media - a simple shake of His foot - sending the dust of His critics back onto the ground where it belonged - under foot - to be trampled on by people - animals - whatever walked on  the ground.  Most did not know - but Jesus and His disciples knew - just as I alone - know.  As Jesus taught us - it is alright to walk away from the unreachable - the untouchable - not preferred - unfortunately a fact of life.  As we continue in our Advent observance - as we reflect on our growth - as we prepare ourselves for His second coming - it is OK - alright - to leave some behind.  All are called - many will follow - a few will be lost. Acceptable to God - acceptable to us.  For the lost - we can only offer prayers and trust in God's Divine Mercy.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving - a day to pause from your normal routines and give thanks to those who have helped make your life better - easier - happier - healthier - more fulfilling. We pause to thank first our God - for His goodness - for his generosity - then family members - close friends - special acquaintances - those who serve us in so many ways - teachers - health and medical personnel - public service persons - those who work in our place so we may spend the day with family - friends. We gather around the meal table - sharing in food and drink - fellowship- stories - past accomplishments - future hopes - looking forward to another year - waiting to be filled with future blessings.


When this world was created - it was filled with everything people would need - drink and food - shelter - heat and cold - sun and stars - night and day - animals to tame - to play - to hunt - to eat - plants - to cultivate - crops to grow - harvest time - gathering in the fruits of hard labor.  In all this - the responsibility of being good stewards - of all that we receive - all that we will receive - all that we will use.  For this - for much much more - things that cannot be seen - things that cannot be touched - things that cannot be felt - we thank - Our Creator -God in Heaven - who blesses - not only this day - but every day of our lives.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Calling All Pilgrims

It is now one year before our next pilgrimage to Italy. At this time next November 2015 we will be returning from our second "Shrines of Italy" pilgrimage. Like all of our past pilgrimages - it will be an adventure of a lifetime.  Right now we are actively recruiting participants for this inspiring journey to the land of saints - popes - shrines - great food and fun.  We have arranged gateways from Chicago, IL and Phoenix, AZ -  the price difference is only $200 additional for those flying out of Arizona.  

We leave November 3, 2015 and return November 13, 2015.

Register NOW and Save $200
Early Registration per person double occupancy. 
*From Chicago O’Hare Only $3399* 
**From Phoenix Sky Harbor Only $3599*
 $3599*/$3799* full price after May 1, 2015 
Call 630.334.5065 to register or for more information: 
www.deacontravel.org to read the details and print your registration forms

Your Hosts: 
Deacon Dale Metcalfe and Chaplain Arlene Metcalfe -
pilgrimage specialists featuring Spiritual Travel Experiences to the Holy Land, Italy,
 Poland, Spain, Ireland & more

*Includes all taxes, fees
*Love offering & trip insurance not included

**Trip Options Available For Extra Fee 

You can read all the details at www.caminowalkers.org or simply click this link to be
taken directly to our information page  HERE

Early registration saves each person $200 which almost completely covers the 
optional  trip insurance should you select that 

Papal Audience Included

Jesus spent 40 days in the desert - meditating - contemplating - praying - seeking to draw closer to His Heavenly Father.  As modern day disciples can we do any less - can we give God eleven days out of our lives to draw closer - to become more spiritual - to be more Christ like - Jesus waits - for you.

Deacon Dale 


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Airborne

Airborne literally means to be carried in or by the air. All life depends on the air we breathe - the oxygen carried in the air - along with a variety of contaminants.  Mold - pollen - gasses - odors - all make up the air - depending on your community - the contaminants present in the air various.  According to Wikipedia "Airborne diseases include any that are caused by pathogens and transmitted through the air. Some are of great medical importance. The pathogens transmitted may be any kind of microbe, and they may be spread in aerosols, dust or liquids. The aerosols might be generated from sources of infection such as the bodily secretions of an infected animal or person, or biological wastes such as accumulate in lofts, caves, garbage and the like. Such infected aerosols may stay suspended in air currents long enough to travel for considerable distances on air currents, though the rate of infection decreases sharply with the distance between the source and the organism infected".  A sneeze - a cough - from any person - would more than likely - contain droplets - contaminated with bacteria - fungi - virus. Those droplets from that sneeze will be airborne for a short period of time - eventually dissipating - settling - landing on the ground. Depending on the virus or bacteria - the time to remain active varies from hours to days - or longer - in the case of smallpox. The AIDS virus is fragile - viable for only a few hours outside the body - Hepatitis B - viable for up to a week. Some diseases cannot survive outside the body - dependant on moisture and heat. The distance in which a virus or bacteria is potentially dangerous depends on the force of the sneeze or cough and the closeness to another person. Those in confined places - elevators - classrooms - buses - sharing the same air - potentially may inhale a droplet spread by another. Inhaling a bacteria - virus - does not mean you will get the disease - the immune system of your body - in a healthy individual - offers protection - helps one avoid contracting the disease. Maintaining good health - eating good foods - getting plenty of exercise - proper sleep - strengthens the body's immune system. Taking proper precautions - avoiding contaminated air space - covering the mouth when coughing - sneezing into the sleeve of garments - avoids spreading the disease. One of the most offensive things that may happen - a person who consciously sneezes directly into another's face. Good manners - demands proper actions by those who are sick - realizing that we are our brother's keeper - we are responsible for our health and the health of our neighbors - friends - family. Paratroopers jumping from an airplane pose little risk to those on the ground - the potential they bear in their arms - once they contact life - immeasurable.



The great Gift that God gives us in His Love - His forgiveness - His protection - carried through the air - airborne - via His Holy Spirit. Like a virus - spread through human contact - to affect the lives of many -to heal - to  comfort - to guide - to nurture. God knows very well the challenges we face - the daily - the common - the uncommon. In all our lives He offers us salvation - life eternal - life outside the limits of time and space - life in harmony with life itself.

Deacon Dale 


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

It's Not All Fun and Games

Being human means that most of us judge others - it is human nature - to critique - to evaluate - to assess - the good - the bad - the ugly - the wealth - the poverty - how success was attained - lost.  As often as we promise not to judge others - we fail - many - on a daily basis. Quite often we see those whom we judge - have it easier than ourselves - not as easy as we think.  Many times we fail to see the reality of others struggles - excessive hours  invested in projects - personal cost involved - loss of free time - time with family - just to succeed. Unknown to us - to most - it is never as easy as appears. The personal cost - more than most would be willing to invest.  


For a similar reason - many judge wrongly that those who feel solid in their faith - have it made.  A committed Christian - Muslim - Jew - Hindu - Buddhist - Atheist - all judged - wrongly.  Just because you find comfort in your faith - does not mean you will not have issues - that you have no conflicts - things that trouble.  Everyone has something or another that takes - time - energy - effort - with which to cope. In a perfect world - this would not happen - but in this world - perfection - does not exist. There is only one place where everything is perfect  - that place is not here - only in God's world. In His world - there is no judging - no need to judge - all are equal - all are happy - all is fun and games and peace.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, October 20, 2014

What Me Worry?

When I was much younger - my brothers and I - read "MAD Magazine" - originally a comic book - turned into a legitimate magazine - that poked fun at the world and many things that adults took too seriously - often making fun and openly ridiculing politicians and popular opinion. As a magazine targeted to younger people - it appealed and set the stage for future imitators - who also dared to ridicule the institutions that most adults blindly followed - to the delight of youth. It helped to form young people - who refused to be blindly led by government - who learned to think for themselves - who learned that you voted for the individual and not the party - who were to become the thinkers - shakers - movers of the 20th century. The mascot for the magazine was Alfred E. Neuman - who's constant mantra was - "What me worry?".   MAD magazine is often credited with filling a vital gap in political satire from the 1950s to 1970s, when Cold War paranoia and a general culture of censorship prevailed in the United States, especially in literature for teens. Instead of being fearful of the world - teens and young adults looked forward to a world in which they could and would make a difference.


Fifty years later - the world is once again in need of those who are willing to step out of their comfort zone to go against the public opinion to say and speak the truth - even when not popular or politically correct. Jesus had to cope with the same issue in His day - speaking about injustice and wrongs - in spite of criticism by the pharisees - in spite of the temple priests.  Doing and saying what is right - more important - than being popular - more important than winning votes - for words that will not heal or help. We are called - each of us - to be doers and healers - to proclaim the Words of God - to be confident - that God is with us constantly - to profess with His Holy Spirit - "What me worry?" - Jesus is Lord!

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Camino Angels

It has been a year since Arlene and I walked the El Camino de Santiago de Compostela (The Way of Saint James) in Northern Spain. Since walking the Camino - we have found nothing that compares to that experience. What we initially thought would be a once in a lifetime event - has taken on a life of its own and even now - a year later - we find ourselves discussing the Camino on a daily basis. For anyone who has shared that experience - for reasons not completely clear - the Camino gets into your blood - becomes a part of your life - the lessons learned - infiltrate our lives constantly. We think a bit different - react a bit different - hope a bit different. One reason that this event has had such a great impact on both of us is because of what we call - Camino Angels - people - out of nowhere - who offered help - assistance - encouragement - at the drop of a hat - freely offering advice - giving directions - solving issues - before being asked. We remember one specific point - having walked about 10 days - when two older ladies appeared out of nowhere - who offered - words of encouragement - sweet candies - well wishes - then disappeared. Many other peregrinos shared similar stories - all happening in that one location. Perhaps it was two old women who had a lot of time on their hands - slowly walking between villages - maybe it was something completely different - don't know - don't care - it happened - and that is all we need to know.


As people of faith - each of us is called to be silent - quiet - mysterious - angels - helping others - without being asked - without being paid - without any expectations. None of us walks this Camino called life - alone.  Everyone has someone - known - unknown - who is waiting there to help. Often we are called to be that person - that angel - who makes the impossible - possible. Just yesterday I had an impulse to help out our local homeless shelter - Hesed House - with the purchase of some travel size soap that I knew they needed. In my search to seek out a supplier - I called a friend - a fellow Knight of Columbus - a real gentlemen who not only gave me the answers I sought - but also arranged the donation of some 45,000 bars of soap - plus 1000 deodorants and shampoo. I never expected that - completely caught off guard - completely impressed - without being asked - arranged that very sizable donation to the needy. Do angels exist - yes - I know one personally.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Bi-Lingual

Those who are able to speak in two different languages are among those who are bi-lingual - knowing two languages - communicating with more than one group of people. When I was a child - in the Mid-West - English was the only language that most of us spoke. Those who spoke other languages quickly had to learn English or fall behind - in school - job opportunities - social activities.  All that has changed with the advent of immigration of numerous non English speaking persons. While they struggle to learn English - we struggle to learn their native language - seeking to facilitate better communication among all people. Some people resent the addition of a second - third - language in their community. Those who refuse to learn - even a few words - will soon find themselves falling behind those who make the effort to expand their language skills. Although only fluent in English - today I can state that I am comfortable with Spanish - Italian - even Polish. If dropped into their communities - I could survive - with effort. As a person who is constantly seeking new and additional knowledge - I welcome the opportunity to go outside my comfort level - to reach more - to improve my communications.  Recently we added a new name to our pilgrimage ministry. Feeling that DeaconTravel had issues and limitations we added the name CaminoWalkers - hoping that those who understand Spanish - those who know about the "Camino" in Spain - would understand the new name and what we were trying to do with that addition. As with any change - there have been both positive and negative comments. In time it should grow on those to whom we promote that ministry.


When Jesus spoke to His followers - when he delivered His famous dissertations to the mass of people following Him - He had to speak in words unfamiliar to many of the people. He spoke in parables - in phrases previously unknown - but in words that made it easy - for those seeking God's presence - in their lives - easier to grasp. Even today - God - speaks to each of us in numerous and various ways - thorough spoken language - native and foreign - through sights and sounds - through modern media - through art and music - through sports. God reveals Himself to us constantly - seeking a place in our hearts - our lives. Each of us needs to stop - listen - He is speaking our language.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Naming The Baby

One of the hardest tasks a prospective parent has to face is selecting the name for a child that is yet unborn. When a person has experience with an individual - opportunities to see special characteristics - note individual quirks - special talents - naming becomes easy. In the case of a child - yet to be born - no idea of their gender - physical features - other characteristics - a very difficult task. In some cases the names fit the new baby perfectly - in many others - not at all. That is where nicknames come into play - Tiger - Champ - Honey - Buddy - whatever the mind conjures up. Naming a business or a church ministry is just as difficult - pick the wrong name - no business - picking a name that says exactly what you do or who you are - right on target - most of the time. For unknown reasons - sometimes that perfect name - becomes a burden - a hindrance - rather than a help. That is exactly what has happened with a pilgrimage ministry that we started a few years ago. We were Catholic deacons who wanted to share the experience of spiritual travel - pilgrimage - with others. To keep it short and memorable - we chose DeaconTravel.  That name says it all - deacons and travel. So why the difficulty - why the need to change?  Money - yes money - although this was a ministry in which we invested our money - helped others to experience spiritual travel at a reasonable cost - a ministry that impacted hundreds of lives - we were constantly accused of profiting from our efforts.  The only profit any of us received was the "thank yous" from those who participated in our programs - evenings of reflection - Lenten retreats - RCIA retreats - senior trips to visit churches - over night trips to visit shrines - week long pilgrimages - to the Holy Land - Italy - Poland - Spain. The out of pocket cost to us to organize and participate in all these - in the tens of thousands. There is no financial gain in real ministry - there is always a cost of time and personal money invested - to help others draw closer to Jesus - closer to God. So the baby has a new name - one that hopefully says who we are - what we do - without any connection to money or profit. 

CaminoWalkers

Introducing CaminoWalkers (formerly DeaconTravel Ministries). A simple name - a name that says clearly - Camino - to travel - to journey - Walkers - walking closer to God - together - experiencing all that He has in store for us - through prayer - meditation - guided journey - in evenings of reflection - parish missions - day trips to visit churches and shrines - international pilgrimages to spiritual places around the world. An old ministry - with a new name - eliminating the confusion that we were a travel agency - eliminating the confusion that we were a for profit business - eliminating the idea that we are not a legitimate ministry. Now - through the Grace of God - we will be able to continue - serving God - His Church - His people - as the humble servants that we are.

With God - all things are possible. With CaminoWalkers - you journey closer to the God who loves you - the God who heals you - the God who calls you to journey with Him.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Charity Challenge

Right now the "Ice Bucket Challenge" is one of the hottest topics on the Internet and social media. What started as a celebration at sporting events - pouring the giant container of Gatorade over the head of team members - has evolved to a historically unprecedented event of everyone - adults - teens - children - famous and not so famous - recording icy water being poured over their heads - a challenge to do so and then follow up with a donation to charity. It is great fun - an attention getter - displaying how willing almost everyone is to become involved in clean honest fun while raising awareness of those in need. In the days ahead - others will be inventing similar challenges - specifically on social media - to bring awareness to other social issues. Hopefully - in the process - this should not evolve into a mundane occurrence - rather - using the tool of social media - help people with needs to connect with others of means - to solve some of the many issues previously gone unnoticed. People helping people - what a great idea.


God designed this world with that very concept in mind - people helping people. We were never expected to cope with life's issues alone - rather the community was to be the source of constant support and assistance. God calls each of us to be aware - of His presence in our lives - of the presence of others around us - of the presence of those in need. You do not have to be any specific religion - only a caring person - responding to the need when necessary. If we all could learn that - this would be a much better world.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Wading in the Waters

In this Sunday's Gospel we read the account of Jesus walking on the water - yet another of His miracles performed around the Sea of Gallilee - following the miracle of feeding the 5000 men. In the First scripture for Sunday's Holy Mass we heard about Elijah waiting on the Lord - waiting for Him to appear - not in the flashes and loud winds - rather in the quiet breeze. In the Gospel the Lord is found in the midst of a storm - why the difference - why not a gentle breeze instead? It points out to us - God is everywhere - in all of life's events - the quiet - the noisy - the hectic and frantic - the calm and serene. It is we - who expect - anticipate - who miss - His constant presence around us. Two years ago I was in a boat on the Sea of Galilee - calm peaceful - once on shore I was able to remove my sandals and walk into its cool refreshing waters. Unlike our Lord when I walked on the water - it was the bottom layer of the Sea - not on top as He did. It didn't make any difference - I was in and on top of the very same Sea of Galilee that Jesus walked on - preached on - ministered on. I also had the privilege of preaching at Holy Mass on the edge of the Sea of Galilee - a God moment - if I ever had one - shared with the pilgrims traveling with our group.



As we continue Sunday's Gospel we read that Peter also walked on water - for a time - then when he took his eyes off Jesus - when he doubted - when his faith started to waiver - he began to sink.  That tells us that if we keep our eyes focused on Jesus - not on worldly concerns - we too will be able to do like Jesus - maybe not walk on water - rather - spread his message of love and peace - offer hope and help to others - reassure others who are drowning in their problems. Like Jesus we are called - to give a hand up - a help out. Daily - God calls us to be more and more - Christ like. Today would be a good day to start.

Deacon Dale


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Loaves and Fishes and Thirsty Seekers

 In Today's Holy scriptures the first reading and Gospel seems to focus on earthly needs of people - thirsting - loaves and fishes - feeding 5000 - comforting the belly and the senses. That is not the true focus though - thirsting for God's presence - thirsting for God's blessing - water - wine - milk - honey - that which is needed by all - not always sought after by all. In the Gospel - rather than send people away who are actively seeking the Word - Jesus has them share a communal meal - a feast by some standards - five loaves and two fish - come sit and eat - share with each other the feast laid before you. To us - no feast - to people far from home - no food to eat - hungry - a feast. To be lonesome and hungry - to take and receive - to share from your need - the fragments of yourself - with another - is a reflection of the communion of man.


Besides the apparent miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fish - besides the miracle of the ability to feed 5000 - and more - only men were counted - the miracle -  that those who had none - when they finally had their hands on some food - chose to share - rather than hoard - chose to be civil - rather than rude - chose community - over self. Today Jesus calls us - each of us - to share what we have - no matter what - no matter how much - to share in Love - to share as community - thinking of all - not self. We are called to be Christ like - we are called to diakonia - to service - to those - we know - to those we do not know. Called to serve - who will stand - who will respond - who will make themselves uncomfortable - to make others comfortable - Jesus knows.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Besties

According to the Urban Dictionary - Besties - are "friends who have each other's backs, look out for each other, spend lots of time together, and are just really good friends. They have inside jokes together, they go to the park and swing on swing sets, get ice cream, go to the beach, go to concerts, go bowling, and basically any activity that they like doing together as friends." Most people will have at least a few besties - other people - usually not family - who are there to help and support - even when not asked. They know what is happening in your life - they know when you are happy or sad - they know when you can stand on your own feet or when you need help getting around. Life without even one or two besties would be less fulfilling - less fun - less tolerable. Casual acquaintances come and go - here today - gone tomorrow. Besties are here - now and forever - even when separated for long periods of time or great distances. As each of us walks the path of life - we experience life not only in the times and events that occur -  but also - in the people who come in and out of our lives. Above all else - it is people who add the real color - the real flavor to our lives. 

As Christians - we rejoice in the knowledge that Jesus has always been there for us - waiting - watching - helping - protecting - guiding - healing - forgiving - completing - our lives. He is the one very true constant in our lives - even in those moments when we doubted His presence - doubted His words - doubted His love. When we look back in our lives and see Jesus so far away from ourselves - we need to ask "who moved" - not Him - He is after all a constant. Jesus is our first Bestie - if you cannot see Him at the moment - just turn around - He is standing there - right next to you - waiting for you to welcome Him -back into your life.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Spreading Seeds

Earlier this Spring farmers everywhere were busy spreading various seeds in the ground after tilling and preparing the soil for a new crop. It doesn't make much difference what seed they were planting - the process is basically the same - prepare the soil to make it receptive to accepting the seeds - adding fertilizer and weed killer where necessary - then physically spreading the seed - hoping for a rainfall to settle the seed and begin the process of germination. Then the waiting game - waiting to see the first signs that the seed took hold - sprouted - poked its tiny green head above ground. Most of the seed normally takes root - with continued care in the early days - roots go deep and a healthy stand appears in the field. Not all seed germinates - not all seed grows - some withers and falls by the wayside - to be thrown in the trash later in the growing season.


In today's Gospel - Jesus shares the parable about the seeds - some falling on good soil - some falling on rocky ground - roots that do not grow deep - seed surrounds by thorns - His seed the Word of God - His parable - how different people receive His seeds - the Word of God tickling their ears - in the end not always providing growth in the person's life - not showing growth in the community. As much as He warns - the people - those who have ears - need to hear - those who have eyes - need to see - His warning is also to those who preach. To bishops - priests - deacons - He tells us - give the people real food - preach His Word - honestly - completely - give the people something they can sink their spiritual teeth in - not the fluff and warm fuzzies preached by too many these days. It is not about feeling good - rather being good - it is about hearing the truth - spoken in Love - Truth that admonishes - teaches - encourages - inspires. His Word gaining for His Heavenly Father true and honest disciples - disciples who are more numerous than all the ordained clergy in the world - those disciples - joining with the ordained - to spread His Gospel message - of Love - Forgiveness - Reconciliation - Salvation. Jesus says forget the fluff - the boring - feel good homilies and sermons - instead plant seeds of faith - seeds that produce mature and faithful Christians.

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Beasts of Burden

A beast of burden is typically a pack animal used to carry or move heavy objects - as compared to draft animals which are used to pull a load behind themselves. Common pack animals would be elephants - camels - horses - reindeer - dogs - mules - donkeys. Although termed "burden" - the weight these animals are asked to carry are reasonable given their size and load weight. Humans would normallly not be considered a beast of burden - the term loosly applied to humans who are asked to bear emotional burdens of a serious nature - beyond that which the typical person would be able to cope with. Most people cope with the stresses of normal life in very good syle - on ocassion - some expereince issues that seem to snowball and grow in size well beyound that which anyone would normally expect to bear - reaching a critical point where the person finally collapses - usually emotionally.


In Matthew 11 Jesus tells us "come to me all you who labor and are burdened - and I will give you rest - take my yolk upon you and learn from me - for I am meek and humble of heart - and you will find rest for yourselves - for my yolk is easy - and my burden light".  The yolk that He asks us to share is His commitment to love all - equally - fairly - with no judgement - it is not a yolk of wood - rather a circle of love - we are asked to love all as He loves - to help all  - to open ourselves to the presence of Christ in those whom we meet - to bear the burden of His love - carried joyfully for all.
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Deacon Dale

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Scare Tactics

I find it very frustrating that so many people - organizations - special interest groups - use scare tactics - when recruiting or promoting their agenda or business. We have become a nation of fear - afraid of what might happen if we fail to join - participate - buy into whatever is being handed to us. Recently I received a letter informing me that our local county had finally received voter approval to negotiate electrical rates for the people of our county. It is called aggregation - putting all homes into one large buying group - creating a large body of consumers into one bargaining unit with the hope of getting lower electrical rates - saving everyone money in the process. I was shocked - as I read the letter - that the bargain rate - locked in for the next three years - was no bargain at all. Verifying my purchase history I verified that I was - and currently am paying only 63% of the rate offered to the group. I called and opted out - wondering how many homes were mislead and signed up for the bargain rate because of the threat of an increase that very likely will never happen. I could be wrong - maybe I am lucky to get a fantastic rate since my home is total electric - maybe I am one of the lucky ones. It is not only electric rates that people fear - gas prices fluctuate daily - keeping people trapped in their homes - afraid that they will spend their life's savings on a long awaited trip - vacation - shopping spree. Some religions take the same tactic - don't be left behind - commit today - you know not the day or the hour - convert before it is too late.
It is true that we do not know the day or hour when Christ will return - but our God is a merciful God - slow to anger - quick to forgive - His Divine Mercy - unmeasurable. It would be incompatible with all we know about Jesus - with God - for Him to swoop down upon mankind - in an instant - giving no time to act - to react - to repent. He warns us constantly - in the end - when the end comes -  I have to believe - He will be compassionate to all - one last time - no scare tactics -  in truth - with love.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Dynamic Duo

When you hear the words Dynamic Duo -  who comes to mind - Batman and Robin? Perhaps you thought of another two people whom you would label as a dynamic duo -  the Green Hornet and Kato - maybe a dynamic husband and wife team - perhaps the Korean hip-hop artists - Choiza and Gaeko known as the Dynamic Duo. Whomever came to mind obviously impressed you as two people - working together for a common goal - a common project - who have met with success and recognized for such. 


Saint Peter and Paul - are recognized as two of the most important disciples of Jesus - recognized today by the Catholic Church as it celebrates the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul - Apostles. These two men - in the early days of Christianity - are responsible for the spread of the Gospel message of Jesus - responsible for the early development of the Christian faith - in spite of ridicule - prison - chains - death. They believed in the message so deeply - they gave their lives. Jesus calls each of us to be dynamic - as singles - as duos - as groups - to be strong in our faith - to spread the Gospel - to live and love as His modern days disciples. Do you dare to accept the challenge - do you dare to be that strong in your faith - to become a dynamic duo - you and Jesus?

Deacon Dale 


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Wheels Up In Twenty

Recently I have viewed a number of episodes of - Criminal Minds - a police show involving a specialized unit of the FBI - known as the BAU - Behavioral Analysis Unit - specializing in cases of very urgent natures. After informing the team of what they are coping with - they leave immediately to speed to the area of trouble which always means a flight in a private jet. As the team members gather their notes and equipment- they are always cued to the urgent nature and need for prompt departure - thus - wheels up in twenty minutes - be on the plane - now. I like this way of telling the team - move it - now - go!  We use similar phrases in all walks of life to - get up and go - move it or lose it - hurry up - let's bogey - shake a leg.


Jesus tells us that we need not worry about the day or the hour when He will return - that is reserved only for His Father. It is not for us to wonder when - it is for us to know that the time will come - one day when we least expect it. We are called to serve - to help spread His Gospel - to preach the Good News - whether convenient or not - to take His message of love - forgiveness - salvation - to the four corners of the world. That is our job - our only one- talk to people - share His love - share His message -now. We are called to be the only Jesus some people will ever know. One day - when we least expect it - Jesus will come - His message - wheels up in twenty.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Corpus Christi

Sunday was the feast of Corpus Christi - the Body and Blood of Christ - celebrated around the world- not only in Catholic churches - but other Christian denominations as well. For centuries - the Blood of Christ has had special significance - blood being a very precious commodity. It is impossible for any person to live without blood - the life force essential to existence. It carries not only oxygen and nutrients to the cells of the body - but also micro nutrients - enzymes and hormones - very small - yet important to the proper functioning of the various systems of the body. Even in the earliest days of mankind - with limited intellect - before the study of sciences - blood was honored and respected. Blood from animal sacrifices-splashed on the altars - in early cultures - medical cures through the process of blood letting -among the most popular. Even today blood draws respect among all peoples - blood lost in surgical procedures- the desperate call for donors - particularly those with rare types  - blood lost on the battlefields of life- in political hot spots - in the neighborhoods of too many cities. Blood oaths - blood baths - in modern life -continues in the enlightened world.


Jesus shed His blood for each of us - men and women - young and old - Christian - Jew - Muslim - Buddhist - whomever. He shed His blood - gave His life - that we might live - that we might have full lives - that we might become all that the Father expected of us - that we might learn to respect and honor not only our blood and bodies - but that of those around us. He gave His life that the bloodshed around neighborhoods - cities - countries - the world might end. This feast of Corpus Christi asks us to not only honor the the Body and Blood of Christ - but also the Body and Blood of the Christ that lives in each one of us. In loving each other - putting the needs of others first - raising up the lowly - feeding the hungry - clothing the naked - respecting others beliefs and lifestyles - we honor Jesus Himself - we honor His Holy Spirit - His Heavenly Father.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Holy Trinity

Today we celebrated the Holy Trinity - Father - Son - Holy Spirit. Explaining the concept of One God - Three persons - Three personalities - One God - difficult for many - way too easy for most. We are people of faith - most just accept the concept - no questions - no thoughts on how this is possible. In a nutshell - easiest to say - God is capable of anything - if He wants to exist as three persons and one person at the same time why not - He IS God - after all. Saint Patrick used the image of a three leaf clover - one flower - leaf - made up of three smaller leaves - connected to one stem - simple easy - understandable. Fine if you are a plant person - understanding three  persons as one person - a little more complicated. I like to use the example of one person who wears three hats - has three characteristics that are distinct but exist in the one person. Since today is Father's day - let me use the example of a father - myself.  I am definitely one person - just ask my wife or children - and that is my point.  I am my parents child - therefore I exist as their son - I am my wife's spouse - therefore I am her husband - I have two grown sons - therefore to them I am their father. Simply put I exist as one man - recognized as father - son - husband. What appears as three persons - father - son - husband - is all summed up in my one person - if I can be one person and exist as three distinct personalities - or designated titles - how much easier to understand God as Father - Son - Holy Spirit.

As Christians we are called to be people of faith - not wasting our time trying to understand God - we will never ever really understand God - rather - our time should be invested in serving God. Serving Him by serving the people we encounter in our daily lives. In the end there is only one thing that matters - Love of God - Love of others - Love of self - all to the benefit and glory of the One Triune God.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Don't Drink The Kool Aid

When someone tells another person "don't drink the kool-aid" they are not referring to the popular drink enjoyed by many adults and children - rather they are referring to the event described by Wikipedia in which  ["Drinking the Kool-Aid" is a figure of speech commonly used in the United States that refers to a person or group holding an unquestioned belief, argument, or philosophy without critical examination. The phrase derives from the November 1978 Jonestown death, where some 300 members of the People Temple, who were followers of the Reverend Jim Jones committed suicide by drinking a mixture of a powdered soft drink flavoring agent laced with cyanide. Although the powder used in the incident included Flavor Aid, it was commonly referred to as Kool-Aid due to its status as a genericized trademark.]  The sad thing - with the aforementioned event - is that only the leaders of the group knew what was going to happen - the followers - adults and children - duped by their leaders and Reverend Jones - became innocent victims because they did not question - placed their complete trust in them. A similar tale is told of the Hale-Bopp group in which 39 members of the American Heaven's Gate UFO religious Millenarian group based in California committed mass suicide in order to be "picked up" by an alien space craft following the Comet Hale-Bopp in March 1997 in hope of a new life better than the one they were living.  Today belief in all sorts of cults and miracle movements continues to exist and causes confusion among people - people professing miracle cures - roads to instant wealth - quick fixes to rebuild dwindling church membership  - being drawn into false agendas by questionable religious groups claiming affiliation with established organizations -  attempts to scare and misinform - using misdirection and deception - focusing on who fired the first shot in 2012 and other times - while the uninformed masses are constantly being told "drink the kool-aid - do not think for yourselves".



There are no magic cures - no silver bullets - the only reliable answer is God - working though His loyal ministers - proclaiming the complete Gospel - not a watered down version - calling everyone to confession of sins and acceptance of His only Son - Jesus - as the Lord and Saviour of their lives. When people open themselves to full reception of the Holy Spirit and start acting in loving and charitable ways - when they forget their personal wants and agendas - when they honestly strive to become servants to all - giving the people what they need and not what they think they need - when they speak the truth in place of lies and falsehoods - when they feed the hungry and clothe the naked - when they welcome all - no matter what their color or creed - when they stand hand in hand and raise their voices in one common prayer to God - then will churches be rebuilt - then will "Friends" who are filled with false agendas and lies be silenced - then will this world become one people united under the One True God. We are all called - don't drink the kool-aid - think for yourself - drink of the Holy Spirit of Our God - become a true disciple of Jesus- open yourself to His Holy Spirit working through your life - then - watch what miracles finally happen.

If this is the desire of your heart - then simply say this prayer - Lord Jesus - have mercy on me a sinner - I thank you for the blessings you have bestowed upon me - for the graces received - I ask you Lord - to pour your most Holy Spirit upon me in abundance - to release the power of your Holy Spirit in my life - that I may truely become - the disciple - you have called me to be - 


Deacon Dale

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Alive!

Being alive - breathing in the fresh morning air - being able to walk freely about - going where you want - when you want - making your own decisions - that is being alive. Many people know what it means to be alive - many others - do not have a clue. They are bound by fears - depression - worries - guilt - anxiety - the unknown.  Often they are held back by physical limitations - others who tell them that it is not possible - jealously by others.  Whenever a person gives in to these - the chance to experience life to the fullest is diminished - completely taken away.


(John 10:10) Jesus came that we might have life and live it to the fullest - no guarantee - it is up to us to stake our claim on His promise. He will not force the fullness of life on us if we fail to act. We cannot be afraid - rather it is imperative that we act boldly - people of faith - confident in His promise - confident in Him.  As Easter people - as people of Hope - we rejoice in all that He offers us - we live in Him - we share His victory over death - we are alive!

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Call to Service

Quite often people pose the question about why are we "here" - what is our purpose - what goal are we to accomplish in our life time. There are many ways to view this - the answers will vary depending on the person who is asked and their personal perspective on life. For myself - I believe that we are here to help each other - in many and various ways. We might be teachers - doctors - lawyers - nurses - mechanics - artists - musicians - thinkers - doers - role models for those who know and see us and what we do. Each of us projects a certain image - a persona that is specifically ours - others watch - wait - listen - observe what we do - how we react - how we cope with our own lives. In a way we are all teachers - leading by example - helping in ways - often unknown to ourselves.


After the first Easter event - when Jesus had been crucified - died - rose - His disciples asked themselves the same questions. Their prime directive - Go - baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit - carry the Good News to the four corners of  the world. A large task by any measure - a task that was overwhelming - a task that needed more than  the twelve to accomplish. (Acts 6: 2-3) So they looked around for men suitable - those who could help - they prayed over them laid hands on them - thus the first seven deacons of the Church. Today the number of permanent deacons is close to 40,000 - men ordained specifically to serve the people of God - through acts of Charity - serving the needs of others especially the marginalized - Liturgy - serving at the Eucharistic table - solemnly baptizing - witnessing marriages - presiding over funerals and burials - bringing Eucharist to the home bound and in hospitals - Word - proclaiming the Gospel - preaching at Mass - catechises - evangelization and sacramental preparation - ordinary men - ordained to Holy Orders - assistants to the Bishop - working alongside the parish priests - to fullfil their call to service. Jesus calls each of us - ordained or otherwise - to make ourselves servants to each other - in plain and simple ways - for although He is mighty and powerful - He works through the week and ordinary. Listen to Jesus - He just might be calling your name.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

M Is For Mother

M is for mother - mama - mom - mommy - mysterious - masterful - magnificent - mine.  We all have a mother - many of us are married to women who are mothers. In our lives few women impress us as much as mothers. They might be your own - your friend's - your neighbor's. Whomever they are - wherever they may be - they surround us - touch our lives. There is nothing like a mother's love - that unconditional - always loves you - always forgives you - always cares for you - love. Mom is always there - always waiting - always helping - always encouraging - constant - a peg firmly set in place - hard to move - hard to change.  Mothers are a treasure to behold - God's gift to His children.


Mary - beautiful by any name - Saint Mary - Mother of Jesus - Mother of God - Mother to the World - Mother to all Mankind - the First Mother. Mary prays for us - intercedes for us - cares for us - just as she does for her own son - Jesus. As a role model for all mothers - Mary reminds them and us - of God's constant love - God's constant forgiveness - God's awesome agape love for all people - Christians - Jews - Muslims - Buddhists - Hindi - all faiths - believers and non-believers - atheists and agnostics - everyone -  everywhere. This Mother's Day as we celebrate the gift of our own mothers - remember who created her and who loves each of us - every day.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Changing Times

Those of us who live in the Midwest are still waiting for Spring to arrive in full force - bringing with it some long awaited warmer temperatures. Last week my wife and I spent seven days in Arizona looking for a winter home - seeking to avoid the cold Midwest winter next year. We were blessed with very nice temperatures all week long - ranging from the 90's to over 100 - wishing that we could have brought some of that warmth back home with us. Today - our second day back - cool and wet - not exactly the weather either of us prefer. It is what it is - and as the saying goes around Chicago Land - wait a few minutes - it will change. While driving all around the Phoenix area - with the sun constantly shinning and beating down on us - one question that came to mind was - how hot can we tolerate - keeping in mind that famous Arizona expression - but - it is a DRY heat. We will give them that - at 100 degrees we did not perspire - we did not wilt - but it was still hot. As we age we learn more and more every day how our tolerances have changed from our younger days - when we tolerated all sorts of things - not just the weather - but attitudes - people - politics. Tolerance is a virtue too often ignored by many these days - we try to the best of our ability - to be tolerant - especially to other people.


Jesus was probably one of the most tolerant people of all times - yet - He too had His limits. The money changers in the temples - a common sight in His times - finally rubbed Him the wrong way - causing Him to overturn their tables - driving  them out of the temple with cords formed into a whip. Even God has limits - our One True Loving God - can become irritated with any of us. When we fail to listen to His words - fail to do as He asks - fail to turn the other cheek - time and again - knowing all the good examples left for us by His Son - even God becomes angry. Unlike we - who chose to ignore - who chose to go astray - who chose to turn our backs on Him - on each other - He is always there - waiting. Waiting for us - to turn back - to come around - to seek - to ask. God - Jesus - tolerates us - until we are ready to let Him into our lives.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Yes Viriginia - There Is A Heaven

Many people know without a doubt that heaven exists - no questions - no arguments - others - quite the different opinion - varying from questioning its existence - to outright denial. Obviously none of us have seen heaven - the proof of its reality - only in testimony - in Holy Scripture - only in Near Death experiences. The Majority of people hope there is a heaven - pray that it is real - disappointed when some refute its reality. Near Death stories support believers - are fodder for those who chose to ridicule. Evidence supporting its existence does tend to conflict from witness to witness - the one common aspect is the sense of peacefulness - serenity - comfort. As we read and listen to stories - it appears that heaven is more of a personal experience for each person - one person's heaven may be similar to others - yet still different.  Christians are not the only ones to believe in heaven - other religions - have similar beliefs of a special place where one receives  their eternal rewards after leaving this life.


Jesus promised His disciples - Us - that heaven does exist. In John 14:12 Jesus tells that his Father's house has many rooms and that He goes before to prepare a room for us. If we who believe in Jesus - believe in His promises - then there is no question for us - no doubt - no fear. Jesus says to you - to me - to Virginia - yes there is a heaven.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Easter Frenzy

It is now four days after Easter Sunday - four days in which I have been decompressing - coming down from the activities of Holy Week - The Chrism Mass - Holy Thursday - Good Friday - Holy Saturday - Easter Sunday - planning - scheduling - meeting - rehearsing - making phone calls - recruiting - emailing - a one man show - attempting to make Holy Week and Easter special for all who would participate.  It was not my plan to undertake all of this - on my own - it was not my plan to attempt all that had to be done - on my own - it was the reality of being told that it was my job - one week prior - that I was expected to arrange Holy Week - on my own.  In the past - others have been in charge and I have willing helped - this year those same people - for various reasons - could not help - did not want to help - so I did it - on my own.  I will never repeat that error - again.  I was there - I attended every service - I planned and led every rehearsal - I did the extras - the Holy Saturday blessing of Easter food baskets - the final rite for those in RCIA - I even bought the special candles and certificates for our RCIA participants - because that also fell through the cracks - on my own. My sole help - my sole support was my wife - who helped where she could - who allowed me the time - to make all this work - without a single heartfelt thank you.  I know I was serving God - serving His Son - my only real regret is that I failed to spend any quality time worshiping Him - my saviour - this past week.  My prayer is that He forgive me for allowing myself to be so unbelievably busy during the holiest week of the year - that I was caught up in such a frenzy organizing - that I failed to worship. This week - I pray that in some small way I can make it up to Him.

Jesus had a lot more disciples - followers - than the dozen we commonly hear about. They came from all over to see him - to listen to him - to worship Him - to touch Him.  At the end - with hundreds and thousands of followers - He ended up alone - walking the final step - on His own - enduring the punishment - on His own - hanging on the cross - on His own. Nobody else could have done what He did - nobody else could suffer the way He did - it was His - His alone to do - on His own - for you - for me - for the world.  As we continue our celebration of the Easter season - each of us needs to realize - if we were the only one worth saving - He would have still died for us - on His own - for us - alone.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Season

Easter is such a monumental event that one day does not do it justice - therefore - Easter season - 50 days - which lasts all the way to Pentecost - the Christian Church celebrates Christ's victory over death and sin. The victory is so important - so grand that one day is not long enough to honor the significance of this victory. In this season we are affirmed in our belief - in Jesus - in God - in the promises of New Life for ourselves. Jesus was the first - we are to follow one day - assured that He has gone to His Father to create a room for each of us.


Jesus is the same today as yesterday - His promises as valid today as when first spoken -  He calls each of us - daily - to come to Him - to accept His offer and promise - of New Life. In these 50 days - He waits for you to respond.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter - Resurrection - הַלְּלוּיָהּ

Easter - the Big Day - Christ is Risen - He is Alive - Resurrection - Birth to New LIfe. Today we celebrate the most often recorded - and debated - event of all history - the resurrection of Jesus - the Christ.  Around the world - in as many languages as there are people - the one word most often spoken - that universal utterance - known by almost all - Alleluia - Hallelujah - a transliteration of the Hebrew word הַלְּלוּיָהּ - halleluya - a two part word meaning praise (you) + the Lord. On this day Christians of all denominations celebrate - rejoice - in this one act - the raising from the dead - of Jesus.  A statement - in fact - if God can raise Jesus - what can He do with us? Can we truly be saved from our sins - from a sinful world - from sinful people - from those who would harm us - those who would deny us - those who would seek our personal destruction? In Jesus' resurrection the answer is - YES - without a doubt - no challenge - to a God who is not only - the Author of Life - but the Guardian of Life - The One who Is - the One who will Be - the Source and Summit of our existence.  


On this day Jesus - celebrates with all people around the world - He came for all - but not all will accept His gift - He offers New Life - many will accept - some will reject. For those of us who believe - we place our trust in the promises of God - we rejoice - we proclaim alleluia - praise the Lord.

Deacon Dale 



Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Triduum - Holy Saturday - The Mother of all Vigils

Our third day of the Triduum - this morning we blessed Easter food baskets - for that Easter meal which breaks the Paschal fast - we blessed our catechumens as they recited the creed - a time of instruction for tonight's vigil Mass - server training - back home to rest and prepare for tonight's Vigil Mass - the longest Mass of the year. Tonight we bless fire - the new Easter Candle -the water in the font - for those who will be baptized - received - confirmed in  the Church - as they prepare to celebrate their First Eucharist - Holy Communion with the parish family. Mass will last more than two hours - time filled with darkness and light - Holy Smoke - as we incense the Easter candle - the altar - the people. We listen attentively to a string of seven readings from Holy Scripture - as the Litany of Saints is sung - prayers spoken - hearts lifted - as we wait- anticipate - Easter morning.


The vigil for Jesus - quite different - betrayal - darkness - violence - ridicule - dropped into a cistern over night - waiting in darkness - waiting to see what the morning would bring - crucifixion - hanging on the cross - death - lying in the tomb - waiting - for resurrection.  The First Son waiting for the first sun - morning - new life - a new world. Tonight - we remember - we recreate - we too wait for the First Son - for Jesus - to enter our lives.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Triduum - Good Friday - Nails in the Pail

Today - Good Friday - a somber day of the year - a very somber day of the Triduum. Today we commemorated the Passion and Crucifixion of Jesus - we read the Passion - again - we listened - again - to the reason - the justification of Jesus' atoning death. After listening - we walked - slowly - to the Cross of Christ - we knelt before the Crucifix - kissed the cross - the feet of Jesus - this year - with square head nails in hand - dropping the nails - our sins - in a metal pail - at the foot of His cross - giving to Him - our sins - our sorrows - our disappointments - the sound of the nails in the pail - resonating throughout the sanctuary - drawing us closer to His Passion - onwards to communion - where we shared in Eucharist - from last nights Holy Mass - walking away in silence - walking away - in sorrow - to meditate - to contemplate - to pray - awaiting Holy Saturday - the Vigil Mass - Resurrection


Jesus could not walk away - He had no options - He was submissive to His Father - allowing Himself to be nailed to a cross - for US. He committed no sins - carried Our sins to the cross - our sins - the metal of the nails that pierced His skin - His hands - His feet - for us.  Jesus died that we might live - tonight we wait - we pray - ready to celebrate - resurrection.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Triduum - Holy Thursday - The Pope Deacon

Today marks the beginning of the Triduum - the three holiest days in the Christian calendar. Holy Mass tonight will focus on three very important aspects of Catholicism - the Priesthood - Holy Eucharist - Service to our neighbors. At the beginning of Holy Mass the Oils blessed by the Bishop at the Chrism Mass this past Monday will be presented to Reverend Father to be placed in the parish ambry. In his homily tonight we will hear how - at the Last Supper - Jesus took bread and wine - blessed them and shared with His disciples - the origination of Holy Eucharist - the First Communion for His disciples and the institution of the priesthood as He told them to do likewise in remembrance of Him. And as they sat at table He - the First among Priests - the Son of Man - removed His outer garment - tied a towel around His waist and knelt in humility before each of His disciples as He washed their feet. Explaining to them - in this first - of ordination rituals - that they were to be the servants of all - to minister to all in charity - in love. Deacons first - servants of all - priests second - to confect the Eucharistic elements. As I watched a video of Pope Francis at His Holy Thursday service in Italy today - it struck me - at the foot washing ceremony - he removed his chasuble - wearing his alb and a deacon stole - proceeded to wash the feet of the twelve selected - to highlight the concept of Diaconia - service - to brother and sister - our Pope - deacon and priest - Bishop of Rome.


Jesus was the first - is the first - will always be the first - to serve - all - in humility - in charity. He is truly the Alpha - the Omega - the beginning - the end - the circle of life - summed up in one person - one God. As we celebrate His gift to us - His gift of salvation - His gift of Church - His gift of community - we - unworthy though we may be - celebrate Jesus.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Camino Finale

The last day of our Lenten Camino - the walk is over - our destination reached! It is hard to believe that we are at the end of Lent - on the doorstep of the Triduum - the three holiest days of the year. Our Camino has had ups and downs - false starts - successes - happy moments - moments of sadness - in all these moments - a Divine presence. We have prayed Rosaries - Divine Mercy chaplets - the prayers of the Church - Lauds - Vespers - prayers of our hearts. We have meditated - contemplated - sat in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament - wondered - pondered - the significance of ourselves - our lives - during this Camino journey. The journey ended - a new journey to begin in the morning - Holy Thursday - the Triduum.


As Jesus came to the end of His journey - as He prepared for His time remaining with His disciples - He wondered - contemplated - prayed. We join Him now in prayer - as we look forward to the next three days - we join Him - as never before - in solemn prayer.

Deacon Dale