Saturday, December 9, 2017

Fatima - Lourdes Pilgrimage Recap Video

It took me awhile to get this done - surgery on the hip got in the way of creating this video memory for those who recently joined us on the pilgrimage to Fatima - Burgos - Lourdes - Montserrat - Barcelona. I am posting it now to share with all of you. Included are video highlights of the shrines - Holy places - that we visited while on pilgrimage - praying ourselves though Portugal - Spain - France. This was the first time that we had visited Portugal and France and found both to be great places to visit. Of course - visiting while on pilgrimage - traveling with people of like minds - similar spirituality - made this an awesome experience.  I do not get the opportunity to preach frequently these days - on pilgrimage - I typically share preaching with our spiritual director - so this pilgrimage I had three opportunities to break open the words of Holy Scripture with our pilgrims.  I do not remember anything I preached - being led by the Holy Spirit - but I do know that in some small way - everyone was touched by the few words I was called to share.  In the video highlighted - there are no no words spoken - let the photographs and music speak to your heart instead - enjoy!

Deacon Dale 

Thanks For Giving Blessings

I am not the first to use the phrase - thanks for giving - very popular this year - at Thanksgiving time. Even now as Black Friday - Cyber Monday - Giving Tuesday have faded from the media - that phrase still lingers on - as it should. What should be normal - done throughout the entire year - only highlighted at years end.  It is not only at Thanksgiving that people should be in a thankful mood - rather - we should all appreciate every blessing that we receive anytime in the year. Whenever a gift is received - we should  thank and then pay it forward. Anyone can be the giver - as well as the receiver - at any time - any day. I recently read a story about a homeless person who was offered a bag full of breakfast bars - who immediately offered one to his donor. There are many who would have accepted the gift and walked away - this person - without hesitation - wanted to immediately return the favor.
God blesses each of us constantly - so often that too many take His blessings for granted. Today when you receive - and receive you will - pay it forward - share freely what you have received with others. You will be surprised how your blessings become multiplied.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Pilgrimage Miracles

Miracles are not a thing of the past - they happen everyday to so many people that it would be impossible to track all of them. Very often what is seen as an occasional bit of good luck - is in fact - a miracle. People of faith - recognize miracles for what they are - those without faith - miss them entirely. When our group of forty pilgrims began our journey to Portugal - Spain - France in early November - we were hopeful that somewhere along the journey one of us might experience a miracle. Unknown to any of us - we were to be granted that wish before we even got to Portugal - our first destination. Our flight plan took us from Chicago to Madrid, Spain where we met up with three of our group flying out of Philadelphia. As we waited to board our connecting flight to Lisbon, Portugal - we learned than one of our group was missing her purse - containing her passport - credit cards - money. Anxiety gripped the group - attempting to locate the purse - considering what to do if her passport could not be found - leaving her behind in Madrid - figuring out how to contact the U.S. embassy to expedite a replacement passport - who to contact - where to go - what to do. Speaking to the least likely person for help - a lady who transports travelers with disabilities - she immediately understood - despite limited English language skills - the urgency of our concern. She started helping the lady - searching possible places where the purse might have been left - contacting security people where luggage is inspected - abandoning her post - against the advice of her co-worker - to help. In the meantime - Father Michael asked the group to join in prayer to Saint Anthony - finder of lost articles - for assistance.  Within fifteen minutes we were informed that the purse with passport and credit cards - minus the cash - had been found - at the security check point.  In spite of being told that they would not hold the plane for us - with only minutes to departure - the lady was transported to security where she retrieved her purse and made it to the departure gate minutes before final boarding was completed. Our first miracle!  - Even before arriving at Fatima and officially beginning our pilgrimage tour. Some would say this was just a happy turn of events - no miracle.  When you consider the timing - forty minutes before the plane was scheduled to depart - a confused older passenger - a local lady with limited English skills - a gate agent who refused to delay our departure - yet - in the end - the entire group was able to board our second flight and depart on time - as scheduled. Yes - a miracle.

Saint Mary - the Mother of Jesus - Our Lord - is God's messenger - bringing us God's reassurance that He loves us and cares for us. At home - on pilgrimage - always performing miracles for us - even when we are not aware of them. This Thanksgiving remember to thank God for all the blessings - miracles - He has given you.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Pilgrimage Recap

We are back!  After ten days of traveling through three countries and visiting numerous shrines - all forty of us returned safely home. Coming from five different states - Illinois - Indiana - Wisconsin - Utah - Philadelphia - we came together as one big family for the spiritual adventure of a lifetime. Seven men - thirty-three women met in Madrid, Spain and began this journey heading first to Lisbon, Portugal to visit the Shrine at Fatima. Surprising the  group - three of our men were asked to participate in the nightly procession - carrying the statue of Our Lady of Fatima. Father Michael Callea, MIC - our spiritual adviser and Deacon Dale Metcalfe were also selected to actively participate in two afternoon Masses in addition to Father Michael being selected to fill in for a missing priest for the nightly procession. From there we moved on to Burgos, Spain then to Lourdes, France, Montserrat, Spain and finally Barcelona, Spain before the return flight home. We celebrated daily Masses - prayed Morning Prayer - numerous Rosaries and Divine Mercy Chaplets and listened to many meditations provided by Chaplain Arlene Metcalfe. In the evenings we relaxed together at dinner and during quiet hours - often wandered the fresh night air as we explored on our own the wonders of the countries we visited. New friendships were made - old ones renewed - forty people of different backgrounds - moving as one giant body - one family of Christians.

2017 DeaconTravel Pilgrimage Group

It would be a miracle if the entire world could experience what we did in those ten days - sharing - bonding - helping - caring for each other as if we had known each other for a lifetime instead of a few days. There were no differences that could separate us from the group - all focused on God the Father - Jesus the Son - Mary the Mother of Our Lord. On pilgrimage this happens every time - when offered the opportunity to join a pilgrimage group yourself - jump at the opportunity - you will not regret it.

Deacon Dale

Monday, October 30, 2017

Quando Sei Qui - Sei Famiglia

Translated this means - When You Are Here - You Are Family. I have heard and read this phrase at some Italian restaurants in America - in Italy I have been told that one of the main reasons restaurant staff in Italy say this phrase is because they actually mean it. The idea is that when you come to their restaurant - it is the same as if you came into their home to visit - share conversation - eat and drink  - have an enjoyable time. 

When you attend Church - you should have the same feeling - whether an old timer or a first time visitor. We are all children of God - brothers and sisters - in the Lord.  One Lord - One God - One Family. As God calls us to weekly worship - He calls us not as a group of strangers - rather as cousins of one giant family.  We worship together - we pray together - for each other - we rejoice - face issues - together - as family. The minute you enter the parking lot - walk through the door - all of us gather as family - coming together - with similar likes and dislikes - with similar needs - wants - concerns - to support each other as we worship God.  This weekend join the rest of your family - at church - Jesus waits at the door 

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Donde Ha Pasado El Tiempo?

Literally - where has the time gone - a phrase spoken by almost everyone. All of us - at one time or another - has had one too many irons in the fire - too many tasks to accomplish - all at the same time. Invariably - something suffers. In my case my daily blogging has become bi-weekly at best. It is not that I forget - or that I am too tired - rather I have been too busy - occupied with many other things.  And - this coming from a person who is retired!  Yes - Virginia - even in retirement - days become filled with too many tasks to accomplish. Retirement is not all breakfasts with other seniors - days on the golf course - casually hiking over numerous mountain tops - enjoying the newest book. Life goes on after retirement - just as it has done all ones life - the only difference - work - for pay - no longer gets in the way of the more enjoyable tasks of life. The month of September flew by faster than a speeding bullet - family reunion - annual apple picking - chili cook-off - tending to the lawn only to be greeted by an even busier October. The primary task - remodel one of the bathrooms. When you live in a house constructed sometime in the 1860's - always a surprise - two by fours that actually measure two inches by four inches - studs placed in random locations - joists not where they should be - the pains of previous amateur attempts at construction - remodeling with which to be contended. Demolition almost always goes easy - it is the reconstruction - correcting previous errors and oversights - making things fit around misplaced studs and joists - creating space that meets current codes - that is the  challenge. Craftsmen being the artists they are - manage to find a way to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse - and eventually a new creation rises from the ashes of the old - liked the fabled Phoenix - into a new shining creation.

We approach God much like we do when remodeling our homes. Many - from various lifestyles - experiences - as old worn down and worn out messes - needing to remodel our lives after Jesus and His Mother Mary - into the sons and daughters He intended us to be. Before we can be made new - we must first remove all the old - the clutter that has our lives in disorder - anything that is preventing us from being the person we were designed to be. Through this process - Jesus - will be with us constantly - in the rough times - in the joyful times - until God has completed His transformation. With God all things are possible - and even we - batter and bruised - unworthy - may be made new - recreated into His work of art - a person to behold. It takes time - but God has all the time in the world - for each of us. Today - invite Jesus into your life - let the Carpenter begin the renewal process in your life.
Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

To Kneel or Not To Kneel

Freedom of speech - freedom of religion - freedom to make your own decision - that is what makes America great. In America - everyone - men- women - children - black - white - yellow - brown - gay - straight - no matter what your ethnicity - all are given the right - constitutionally - to exercise freedom of speech. You may or may not agree with what is said - how it is said - when and why it is said - but as Americans we must honor everyone's right to speak their mind - in whatever way they choose. We will never - ever - get everyone to agree on any subject - never. To deny anyone their right to free speech - would be - un American. Yet - this country is being divided over exactly this issue. The biggest issue - confusion over what certain symbols - mean - represent. As a nation - we have been guilty of putting our own interpretation on certain American symbols - why they were developed - how they were developed - how they have been re-interpreted over the years - original meaning - understanding - evolving into new meanings - understandings. It happens - a normal course of evolution - involving all things. Nothing stays the same - everything evolves.  As a child - cool meant a temperature - not hot - not quite cold - just cool. Today cool - evolved to refer not just to a temperature - also an adjective meaning - neat - divine - nifty - marvelous - swell - dandy.  Any intelligent person understand this - accepts this change in meaning. Yet - that same person - failing to keep up with changes in attitude - use in a more modern manner - fails to comprehend - accept that other meanings may have also evolved. Barriers - issues that deal with language - comprehension - are the major problems with good communication among people. As a nation we have failed ourselves - our neighbors - in being open to new meanings - understanding - holding too firmly on old - often wrong meanings. It is definitely time to push the stop button - to stop making rash decisions - rushing to wrong conclusions. Intelligent people have learned that both sides of an issue must be completely investigated before making any decision. Cooler minds must prevail - calmer voices must be spoken to educate - inform others - to avoid conflicting and incorrect commentary - to stop the mass hysteria we are currently experiencing.

Satan loves confusion - dissension - misinformation - heated arguments. Letting emotions run wild never helps any situation.  Deep slow breathing - keeping a cool head - looking at the larger picture - inviting God into the conversation - will lead to peaceful solutions.  Prayer is the way to start - using your freedom of speech to speak - love - acceptance - tolerance - is the answer. It does not make a difference if you kneel or stand - as long as you do it for the right reason.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, September 8, 2017

Tanti Auguri

Tanti Auguri - loosely translated from Italian - many wishes - the common expression in Italy when wishing someone a happy birthday. Today I received many - well wishes - as I celebrate my birthday. It is fun - with internet access - to receive birthday wishes from around the world. America - many different States - Italy - Scotland - wherever I have friends - relatives. In spite of the critics who see only bad from internet use - there is a lot of good that is spread.  Birthday wishes - sharing accomplishments - posting photos from vacations - weddings - the list goes on and on. In cyberspace more good exists than evil. The real evil - lives in the hearts and minds of unhappy people unfortunately.

In the Catholic Church - Today September 8th - we celebrate the birthday of Saint Mary - the mother of Jesus - the mother of us all. We celebrate all the goodness that she is and represents. We celebrate her strength in saying - Yes - to the angel - when he shared God's desire for her to bear His son. We celebrate her willingness to stand by her son at Cana - Do whatever He tells you - and her acceptance at the foot of His cross as she watched Jesus being crucified. To Saint Mary we proclaim - Tanti Auguri - many blessings - for all that you have done for mankind.

Deacon Dale

Monday, September 4, 2017

Ball Ball

Saying - ball ball - does not make any sense and yet that is exactly what people are saying when they mention they are going to play bocce ball.  You see in Italian bocce is the plural form of ball - balls. If you are in Italy you wold hear them say - let's play bocce - never let's play bocce ball. The confusion arises because the game of bocce is a game involving balls. We would never say basketball ball - baseball ball - yet when we say bocce ball - that is exactly what we are saying. After a little bit of education - most people learn the correct term. When you think about it - the language - how we use it can be confusing and amusing.

When Jesus spoke in parables - a similar situation existed - in an attempt to make His explanations easier - people sometimes became confused and took His words - phrases - to be literal. Even today there are those who do not understand what Jesus was saying - instead try to explain His words in complicated theological terms. How many ways can God - Jesus - say - love - acceptance - forgiveness - compassion - tolerance. One would think that love would cover all - but in an attempt to simplify - many tend to complicate His simple message of love. The Bible is filled with God's love - an extremely long love letter to His people - yet all too many miss His simple message. Rather than dissect - analyze - study - ponder - one has to simply understand that God's love is just that - love in the extreme form - nothing less. God loves us all - period. Not love love - not love in capitals - just simply love and all that the word contains and implies.Today - let God - Jesus - love you.

Deacon Dale

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Ties That Bind - Love Knots

We all have connections - family - friends - people we work with - those we worship with - long distance connections - Facebook friends. Many of these connections are fairly superficial - especially - Facebook friends of friends of friends - people whom you have never met face to face. The others - people we actually have met - talked with - in an actual conversation - know their story - their families. Those are people with whom we have a true viable tie. Some ties are weak - others very strong - these are the ties that bind - hold us together - through good and bad times. Immediate family members - close friends - aunts - uncles - cousins - connections - ties that bind us together - everlasting - through thick and thin.

God calls each of us into His family of believers - related by blood - not familial blood - rather through the shed blood of Jesus - His Son. As adopted children - we are connected more strongly than many realize. It is our common faith - that ties us together - into bonds of love - God's love. These ties - once developed - last throughout our lives - love knots - binding us firmly into God's family. All are invited - all are welcome - come join us - in Jesus' love knot - the true tie that binds,

Deacon Dale