Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Carpe Diem

Carpe diem is a phrase from a Latin poem by Horace and is most often translated as "seize the day".  In that poem the concept is simple - take all that you can out of today because who knows if and what the future will hold.  Will any of us have a future?  And if we do, what sort of future might that be - filled with good things and joyful moments or perhaps something quite the opposite?

Life is interesting in that way - as it says in scripture - none of us knows the day or the hour.  How long do we have on this spaceship called Earth and where are we heading?  Will we live to our 80's or 90's or will our lives be cut much shorter than that?  We can do our best to stay alive for as long as we can - but we fool ourselves if we think we are really in control.  There are so many variables - most of which we cannot control.  

With that thought in mind - we need to remind ourselves to make our decisions without any major delays.  We need to act and do and live and experience all the goodness that exists in our world. We need to seek good opportunities with good friends now rather than later.  We need to grasp that which is here and now - to seize the day - while we still have the time.

God Bless
Deacon Dale 

Monday, January 30, 2012

John 10:10

Probably one of the most quoted verses is John 10:10 which summarized says "I came that you might have life and live it to the fullest".  Just what does that mean?  Does it say that we should all be millionaires and live in mansions and drive exotic cars?  I don't think so.

Having life and living life to the fullest are two different things.  All people have life - they move and breathe - they eat and play - they sleep and work.  That may be  existence, but it certainly is not living.  

Living life means experiencing everything that life holds for you - the sad as well as the glad, the traumatic as well as the ecstatic.  When you open yourself up to all that life contains, you realize  that living life is not just about being happy.  No - it is about joy.  Joy at being who you are, joy at what you have done and what you can do, joy at the possibilities of life if you dare to experience them, joy at finding true happiness.

To find true joy you must be wiling to make changes - to eliminate those things in your life that are holding you back.  Bad attitudes - bad habits - bad relationships - all have to be removed from your life.  It is not always easy to make these changes - but with a little faith and a lot of trust - all things are possible with God.  Go to your prayer closet - close the door against the demons of failure, mistrust, anger, loneliness - and open your mind and heart to Jesus who will heal you of these demons.  It may not happen overnight - but in God's time it will!

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Foreign Language

The other day my daughter-in-law was sharing a story about my five year old grandson who was being driven home by his friend's mother.  On the way his buddy started singing a song in a foreign language.  After the song was finished his mother asked my grandson if anyone in his family spoke a foreign language.  There was a long pause - then my grandson said "well my Nana and Papa speak a lot of Jesus!"  He then proceeded to tell her all about Jesus from his birth to death.

When I heard this I was shocked since I am always trying to teach him some Spanish or Italian or Polish.  Then as I thought about it - I started thinking as a five year old and I had to agree with his opinion that maybe speaking about Jesus is like a foreign language.

How many people go through their entire lives never hearing the Gospel proclaimed to them?  Or maybe they hear part of the Gospel and never have it explained to them.  To me that would be equivalent to hearing a foreign language. 

The next time you feel moved to share the message of the Gospel - stop and assess what you are sharing.  Do not think that everything is clear and understandable.  Remember to pause thoughout your sharing and ask if you need to clarify what you are sharing - otherwise your listener may think that you are speaking a foreign language!

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Miss is as Good as a Mile

"A miss is as good as a mile" is a common phrase that means a narrow miss is as good as a wide miss - they are both misses.  In simpler terms if you missed something - it does not matter how close you came or how far away you were - the end result is that you missed it!

How many times have we lamented the fact that an opportunity was right at hand but because of other things on our mind - we missed our "window" of opportunity.  Then to make matters worse, we go on and on about how close we were.  Or, on the other hand, we hear about somebody else who missed an opportunity that was not even available to us and we sit around and lament that we didn't even have that same opportunity - missed it by a mile (or a week or a life time).

"Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest".  Did you hear that when you were younger and understood the meaning and responded?  Or maybe you missed that.  Perhaps that is a phrase you just recently heard.  Do you lament that you missed it  and didn't make a decision to accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour at an earlier age - or do you rejoice that you did eventually make that decision and now can say YES - Jesus is my Lord?

When we miss - we miss period.  But with Jesus - He never misses!

Deacon Dale 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Lost and Found

I have been helping some young men settle their father's estate and in the course of locating all his assets they were unable to find stock certificates that were quite valuable.  After many months of looking where they thought they should have been, they finally found them in a logical but illogical place.  It reminds me of the parable (Luke 15:8-10) of the woman who had 10 coins and lost one and diligently swept the house in search of it,

That is how Jesus is with us.  When we stray from the straight and narrow and wander off the path of life - we allow ourselves to get "lost".  We wander aimlessly wasting time in needless efforts and activities - all the time Jesus is waiting patiently for us to regain our focus.  Most of us do eventually realize that we have been walking the wrong path and return to Jesus on our own - some never do. The really great thing here is that while we are wandering and wasting precious time - Jesus is always there patiently waiting for us to realize that we are lost - waiting for us to be found.

Deacon Dale

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Have A Large Day

Many years ago I worked for an employer who would say thank you to his customers as they finalized their transaction and then as they would turn to leave he would tell them to "have a large day".  It sounded a bit funny as most people would have said have a good day.  But this fellow never wished anyone a good day - always a large day.  In thinking about it now, I realize that he was not only wishing them a day of goodness but also a day filled with as much as they could put into it.

How many of us have good days but not large ones?  Maybe most of what we do - our work - our play - is good; but, do we fill our day to the fullness that we could?  Are there times that we do nothing when we could have done something?  Maybe make that phone call to the friend you promised to call, but never do.  Maybe start that special project you have had on your mind for ages, but seem to never have the time to start.  Maybe take the time to sit and relax in between appointments, just to smell the roses.  Maybe take a few minutes here and there to talk to God, to thank Him and give Him the praise that is due Him.

Most of us have very busy days and full days - but do we have large days?

Have a Large Day
Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Scardy Cat

Are you are "scardy cat"?  This morning while I was walking our new puppy in the back acres, he stopped to take care of "business" when suddenly the neighbors's dog let out a loud bark.  Bene immediately stopped what he was doing and quickly ran back to me.  That got me thinking about how it is we become scared or learn to be scared of different things.  How is it that an 8 week old puppy knows to be afraid?  To my knowledge no one taught him to be afraid - so it must be an innate quality placed inside him and us by God.  Now there are many good reasons for us to have this natural "fear factor" working in our minds.  Preservation of life for ourselves and members of our pack or family is probably the best one.  We learn to fear that which may harm us.  We fear injury, hunger, emptiness and loneliness to mention a few.  So being a scardy cat - or fearing different things may be good for us - but - what about those things we fear or are afraid of that do not have a true "fear factor"?

Being afraid of flying - or trying a new food - or traveling to a different country - or doing numerous other things that we have never done before - why are we afraid?  Most of us cannot answer that question.  Perhaps it comes down to the fact that we lack trust - not in others - but in ourselves.  We do not trust that we can accept or deal with that which is unknown to us.  We fear the unknown for no good reason.  Our lack of knowledge creates a false fear and then, if we give in, causes us angst and worry.

Jesus says to us - do not be afraid - I am with you always.  Throughout our lives - Jesus has always been there.  At our conception and birth - as we were growing up - as we matured into adults - Jesus has always been there.  He has walked alongside us our entire life and has been with us as we experienced the good as well as the bad events in our life.  When we were the weakest, He was the strongest - always holding our hand, always sharing His strength with us.  

The next time we feel scared and afraid we need to pause and ask Jesus to give us the strength and knowledge to face that which we fear. With Jesus at our side - all things are possible!

God Bless
Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Holy Hour

Last night I participated in a special Holy Hour for right to life.  It was our parish's way of responding to Roe v Wade and the resulting deaths of so many innocent babies.  It was inspiring  to be a part of this Holy Hour. There we were at 7:00 at night with five willing altar servers (who should have been home doing homework) cheerfully serving and assisting.  Total attendance was close to 100 people - not bad for a Monday night service.  Normally if a church holds a function immediately following the weekend - attendance is predictably low - but not last night.  The entire Hour was filled with prayer and psalms - time for silence and a brief homily.  It was very spiritual and in a way much different from ordinary Mass.  

I noticed  - the people in attendance noticed.  Here we were at an odd hour of the evening in prayer - asking God to bless our country, our civil leaders and those who make laws.  At one time we were a really great country - but today many will agree that we no longer hold that claim to fame.  Why have we experienced so much difficulty in our lives in the past years?  The financial crash that ruined so many lives - that cost so many jobs.  The high rate of unemployment.  The loose morals that are so easily accepted as "normal". A thought came to me as I sat there in silence - maybe we have lost favor with God and His blessings or lack of blessings because we have strayed so far from Christian values of 50 or 100 or 200 years ago.  Perhaps if we all repented - stopped doing or ignoring bad things and returned to God in prayer and action - He would once again bless this great country with prosperity - with a new richness of the land - improved economics - improved health - improved way of life.  Just maybe...

Deacon Dale

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Called to Serve - Called to Love

In today's Gospel reading Jesus says "Come after me and I will make you fishers of men".  His early call was to Simon and Andrew, James and John - and today He calls each of us to follow Him - to stay with Him awhile - and see where He lives.  He asks us to open our hearts completely to Him - to learn His heart and plans for mankind.  He calls us to be lovers - lovers of God, lovers of our neighbors, lovers of our enemies - lovers of life.

He calls us to evangelize and spread His gospel message of acceptance and forgiveness, healing and redemption.  He calls us to cherise life and protect life from the womb to the grave and life beyond.  Sounds simple - but is it really?

In light of Roe vs Wade - have we loved enough? - long enough? - with our entire heart and being?  Or have we closed ours eyes and ears and allowed others to tell us what to do and what to believe?  Have we become complacent or do we speak loudly of our love, of God's love for all peoples in al stages of life?

Do we serve well and love well - or do we just get by?
Deacon Dale 

Saturday, January 21, 2012


The world seen from Rome is Zenit's tag line.  This is a Catholic news source reporting events from around the globe as viewed through the eye of Rome.  To get your own free subscription click their link in the first line and sign up.  It is a free service financed by donations - so if you feel they provide value in your life, feel free to give them some money.

I appreciate their daily emails with highlight that keep me informed about the Pope, the church happenings at the Vatican and other issues of interest.

It contains interesting discussions on many topics which I think you will like.

Feel free to bookmark and add to your reading list.
Deacon Dale 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Night Prayer

In the life of a deacon Morning and Evening prayer are a normal part of every day.  One option open to deacons is Night Prayer.  Although not mandatory - it is a special way to end the day, especially when the day has been long or very exhausting.  Taking a few minutes before retiring for  the night gives a person a chance to do an end of day inventory of what was experienced that day.  It gives time to ask forgiveness for thing undone or done poorly and to thank God for blessing received.  Going to sleep after Night prayer is a great way to end the day.

Try it - you might like it.
Deacon Dale 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Morning Prayer

As an ordained man I promised my bishop that I would do Morning and Evening Prayer daily.  Praying the breviary is not difficult and I find that starting my morning with prayer gets me off on the right foot.  I also have a sense of community knowing that by praying the breviary I am praying for the Church around the world and that at any given time of day other priests and deacons are doing likewise.  So the Church is blessed with continual prayers 24 hours a day.  That is a lot of prayer and justifiably so.  The Church encompasses more than you and I are aware and the ministries and apostolates of the Church need the benefit of our constant prayers.  A simple way for lay people to pray Morning prayer is by purchasing a copy of Christian Prayer.  It is an easy format to follow and less confusing than the four volume set that I use.  At our parish we have just incorporated Morning and Evening prayer into our perpetual adoration schedule, so now parishioners are learning this form of prayer. 

Following the official prayer of the Church I always add in my own prayers for my family, friends and brother clergy and those in special need.  Although I may not be able to attend every meeting possible I can at least assist  those by my prayers.  

If you do not already do so - you should try starting your day with prayer and see the benefits of doing so.

Enjoy your day!
Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Win one for pro-life

According to Catholic News Service the fight against a Rockford, Illinois abortion clinic has finally paid off in the closing of that facility.  Although it wasn't a moral decision or change of heart, pro-lifers consider it a victory to see the clinic closed after some 39 years of operation.  God does work in strange and wonderful ways and this is one of them.

Now if only we could only close similar operations.......

Keep on praying
Deacon Dale

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Deal Breaker

I watch House Hunters and House Hunters International  and I am amazed at what potential home buyers say will be "deal breakers".  Sometimes it is reasonable - they want a city house and the Realtor takes them out into the country or they request a home with four bedrooms and two baths and the Realtor tries to place them in a three bedroom with one bath home - these are obvious deal breakers.  What amazes me is when they are shown a home that meets all their criteria but isn't painted a color they like or the kitchen counter tops are not granite.  At the price point that most of these buyers are willing to invest into a home it seems silly that they are not willing to invest another $1000 - $3000 to paint or replace these items in an otherwise beautiful home.  

Imagine if God was that picky with us!  What would you think if He insisted that you attend church every Sunday or read the Bible daily or said prayers two or three times a day.  Would you be found acceptable to Him or would that be a "deal breaker"?  

Thankfully God is not like that - He comes to us as we are, where we are.  He doesn't ask us to bathe first or to make any drastic changes before He will enter our lives.  No, He accepts us just as we are!  He is so gentle and accepting - offering His love, forgiveness and salvation to all who accept His offer to be one with them.  Isn't  that awesome?  We do not have to do anything - He accepts us exactly as we are!  If you have been hesitant in accepting Jesus as your Lord then now would be a good time to say YES - Yes to Jesus and the new life he offers.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Man with a dream

Today we remember Dr Martin Luther King, Jr - a man with a vision.  A vision in which all men would be treated as equals.  The King Center operates today to carry on that mission started by Dr King.

It is unfortunate that one group would ever think that they were better than another based solely on skin color.  Yet we all know that prejudice abounds wherever you look.  It is not only skin color, but language, lifestyle, foods consumed, etc etc.  People who love motorcycles are shunned by those who don't.  Those who eat sushi are ridiculed by those who don't.

What is it about people that we ridicule or make fun of that which we know nothing about?  Why do we go out of the way to make fun of that which we do not understand?  

Perhaps if we took the time to learn about these things that we do not understand, we would become better neighbors, better Christians.  I find it fun to investigate other people's lifestyles, cultures and customs.  As I travel I try to keep my mind and heart open to the different and unusual.  As I learn new customs and traditions from others. my life becomes more well rounded.  I can speak from having tried the unusual and then deciding if I liked or didn't like the experience.

In being open I have experienced God's blessings in ways that I might have otherwise missed.  My dream - like Dr King's - would be that each of us open ourselves and our hearts to opportunities of the out of the way and different!

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

How do I love thee?

In today's second reading for Holy Mass for the Second Sunday of Ordinary time (1 Cor 6:13-15,17-20) Saint Paul reminds us "Brothers and sisters: The body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body; God raised the Lord and will also raise us by His power."

St. Paul was addressing the people of Corinth who were straying from the teachings he had left them with when he was personally with them; thus he was attempting to reinforce his teachings.  Today that letter applies to us - as a people of God.  How have we strayed from God's commandments and in an attempt to "go with the flow" and not create dissension, have we been seduced into treating our own bodies as less than that which God intended?

If we believe that God has sent His Holy Spirit to dwell in us then our human bodies have become temples or houses for God's Holy Spirit.  And yet too many people allow their bodies to be used for less than Holy things.  Some are guilty of flooding their bodies with alcohol and drugs and others allow still others to use and abuse their bodies.  What we do with our bodies - what we put into our bodies and what we allow done to our bodies shows how we respect ourselves and the fact that God's Holy Spirit dwells in us.  

Jesus gave us two great commandments - #1 Love the Lord your God with your whole heart. mind, and strength and #2 Love your neighbor as yourself.  If we honestly loved our bodies as Christ commanded - then we would not be guilty of the abuse we wreck upon them.

How well do you love your body and what does that say about you and your relationship with God?

Deacon Dale

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Gospel According to You

Most people would say that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are the only Gospels that were ever written.  However scripture scholars know that there are other Gospels in existence.  The most popular non-canonical version is the Gospel of Thomas.

The common link between all the gospels is Christ's message of love, forgiveness, healing and redemption.  There is another gospel that is constantly overlooked and possibly one of the most important.  That is the gospel that you are writing!  

Each one of us who claims to be a Christian is writing a gospel of how God works in our lives by the way we act and react to life, its issues and the people we encounter every day of our lives.  How we handle the challenges and blessing is observed by more people than we will ever know.  Unknown to us, as Christians, we are proclaiming the way in which Christians should or should not live their lives.  

Kind of scary when you think that others may be patterning  their lives based on how you live - so the next time you open your mouth, the next time you walk out your door, the next time you enter that shopping line - keep in mind that people are either being drawn to Christ or pushed away from Him by the way you live your life and the gospel you are writing each day.  Be sure that what you write is honest and true!

God Bless
Deacon Dale 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Benvenuto Baci

So we just got a new puppy a few days ago.  He is a cute Keeshond.  This will be the fourth Keeshonden dog that we have had.  One thing we learned very early on with our first dog - Kochan - was that this particular breed is very people orientated and loving.  Kochan had one particular trait that the others did not.  Although all of them were always at the door to greet us when we came home; Kochan always had to have a toy or bone or something to hand us the minute we opened the door.  How about that - being greeted and given a gift upon entry!  All of them always tried to jump up high enough to give us hugs and kisses, but being a mid-sized dog we would have to bend down for them to accomplish their official greeting.  Kochan loosely translated is Polish for "Lover" which he was, so it was only normal to name the second Keeshonden Zakochaney - again Polish loosely translated as "Beloved".  Keeshonden number three was a rescue dog so he did not get the Polish name treatment and thus Riley joined the family as a buddy for "Zako".  All dogs go to heaven  (at least some people think they do - visit this blog for a somewhat friendly debate) - anyhow needless to say Riley and Zako left us late last year and thus the new puppy.  Since we had two "Polish" named dogs and one generic - my wife allowed me to try an Italian version.  Now for my Italian friends I know that grammatically Benvenuto Baci does not exactly translate into "Welcome Kisses" but hey people, we are naming a dog here - not setting dogma or Canon Law.  His call name is "Bene" pronounced Benny.

The point of all this has nothing to do with dogs - but thank you for reading the first paragraph anyhow!  It is about welcoming and how we treat each other.  I have noticed that it appears in the mid-west for the most part that we do not take the time to welcome each other properly and quite often not even politely.  A rough "uh huh" or very casual "hi" said in haste as we rush to McDonalds or Starbuck's or Caribou Coffee for our morning dose of caffeine to help us make it through the day is about all many people can muster early in the morning.  And, it doesn't get any better during the day - too little time - too much to accomplish.

I think we need to teach ourselves some simple old fashioned manners.  When I was a child a proper greeting was "Good morning" accompanied by a handshake.  Nothing was more important than sharing a polite greeting with others - at any time of day.  It even use to be normal for men to tip their hats to ladies as they would pass by with a pleasant smile and "good day".  So in the year 2012 I dare to suggest that all of us - myself included - take time to smile and greet people properly no matter what time of day or where we happen to be.

When we came to the Lord he stretched out His arms to us and greeted us.  He told us that he loved us and that we are special to Him - that He wants us to live lives joyfully and to the fullest. (John 10:10).  When asked how much Jesus loved us - He said  this much - then spread out His arms as far as they would stretch - and died for us.

Enjoy your day
Deacon Dale 

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Are you a groupie?  Do you like to follow a certain group of people around and see what they are up to?  When most people think of groupies the first thought that comes to mind is people who follow popular bands i.e. The Grateful Dead, The Beatles (for the old folks) and for today's crowds perhaps The Black Keys, Foo Fighters, Bush, Coldplay,  or Red Hot Chili Peppers just to name a few.  Then again we also have the Republicans, Democrats, Tea Party etc on the political scene.

As far back as the time of Jesus, people have been following one party or another as social issues fuel the fires of debates, dissents and adulation.  In regards to following any group there are two choices - either stand at a distance and observe or join the group and become involved in their cause.  

One modern day group which deserves your attention is the Knights of Columbus.  The Knights of Columbus is the world's largest Roman Catholic fraternal service organization.  It was founded in the United States in 1882 by The Venerable Father Michael McGivney.  The organization consists of over 1.8 million men around the world and according to 2010 data gave over $154 million directly to charity and performed over 70 million man-hours of voluntary service.  Over the past 10 years the Knights donated over $1.406 billion in charitable contributions and 653 million man-hours in service projects.

It is very difficult after observing the Knights in action that any man would not want to join and become a part of this excellent organization.  In my parish alone the Knights have done a fantastic job of service not only to the parish but to the community as well.  Men 18 years and older who are "practical Catholics" around the world actively participate in serving the needs of others.  Although based in parishes the focus is on the community in which they live.  Their  motto "In service to one, in service to all" says it all.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Jefferson Bible

If you had the opportunity would you re-write the Bible?  This is assuming that you alone would have the enormous amount of time to undertake such as task.  Today I ran across an article about Thomas Jefferson who was doing just that.  http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/11/my-take-how-thomas-jeffersons-secret-bible-might-have-changed-history/?hpt=hp_c3

According to the article Jefferson was editing out parts of the bible that he didn't believe or found too mythical for his mind.  So I ask you again - if you could, would you re-write the Bible?  What would you change and what would you insert?  As a man of faith, I have always operated under the belief that there is no way that I will ever completely understand even a small part of the Bible.  Sure some of the historical data appears accurate, but historians have for years found difficulty with incorrect time lines as compared to other sources.  When archaeologists have participated in "digs" in the Holy Land they have left more confused than informed on many occasions when sites mentioned in the Bible just could not be found or were finally located far from where the Bible indicated they should be.  

Does this mean the Bible is wrong and we should re-write it?  This deacon says no - emphatically No!  The Bible is a book of faith - a love letter from God to His people.  Through the various books of the Bible we are told how God reacted with and to His chosen ones and how in the course of time, all of us were invited into that relationship.  It's a tale of a Heavenly Father who has laid out a plan for each one of us - what to seek and how to seek - how to act and how to respond - when to pray and how to pray.  The Bible is a road map - for each of us to follow to our final destination with our Heavenly Father, with His son - Jesus and all the angels and saints who have gone before us.  Faith is a journey - a pilgrimage - and we each travel our own way - with Bible in hand - to remind us how God loves and encourages all His people.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Language Lesson

As a person who prides himself on trying to learn other languages so that I can communicate better with other people, especially when I travel, this article really caught my eye.  http://phoebeholmes.com/2011/12/23/being-retarded/  

When I learn other languages for trips to Europe, I do so in order to be polite and show appreciation and respect for the people of the country I am visiting.  So I read this article that my son posted on Facebook and it got me thinking about how we use our native language in everyday conversation.  Sure we have come to accept certain levels of slang or colloquial phrases and we even accept a certain level of vulgarity for many varied reasons.  But in this case as published by the author - improper use of a word that is not properly understood goes way beyond bad manners.  So what to do?  First and foremost we need to police our own language and when we start to say something that might be misunderstood we need to pause, take a breath and re-think what we are going to speak.  Secondly we need to educate others around us if and when we hear them making this error.  If all of us would focus on this, eventually in time this kind of "bad" language would be a thing of the past.  

Respect - it is all about respect - for each other - for life.  We have each been given one life to live and doing it with respect will go a long way to creating a better world for all of us.

Deacon Dale 

2011 Person of the year

According to this article  http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/steve-jobs-barbara-walters-fascinating-person-year-2011/story?id=15156459#.TwxU66WKm5I Barbara Walters selected Steve Jobs as the most fascinating person of the year.  In doing so she had to break one of the rules in the selection process - the candidates for this recognition are suppose to be alive - and as we all know Steve Jobs died late last year. So, just like Steve who was known for breaking rules, Barbara did the same in selecting him as the #1 fascinating person.  I have no problem with that because Steve Jobs was a fascinating person and although flawed in some aspects of his life - he left the world a better place to live because of his genius.

This is not unheard of - throughout history a very large number of people have come to be recognized as fascinating only after their deaths.  It takes time for people to digest and assimilate facts and information before they can declare someone as very special.  Jesus was known to be of a different mold while alive - many thought he was an irrational trouble maker while others saw him as some sort of miracle worker.  It was not until years after his death that people were able to sort out the events of his life that they finally recognized him as more than just a nice guy who was different.

Blessed Pope John Paul II followed in Christ's footsteps and because he was identified as a special Holy man of God was recognized as one of those very special people before his death - the same goes with Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta.

As we begin the year of 2012 we can all look at our lives and ask ourselves "am I living my life well?"  An inventory of our good and bad characteristics can guide us in our efforts to be well and live well - for our personal good and for those around us.  Who knows - maybe one of us will be "person of the year" one day!

Enjoy the day!
Deacon Dale 

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Baptism of the Lord

The celebration of the Baptism of the Lord officially ends the Christmas season for the church.  Tuesday we return to Ordinary time in the liturgical calendar.  

A few thoughts on the Baptism - because this celebration follows right on the heels of the celebration of Christmas some people mistakenly think it is referring to baby Jesus being baptized.  Sorry folks; but, Jesus was a Jewish baby and on the 8th day they held a bris (brit milah and observed the circumcision and naming of the baby, following Jewish tradition  - as is the custom today.  The baptism that we celebrate today at Mass is when Jesus' cousin John baptized Jesus in the Jordan river at approximately the age of 30.  The baptism that John practiced was a purification rite among Jewish people which is similar to Christian baptism but not exactly since the practice of Christian baptism not only washes away Original Sin but also designates the one being baptized as a follower of Jesus.  

So why did Jesus allow John to baptism Him if he was without sin?  Jesus is the Messiah - the Anointed One - and as such it was his responsibility to not only proclaim God's message of love and forgiveness but to show us how to live lives as His followers.  In this case Jesus says "do as I do and do as I say".

Live your life following Jesus' example and you will have lived your life well!

In His Name,
Deacon Dale 

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Today during Mass we celebrated the Feast of the Epiphany - when God revealed Christ to the three Magi.  The importance of this celebration is that Jesus was first revealed to the Jewish people and then to the gentiles whom the Magi represent.  In this all people have experienced the Divine revelation of the promised Messiah - Jesus.  

As we remember this event we need to ask ourselves how have we responded to God's revelation of Jesus to us?  Are we the same - no one can remain the same once they come face to face with Jesus - or have we closed our eyes and denied that God Almighty has revealed Himself to us?

Good point to ponder today.

Deacon Dale 

Deacon Travel

In my first post I mentioned a new ministry/apostolate that I started with a brother deacon.  The official title of this new ministry is Deacon Travel - a Roman Catholic Pilgrimage Apostolate.  The goal behind this ministry is to help people see the value of making spiritual journeys that will help to make things clearer in their minds. 

As Catholics we often think that going to Mass for one hour a week is all we need; but, in reality it barely scratches the surface.  In this day and age so many Catholics - as well as people of other religious expressions - are walking out of weekly services with empty feelings, rather than being filled up.  Making minimal effort in the development of our spiritual life will reap only minimal rewards.  To gain much you need to give much and on this point I am referring to time.  Just as you spend hours reading and studying to develop your intellectual life  and just as you spend hours upon hours developing other skills and abilities - i.e. sports, music, drama, etc - your spiritual life begs for the same involvement and attention.

Deacon Travel ministry attempts to lead those who are serious in developing their spiritual lives.  Directed meditation and reflections on a parish level for an hour or two is the most common and accessible to all.  To those with more time on their hands, actual trips to far away places of religious significance answers their needs.  Both myself and my deacon associate and our wives have been blessed with numerous opportunities to travel to many of these special places.  One option we offer through this new ministry is to travel with us - to experience God in the places of the Bible and elsewhere.  For more information on this aspect visit our web site at: www.deacontravel.com 

God Bless
Deacon Dale 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Internal or External Journeys?

How does a person know what type of journey they need to venture on in their search for wisdom and knowledge?  Do they need to go to a quiet place and meditate or would getting up off their chair and traveling to a far away place be best for  them?  I cannot answer that question for you - this has to come from inside yourself. Only you know what will help best.  Obviously it is far easier to take a glass of tea and venture out onto your back deck and meditate and ponder the empty fields and skies in your own back yard and - if that works for you - then wonderful.  However,  if that leaves you with more questions than answers, then you might be just the person who will benefit from a journey to a special place.

Ah! You say.  But what special place?  Good question and for each of us that special place may be very different.   I, myself, prefer the serenity of Italy - especially along the coast.  Beautiful blue skies and quiet waters have an affect on me and the spirit inside me.  And on some days the inside of ancient cathedrals and magnificent stained glass windows works wonders.  

But what does it take to stir your inner muse?  Skies?  Water? Grand cathedrals and palaces?  You have to seek in order to find and you have to search in order to locate your special places.

Italy, Spain, Poland, Israel, Ireland have all helped this deacon to come in contact with the spirit inside.  The Spirit of ordination constantly moves me to seek a better understanding of what is and what may be.  Therefore I seek and in seeking I find another part of the me hidden inside myself.

Until next time - ciao!
Deacon Dale 

Friday, January 6, 2012

2012 The Year For Pilgrims

Happy New Year! 

2012 promises to be interesting for everyone looking to develop a better relationship with God. From a Roman Catholic view point that means not only making a weekly trip to your local church for Sunday Mass, but seeking God in places where you might not normally venture.  

Everyone in their own way is seeking to make sense out of life.   Not everyone will necessarily admit or realize that they are  seeking  a better relationship with God.  Many may even deny God's presence in their life, explaining their search rather as personal fulfillment or scientific knowledge.  Underlying all of our searches is the knowledge that most of our lives could probably be better if we better understood our place in this fast moving world.  Many people, although richly blessed, find a certain emptiness in their lives.  

One way in which this deacon is attempting  to help those who are seeking is through a new "Pilgrimage Apostolate".   Together with a fellow deacon, we have started what we are calling Deacon Travel.  The purpose of Deacon Travel is to help people journey to those places - either internal or external - which helps them to understand themselves and their relationship to the world around them and to God.  

Deacon Dale