Thursday, May 31, 2012

Saint Faustina's Grave Site - Poland Pilgrimage 1c

While in the tower of the Basilica you can see everything all around you - the convent buildings, the green areas and the grave site for deceased sisters. On our visit, once we were at ground level, we noticed that the gate to the sister's grave site was open which allowed us the chance to walk around and read the names of sisters buried there. In the back corner was a large area that was dedicated to the burial site of Saint Faustina.  When she was canonized her remains were moved to a reserved space inside the convent chapel. Although her remains are no longer outside, the grave site still gets special treatment to let pilgrims know that this was her original burial place.
Saint Faustina is not the only person who cannot be found in her grave. On the morning after, when the women went to the grave to see Jesus, they found the burial stone moved and Jesus nowhere to be found. Graves are the final resting place for ordinary people - for Saint Faustina - who was canonized - her remains were removed to a special place where she could be venerated. Jesus - the Son of God - the Holy One - needs no place for people to visit - since He is always with us in a very special way. He exists beyond time and space and therefore nothing can contain Him - except in the depths of our hearts.  

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Saint Faustina's Convent - Poland Pilgrimage 1b

Helenka Kowalska known as both Maria Faustina Kowalska and later as Saint Faustina was born in 1905 near Lodz, Poland and died 1938 in Krakow, Poland. She was a Polish nun who is described as a mystic and visionary. She is venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church and is known as the Apostle of Divine Mercy. Throughout her life she recorded numerous visions and conversations with Jesus. Eventually she was accepted into the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy.  It was during this time that the visions which had begun at an early age as a child developed. Today millions actively participate in the Divine Mercy devotion because of her efforts to promote it.
On our visit we were given the opportunity to reverence her relic and attend Holy Mass. Although in Polish - which I understand only a bit - my wife and Deacon Jerry were able to recite the prayers in Polish which made this experience more meaningful for Deacon Jerry's wife and myself. No matter where Holy Mass is celebrated - Jesus is always the same!

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Basilica of Divine Mercy - Poland Pilgrimage 1a

The Basilica of Divine Mercy in Krakow, Poland is dedicated to the Divine Mercy devotion as promoted by Saint Faustina Kowalska the "secretary" of Jesus. St Faustina was cannonized in 2000 the same year that Blessed John Paul II declared the Sunday following Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday. The basilica is very modern and at the time of construction drew criticism that it was too modern. That being said millions of pilgrims visit every year. Both Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have visited the basilica. 
Upon entering the basilica you view a very wide open space - simply designed. The basilica can hold about 5000 people with seating for about 1800. Immediately upon entering you feel that this is a special place - a place filled with believers - not spectators. Groups of pilgrims as well as individuals can be seen praying everywhere. Holy Mass is celebrated daily and multiple times on the weekend. The Divine Mercy Chaplet is recited daily at 3:00pm - quite often just prior to Holy Mass. Surely the presence of The Lord is in this place!

Deacon Dale 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Pilgrimage To Poland

10 Day pilgrimage to Poland along with my wife and another deacon couple. We arrived in Krakow, Poland mid-afternoon Saturday, checked into our first hotel - changed clothes & hit the ground running. We visited the Divine Mercy Basilica in Krakow, the Convent home of Saint Faustina, attended Mass there at the convent, saw her relic and visited the St. Faustina's original grave site and ended up at the Batory hotel for dinner. Sunday we went to Wieliczka for a 3 hour tour of the salt mine then drove to Wadowice, the birth home of Blessed John Paul II, we visited the Basilica next to his childhood home, listened to a concert there and viewed the temporary museum for him. We then drove back to Krakow went to the Sukiennice (cloth hall) to view the merchants wares, did evening prayer at St Mary's in the Rynek Glowny square and ate dinner there. Monday we went to Auschwitz for a 3 hour tour there and ended up at Birkenau one of the largest Nazi death camps and then to Balice airport in Krakow to pick up our friend Dona who was joining us to help translate with Arlene's cousins, then back to Batory hotel for dinner. Tuesday the five of us - Arlene & I, Dona and Jerry & Dee - who were traveling with us - drove to Wola Wielka to visit Arlene's cousins. They were disappointed that we could only visit for 3 hours but it was about 4 hours traveling time to & from their home to Krakow. We visited their church in Straszecin and saw the family graves for great grandparents then headed back to Krakow for our last night there. We had to take Dona back to the airport in Krakow so we dropped Jerry & Dee off at Wawel Castle since Arlene and I had seen it before, then took Dona to Balice airport. We rejoined Jerry & Dee after they had stopped to attend a concert by Wawel Castle so we ended up at Rynek Glowny square for dinner. Wednesday we headed to Czestochowa to see the Black Madonna shrine at the Jasna Gora Monastery. We hooked up with an English speaking group from Ireland and did a tour there. Because we were with them we also attended Mass in the restricted shrine area in front of the famous icon of Mary & Jesus. Jerry and I almost were able to vest and serve as deacons but the space was very limited and they had a half dozen priests and a bishop so we didn't get to do that. After Mass we stayed with the Ireland group and did Stations of the Cross from the roof top of the Shrine. We then headed to Warsaw - stopped on the way for dinner and arrived in Warsaw late that evening - just enough time to check in and go out for a late night tea & Polish nachos. Thursday we stayed in Warsaw and visited Holy Cross church where Frederic Chopin's heart is entombed in one of the pillars there. Then we walked along that street known as the Royal Route and visited the Warsaw University, the Presidential Palace where a protest was going on, the church of St Anne and the church of St Joseph the Guardian which is filled with relics of saints. At the end of the Royal Route is the Royal Castle which we toured. Then we went into the Stare Miasto (the old town) to walk the square and browse through crystal & amber shops. We stopped for a snack then left for dinner. Friday we left Warsaw and headed north towards Gdansk. We stopped on the way to tour Malbork Castle which is suppose to be the largest brick castle in the world. We ate lunch at Malbork Castle restuarant before our tour and after completeing the tour we headed to our hotel in the marina area of Gdansk.  Dona drove to the hotel & we did a walking tour with her of her hometown. Saturday we met up with Dona again and returned to the marina area to see a boat show and ride on an old galleon ship. We spent the day shopping for amber jewelry and attended Pentecost Mass at St John's in Gdansk. We ended our final day at the Pierogie "palace" as Jerry called it.  Sunday morning to the Gdansk airport and back
home for a back to normal routine. Thus - in a nutshell - was our pilgrimage to Poland. In future posts - I will discuss in more detail the churches we visited and prayed in. We were very blessed by God on this journey - being privileged to pray Vespers with a group of Sisters in Warsaw and some monks in Gdansk. All God's people that we met and talked with proved to us how all of us have so much more in common than we realize. Everywhere we went we saw Jesus - in the structures - shrines - people. A true pilgrimage - what a blessing!

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

There Is No Place

There is no place like home - especially when you have been away for an extended period of time. I just returned from a ten day pilgrimage with friends to Poland. We started in Krakow and ended in Gdansk visiting churches, basilicas, palaces and more. Over the next two weeks I will be blogging about the places that we visited with some photos. 
Jesus allows us to wander in our spiritual lives - through the gift of free will - and is always there to welcome us back to Him. If you have been wandering and seeking - now is the perfect time to return to Jesus - His arms are open and waiting.

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

By the Sea

Remember that song "By the Beautiful Sea"? It proclaims that by the beautiful sea we will have a great time and so we do. Thousands upon thousands of people go to the sea shore to vacation and play and enjoy the day in the sun. There is something magical about water that draws people to the local lake, sea and river. Spending time on the sea shore is relaxing and draws us back to the beginning of human existence. Water is refreshing and without water we could not survive. Water cleanses and makes new that which is dirty and old.
Jesus knew the value of water in His day just as we do today. For many of His disciples water was a way of life - fishing and boating just for basic needs. He also knew the power of water in the ritual purification rites and so He sent His disciples to baptize in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Today we continue to observe those instructions and in doing so bring people closer to Christ - closer to His Sacred Heart - closer to Life itself. The next time you go down to the sea let your spirit feel God's spirit calling you closer to Him.

Deacon Dale

Friday, May 25, 2012


One thing I really enjoy when I travel to Europe is to visit castles. I enjoy seeing and learning about the construction details as well as learning about the people who lived in the castles. One of my favorite castles is Malbork Castle located in northern Poland by Gdansk. According to Wikipedia - Malbork is the largest castle in the world by surface area and the largest brick building in Europe. Standing outside and looking at the castle is a great experience - climbing the many stairs to the top of the tower and looking out at the Nogat River and surrounding countryside is even more outstanding. At a minimum this castle has to be described as breath taking.
When Jesus was leaving His disciples - they were told that He was going to His Father's house and would be preparing a room for each of them. One can only imagine what God's House would look like. From all the palaces and castles that I have ever visited I know that what God has prepared for us would dwarf even Malbork Castle or any of the other great castles of the World - with God all things are possible.

Deacon Dale 


A fairly recent improvement in the tourism business is the addition of "hop on - hop off" bus services. Around the world - in major cities - you are able to pay a fee for twenty-fours of unlimited access to this special bus service. The standard format is a group of buses that travel a specified route to show tourists the highlighted attractions in that city. The open air double decker bus provide either a live or a recorded message that describes the attraction in detail - in multiple languages. I have used this type of bus in many of my travels and in Italy - Warsaw - United Kingdom and other countries have enjoyed this service. The best part is that you may chose to "hop off" at any of the designated stops - walk around for awhile - then "hop on" later at either the same stop or any other stop along the route. You receive the benefit of mass transportation prices and convenience offered by private couriers. Ride with the crowd - or go alone - your choice - at your whim - an easy way to see a city.
When God gave us the gift of free will - He blessed us with a similar opportunity - like the bus service above - we can be with Him or apart from Him at our heart's desire. Feeling good - hop on the "Jesus bus" - shamed of doing something bad - hop off the "Jesus bus" - it is up to each of us to make that decision - and make that decision we do - all too often. Better that we make the correct decision once and then commit to it for our lifetime. To experience God's presence in our life we need to "hop on" and stay on!

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Open Pit

Besides being the name of a barbecue sauce - "open pit" also refers to a type of method of mining. In that process you mine from the top down and in the process create an open pit. Most people would be fairly familiar with the barbecue sauce - having used it on food grilled in their back yards or on the deck. The sauce imparts a special flavor that enhances the taste of grilled meats. Tangy and spicy - it adds zest to the food.
A third type of open pit - is the kind that one may possibly fall into if led down the wrong path of life. Being distracted by life's many challenges - or being led astray by things that tempt our earthly desires - may and often does cause people to fall into sin. Best intentions put aside - the mind can become a worthy opponent - if allowed to wander in the ripe pastures of sin. It is up to each of us - as mature Christians - to recognize when we are allowing ourselves to get too close to the edge of that pit - and having the strength and determination to stop ourselves from giving into these temptations. When Jesus wandered in the desert - He was tempted by the Devil -  and was able to defeat him - the prince of lies. For us - it is harder - but as long as we have Christ at our side and in our heart and on our mind - we will be kept clear from that open pit.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Detours are a matter of fact - they happen more often than we like and they always disrupt our plans. Any disruption in our plans or schedules may be classified as a detour. We start one project only to be interrupted by another person who begs us to stop what we are doing and help them with their project - we detour from our project to theirs. Or perhaps we are driving our vehicle and we come upon road construction that forces us to detour and take an alternate route. Whatever the disruption - we are forced to analyze the situation and make a change.
Many people who have good intentions of becoming serious with their faith often face detours - other more attractive options are placed before them which lures them away from the truth and light to the false and dark side of life. Luckily for them Jesus is always there - waiting for them - offering them another option. If you are one of those who have been experiencing one detour after another in your life - then it is time that you accept Jesus' offer and make one final detour into His loving arms.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, May 21, 2012


It is interesting to note how people say grace - the prayer before eating - both in the style and words that are used.  From the childish "Rub a dub dub - thanks for the grub - yeah God" to the more official "Bless us O, Lord and these thy gifts..." and everything in between. From the funny to the very serious - from the young and the old - the irreverent to the pious - people find countless ways to thank God for their daily blessings of food - fellowship - family and friends. Taking the time to say grace prior to any meal is heart warming.
Jesus - like us - gave thanks to God for blessings and asked His father's blessing upon meals He shared with others. However - unlike us - He is the One who gives us His Grace. To God grace is a lot more than a type of prayer. Grace is His special presence with us. Whenever we celebrate a sacrament with Him - we receive His awesome Grace. It is His Grace that gives us the strength to do  the things that He asks us to do. It is His Grace that helps us to endure hard times. It is His Grace that gives us the patience to deal with issues. It is His Grace that feeds us with the Holy Spirit.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Doing The Math

Now that we have moved into a global world with easy access to almost everything international one common issue that many people face is the conversion between different systems of weight and measures. How does one easily convert inches to centimeters - miles to kilometers - pounds to kilograms and so on? For those with a scientific background those should be easy conversions. For the rest - conversion charts exist that make this simple. What about changing money from one country to another - US Dollars to Euros - or to Polish Zloty - or to Great Britain Pounds. Again using formulas developed to make these conversions is actually very easy to find those answers.
When a person has experienced a change of heart and is moving from a life of unbelief to belief or who has been uneducated about religious matters and then has a spiritual experience - they go through a conversion of their mind and heart. There are no special formulas that have to be applied here - conversion - or turning their minds and hearts to a new vision that includes God is left completely up to God. He alone works in that person's life to make them see Him - the One who loves them in new light. As a lifelong Christian - I see this a God's job - nothing for us to do but rejoice in the one who now sees God in new light. We do nothing - God does it all - nothing for us to worry about - do the math.

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Little Things

How true that it is always the little things that end up mattering the most. Large adults and very small children - the little ones are the ones we worry about the most. Major projects - the large picture - but it is the little details that mean success or failure. Giant beams support large buildings - but it is the little rivets and bolts that hold it all together. We are impressed by that which is big - and in the process we ignore the tiny little things that make up the glue of success.
We read in Mark 10:14 "When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children."  He didn't say turn them away - let the grownups come first - no He made it a point to welcome the children and then reminded the adults present that they needed to make themselves small in the eyes of God - to stop being grandiose and start being humble - to become little so that God could work mighty wonders in their lives. Today when you start feeling very large about yourself - take Jesus' advice and make yourself little.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Be Prepared

Be Prepared - the Boy Scout motto that every young scout must learn. Be prepared so that you are ready for any contingency that may arise - be prepared so you can help when called upon to volunteer - be prepared and life will rarely catch you off guard. Good advice for both young and not so young. How many times have you thought that you would have been better of if you had taken the time to properly prepare - how many occasions did you falter and stumble because you thought you had more time than you actually did? Learning to plan ahead and following through with those plans often make the difference between success and failure.
Jesus gave us the same kind of advice - in Matthew 3:2 - He warned "repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" and in Matthew 24:36 He said "no one knows the day or the hour when these things will happen...."  He gave his disciples a warning that the time to make changes was now rather  than later when it might be too late. Today He gives us the same message - make things right - make them sincere - be prepared.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Comfy Shoes

"No foot - no horse" is an old saying that I heard quite often years ago when we had horses and ponies around our ranch. What it meant was that you were a sorry rancher if you did not take the time to properly care for your horses and other animals entrusted to your care. Just like brushing your dog's or cat's fur to remove whatever they might have gotten into - it was imperative that to have a healthy happy horse you had to spend the money and hire a farrier to properly trim and shoe your horse - if they wore shoes. A lame horse was useless - you could not ride them or work them. The same goes for people - no foot - no mom (or dad) or whomever. Foot health is very important to people so they may remain active and healthy. Most of us ignore our feet. Sure we wash them and dry between the toes - but that is where most people stop. Women in particular are guilty of squeezing their feet into shoes that are too small or narrow in the name of fashion. Some men also do this but for whatever reason it seems to be more of a female issue.  
When going on a pilgrimage or any long walking trip it is imperative that you wear comfy shoes or sandals. Failing to do so means paying the price with hot blistered feet and being unable to enjoy the remaining walking part of the journey. We need our feet to get to important places. Jesus instructed his disciples to travel light - not taking extra tunics or sandals - but he did expect them to have one pair to wear - obviously walking through the desert without something on your feet would not be the smartest thing to do. Walking on sand is fine - but there are always little rocks hidden in the sand and that would hurt. Our journey through life is like walking in sand with those hidden rocks. All is fine until we stumble - we fall - we fail - we sin - but Jesus is always there - helping us get up and setting us back on the path. Today when you walk as a modern day disciple - wear comfy shoes.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


PRN is an acronym that stands for "pro re nata" which is Latin and means "as needed". The most common use of  this acronym is in medical use by doctors, nurses and pharmacists. When a doctor or nurse uses the term it is intended to signify that the treatment or order is to be used as the need arises. When a pharmacist sees this written on a prescription order it either means that the medication is to be taken or used as the need arises - or it may be written to indicate that the prescription order may be refilled as the need arises. Our lives are filled with acronyms and this is one lone example of the multitude of abbreviations in our lives.
Jesus had his own form of easy speak - otherwise know as parables. He used this literary device to make truths easier to comprehend. When Jesus spoke to his disciples - he was attempting to inform them so they would be prepared to carry on his mission after he was gone. His parables and words have been passed down to us so that we may do the same. Today - as then - Jesus asks us to teach - to share - to inform - PRN - as the need arises. Praying that the need does arise every day!

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Whine or Wine?

Do you know people who are constantly complaining and making mountains out of mole hills? It is usually one thing after another - their health - their job - their finances - their family - their love life - their golf game - whatever. It becomes a problem when everything they view is seen in the negative. A common response to their constant whining and complaining is "would you like a little cheese with that whine?" Personally I prefer the other kind of wine - the red liquid that you drink with dinner. 
Saint Paul told Timothy to stop drinking only water and to drink red wine for his stomach (1 Timothy 5:23) - my cardiologist told me to drink red wine for my heart and cholesterol. Good advice on both parts - the wine has helped my numbers improve and my doctors are happy with the results. Jesus calls each of us to be "new wine" to be evangelists - to spread His message of love. Listen to Saint Paul and Jesus and be wine for others!

Deacon Dale 

Monday, May 14, 2012


The Global Positioning System or GPS is a space based satellite navigation system. It provides location and time information in any kind of weather on or near Earth. The United States government maintains the system. Original development started in 1973 and became fully operational in 1994. Today many people - besides the government - use devices that rely on the GPS system. The most obvious are Garmin and TomTom navigation systems in automobiles. The next most common use is in cellular technology. If you use a cell phone then you are using GPS even if you did not know it. With this technology it is very easy for anyone to follow your every movement.
Just as those with GPS can track you so can God. Of course He does not need technology to let Him know where you are or what you are doing. God knows each of us so well that He has counted the hairs on our heads and can read things kept hidden in our hearts. Since He already knows us so well - it makes sense that we should know Him just as  well. The best way is through prayer - the only to way ever really know anyone is by having open communication with them. As you know your friends better and better through constant communication - so can you know God. Why not start today - give God a call - He is waiting.

Deacon Dale 


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mothers Day

What a beautiful day to celebrate Mothers Day. Sunshine - warm weather - slight wind - great time to be outdoors - family gatherings - cookouts - games - fellowship - fun. All the ingredients for a very special day - a day to celebrate mothers and all they have done for us. Yes - we are blessed but not just in the day - but also in our mothers. We celebrate and thank God for these dedicated women who gave us birth - who nurtured us - educated us - loved us - and soothed all our ills. On this day we appreciate all those women who we often tend to take for granted. Thank you mom for all you have done for us!
On this second Sunday of May we also celebrate the annual May Crowning - when we took the time prior to Holy Mass to honor and crown Saint Mary - the role model for all mothers. On this day we paused to give special reverence to  the mother of our Lord, Jesus - to Mary the mother of all. Like our own mother - Mary is the Lady to whom we can turn in times of need. We offer prayers to her - who in turn offers them to the Lord for us. On this day we honor the mother of our best friend - Jesus.

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Greatest Is..

Competitive creatures aren't we - in almost everything we do we compete. When our sons were growing up the youngest always wanted to play with his older brother's friends. Since he was two and a half years younger - he had to exert extra effort to be accepted by the older youth and in striving for their acceptance - he became very competitive. Everything he wanted to do had to be done on a competitive level since he was younger and physically smaller. It didn't matter if it was school work or sports or just goofing off around the house - competition became a way of life for him. His efforts paid off and he was accepted by the older youth and in the process he also made himself a very good student and athlete. Today you can see all different levels of competition in almost anyplace you look. It is no longer limited to the playing field but also in the work arena and the market place. All of us strive to excel - all of us work at trying to be the greatest in every field imaginable - because that is what is expected of us.
In Saint Paul's letter to Timothy (2 Timothy 4:7) he wrote "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." He was referring to the fact that he was in chains and it looked like his life would soon end. Even as he had competed with the weakness of men and their lack of faith he was now fighting the race against time - the time he would have left to fulfill his desire to serve God. He knew he wasn't the greatest - he knew he had faults - in spite of his shortcomings he still exerted his energies not to preserving his life - but to proclaiming the message about the One - the One worth proclaiming - the One who was to come - the One who makes everything right - the One who is the Greatest One of all - Jesus.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, May 11, 2012


Tonight we celebrated the sacrament of confirmation for eighty-four eight graders.The Mass went well with no glitches. The Bishop's homily was was right on target and everything went well. What effect all this had on those who were confirmed has yet to be seen. Those of us in ministry will have to wait and see how all this develops and develop it will.
Confirmation is awesome from the point that young adults finally - after all these years - get to make their own decision about committing themselves to a life of faith. Some will be very diligent for the rest of their lives - many will drift away since they see confirmation as a sort of graduation away from religious education. On the contrary - it is a point of transition where they - not their parents - become responsible for nurturing their spiritual life. With the help and patience of a loving God all will eventually work out - in the meantime - those of us who stand besides them are called to encourage them to stay with the task - the task of being a true Christian. 

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Reading Obituaries

Today I heard a conversation on the radio about reading obituaries. It seems that there are a fair number of people who make it a habit of reading the daily obituaries. Aside from those who are checking to be sure a friend or relative has not died - there are others who read the obituaries out of curiosity - curiosity about ordinary people and the extra-ordinary events that were deemed important enough to be included in the death notice. The conversation continued as the radio personalities discussed how they were impressed with the number of people who lived apparently quiet ordinary lives - but - as recorded in the obituary - had done many out of the ordinary things in their lives. Feats long forgotten by others - in the armed services - unknown careers - unusual hobbies - and even just the sheer number of hobbies and interests that some people had done during their lifetime. It just goes to show you that unless you read the written word or story - the movie (or live) version never reveals all there is to know about a person.
The most famous obituary ever written is contained in four official books and numerous others that were not accepted as official documents. I refer to the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John - and the obscure Gospel of Thomas. In all those books the life story of Jesus has been written - in differing but similar ways - to validate each other and to reveal slightly minor differences known only to each author. Like obituaries of ordinary people - Jesus' obituary is one amazing story after another - filled with miracles and life changing events that touched all. This obituary has stood the test of time and even today touches the hearts and minds of people - even though it is over two thousand years old! If you have not read the story of Jesus' life you need to do so today - and let it touch your heart.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Real Thing

What do you think of when you hear the phrase "The Real Thing"? I'll bet if you clicked the hot link you were not surprised to end up at the Coca-Cola web site. Perhaps better yet would have been a link to "the real thing" - as viewed in the review of the new Muppet movie. It just goes to prove that across the ages many various things have been promoted and touted as the real thing. You have to wonder what qualifies a product or subject as the real thing. In order to do this you have to establish ground rules - then narrow down to what sort of item or subject that you wish to determine is truly the real thing. As shown above - the real thing - can be anything and everything - depending on your personal view and taste.
When it comes to religion there is no question when we refer to "the real thing" - for Christians Jesus is the real thing - throughout all ages. He isn't just the real thing today - but has always been and will always be - the real thing. We can rely on the truths of His Gospel - we can trust that He has been and always will be there - waiting to help us - waiting to guide us - waiting to lead us - to the real thing - to salvation.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Grooving To The Oldies

There is nothing like sitting around and listening to old favorites from your youth. Depending on your age - your favorites might be different from my favorites. Each generation will naturally develop its own set or list of oldies. It is interesting that music from the 50s and 60s seem to be popular to almost all age groups. A little Elvis - he is still alive isn't he - or the Beatles - they will never die - draws people of all ages together. Of course there are other groups that fit into this category - I will leave you up to create your own list of favorite oldies. I find it interesting - especially at weddings - that there is no age discrimination when the "good" music starts and almost everyone starts dancing - everyone joins in on the same songs no matter what the age.
Religious music seems to fall into that latter category. Some songs and tunes just never grow old. "Amazing Grace", "Rock of Ages", "Awesome God" never seems to lose their appeal. People today warm up to those songs as readily as they did when they were first sung. Amazing Grace in 1779,  Rock of Ages in 1775, and Awesome God in 1988. Unlike the first set of oldies mentioned which appeal to the ear  the second set of oldies appeal more to the heart and soul of the individual - just as Jesus appeals to our inner soul and and brings us peace and comfort.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Coming Home

There are very few feelings that can compare to coming home. Going away to school - taking an extended vacation - serving in the Peace Corps or armed services - all these draw people away from home for extended periods of time. You steel yourself and make do - not many choices otherwise. Then the day finally arrives - you complete classes - you end your vacation - your time of service and commitment come to an end - and you return home. You return home to people - to pets - to places - to old hang outs. You return to those things that make your life comfortable. You rejoice that once again your comfort level is where you want it to be. In the process of growing up and leaving childish things behind as we evolve into adults - we often have to give up that comfort level and move on with our lives and away from things that made us comfortable.
For some that means moving away from their childhood religious practices and seeking and searching God elsewhere. Sometime this works and some people settle into a new and exciting worship life. For others - this seeking and searching creates a lot more questions and issues than it solves. The comfort level disappears and anxiety replaces peace and contentment. Even though they seek God elsewhere they never feel the comfort level they once had - finally after an extended time away from what was once comfortable - they return to their roots only to discover the exact peace and comfort that they were seeking elsewhere. In their searching - they have come full circle and return to the spiritual home where they began. Better informed they now make a decision on their own - to once again embrace God where they first met Him. Standing in the doorway as they return to their spiritual house of worship is Jesus - arms wide - a smile on His face - saying "Welcome Home".

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Mouths Wide Open

Oh My! - No Way! - WOW!  Exclamations such as these always leave you with your mouth wide open. It has to be almost impossible to utter such a phrase and keep your lips closed tightly. Exciting news - exciting results - exciting events - always leave the viewer with mouth agasp and wide open. It is a natural reaction to a special situation. Perhaps you witnessed a terrible tragedy or a spectacular moment at a sporting event - when you witness something like this - you have to just stand there with your mouth wide open - it is only natural.
This weekend began a stream of many churches celebrating First Communion. This will continue for the next few weeks as more and more churches celebrate this annual Rite of giving Holy Communion to their youngest members. These children will approach the altar - with hands folded - eyes wide open - hearts filled with expectation - waiting for those special words "The Body of Christ" and "The Blood of Christ". As they respond "Amen" - their mouths will open wide as they commune for the first time. An experience to behold - for all involved - the youth - the parents and families - the ministers - for all in attendance. What a Miracle - what a moment - receiving Jesus for the first time - with mouths wide open!

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cinco de Mayo

For most Americans May 5th is just another day in their lives - however - for those of Mexican descent this day marks a special victory for the Mexican people who commemorate the Mexican's army's 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco - Mexican War of 1861 - 1867. In Mexico this is a relatively minor holiday - but in the United States it has evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage. Although some people view this holiday as merely a gimmick of alcohol distributors seeking just another way to sell more beer and wine - which may be partially true - it has also had the beneficial impact on the American republic of making everyone aware of many of the beautiful  customs and contributions that Mexicans and Mexican-Americans have made for the benefit of all. Today in America - all of us celebrate the beauty of life no matter what our cultural and ethnic background.
When God created the World and all that is in it - He created people - people for whom He has a special fondness. As humanity evolved and populated other areas it is only natural that due to climatic differences - differences in food supplies - differences in language development - that we as a people would end up with characteristics that set us apart from each other. In our differences - we are more alike than we realize. In spite of all these things that make us different - there is one aspect that is identical in all peoples. We are God's people - we share One spirit - we owe all that we have to One God - we are all - the children of God. As we share in the Mexican celebration of May 5th- God asks us to also celebrate in LIfe - the LIfe He has blesed us with - the good and the bad - the happy and the sad - for that is Life - and that is God - the joy and blessing of each of us.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Eye of God

When you take the time to look up at the sky you can see many interesting things. One very special object - often referred to as the "Eye of God" is the Helix Nebula - also know as The Helix, NGC 7293 or Caldwell 63. This is a large planetary nebula located in the constellation Aquarius. It was discovered around 1824 and is one of the closest to the Earth being a relatively close 700 light years away. When it was photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2003 it became more popular and with some color added - it becomes a very interesting object in the sky.

The thought that we could actually see God's eye in the sky is intriguing - is God watching us and smiling - or is He observing us doing something that we should not be doing? Does it make you more comfortable thinking that God is visibly watching over you - or do you feel threatened by that same concept? In reality - God sees all and knows all - He approves and disapproves - He smiles and He frowns - but no matter what we are doing - it is most comforting to know that when He does look at us - it is through eyes filled with love.

Deacon Dale  

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Making Memories

Now that the weather is finally warming up, many people are heading for the outside to enjoy the spring - either by working in the yard or garden - or participating in spring activities such as biking, running and golf - or in my case - bocce. As they participate in these annual rituals and rites of spring - many will be using their cameras and phones to capture photographic evidence of their involvement in these activities and recording their successes. My wife just posted photos on Facebook showing off the beginning of her annual work in the gardens. All these activities and the photos that we take - help in creating memories that we can and will share with others. In the sharing of these memories we stay connected with others - even when we cannot be physically close.
When we were baptized as infants and young children - our parents started us on the path of creating spiritual memories. Our first communions - helping at Mass as servers and lectors - assisting  as ushers - our confirmations and weddings and ordinations - all  these were recorded with cameras and videos and given a place in our memories and those of our families. Each and everyone of these events was overseen by God - approved by God and written in His Heart. Today it is our turn as we continue to grow spiritually to remember all those times when God was so near to us - it is our turn to appreciate their importance - it is our turn to write these special moments with God in our hearts.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Everything I know has a timeline. It is a list of events that follows a chronological order. Sometimes the timeline is historical - an event in the past and a timeline traveling backwards explaining the events that preceded it - in order to explain how it got to the point that you are studying. Other timelines are futuristic - a list of events that have yet to happen - and if and when they do occur - will result in a future event. Most project managers work with a timeline - a plan of events that have to be completed for the project to reach its final completion. In business - in personal lives - in almost everything we do - we work with a timeline. 
When God created the world - He had a plan and a timeline. A time for Him to reveal Himself to His chosen people - time for those people to accept Him - time for them to challenge - to pull away - time to regroup and regather. Today God is still working with a timeline - your personal timeline. He knows where He wants you to be - and He waits patiently for you to move to that point. Perhaps you are challenging Him - perhaps you are in the process of walking away from Him - maybe you are moving closer to Him - or maybe no where - the great news is that God has all the time in the World and He waits for you - in your time.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Old School

I find it interesting that even with all the modern tools and systems today - it is not unusual for people to periodically run into issues that seem unsolvable - even with the use of modern technology.  When faced with an unsolvable problem invariably an "old timer" will be sought out for their recommendation and help. Most often the "old timer" is able to solve that which was deemed unsolvable - simply using their experience and old technology. Putting aside all the modern tools and reverting to old systems is commonly refereed to as "old school" - using outdated systems to succeed where modern technology fails.
Today we have Bibles not only on CDs but also in digital format for easy use with all sorts of computer systems. Even The Breviary - the Official Prayer of the Church for the "Hours" - is now available in digital format. When I was preparing for ordination as a deacon - I purchased the official four volume set of  The Breviary - today that exact same version lives very comfortably on my iPhone. Books on tape and CD is a popular way for many people to keep up with their reading by listening to rather than reading their books. Utilizing all sources available to each of us today provides many ways for each of us to stay connected - to do our daily prayers - to work on our relationship with God.  Jesus says to each of us - come to me all you who are weary and burdened and  I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28) - new technology - old school - it makes no difference - God is the same today as He always has been - patiently waiting for us.

Deacon Dale