Sunday, September 30, 2012


There are various forms of stingers - the most common is a sharp organ which is found in various animals that delivers a venom by piercing the skin of another animal.  Bees, mosquitoes  wasps, hornets and scorpions all have stingers.  Some - such as honey bees - die after using their stinger as it is pulled from the body after stinging an animal. In medicine - a stinger - is a situation in which a nerve is injured and causes pain to the patient. In casual conversation - a stinger is a retort or comment made between individuals in which one person makes a comment that may be hurtful to the other.  In general - all stingers cause pain - whether intended or not.  Everyone knows of someone who has been hurt by a stinger - if not themselves.  Common traits of stingers is that they usually happen when least expected - are very quickly executed - and have effects that invariably leaves at least one person in pain.  Probably the worst kind of stinger is the verbal assault that is delivered in front of other people and leaves the person who was attacked in an embarrassing condition.  Verbal comments - attacks with words - often do more harm than physical attacks. 
When Jesus was chided by the Pharisees (Mark 7:1-23) about his disciples eating without first washing their hands - He remarked that what caused an "unclean" condition in men was not what went into the body but rather what came out of the body - that is spoken words. He told them that food went into the stomach - not into the heart.  Only that which was in the heart of men and the words spoken from the heart that was made up of lies - false comments - stingers meant to hurt others - was what made a person "unclean".  As we seek to grow in our relationship with Jesus - each of us has to focus our thoughts and words so we are not guilty of delivering stingers - rather we need to offer words of encouragement that builds up the spirit of others.   Do as Jesus would do.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Fantastic is an adjective used to describe anything that is spectacular, unusual, out of the ordinary, unbelievable, unlikely, or preposterous. It might be a person, a place, a thing or an event.  It is always something that catches the observer by surprise - an unexpected gift - an unusually kind or generous person - an awesome sight - an event that surpasses all expectations.  When we are allowed to experience these things - we describe them as fantastic and awesome.  Fantastic warms our hearts - restores faith in our fellow man - brings us to perhaps laughter or even tears.  Without fantastic - life would be dull - a little less hopeful - a little more dreary - much more mundane.
When Jesus told His disciples that He was going to leave them - to go to His Father's house - where He would prepare a room for them - they did not think that was fantastic.  They were scared because they still did not comprehend what Jesus was all about.  They wanted to believe - but in their hearts they still questioned and wondered - who was this man - the son of the carpenter?  Luckily for us - we know not only the history - but the results.  We have the gift of time - the gift of distance - in which we we have read and studied and learned - what Jesus is all about.  We know the Truth - we know the Way.  Yet - many question and debate - the words - the whys - the wherefores. Holy Scripture - for many - becomes a project to be dissected - torn apart - investigated - studied.  Blessed are they who have not seen - but believe (John 20:29).  To be able to accept the Truth at face value is a gift from God.  To those who still struggle - you are encouraged to take that leap of faith - to close your eyes - to close your ears - to ignore those who confuse - to step into the dark corridors of your heart where Jesus waits to shine His light on your life.  To experience the presence of Jesus in your heart - to feel His warmth - His love - as your personal savior - that is fantastic!

Deacon Dale  

Monday, September 24, 2012

Internal Battles

Everyone of us has internal battles that we have to confront and cope with - some are quite simple and the battle is easily won - others - years to finally come to a peaceful resolution.  Sometime it may have to do with personal relationships - husband and wife - father and son - mother and daughter. Other times it involves occupations - job relationships - work ethics - salary expectations. And even others - in the spiritual arena - what church to join - what doctrine to accept and which to reject - who to follow and what theology to believe. Struggling with faith issues can be one of the most complex and frustrating battles that anyone will ever cope with.  It is never easy - always difficult - keeps you awake at night - and very often ends up with alienation of family and friends. One wonders why God would make it so difficult to make - what should be a simple decision.  The truth be told - He has - He has shared the Truth in Holy Scripture.  It is man who has used that very Truth to confuse the people - twisting words and changing interpretation to their benefit - to their way of thinking. Recently I have been exposed to the concept of "reverts" - those who have left the Church - only to return after a long battle. One such friend - Christina - writes a blog Called The Recovered Catholic.  Another common and similar battle among those firmly entrenched in other Christian traditions - who are seeking a deeper truth in their own faith expression - are those who are drawn away from their tradition to the Catholic Church - one whom I just read is Jason - who writes "I fought the Church and the Church won".
The Internal Struggle To Break Free 
Truth be told - Jesus came to us - that "we might have life and live it to the fullest" (John 10:10). He established the Church that mankind would be able to "worship the Father in Spirit and Truth" (John 4:23) His intent was to create one body of believers - He also knew that men would not all accept His message - that there would be those who would accept His words and those who would reject them (Luke 12:49-53) because of God's gift of free will. He did not want to force us into belief - rather He chose to lead us to the waters of regeneration - that we would chose for ourselves and in that decision become true followers of the Way - the Truth - the Life - that He offers each of us.

Deacon Dale  

Friday, September 21, 2012


The term sidebar has long been used in newspaper and magazine layout. It is now common in Web design, where sidebars originated as advertising space and have evolved to contain information such as quick links to other parts of the site, or links to related materials on other sites. Online sidebars often include small bits of information such as quotes, polls, lists, pictures, site tools, etc.  Most blogs and articles presented on the internet always have a sidebar - a specialize area where the author adds additional information not contained in the main body of their presentation.  Often in personal conversation - people will make "sidebar" comments - comments not specifically pertaining to the issue at hand - but of some remote interest to the discussion taking place.  A few people - though not many - cannot converse in anything but sidebar comments - as they have nothing to add to the actual conversation.
When Jesus preached to the flocks of people who gathered around him - He stayed on target - avoiding sidebars. He did not beat around the bush - rather said what had to be said and in a manner that not only caught the attention of people - but moved their minds as well as their hearts.  Many popular preachers today have nothing to say but sidebars - avoiding the truth of the Gospel - tickling the ears of their listeners with what the listeners want to hear - rather than what they need to hear.  In our parish we are blessed with priests and deacons who preach the Gospel - from the Gospel - without sugar coating Jesus' message of confession - reconciliation - redemption - forgiveness - healing - and newness of life available to all.  If all you are hearing is sidebars - then seek out those who are not afraid to preach the entire Gospel message as Jesus did.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Down through the ages there have been numerous Kings and Queens and houses of Royalty. These designations normally acquired through family blood lines and passed down from one generation to another. It is interesting that to be considered of "royalty" -  there is really no requirement except that of being born into the family.  No special talent - no special gift - no degree of being any better than any other person - except being born into a "royal" family. When a royal line is traced backwards - very often we will find that the title was conferred onto an individual as a sign of gratitude for a job well done - particularly one of a military nature.  So in a  manner of speaking we have made "royal"  those who excelled at fighting.  Seems odd - when you think of it - that we should honor and hold in high regards those whose claim to fame was nothing more than a military accomplishment.  To compound this - the title was passed from father to son and in many places perpetuates to this day.  You might ask - why do we perpetuate  this system - why not honor others who have accomplished much more and in a peaceful manner - how about teachers - doctors - artists - builders?
When Jesus was proclaimed King of Kings - His was not a title won on a battlefield - but rather in the hearts of the people who heard His gentle words of peace - love - forgiveness - reconciliation.  Sure He showed anger in the temple when He chased out the money changers - but that was not all He did in the short time He walked this earth. He preached love - healing - hope - faith.  Unlike the kings and queens that came before Him - His kingdom was a heavenly one - a place where He would go to prepare space for each of us - that at the end of our time we could be with Him and His Heavenly Father in paradise.  Jesus - King for all - is He your King?

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


pearl is a hard object produced within the soft tissue of a living shelled mollusk. The finest quality natural pearls have been highly valued as gemstones and objects of beauty for many centuries, and because of this, the word pearl has become a metaphor for something very rare, fine, admirable, and valuable.  Most of us know someone who has either a pearl ring, ear rings or necklace - many are costume or inexpensive pieces - just as many are the real thing and valuable. On occasion the word pearl is used to describe a spouse, child or special friend - indicating how much you value them. When a person finds a pearl - they hold onto it for dear life - whether it is a piece of jewelry or a person - real pearls often are hard to find.
When Jesus shared the parable of the Hidden Treasure (Matthew 13:44) - He was comparing a treasure hidden in a field to the Kingdom of Heaven - then followed with the parable of the pearl which shares a similar teaching. To attain Heaven - to share in God's almighty blessing is a treasure  that no one in their right mind would ever pass up - yet many do.  For those of us who have accepted this special gift from God - when we accepted Jesus into our hearts - we know what it is that we have - we hold tightly to our hearts - we invite others to share in this gift from Jesus. To have and to hold is great - to have and to share - even better. Share the gift of Jesus with those whom you treasure.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Shock and Awe

When we normally hear the phrase "shock and awe" we think of Shock and Awe (technically known as rapid dominance) which is a military doctrine based on the use of overwhelming power, dominant battlefield awareness, dominant maneuvers, and spectacular displays of force to paralyze an adversary's perception of the battlefield and destroy its will to fight. The doctrine was written by Harlan K Ullman and James P Wade in 1996 and is a product of the National Defense University of the United States.  As defined - this type of shock and awe is connected with a battle or fight between two groups which typically ends in death and destruction.  This is not exactly what I am referring to - rather my focus is on the results of yesterday's Chili for Charity chili cook off.  The local Knights of Columbus and St Vincent de Paul Society sponsored an all day event for families - the main attraction was a chili cook off that featured 17 cooks producing 21 chilies in the competition. It was a beautiful day to be out and about for participants and observers alike. The camaraderie  between competitors was excellent with competitors helping each other out - loaning equipment and supplies to each other. The battle or fight was not among those cooking - rather the battle was against poverty and unemployment - fighting the system to help the less fortunate in our county - the victory sought was raising funds to help the needy.  The day progressed well - as planned - with a great turnout to support this first time effort - the fairgrounds flooded with the yellow volunteer shirts worn by the Knights and Lady Knights. The shock - for myself and friend Deanna - was in the judging when both of us won first place trophies for our chilies. What a surprise and shock that we won - and the awe of everyone involved who made that day such a wonderful experience and a success!
When we are walking alone - wandering throughout life - living an existence of loneliness and misery - not knowing where our next meal will come from - not knowing if the meal we eat will be enough to sustain us another day in a miserable situation - we are shocked and awed when God intervenes and makes things happen that changes our life for the better. We are caught off guard - pleasantly surprised when things change for the better.  We - who believe - are awed by our God who loves us so much that He is always there to help - to support - to forgive - to build new - to create something out of nothing - to give us the strength and companions that together - with His blessing - we can make our life and the lives of others better! Praise Jesus!

Deacon Dale 

Friday, September 14, 2012


Fire! screamed from the top of one's lungs may be a warning of impending danger or the excited yell of a youngster - depending on the situation.  Watching a neighbor's house engulfed in flames spreads terror in the hearts of those around - sitting excitedly around a campfire and roasting marshmallows quite another experience altogether. Like many natural forces - fire has the ability to be both good and bad.  It provides heat and light - keeps strange animals away from you in the woods - disposes of unwanted trash. It also destroys and causes anxiety when allowed to burn out of control.  Fire may be external or internal. An internal fire might be the result of a disease or infection in which the body tries to burn up or eliminate a bacteria or virus - seeking to make the body whole and pure.
When you first became a believer in Jesus as the true Son of God - when you were baptized with water and your sins washed away in that purification ritual - you were cleansed and enlightened. As an adult - when you recommitted yourself to Jesus and proclaimed Him as Lord and Savior - you were born again and the fire of His love filled you - you became one with Him in the Spirit. Today your inner fire may have become a small flicker of faith - dulled by society and life situations - to re-kindle that fire that once fed and nurtured your life - you simply have to pray "Come Lord Jesus - Come".

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Say What?

Now a days we are all experts - we join Facebook and LinkedIn and become experts on anything - no matter how well educated we are or are not - we start blogs - and profess knowledge of specialized subjects - valuable and otherwise. We get to say what we want - when we want - how we want. The other day I ran across one of those "experts" who had done a minor project involving tracking financial donors - his newest claim to fame since that project - he is now calling himself a financial services expert.  In his mind -maybe - to the rest of the world - ?  - I can avoid judgement - he has his reasons.  For those of us who write blogs about our faith and faith journeys - we are held to a higher standard. We profess what we have experienced in our personal lives - we preach the Good News from both a head and heart perspective. We do not profess to be experts or specialists - we are not infallible or without sin - we are ordinary people doing the best we can to share the Faith that we have received.
As Roman Catholics - we are bound to the Truth - which is Jesus Christ - we profess the Creed in the way we live our lives - we share the teachings of the Church Fathers - We believe what we read - we teach what we believe - we practice what we teach. No more - no less.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Today we pause - we put on hold - we hesitate - and use those few spare minutes to remember and reflect on September 11, 2001 when this nation was attacked by terrorists and thousands of innocent perished in a reckless act of violence.  Nothing was proved that day - no battle won - no victory for any groups - aside from taking innocent people and in one swift action terminated their lives. To be able to brag about the taking of life - is nothing to brag about - to take a life of an unarmed innocent person - is nothing to brag about - and yet - it happens day in and day out.  Around the world there is always one individual or another who places no value on human life - life that is so precious - that it should be protected and preserved - not terminated. Even in our own country there are those who do not respect life - life of the unborn - the terminally ill - the aged.  Respect comes from within - respect is natural for most - respect is universal - crossing all barriers.  Only those who do not respect their own lives are able to perform deeds such as this.
Jesus told his disciples and followers "I have come that you may have life and live it to the fullest" (John 10:10)  Jesus offers us hope when there is no hope - Jesus offers us love when there is no love - Jesus offers us life when there is no life.  He does not force it on you - He stands at the door - waiting for you to knock - to ask - that He may give you all that He has promised. Chose life - Chose Jesus.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Most of us have traditions that we observe - ethnic - cultural - historical - spiritual. In my family we have a blend of traditions incorporating both mine and my wife's family.  Some center around specific times of the year - such as Easter and Christmas.  Others - such as anniversaries and birthdays - follow the calendar and still others - such as family reunions - were based strictly on how and why and when the tradition began.  For example - in regards to our annual family reunion - selecting a time of year when the majority of the aunts, uncles and cousins were available took some developing but eventually we settled on Labor Day weekend. It works for most but not all - but the majority are able to participate. Thus the tradition of meeting yearly over Labor Day weekend has become one of our traditions. Because one or both of our parents were descendants from Italy - we honor the Italian traditions of our ancestors by serving an all Italian menu and playing Bocce - a favorite Italian game.  Other things have been incorporated and made apart of the annual reunion so that after 17 years the family reunion has become "tradition'.
The Catholic Church is based on two pillars - Scripture and Tradition. Just as in our own families - the Church has developed traditions often not found in Holy Scripture. Some people have a problem with this since it is not referred to in Holy Scripture - and thus deny the authenticity of that particular tradition. Any intelligent person will immediately recognize that the authors of the different books of the Bible did not record every single event - thought or action of Jesus.  That would have been impossible - since NOBODY knows the mind of God. To think otherwise would be almost blasphemous - making yourself more knowledgeable than God. From our Church family we celebrate and rejoice in the beautiful traditions that have been been incorporated into our understanding of God and in our Worship.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Pierogi are dumplings made from unleavened dough filled with a variety of foods - meats - potato - cheese - fruits. Pierogi are popular among the peoples of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, The West Slavic Poles, Czechs, and Slovaks, as well as the East Slavic Belarusians, Russians, Ukrainians and Rusyns, and the Baltic Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians. Depending on the peoples -the name may be different but they all boil down to a dumpling. While in Poland earlier this year - I was traveling with my wife and another deacon couple. Although the food in Poland is varied as in most cultures - the only thing my deacon brother wanted to eat was pierogi. That and potato pancakes - placki ziemniaczane. I tried my hardest to have him try the other Polish dishes - but pierogi was it.  He ate pierogi from Krakow to Warsaw to Gdansk where we found a restaurant that served 21 different types of pierogi. Those with sweet cheese were among the most popular. He nicknamed that restaurant the "Pierogi Palace" alternatively the "Pierogi King".  Last Christmas - my wife and I made about 700 pierogi to be shared with our family - a task we do not repeat that often.
When we first come to Jesus - we are starving for His Word - the Words of Life that build us up - that edify us - that strengthens us - that fills us. As we grow in our relationship and learn about the Liturgy of the Church we learn about Eucharist and how important it is to Catholics. In the Eucharist we receive Jesus - the Bread of Life and once you connect with Him in this special sacrament - nothing else will ever fill you in the way that Eucharist does. You begin longing for it - searching it out - at home and in your travels - because you have found in the Eucharist the Truth that is Life - the Truth that is Christ - the Truth that is God.  Nothing - not even pierogi - will ever fill your soul the way Jesus does!

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, September 2, 2012


Saturday my wife and I hosted the annual family reunion.  This is the family from my mother's side - so since her maiden name was Bonvini - we call it BonviniFest.  It is always a great time reconnecting with our cousins - the games - the food - the stories - the new babies - it is one constant party from start to finish.  Although the morning started with rain - it quickly stopped - partially because of the rosaries Arlene hung outside - partially because of all  the prayers we said asking for some dry time. This is our yearly time to celebrate our Italian heritage - to discuss our travel plans to Italy and to share stories about the family still in Italy. Of course we play games - bean bags for one and definitely the annual family bocce tournament. This year I was able to show off the bocce court I constructed in the back yard - all 80 feet of it with its 58 thousand pounds of rock used to construct it. The cousins were impressed to say the least and everyone wanted a turn on the court.  At the end of the day it is all about family - staying connected.
When we gather at church on the weekend for Holy Mass that is exactly what we are celebrating - family - the Family of God - the family of unrelated individuals who share a common bond as people of God. We may not be playing games - but still - we share in the actions of Holy Mass - calling Jesus our Savior and God our Father as our priests and deacons lead us through the Sunday worship.  At the end of the day - it is all about family - staying connected to the One who loves us - the Author of life!

Deacon Dale