Friday, October 26, 2012


A validation is the act or process of making something valid - legal - official. It is common for people to validate all types of things - parking stubs - concert tickets - appointment times - test dates - relationships - friends on social networks. When something is validated it tells us that everything is in order and on schedule. As people of order - we are comforted when we validate these different things.  In the Roman Catholic Church we frequently process marriages that were contracted outside the Church.  Many people refer to this process as "blessing a marriage" - the correct term is a validation ceremony. In this ceremony vows are repeated and men and women recommit themselves - validate their relationship - in the presence of a priest or deacon - the marriage is validated - made legal in the Church.
In Mark 9:2-9 Jesus was transfigured before his disciples - that action by God validated His divinity and revealed to the disciples that Jesus was no ordinary person. Most of Jesus' ministry was validating the worth of people - to their friends - to their neighbors - to themselves. Today - just as in the past - Jesus reassures us and reminds us that we are worth more than we realize - that as modern day disciples we have a valid ministry - a valid challenge - to do as Jesus did - to validate the worth of each other.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Providence is a middle English word which comes from provident and is translated from the Latin pro = for  and videre = to see.  Therefore, providence means the action of being provident or seeing to the future - to prepare - to be prudent - as watching for future events. When one is being provident they might store up food for the winter - money for unforeseen expenses - time for future activities and the like.  Years ago my wife was in a Christian praise band called Providence - their goal was to spread the Word of God to all who would listen - to proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven - here and now - to encourage people sitting on the sides to become active Christians. It is not only singers and musicians who have the opportunity to touch the minds and hearts of the common person - all of us have the potential to spread the Gospel message of Jesus through our actions and words.  Although doubted as an authentic quote of Saint Francis - he is accredited with the phrase "preach the Gospel constantly - when necessary use words".  Futureyes was the name of a local youth group who were challenged by their youth minister to see the future and their potential to effect change for the good - to spread Jesus' Gospel as teens.
Jesus lived His life proclaiming His Father's message of love - forgiveness - healing - redemption - in what He said and did. Many times it was a touch or embrace - an admonition - words of encouragement.  He was the Word that became flesh for the "life of the world". Jesus gave His all so that even today - 2000 years later - His words might heal and save souls. Each of us needs to pause and reflect on His awesome gift of life - life for today - life for eternity. Today we - like Jesus - need to proclaim His message to all we meet - we all should have futureyes.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Merriam-Webster defines servant as one that serves others - a public servant - especially one that performs duties about the person or home of a master or personal employer.  A servant may be an employee or a slave.  Employees have the ability to leave - if treated poorly - a slave does not have that option.  Servants are used to perform tasks that their master does not want to do themselves - cooking family meals - doing the laundry - maintaining the property - landscaping - handling repairs - being a nanny - or any other task you might think of.  Servants in general who are employed - do so willingly.  Slaves perform their obligations because they are forced into service against their will.  To willingly be a slave of another person is not the norm and highly unusual.
In Isaiah 53 we are introduced to The "Suffering Servant" - a proclamation some 700 years before the birth of Jesus.  While the original Hebrew text clearly refers to the Jewish people as the “Suffering Servant” - over the centuries Isaiah 53 has become a cornerstone of the Christian claim that Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus was the One who came to serve - rather than be served. He did not see Himself as royalty - One to be waited upon - He was to be the One who waited upon all.  In boldness and humility - He proclaimed a new vision of Heaven on Earth - a new way of thinking - a new way of serving - a new way of life for all.  As a disciple of Jesus - we are called to share with Him - the service of others. We are called to be last - among those who seek to be first. We are called to quietly continue the work - first begun by our savior - as servants - as slaves.  We are called.

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, October 20, 2012


A compulsion is a strong - usually irresistible - impulse to perform an act - especially one that is irrational or contrary to one's will.  Compulsions take many different forms - perhaps eating excessive amounts of food for fear of starvation - practicing an athletic skill such as hitting a 1000 practice balls for fear of losing a golf match - anything that a normal person would not do.  Compulsions may be either damaging or beneficial - depending on the focus and the eventual outcome.  After watching the movie The Way - both my wife and I have become engrossed in the idea of going to Spain and doing the 800 Km walk ourselves. In a way we feel compelled to do this - a walking pilgrimage of great distance - a compulsion.
Jesus was compelled to fulfill His mission on Earth. He could not deny who He was or why He had been born.  His was not a desire to merely do His Father's will - He was compelled to the point that He gave His life willingly - He could do nothing else.  So great is His love for each of us - He would do it all over again if He had to.  If you have never made a commitment to Him - now would be a good time.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

El Camino de Santiago de Compostela

El Camino de Santiago de Compostela was the focus of "The Way" - a movie that I viewed recently written by Emilio Estevez and starring actor Martin Sheen. It is a moving story of a father and son and of a very special journey. As a deacon whose primary ministry these days is promoting pilgrimages - this movie - opened my eyes to what I would consider one of the ultimate pilgrimage experiences.  While the normal pilgrimages I promote involve traveling to distant lands - Israel and the Holy Land - Italy and The Vatican - involving ten or eleven days - The Way - promotes a walking pilgrimage of some 800 Kilometers (497 miles) that takes anywhere from a minimum of two weeks up to a month or more to complete. It does not feature air-conditioned buses and four-star hotels - rather, gravel paths and inexpensive hostels. It is a pilgrimage walked by some two hundred thousand or so pilgrims yearly - for the past thousand years. It is a journey - not into impressive cathedrals and basilicas - but rather into one's own heart - and the hearts of fellow pilgrims on the way.  It requires special preparation - good hiking boots - stamina - to complete the journey.
Jesus was not unfamiliar with walking - visiting places outside of His home town.  He walked with a purpose - His mission - to spread the Good News to anyone who would listen. He traveled light - He traveled with companions. His walks brought Him to many places and peoples - into the hearts of those who met Him - and even today - into the hearts of people who He never saw. As we walk our own journeys - we need to walk with intent - with conviction - with honesty - with God. Wherever our travels take us - The Holy Land - The Vatican - The local shopping mall - we walk as modern day disciples - we carry Jesus in our hearts - we share the Good News - we show what modern day disciples look like. May our paths meet one day - on The Way.

Deacon Dale   


A recipe is a list of ingredients and directions which are used to assemble and create a product. That product might be a dish for eating or it might be a formula for producing something completely different such as a political campaign. All recipes list the ingredients required in the production process and the manner in which those ingredients are combined - in what proportions and at specific times and intervals for the desired product to be realized or completed.  With a food recipe it is important to follow the list and quantities of ingredients and the instructions for mixing and heating or cooling in order to create an edible food item that tastes good and may be reproduced in the future. In a political campaign - the main ingredient is a support staff that provides the candidate with reliable and true information so that when assembled and delivered to the voting population helps the candidate to win the election. Unfortunately - many recipes - both food and otherwise - are not followed accurately or truthfully and the outcome usually leaves a bad taste in everyone's mouth.
In John 14:6 Jesus proclaimed to His followers that He was - The Truth - The Way - The Life - the ingredients needed to attain Heaven - to be able to see the Father face to face. His recipe -shared with His disciples - guaranteed the product of meeting His Father - God in Heaven - as long as His recipe was followed.  Believe in Him - Believe in His Words - Believe in His promises and Eternity in Heaven was possible - His recipe for an eternal life of peace and joy.  That recipe still exists today - for you - for me.  All we have to do is follow it accurately and truthfully and we will see Him in heaven!

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


According to Wikipedia In folkloristics, a myth is a sacred narrative usually explaining how the world or humankind came to be in its present form, although, in a very broad sense, the word can refer to any traditional story. Myths were typically promoted by rulers or priests in order to make a significant point or to teach a lesson. In many myths ordinary people were turned into superheros in order to dramatize a teaching point or to justify a ritual.  The study of myths is known as mythology - in which the various forms and origins are learned. The most common myths that most people know are ones in which ordinary people or ordinary events were elaborated by the storytellers to make either or both more significant than they originally were.  On a local level - common myths abound in regards to stories which are spread about people and events in which the storyteller is misinformed and uneducated about the very thing they are speaking. One very common myth involves religion - specifically the Catholic religion - in which the false myth is spread that Catholics treat and worship Saint Mary as a god. Nothing could be further from the truth - yet that myth just does not want to go away. In cases such as this - a person who has a negative view of another person or group - spreads myths that are plausible - but not true - to the effect that they actually become believed by the uninformed.  
In faith matters - it is always best to go to the source to verify the validity of such myths that make unsubstantiated claims. Too often it is discovered that many of these myths are outright lies - perpetuated by others seeking to destroy the faith of those followers. In the Catholic Church - our beliefs are found in Holy Scripture and in Tradition - as laid down by the Church's Fathers. Anything not found in these two sources lends itself to myths and lies. It is unfortunate that some - seeking to promote their own beliefs - try to destroy the beliefs of others.  Before one speaks in matters of faith - one needs to be informed - so they do not spread myths in place of the truth. Jesus is the Truth - that sets all people free.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Destiny or fate is a predetermined course of events. It may be thought of as a future that has been predetermined, whether in general or of an individual. It is a concept based on the belief that there is a fixed or logical order of nature. Fate defines events as inevitable or "ordered" and unavoidable.  Destiny - on the other hand - deals with regard to events that have worked themselves out.  Many people believe that their lives - their complete lives - have been predetermined by God or nature.  Many believe that no matter what they do - or what God may do - will ever change the course of their lives.  Who they will marry - what type of work they will do - when they will die - is all determined by their personal destiny.  To live a life under this concept of predetermination traps a person to a life of fear - anxiety - disappointment  Whenever anything happens that is not pleasant  they assume that it was their destiny and accept it as is. Trapped by this mentality - one has a sad life to look forward to - blaming all events on destiny.
Jesus told His disciples and He tells us that our one destiny is to become like Him - to become Christ like in all we do.  If we believe in His promises - we will realize that we have the power - the ability to change our lives for the better.  God blesses each of us with talents and skills and knowledge. He expects us to use those gifts to help others - to help ourselves. No matter what anyone's future looks like - it can be changed - it takes effort on our part - with God - all things are possible.

Deacon Dale 

Needle's Eye

The needle's eye or more commonly the "eye of the needle" is the small oval opening at the head of a needle through which the thread or material being threaded will pass to facilitate the sewing process. Needles may be very small and thus difficult to thread or they may be large enough that actual cord is used as the threading material. The most common needles are those used to sew clothing and - from experience - are often very difficult to thread. Many times as a youngster I was asked by my mother to thread a needle for her. That I could do - the actual sewing - was always better left up to mother's hands. In Holy Scripture - in Jewish - Christian and Islam religions - scripture relates to impossible objects being passed through a needle's eye. The Babylonian Talmud refers to an elephant passing through a needle's eye. In both the Bible and Quran - reference is made to a camel passing through the eye of a needle. 
In Mark 10:24-25 Jesus tells His disciples that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven. At first glance one might think Jesus is being highly critical of those with wealth - but upon deeper inspection we find that it is not the wealth that is the problem - rather how men handle their wealth and how many allow wealth to become their god.  To be wealthy does not necessarily mean to have a lot of money - anything that we might possess in great abundance - may be considered wealth - excess clothing - 100 pairs of shoes - hours upon hours of free time that goes wasted - may all divert our attention from God and those around us who need our help. Jesus warns us that following the law - knowing the rules - staying safely in our own space - does not guarantee anyone a place in heaven. Knowledge is one thing - putting that knowledge into action - freely serving God and His people - are what counts.  Today we all need to look at our wealth and ask ourselves - what are we doing with it - does it distract us from our commitment to God - or are we using our excess to meet the needs of those around us?

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, October 4, 2012


An officiant is a person who officiates at a service or ceremony such as a wedding, baptism or funeral. At weddings and baptisms the officiant normally is required to be ordained in a specific denomination in order to perform their duties.  At funerals - the officiant is not required to be ordained - but rather one who is trained and has experience conducting funeral services. In this day and age - it is not unusual for persons who have no affiliation with a religious community or organization to be buried without the assistance of a trained officiant. Very often people who are cremated have their ashes spread by a family member with no official service.  While this may be expedient - it often leaves family members with an uneasy feeling that their loved one was not given a dignified and proper goodbye. In light of this - my wife who is a hospital chaplain and I have recently begun a new ministry we call "Final Journey".  Through this new ministry we are offering funeral officiant services.  Our web site is located at - where we describe the services offered and to whom. It is sad that this type of service is needed - but rather than ignore the issue - we are extending ourselves in a Christian manner to help others.
Jesus came because of the Love that He and the Father have for all mankind. He came to save us from ourselves - from the sins we would commit - from the evil that poisons the hearts of people. He came for everyone - but everyone did not accept Him - He came for His own people - but even some of His own people rejected Him - and today people still reject Him - and search for other answers - to questions that will never be answered without Him. Although He was saddened when people rejected His Gospel - He still extended Himself to everyone who needed Him - He cannot deny Himself - nor will He deny you - if you only ask.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

What Me Worry?

According to Wikipedia - worry - is thoughts, images and emotions of a negative nature in which mental attempts are made to avoid anticipated potential threats.  Worry may be experienced by an individual about a real or imagined situation.  A small amount of worry is considered good - double checking on things - buckling your seat belt - avoiding risky ventures - may help to protect from unfortunate or bad outcomes. Excessive worry - on the other hand - may become crippling and prevent an individual from experiencing the fullness of life.  Being terrified of flying in an airplane - being afraid of water - avoiding situations based on rumors - may cause an individual to become excessively worried - to the point that they never fly in an airplane - never learn how to swim - never vote in an election.  I am saddened - when inviting people to travel with me on pilgrimages - that their only reason not to experience the awe and wonder of The Holy Land or the beauty of Italy - is because the are worried about flying - or going to a strange country - or eating different food.  Because of those worries - they miss experiences that contain great joy and pleasure - the possibility of experiencing God in new ways and in new places.

In Matthew 6: 25-34 and Luke 12: 22-25 Jesus told his disciples not to worry - especially about the little things - like what to eat or what to wear - worry has no place in anyone's life.  A small amount of concern about current issues is fine as long as it does not become a worry. It is said that worry is a tool of the devil - used to distract us from the numerous blessing that each of us receives daily from God. When we focus on worries - we take our eyes off God and that opens us to the dark side - where loneliness and self concern takes over.  The answer to being at peace in your own life - is prayer - not worry.  Prayer keeps us connected to God - to Jesus.  Through prayer we get to know ourselves better and in knowing ourselves better we know God better - we become more Christ like - we stop worrying and instead thank and praise Him - Our Lord!

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Superheros have been with the American public since the year 1917 according to Mirriam Webster's Dictionary. It was not until 1938 that the public was first exposed to possibly the most famous superhero - Superman.  Then followed Wonder Woman, Spider-Man and the whole crew of characters who possessed supernatural powers - super vision - super hearing - super strength - the ability to fly.  One common trait among all superheros was the fact that they helped the common people - to defend them and protect them - from disasters and evil characters.  Some superheros - like Batman and the Green Lantern - did not posses any of the super powers - but were able to use technology and magical tools to enable them to fight crime similar to the true superheros.  Often these not so super heros were described as "costumed crime fighters".  Growing up as children - most of us imagined ourselves as possessing similar super powers - always for good never for evil.  It is admirable that as children our first inclination was to do good - not for ourselves - but for others.  Today many sports figures are viewed as super men and women - ordinary people who have been able to accomplish extra ordinary events.  Michael Jordan and Billie Jean King are among those famous men and women who have soared above others.  The value of modern superheros as role models cannot be denied.  Many a young person has excelled in their own lives because of the superhero - and have become positive role models themselves for others - as they have grown into adults.  The world needs superheros - we all need positive role models.
At the beginning of Jesus' public ministry - one of the first things He did was to go to His cousin John who was baptizing people and asked John to baptize Him.  At first John refused - stating that it was Jesus who should be baptizing John - but Jesus would not hear of that.  He knew what He was doing - He needed John to baptize Him - as a sign of submission to His Heavenly Father - as a sign of willingness to do what He would later ask others to do.  By submitting Himself - Jesus showed His disciples and us - the way to salvation.  By humbling Himself - He became the first true superhero.  One who would fight for the lives of those entrusted to Him by His Father - One who would use His skills to lead others to the waters of regeneration - One who would become the best role model anyone could ever hope for.  He truly lived and died for each and every one of us - He truly defended us against the Evil one - He died that we might have life and live it to the fullest.

Deacon Dale