Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Training is a very important part in the process of education and preparation for many tasks. Through training an individual follows a prescribed routine to achieve their goal. In canine obedience training - the process is repeated over and over until the dog has the routine memorized. Usually the trainer is more likely to give up before the dog does. Command and treat gets the task done every time. Patience on the part of the trainer and endurance in the task is what finally yields good results. Musicians have to train - practice - constantly until the music and the technique become a part of their life. I have just begun the process of training for a special pilgrimage that I hope to make next September - walking El Camino de Santiago in northern Spain.. I not only have to get my walking skills up to speed - literally - but I have to do it carrying a backpack. Presently I can do a few miles with no major effort - the goal is to be able to walk about 18 miles a day for 30 days in a row. I am confident that I will be able to walk the 18 miles with out any problem - the hard part will be repeating this task daily until I have walked some 500 miles. With God's blessing it will be accomplished. 
When an individual makes a commitment to Christ - to be an active follower and disciple - they have to train themselves so that they will be able to sustain their goal of spreading His message. It is not easy - many fall by the wayside - reverting to old habits - giving up early in the process. For those who stick it out - no matter how inconvenient it may be - the rewards are many. Through this process - serious people - are coached and encouraged by the words of Christ Himself and His early disciples. Prayer - Holy Scripture - attending Holy Mass - are some of the best tools for those attempting this task. With Jesus at your side - you will be well trained.

Deacon Dale 

Music To My Ears - Tatiana

Music to my ears is a metaphor - a metaphor is a figure of speech that describes something by asserting that it is the same - in some small way - as a completely unrelated subject. One of the most common metaphors - according to Wikipedia - is "all the world's a stage". Metaphors make it easier for people to grasp different concepts and ideas which occur in normal conversation and in literature. It is also a comment made when we hear something pleasing - as in a beautiful poem - an inspiring speech - as in actual beautiful music. Everyone has their own personal preference for what is described as beautiful music - it may be the music itself - the words of a song - a combination of both. This coming Friday - November 30th at 7:00pm at St Patrick Parish - 406 Walnut Street - Yorkville, IL - we will have the opportunity to hear beautiful music - music to my ears. Tatiana is from Croatia - a former pop music star - who gave up fame and fortune and moved to America seeking a different way of life. In America she has found her niche and now - along with her husband - travels across the USA and internationally to bring the beautiful music - God's music to the people. 
Jesus proclaimed God's love for all people - in the words he spoke - in the actions he made. It was a simple message - spoken in love - in kindness - in charity. He spoke of forgiveness - reconciliation - acceptance. Now 2000 years later - those words are spoken by His ministers and special ones - who continue to proclaim His message of love. They are true words - honest words - loving words - Music to our ears.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, November 26, 2012


Resolution refers to the act of coming to a definite decision about something. It also means to reduce or break into small parts as in disintegrating in order to convert or transform one object into another. When a group of people come together to discuss an issue in which a decision must be made - we say that they come to a resolution - or final decision about that issue.  When a complex chemical is processed in order to break down into smaller less complex parts it is said to have been resolved - a final product which is now clearer and more refined. In photography resolution refers to how many pixels are involved in the photograph and how clear the resulting image will be. Poor resolution - low pixel count results in a blurry or grainy picture - good resolution - high pixel count and a sharp and clear image results.
When we come to faith - we seek truth - we seek knowledge - we seek information. For many people this is a long and difficult process. Too often the mind tries to resolve faith issues with logic - very often there is no logic to making faith decisions. An individual either believes or does not believe based on what feels correct to them. This is the point of faith - making a resolution to believe that which logic defies. Once a person takes that step into the arena of faith - interesting things begin to happen. Resolving to commit your life to God - to serve Him - to serve His people - to love - to share - is a very good resolution.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Thanksgiving is a very special time of year for most people. It is a national holiday primarily celebrated in North America and Canada. In North America its origin was based in a religious celebration of blessing which has evolved into a more secular tradition. In the early formation days of North America - some Puritans - the radical reformers of their day - wished to completely eliminate all Church holidays - which had become almost excessive in the English tradition (some 95 Church holidays plus 52 Sundays) - including Christmas and Easter. In place of those holidays they proposed days of fasting and thanksgiving. Obviously that is not what happened. In 1621 a poorly documented day of Thanksgiving was celebrated in present day Massachusetts when pilgrims celebrated a good harvest. Today that day is observed on the fourth Thursday of November - on December 26, 1941 President Franklin D Roosevelt signed a resolution permanently fixing that date. Thanksgivings around the world are typically held in observance of special blessings.  In Canada - Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October. The Canadian holiday is traced back to 1578 and an explorer - Martin Frobisher - in thanks for surviving the long journey from England through the dangers of storms and icebergs. Other countries that celebrate a day of thanksgiving are Germany, Grenada, Korea, Japan, Liberia, The Netherlands and Norfolk Islands. People everywhere pause to celebrate blessings in one form or another.
Most celebrations of thanksgiving were first conducted by the spiritual leaders of the community - then as the idea of thanksgiving grew it was absorbed into the daily lives of all peoples. As people of God - each of us thanks God for the many blessings He gives us daily - especially for the blessings that we fail to recognize in the hustle and rush of daily living. On this special day we make it a point to change our routine - to pause - to reflect - to give thanks in special ways. Thank God that He never tires of blessing us - we should be so mindful to thank Him always!

Deacon Dale 


Evidence in its broadest sense includes everything that is used to determine or demonstrate the truth of an assertion. Evidence is used to prove or disprove innocence in court and legal matters. It is also used to document decisions in many other matters - drug trials - purchase decisions - anything in which important decisions are based. All of us use evidence in one form or another to help us make decisions about many things in our daily lives. We check the temperature and weather report before deciding if we need an umbrella or raincoat - we read food labels to determine the fat and sugar content before we buy - we listen to explanations from our children in conflict situations before we determine what action to take. In almost everything involving a decision we use evidence.
Jesus professed to be the Son of God - He healed people - He made people walk - He made people hear - He raised them from the dead - the evidence is recorded in Holy Scripture - this is fact. Jesus also loves you and cares for you - that is also in Holy Scripture - many people believe this - many do not. If you need more evidence - stop looking and start praying - He will reveal Himself to you - no evidence required.

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Obsession is defined by the Free Dictionary as the domination of one's thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea - image - desire - feeling. Obsessions may be either healthy or unhealthy. A person who becomes crippled by an obsession - such as a fear of going out in public - would find themselves never leaving their home - as in agoraphobia. On the other hand - an obsession involving exercising every day would be seen as healthy - as long as that individual was able to function normally - merely including their exercise routine as a part of daily life. In this case the action might not truly be considered obsessive - since exercising daily would not occupy every minute in a day. If it did come to the point that exercising was all a person did or think about - then it would be unhealthy. A routine that is followed day in and day out - but does not occupy every moment of one's life would actually be considered religious.  To be religious means that a person is faithfully devoted to an ideal or action. It does not specifically have to do with the practice of or following a religion. A person who stops by Starbucks every morning for a morning coffee could be considered as being religious about their morning routine which involves coffee and Starbucks.
Attending Holy Mass every morning to start your day would be considered religious since your mind would be involved with other things during the day - it would dot your day and give you an excellent start to your day - but not mean that you were unable to do or think about anything else - if it did - it would stop being religious and instead become an obsession. Since learning about the Camino de Santiago de Compostela I have joked about it being an obsession of mine - however - it is not-  as I do not dwell or spend every minute of my day thinking about walking "The Way". I am very interested in the pilgrimage aspect of The Camino and find it intriguing and has become a goal to accomplish at some time in the future. At times obsession and being religious become intertwined - it is important for each of us that we keep our thoughts and actions in focus and in perspective so we do not confuse the two. God calls us to be focused about life - to live it actively and fully - to experience His presence in every waking moment of our lives - to be religious - not obsessive.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

In Concert

According to the Free Dictionary - "in concert" means "with a common plan - as to act in concert - together." When  we hear "in concert" our first thought is usually a musical production of some sort. My granddaughter appears in concert at her college where she participates in various musical productions. On November 30th - at St Patrick - in Yorkville, IL - Tatiana will be in concert. There are other times when people come together - not for musical reasons - to gather to work on community projects. Last night I attended the local Knights of Columbus meeting where 42 Knights gathered together to work on one of many of their annual Christmas projects - in concert. In fact everything the Knights do - is in concert. Their projects are never the result of one person - always the result of many volunteers - working together - in concert.
Jesus recruited His disciples because He knew that He would be more effective working with other men to spread the Good News. In concert - He and His followers went to the public - ministering to all they met. Today you and I also work - in concert - to continue the works started by Jesus. Even when I pray the Breviary - alone by myself - I am - in concert - with other deacons and priests - also alone - but in concert - with each other as we say our prayers for our Holy Church. Ordained or lay - all of us are called to unite our prayers and works with each other - that Jesus may be brought to those who need Him the most - we act - in concert.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Watch Dog

Literally spoken - a watchdog is a dog that has been trained or is bred to be a lookout for people and animals approaching a specified area. Our dog 'Bene" is a Keeshond - one breed that naturally guards its owners property. Originally keeshond were used by Dutch barge owners because they liked water and would bark when anybody approached the barge - warning the owner that a possible thief was lurking nearby. Our dog does not warn us about thieves - rather he barks at anyone and anything that approaches our property. Bene is a great watchdog. People train themselves to be watchdogs - observing and looking for activities that they do not approve of.  Many neighborhoods have watchdog programs - looking out for each other's property and well being.  
Mom & Dad with "Bene"
In today's world there are many people who have become spiritual watchdogs - looking out for the spiritual well being of others. Some people appreciate this - not knowing where to look for guidance - others resent those who offer unsolicited advice. Those who disapprove do so because they assume that those offering advice are making a negative statement that their spiritual lives are not developed enough - the truth is that they do so - because they know that they have a good spiritual life - and they only want to help make it better. Many times different people will ask me if I am aware of certain programs that they feel I would like to know about. - not because I am not a good enough deacon - but because they know I am always on the lookout for opportunities that I can suggest to others to help them grow in their relationship with God. For each of us - as disciples of Christ - we are the new evangelists - we are the spiritual watchdogs - seeking to help others - watching for Jesus - wherever He appears.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tatiana in Concert

Today I have to pause and promote an awesome Christian performer - Tatiana Cameron also known as Tajci.  She is a former rock star from Croatia who came to America when she was 21 years old - learned English fluently - met her husband to be - and now travels around the world sharing her message of God's love mixed in with stories about her life and how God helped her.  Along with Matthew - her husband - she is accompanied with her three boys and crew members. I have heard her numerous times and I never get tired of her voice or music.  I recently received an e-mail from Matthew that she had an opening in her current tour so I jumped at the opportunity and by the grace of God she will be performing at St. Patrick Parish in Yorkville, IL on Friday - November 30, 2012 at 7:00pm.  Doors will open at 6:30pm. There is no charge to attend - but we will have a free will collection to help support their ministry. If you would like a sneak preview you can click here:     PREVIEW                    
God reaches people through various ways - Holy Scripture - Homilies - Sermons - Pictures - Music - other people - good & bad events - just to mention a few.  In art and music especially - He is visible to many who would not encounter him otherwise.  As people of God - it is our mission to not only be aware of God's presence in our lives - but to point Him out to others so they may share in that same awareness and come to know Him as we do - that one day -they like us - will proclaim - "I Do Believe"

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, November 11, 2012


According to Wikipedia Poverty is the deprivation of food, shelter, money and clothing that occurs when people cannot satisfy their basic needs. Poverty can be understood simply as a lack of money, or more broadly in terms of barriers to everyday life. Absolute poverty or destitution refers to the state of severe deprivation of basic human needs. Because a person lives in poverty - does not mean that they have absolutely nothing - rather they have a greatly diminished supply of basic needs. As poor as they may be - there are people who do manage to live and exist in the face of poverty. In this day and age - many people who think they are living in poverty are actually not. These may feel like they are because they cannot afford extras in life which many others can afford - cell phones - cable television - designer labels - high end items.  They may be poor compared to their neighbors and friends - but they are not necessarily impoverished. To possess anything means to not be in poverty
.In Mark 12:44 Jesus points out to His disciples that the poor widow gave from her poverty - not from her treasure. He compared her temple offering to others who gave large amounts - but could well afford to. You can consider two different concepts - the first and most obvious is about sharing your money with others - no matter how little you have. The second - and less obvious - is the concept of unburdening yourself of earthly possessions - money - property - material things. In disposing of these material things - you free yourself from the burden of managing them. You are no longer possessed by that which you possess - and being freed - you are now open to new experiences and options. When you become free - you are now open to God and what He wants you to do with your life. In your new found poverty - you have gained the world and all that God intends for you.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Inspiration is defined in various ways - as a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify them to receive and communicate sacred revelation - as an act of influencing or suggesting opinions - the action of drawing in such as breathing - or the state of being inspired.  Inspire is taken from the Latin - to breathe or take in.  In its most common use - inspiration suggests that an individual develops and idea from an outside force or stimulus. Perhaps when working on a project - a person who is unable to find a solution or answer finds themselves at a stalemate - a road block. They are unable to move forward - experience great difficulty in attaining their goal. Then in a sudden moment - the answer is given to them - revealed to them by a word or action unrelated to the project which helps them see the solution to the problem. We say that they were inspired by this outside force - the problem solved - the project completed. All of us rely on inspiring moments in our lives to keep us moving forward.
When a person moves forward in their spiritual development - we say that they were inspired by God - that they "breathed in the Holy Spirit". It is not unusual for ordinary people to suddenly become more fervent in their faith - it happens all the time. Through concentrated prayer - fasting - meditation - they are able to empty themselves of worldly concerns and open themselves to the presence of God in their lives.  Each of us is called by God to a deeper relationship with Him - the author of life. We are asked to not only acknowledge His existence but to develop a relationship with Him - a relationship that grows daily as we seek meaning and purpose in our life. For everyone this is possible - it is not reserved only for spiritual leaders - but for followers as well. Prayer is the answer - in prayer you will be inspired.

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Meet & Greet

A "meet & greet" session is a meeting in which people are gathered together to meet for the first time and become acquainted with each other. There are many reasons for these types of meetings - parents of school children - scouting groups - travel groups. I recently held a travel meet & greet for a group of people who will be traveling together on a pilgrimage to Italy. My wife and I made sure the meeting room was properly arranged and decorated to give an ethnic feel to the room - complete with Italian colors - glasses of red wine - international flags. It was a great success and in a very short time everyone felt as if they had been a group and friends for years. The pilgrimage will be very pleasant and a rewarding adventure for all of them since they are no longer traveling with complete strangers.
An important consideration in Jesus' ministry was the fact that He met people where they lived. Very often they met and shared their lives over a glass of wine and a piece of cheese or bread. Jesus knew that He had to make people comfortable with Him before He could have an effect on their lives. Following in His footsteps - many successful ministries today still follow the meet & greet format combined with shared food and drink. The next time you want to share your personal relationship with Jesus with others - stop - invite - share - food and drink first - then evangelize.  It worked for Jesus - it will work for you.

Deacon Dale  

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Pacing has to do with the pace or gait established by a person, animal or team when moving forward - as in a race or march.  Horses are trained to run, trot or pace - marching bands train for hours developing marching and playing skills - athletes train endlessly to develop their best pace for endurance and stamina. The goal in all three examples - to do the best - to maximize performance - to accomplish their goal. In our own lives we establish a pace - a rhythm - to how we live out our daily lives. We wake - prepare for the day - experience the day - end the day with rest. Even those whose lives are filled with numerous activities - fall into a rhythm.
As a good Jew - Jesus also had a rhythm to His life - daily functions and needs - daily prayers - religious observances - living life to the fullest. As He lived - so He asks us to live - as faithful people - observing God's commands - listening to Him who nurtures - breathing in the Spirit of Life - seeking balance in a world of confusion. In God's hands - we can have a normal pace - a normal pattern - a normal stream of a life lived well - in God's hands we experience Him - Father - Son - Holy Spirit. We live Life!

Deacon Dale