Thursday, January 31, 2013

Road Map

A road map is a collection of elements added to a plan which often includes a visual presentation of the journey you are contemplating. In the most common sense - a road map is actually that - a printed pictorial map of the roads, streets, highways, barriers - man made or natural, as well as elevations - all which when considered together - provide information on the best way to proceed to your destination. It shows major highways as well country dirt roads, rivers and streams, local places and areas of interest - all meant to inform one of the options available as they plan a journey. In business - a road map may explain the resources or technology available - the target audience - the best way to approach and close the sale. Many different road maps exist in life. The map of most interest to me at the moment is the one of the Camino de Santiago.
The Bible is also a road map - it shows us how to get to heaven - our final destination in life. It includes all the local color - the side attractions - the barriers - the obstacles - the path we are called to walk. Like any map it is best if there is someone who has walked the route previously - who can lead the way. For the seeker - that individual is Jesus. If you are seeking the way to go - the way to freedom - the way to joy - the way to peace - seek Jesus. He will show you the way.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Feed My Lambs

There are many programs designed to help feed people who have fallen on hard times and are unable to provide for themselves. My wife recently was made aware of a food ministry looking for someone to help. One of our older parishioners had been involved in this ministry - on his own - apart from the parish - in which he would pick up end of day bread products and distribute to the needy. The fact that he had been providing this service only came to light after his death. It is a simple ministry to do - all my wife has to do is to pick up left over bread products at the end of the day and deliver them to someone who needs them. Last night was her first night and I went along with her to help - not knowing how much she might receive. 8:45Pm we headed to the local Panera in Yorkville, IL. Left over? It looked more like a custom bakery order for a hotel. Neither of us could believe how much they gave us - and we only pick up one night a week - they do this 7 days a week. Rather than toss in the garbage - Panera - has made arrangements throughout their stores to donate these end of day left overs to legitimate charities. This is very charitable for them - as they refuse to sell anything  that was not baked that day. As you can see in the photo the collection filled the back end of her SUV.
In John 21:15-19 Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him and each time He told him to "feed my lambs - feed my sheep". Jesus did not literally expect Peter to feed people with food - although that is a nice thought - He wanted Peter to spread the Gospel - to share the Good News with the people - to feed their souls. Feeding a person with a loaf of bread only satisfies the stomach - not the spirit. Each of us - as modern day disciples - are called to share the "bread of life" - the truth that is Jesus - with everyone we meet. How we accomplish that is up to us to decide - as long as we honor His command - "feed my lambs".

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


A "by-law" - as defined by Wikipedia - also spelled bylaw, by law or byelaw - is a rule or law established by an organization or community to regulate itself - as allowed or provided by some higher authority - such as a constitution or ruling group or individual i.e. king or president . It is through the use of by-laws that groups are able to function and maintain order - avoiding confusion and chaos. When by-laws are cast aside or ignored - individuals - teams - entire groups enter the realm of the unknown. Nothing happens - forward progress is halted - the machinery comes to a halt. In all things - work - play - daily living - worship - order needs to be established - not to bind and hinder free thought and action - rather to encourage it. Once the rules - regulations - by-laws are known - everyone knows under what restrictions or freedoms they may operate. Rather than hindering - by-laws are empowering - energizing.
Jesus came that we might have life and live it to the fullest. The key word here is "might". He did not guarantee that anyone would have a full life - it is up to each of us to take advantage of His gift. If we fail to willing accept that which He offers - it is our own fault. He does not and He will not force us to do anything against our free will. It is up to us to recognize His gift for what it is and to freely accept it. The only rule - the only by-law is that each of us has to make that decision on our own- with no coercion - will no force. That which He offers to everyone is offered with no strings attached - no rules - no by-laws - no expense. He paid the price - once and for all - the decision - is yours.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, January 27, 2013


A catalyst is a substance that increases the speed of a chemical reaction without being consumed by the reaction.  For example - nitric oxide is a catalyst in the breakdown of ozone in the upper atmosphere. An oxygen atom will react with a molecule of nitric oxide to form a molecule of nitrogen dioxide. The nitrogen dioxide then reacts with a molecule of ozone which produces two molecules of oxygen and one molecule of nitric oxide. In this example one molecule of nitric oxide started the reaction and after reducing the ozone into oxygen - the molecule of nitric oxide continues to exist. Catalysts exists in other forms besides the chemical world. People may be considered catalysts - an individual reacts with a group of people to elicit a change in the group. The most common example would be politicians campaigning for election - they stimulate the minds of people to change their way of thinking so they will vote for them. A swinging ball that strikes other balls changes those balls from simply hanging to also swinging back and forth - the energy of the first affects the others acting as a catalyst to change the others from dormant to active balls - while retaining its original form.
Jesus is a catalyst - He came for one main reason - to change the hearts and minds of people. He lived among them as an ordinary man - He spoke about His heavenly Father's love - forgiveness - reconciliation - acceptance. He affected change in people - they looked at life in a new way - they saw hope - they saw healing - they saw God. He was a catalyst while He was alive and walked the Earth - He still remains a catalyst today - affecting changes in people on a daily basis. If you are seeking change in your life - if you need new direction - new focus - all you need do is to invite Jesus into your life - He will be the catalyst you need - to change your life for the better.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, January 25, 2013


Mach is not only the name of the third month of the calendar year ---- it is also a term that means to walk steadily and rhythmically forward in step with others. When you observe people marching together - as a school band in a parade-  you will see exactly what is described - right feet together - bodies erect - not wavering - heads forward held high - arms swinging together - as one giant machine with multiple legs and arms moving in unison. Most marches - as seen in parades - celebrating holidays - sport victories - elections - are inspiring. However, there are those - such as marches of soldiers - that cause concern and fear - a sign of oppression - domination over others. Building a sense of pride - well being - is good - creating a culture of fear - is bad. Today - January 25, 2013 is the Annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. - to celebrate life - to protest the 40 year old decision by the Supreme Court to legalize abortion. It is interesting to note that the majority of those marching are not middle aged mothers or doting old women - rather the March is filled with young women and men - the very ones who are coping with the issue of unwanted or unplanned pregnancy.
In Matthew 11:28 Jesus tells us "come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest". People on both sides of the abortion debate would do well to heed these words from Holy Scripture. For the pro-life people - Jesus says to hang in there - it may be a struggle - He will be with you - standing at your side. For the pro-choice people - Jesus says that He is there to help them in their struggle to make the correct choice - to turn to Him as they debate having an abortion or not - to turn to Him in prayer - to seek His guidance. In seeking one must ask - in asking one must seek the truth - in finding the truth - one finds the real Truth - Jesus. In finding Jesus - He will reveal the beauty of life - the sanctity of life - the only decision you can make.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, January 21, 2013


The word backup means everything in information technology - it is critical - to avoid loss of data - a system that stores a copy of data is one of the most important pieces of any good computer system. All large corporations make sure that a backup system is in place before they ever start collecting critical data. Some home users also utilize backup systems - most do not. I was one of those individuals - for over 25 years I was able to get away without any need for a system backup. All that changed about a month ago when my main computer went completely black. When it came back up all I had was the fatal blue screen of death. It took over an hour before I was able to get to a C:> prompt to see what was going on. When I asked for information the only thing I saw was that the hard drive was completely empty! Everything was gone - nothing. Now I have a new computer and the task to recreate all my lost data begins - the hardest part - trying to remember what I had saved on the old computer. It is not until I need old data that I even remember that I had it in the first place. I should be very upset with myself - but at this point there is no reason to stress myself - so I will proceed and cope with whatever issues come up.
I was baptized as an infant - I was raised in the Christian Church - I have been confirmed - married - ordained - all in the church founded by Jesus Christ. I have been comfortable with my faith most of the time and on occasion I have been uncomfortable - but throughout it all - I have never lost my faith. Some people feel as if they need a backup to their faith - in case they lose their faith - some turn to other religions - other beliefs - other options. When I made a decision as an adult to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior - I made a commitment then and there and I've never regretted it. In all my trials and errors - in all my situations - the only true backup I've ever needed is Jesus. He is always there for me and He will be there for you - you only have to ask.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, January 20, 2013


Cana, Israel is famous as the site of the first miracle performed by Jesus while attending a wedding there with His mother and disciples. Theologians and historians alike seem to have differing opinions on not only the location of the historical Cana - but also the significance. This past July 2012 I had the privilege of visiting the modern day site of Cana. Although not included in our original itinerary - our tour guide made last minute arrangements that allowed us a brief visit - enough time for us to renew our own wedding vows and capture it all on DVD. To be in the Holy Land and to renew vows with my wife - celebrating 43 years of marriage - is something that we will never forget. It was a simple ceremony - no party - no food - no cake - no wine - just ourselves - 33 other people and Father Matt - in Israel! That alone made it truly significant.
Fransician Church at Cana - Israel
When Jesus was invited to the wedding - He probably didn't think He would be revealing His divinity there - but He did. That is important for all of us - the implication that God blesses marriage - approves of celebrations involving community - joins us in our meals and feasts - with food and wine - shows us just how much He is involved in our lives. Jesus is our personal Lord and Savior - there is no reason not to believe this - He came that we would have life and live it to the fullest - in Jesus is the fullness of life!

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, January 19, 2013


Ultralight is a term that refers to anything that involves coping with excess weight. The two most common topics that deal with excess weight is flying and hiking/camping. Ultralight aviation is the flying of lightweight - one or two seat fixed-wing aircraft - also called microlight aircraft in the UK, India, New Zealand and South Africa. In the late 1970s and early 1980s many people became involved with the hang gliding movement and began seeking affordable powered light aircraft. As a result - many aviation authorities established regulations and definitions for lightweight and slow-flying airplanes - thus opening up the door to ultralight and microlight aircraft.  In regards to camping and hiking - ultralight involves the same concept of utilizing very light weight materials for all gear. Light weight nylon tents replaced heavier canvas tents - as did lightweight aluminum and plastic poles for heavier metal ones. Today modern materials are incorporated in everything involved with camping and hiking - tents, poles, back packs, shoes, clothing and rain gear. To go one further - compressability also comes into play - how much space an item uses has also been re-engineered to allow for more lightweight items to be carried in smaller backpacks. According to Hilleberg The Tent Maker  - it is very possible for a camper to carry equipment easily in the neighborhood of 35 kilograms (60 pounds) up to 51.5 kilos (112 pounds). This involves literally everything one might need for a weekend or week long camping trip. Compared to this weight - when my wife and I walk The way of Saint James in Spain later this year for 6 weeks and some 790 Kilometers (500 miles) we will be carrying backpacks weighing about 7 kilograms (15 pounds) or less. To be able to walk day after day - some 13 to 18 miles a day - we need to be ultralight.
In Luke 9:3 Jesus told His disciples "take nothing for the journey - no staff, no bag,no bread, no money, no extra tunic". His disciples were to stick to the bare minimum - only what they were wearing - to rely on the kindness of those they met on their journey for food, lodging - anything they might need. They were the original ultralight trekkers! Of course - considering the climate of Israel - they did not need rain gear or much that a modern day hiker needs and they were not walking 800 kilometers. They did go - as sent by Jesus - obedient in  seeking to spread His Gospel message. On our personal pilgrimage - we who have been called - will not be walking alone - we will be walking at a time when thousands of others will be walking. In 2012 some 192,000 pilgrims walked The Way - in 2013 - we will be among them - walking by faith - not by sight - into the unknown - into the strange - with Jesus at our side.

Deacon Dale   

Friday, January 18, 2013

Safety Net

A safety net - in its original use - was a large net used in a circus to catch high-wire and trapeze artists - if and when they fall - to catch them and protect them from injury. Fire fighters would use a similar net to help people escape buildings that were on fire. In more modern use - a safety net is any means of protection from hardship or loss - such as insurance - savings accounts - any type of back-up system that affords protection from any kind of emergency or disaster. Safety nets may be equipment - such as netting and spare parts - or it may be people - as extra players on a team - or systems - such as computer back-up programs. Safety nets provide a level of assurance that disasters may be avoided - especially when attempting anything that means taking a risk - with your life - your finances - your reputation.
Spiritually - when seeking protection of our spiritual soul - most people turn to God. God is seen as the great protector - the Divine One who watches out for us - who protects us from all sorts of harm - if we stay connected to Him. For Christians - Jesus is that safety net - by believing in Him and accepting Him as the Lord of your life - He stands there - guiding - giving direction - protecting you from all harm. Make a serious commitment to Jesus - become His disciple and He will provide you all the safety you need.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Vision Quest

A Vision Quest, as defined by Wikipedia, is a rite of passage in some Naive American cultures. The ceremony of the Vision Quest is one of the most universal and ancient means to find spiritual guidance and purpose - a Vision Quest may provide deep understanding of one's life purpose. Typically the process involves removing oneself from society and going deep into the woods - as on a retreat - for one to four days. In that time the person leaves behind the day to day distractions - living off nature in a basic manner - often with no running water or electricity - "roughing it" in an attempt to get back to nature - to get back to the basics of life and in that time of simplicity - seeking a new vision of the innermost needs of themselves and how they are to focus their energy - on their future - their goals - their purpose in life. Most individuals who participate in a Vision Quest - walk away from that experience - renewed and refreshed. When your life takes on purpose and meaning - life becomes more bearable and tolerable - knowing your personal goal and purpose.
Jesus knew what His purpose was - He did not need a Vision Quest - His Heavenly Father had provided the Vision - the Goal. Yet - He went into the desert - to fast and pray - to focus Himself on the task at hand. Fortified - He left the desert - to accomplish that task. Two thousand years later - we His modern day disciples - walk in His steps - attempting to continue the work He began. Often we stumble and hesitate - confused by the media around us - often we find that we ourselves need to go on our own Vision Quest. When we do - when we walk a different path from that of the World - when we dare to go another way - our true purpose and goal is revealed to us. If your life is confusing - leaving you unfulfilled - take time away from the world and walk your own Vision Quest - Jesus will be with you - every step of the Way.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Anything that makes your heart beat faster may be called a heartthrob. This term was popular years ago and is not heard as frequently today. It refers to objects as well as people - a shiny new car - a flashy pair of shoes - a very handsome guy - a pretty girl - may all excite a person to the point  that their heart rate increases and "throbs". Popular singers and actors are typically the most popular objects of excitement and affection. That which brings pleasure - real or perceived - generates an excitement above normal levels of interest. Being a heartthrob or having a heartthrob is common for many - a fleeting experience at best and never permanent. Although temporary - heartthrobs add value to life - if only to make us appreciate what we have and what we may attain. It provides hope - in a sea of disappointments and losses. 
Jesus was not the original heartthrob - people existed before him who caused the normal experience of excitement - He was the ultimate heartthrob - the One who has endured for thousands of years. Just as His disciples related to each other after meeting Him on the road to Emmaus - "were not our hearts throbbing..." - Jesus caused peoples' heart to beat faster - stronger - because of the excitement He generated as He preached about God's love and forgiveness. He turned stony hearts into fleshy loving hearts - He changed minds and attitudes - He changed how people looked at each other - He changed the World - that alone should make Him your heartthrob.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ordinary Time

In the Church's liturgical calendar we have now entered into that season known as Ordinary Time. To some this is interpreted as blah - boring - uneventful - mundane - time. The other seasons - Advent - Lent - Christmas - Easter - all seem to have a very special focus in which Holy Scripture has more meaning - more impact - more relevance - to our lives. It is true that each of these four seasons all have their special focus - and for many - special relevance to life itself. What many fail to realize - Ordinary Time - aside from its name - is in no way ordinary. It is just as special as the other seasons - filled with special events and moments - to keep our spiritual energy flowing between the other seasons. It is in ordinary time - the greatest time in the liturgical year - that we live and breathe - that we move and experience - life in its fullest. Our spiritual lives do not take vacations - do not take rest breaks - do not disappear - in ordinary time. It is then that we put into action all that we have learned and experienced in the other seasons.
Jesus lived His life in a very ordinary way - He ate and drank - He worked - He learned and He taught - He experienced life just as anyone else did in His time. How He lived His life was what made Him different. Unlike others - Jesus lived the Truth - spoke the Truth - breathed the Truth. He could do no other than be His ordinary self - and for each of us - we are called to be as ordinary as Jesus - to make our spiritual lives so much a normal part of our lives - that it becomes completely ordinary. The best thing you can do - is be as ordinary as Jesus was.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Keeping the Journey Alive

Just a brief post to keep everyone updated on my plans to walk the "Way of Saint James" otherwise known as the "El Camino de Santiago de Compostela". While reading a forum that I belong to that discusses various issues of the Camino,  I came across these video clips about the making of the movie "The Way". See here for some insight into the movie and its actors and director. The Way

And a second interview here of Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez The Way

The practice walks are on going - as is equipment selection and testing everything for suitability. As I get back into the swing of normal posts (I am still coping with a dead computer - and have to borrow time on my wife's) I will not only get back to my regular daily posts but I will be starting another blog just about the Camino
Jesus calls each of us to journey with Him - to walk with Him and in His footsteps. The Camino
is a personal journey - even when walked with a companion - for each of us - our journey is our own - but never completely alone - as Jesus always walks with us.

Buen Camino
Deacon Dale 

To Be or Not To Be.....

Perhaps that is one of life's biggest questions - to be or not to be - that is the question. Each of us has an inner calling to be - to exist - to excel - to define - our life's purpose. Is it better to be a king or queen - priest or prophet - teacher or student - master or slave? Before we can answer that question - we first must know who we are - what we are made of - where we come from - what our heart and mind tell us. We need to think - research - pray - study - examine - the inner most depths of our being. What influences have we experienced in our childhood - youth - adult lives - what and who has formed us into the person we are today - what are the possibilities for my life for tomorrow? Will we be rich or poor - happy or sad - lonely or fulfilled - all possibilities and options open to us. In time - with a serious effort - we may finally discover the answer to the question - to be or not to be. 
When Jesus was baptized in the Jordan by his cousin John - He knew what He was about. He was sure of His mission - His goal - His purpose in life. When the skies opened and the Holy Spirit came upon Him like a dove and He heard the words "This is my Son in whom I am well pleased" - He and His disciples - knew that His was Divine - that His mission and purpose in life had been ordained by God. He taught His disciples - as a good role model - that they too shared in His baptism - in His mission - in His goal and that we - as His modern day disciples - also share in that same baptism and call to ministry. If we truly believe - then we will serve each other as He did.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Camino Status

Over the course of the next months I will be periodically posting status updates on our proposed pilgrimage on the "Way of Saint James" in northern Spain.  I first learned about the "Way" i.e. "El Camino de Santiago de Compostela" in early October 2012 when I watched the movie "The Way".  After being asked by my beautiful wife "do you want to do  that?" - I started my research. First - was it just a story written for the wide screen or was it a semi-true story? - I found out it was true  It took us about 20 seconds to both agree that we should do it. Since that time I have been doing lots of research - who walks "The Way" and why - how long does it take - can older folks like us do it - what is the cost - what equipment is needed - what do you do while walking 790 Km or approximately  500 miles? The list goes on and it is quite a list. So here we are the first week of 2013 and we have purchased trekking boots and socks - probably the most important pieces of equipment - along with back packs and other goodies. There is more to acquire but since we do not plan on walking until September 2013 - time to acquire the rest. We are currently testing our boots - I am already on my third pair and Arlene is on her second - who would have thought it would be so difficult buying boots? We have started serious walking - with and without the back packs and trekking poles. We not only have to learn how to carry our lives on our backs for some six weeks - we have to also learn how to walk over various terrain - it is a process that will be ongoing for the next eight months. That might sound excessive but my daughter-in-law just spent three months training to run one a half-marathon on one day. We will essentially be walking a half-marathon for some 30 plus days in a row - day after day. We need to build up our endurance - train our feet to be happy walking 15 to 20 miles a day. Will we succeed in our attempt - yes - because we have a vision - a purpose to our craziness. 
Lots of people do a lot of crazy things - bungee jump - sky dive - sail around the world - preach the Gospel of Jesus. When Jesus began His preaching ministry - many people thought He was going in a direction that would cause Him problems - and it did. He was preaching a way of life that was counter cultural - going against the flow of common thought. Today - those of us who preach that same Gospel - are still going against the flow of common thought - we preach life that is not what the World preaches. We preach reconciliation with enemies - not war - we preach forgiveness - not hate or revenge - we preach acceptance - not exclusion - we preach community - not individuation - we preach responsibility - not avoidance. We do as Jesus did - for the same reason - because God wills it - not for His good - but ours.

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, January 5, 2013


A fanatic is a person who is filled with zeal - excessive enthusiasm - for an idea - ideal - project. When a person becomes overly involved in anything - they will appear to family and friends as too involved - to excited - too overwhelming. To understand a fanatic - one needs to walk in their shoes - to find out what all the excitement is about - to learn and understand the ins and outs of whatever it is. On occasion - that which has the fanatic's focus - may be something beyond normal reason and thinking. More often than not - it is a new idea - which has taken root in that person's mind - that bears further scrutiny - further investigation - that holds true merit. These usually bring with them benefits for many people and groups. A person who has become fanatic about exercise very often draws others into the same mindset and as a result a group is created which benefits all of those involved. 
Jesus was labeled a fanatic by many because He offered a new vision - a new idea of God. Those who were afraid of change were afraid of Him - those who embraced His new ideas became followers and disciples. What some viewed as going against the common sense - was viewed by many as a fresh breath in a spiritual atmosphere filled with old and stagnant ideas. Because of Jesus' intense focus on spreading His Gospel message of love - forgiveness - reconciliation - the peoples of the World have all benefited - Christian or not. As we begin this new year of 2013 - we should all become fanatic about living the lives that God has intended for us - completely - honestly - spiritually.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! The beginning of a new year and a fresh start for everyone. The old year is gone and with it all the disappointments and things left undone. With the beginning of a new year - new opportunities and another chance to accomplish everything that you want. Old projects that had been set aside may now be re-visited - half-finished tasks  may now be attacked with new energies and completed - the new year is filled with opportunities - 365 days of possibilities! Each day offers us a chance to look at our lives with a fresh vision - a chance to re-invent and fine tune our skills.
God calls us each day - day after day - to re-imagine ourselves - to imagine what may be - to imagine our possibilities - to imagine a better future.  This new year is filled with unbelievable possibilities - possibilities to create - to heal - to forgive - to reunite - to be. All is very possible - with God.

Deacon Dale