Friday, December 29, 2017

Christmas Season

Contrary to common belief - Christmas is not only one day out of the year. In the Church Christmas is a season that lasts from the Christmas Vigil until the Celebration of The Baptism Of The Lord on January 8th.  In some locations Christmas season goes until the Epiphany celebrated on January 6th.  Throughout these days we celebrate the fact that God sent His only Son into our world.  In my family we begin our Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve with immediate family - Christmas Day finds us with extended family - cousins - aunts - uncles - in the evening the group gathers again -  a bit smaller - we with our children - grandchildren for part three of our celebration. The day after - again finds us with family - relaxing and continuing our acknowledgment of God's blessings. In the days following - the celebration continues with friends and those whom we do not see often - through New Years Eve into New Years Day and beyond praising God for all He does for us. For us Christmas is a very joy filled time of year - extending as long as possible - rejoicing in the spirit of Christmas.
In Christmas God celebrates with us - reminds us that He loves us - as we are - where we are - close to Him - far away - His love everlasting - always there for each of us. In the busy days which have now passed - His presence should be even more visible - as we continue this holy season into the new year - anticipating the extended celebration - finalizing with the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord - inspiring us to be constantly vigilant seeking the presence of God in our lives.

Deacon Dale

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Joy

It is a wonderful day today - celebrating Christ's birth with family and friends - experiencing the joy of all.  Last night we celebrated the Polish Vigilia - our daughter-in-law provided us with an awesome 9 course meal - which kicked off our annual Christmas celebration. All the family is home so that makes it even better.  This morning - Holy Mass with a large group of people at church and for the afternoon - gathering with extended family - cousins - to continue celebrating God's gift to the world. We love family gatherings - it is always a joy to catch up on everyone's life and activities. Family is one of God's best blessings - having people with whom to share life's adventures. We love all the smiling faces - the excitement in the eyes of the young children and adults alike.

We pray that on this very holy day - that everyone has an opportunity to experience - the joyful moments of this holy day.  We rejoice - share the joy - of God's gift in Jesus - Jesus' gift in His love - The gift of the  Holy Spirit - which fills the world today with Joy.

Merry Christmas
Deacon Dale 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Magic

The wonder of Christmastime - snow in the air - snow on the ground - - a white Christmas - adding to the magic that springs forth from this awesome season. The preparations for Christmas ending soon - ready or not - this evening - Christmas Eve - the vigil begins - waiting for the arrival of the baby in the manger - reindeer hoofs on the rooftops - the arrival of Santa Claus. Everyone - religious - spiritual - or not - finds something special in this season - best described as - Christmas Magic. Those normally grumpy - tend to smile - people who quickly pass by others - slow their pace - if only to smile or offer a quick greeting.  Happy Holiday - Merry Christmas - Feliz Navidad - Buon Natale - Bah Humbug - in one way or another - acknowledging the special feelings all around. The majority - in good spirits - welcoming - greeting - sharing with others - family - friends - strangers - Christmas joy.

For God so loved the world that he gave His only Son - to us - to all - that we might have life and live it to the fullest. To all He came - many accepted - rejoiced - but not all - for reasons unknown. He came to bring us Good News - most listened - accepted - for some - words falling on deaf ears.  The greatest gift of all from God - besides His Son - Jesus - the gift of free will. The ability for each of us to accept or reject - Him - His Son - the Good News. The choice is ours - to accept - reject - without judgement. Perhaps those in time who do not - may change their minds - that is not for us to worry about. Our duty - to rejoice and celebrate God in our lives. We leave the others in God's hands - to His Divine Mercy. Today - this evening - tomorrow - Christmas Day - we who believe - believe in Christmas Magic.

Buon Natale
Deacon Dale

Friday, December 22, 2017

The Christmas Dance

It is now three days before Christmas - that special time of year when all rational thought - actions - plans are down the drain - gone. Today marks that special time of year when logic fails - tempers flares - Christmas Spirit - fades into - frustration - feelings of despair - the Christmas Dance begins.  Not to worry - this is what happens yearly when the true meaning of Christmas begins to fade - replaced by last minute races to complete everything previously planned.  Office parties - cookies to be baked - pierogi to be made - final decorations - last minute shopping - wrapping of gifts - all in an effort to have a perfect Christmas. Somewhere - in the background - tossed into a corner - Jesus - His birth - the significance of the season - the reason for the celebration - clouded by us - seeking that perfect Christmas Day.

Time to stop - take a very deep breath - gather our wits about us - realize that there is absolutely nothing we can do to create a perfect Christmas. Something always goes wrong - gifts get misplaced - given to wrong person - wrong size - color - item - dinner runs late - turkey gets burned - not enough food - too many guests - babies cry - adding to the confusion. No matter how well - poorly we plan - Christmas arrives on time - in a rush like a team of galloping horses over the finish line - prepared or not.  In all this confusion we know - trust - believe that Jesus Christ Himself is the leader - conductor of the Christmas Dance. He is there with us now - not as an infant in a manger - rather as Lord of our lives. He brings to each of us His Love - His Peace - His Joy - as we celebrate Life - given freely to us by God Our Heavenly Father. The pace of the dance may be fast - hectic - always led by God Almighty. Through it all we realize that the First Christmas - that Night when Christ was born - was the only Perfect Christmas we will ever know.

Merry Christmas
Deacon Dale 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Fatima - Lourdes Pilgrimage Recap Video

It took me awhile to get this done - surgery on the hip got in the way of creating this video memory for those who recently joined us on the pilgrimage to Fatima - Burgos - Lourdes - Montserrat - Barcelona. I am posting it now to share with all of you. Included are video highlights of the shrines - Holy places - that we visited while on pilgrimage - praying ourselves though Portugal - Spain - France. This was the first time that we had visited Portugal and France and found both to be great places to visit. Of course - visiting while on pilgrimage - traveling with people of like minds - similar spirituality - made this an awesome experience.  I do not get the opportunity to preach frequently these days - on pilgrimage - I typically share preaching with our spiritual director - so this pilgrimage I had three opportunities to break open the words of Holy Scripture with our pilgrims.  I do not remember anything I preached - being led by the Holy Spirit - but I do know that in some small way - everyone was touched by the few words I was called to share.  In the video highlighted - there are no no words spoken - let the photographs and music speak to your heart instead - enjoy!

Deacon Dale 

Thanks For Giving Blessings

I am not the first to use the phrase - thanks for giving - very popular this year - at Thanksgiving time. Even now as Black Friday - Cyber Monday - Giving Tuesday have faded from the media - that phrase still lingers on - as it should. What should be normal - done throughout the entire year - only highlighted at years end.  It is not only at Thanksgiving that people should be in a thankful mood - rather - we should all appreciate every blessing that we receive anytime in the year. Whenever a gift is received - we should  thank and then pay it forward. Anyone can be the giver - as well as the receiver - at any time - any day. I recently read a story about a homeless person who was offered a bag full of breakfast bars - who immediately offered one to his donor. There are many who would have accepted the gift and walked away - this person - without hesitation - wanted to immediately return the favor.
God blesses each of us constantly - so often that too many take His blessings for granted. Today when you receive - and receive you will - pay it forward - share freely what you have received with others. You will be surprised how your blessings become multiplied.

Deacon Dale