Saturday, March 31, 2018

Holy Saturday

Day three of the Triduum - tonight at sunset the beginning of the third day of the three holiest days of the Christian calendar. Today - the Church sits in waiting - contemplating the crucifixion of Jesus - the darkness - anguish - anticipation of what is to come.  In the morning - in most churches - decorating for the Easter Vigil and Eater Sunday - the blessing of Easter food baskets - final instructions for the Elect - preparing for tonight's celebration of baptism - reception - first communion - confirmation. The Triduum liturgy will resume at sunset with the lighting of the Easter Fire - the Pascal Candle held aloft as the Light Service begins the Vigil of all vigils.  Holy scripture - many readings - the Epistle - Gospel - an inspiring homily - all leading to the celebration of the initiation sacraments - leading to Holy Eucharist - the reception of Christ in the consecrated bread and wine.  Ending with the solemn blessing and proclamation by the deacon - go forth - proclaim the Gospel of Christ through your life.


The Church gives us these moments - throughout the year - moments in which we touch the Divine - draw nearer to God - reaffirming our faith - our belief - in the Easter event.  The one singular event in all lives - when we become one body - in Christ.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, March 30, 2018

The Cross

Today - Good Friday - our attention drawn to the Cross - an instrument of torture - pain - death. It was upon a cross that criminals were placed naked - to suffer pain - public ridicule. Having the fact that you were an accused thief - sinner - put on display for all your neighbors - friends - family - more an embarrassment than anything - if one survived. Everyone makes mistakes - commits minor sins - nobody knows because it is kept private. On the cross - nothing hidden - everything exposed. Not everyone placed on a cross - died - most endured terrible pain - anguish - humiliation.  There are records of a few who survived crucifixion - most left on the cross for many days - until death finally relieved them of the pain. 


In Christianity - the Cross - adopted by the majority of Christian faiths - a symbol - reminding all of us of the crucifixion of Jesus -  His ultimate sacrifice - revealing God's love for all.  A piece of wood - cut from a tree - the tree itself a symbol of life - through Jesus's death - transformed in a symbol of New Life in Christ.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Spiritual Three- Peat

Holy Thursday - the beginning of a spiritual three-peat - the three holiest days of  the Christian calendar.  Thursday evening after sundown - Holy Mass - the presentation of the Oils - blessed by the bishop at the annual Chris Mass - celebrations  of the creation of the Priesthood - Holy Eucharist.  Leaving Holy Mass - solemn procession to the Altar of Repose with the Blessed Sacrament - quiet time with Jesus - departing in silence. Although greeted by the priest with the standard greeting - the Sign of the Cross - Peace Be With You - no dismissal - walking away - in silence - contemplating the Triduum liturgy - three days of services - all interconnected - yet each day's liturgy so very important. Friday - the Passion - veneration of the Cross - no greeting - no dismissal - looking forward to Holy Saturday.


In the Triduum - the Three Days - three days of death - waiting - resurrection - mourning - tears - silence - anticipation. The Church - carries us along with all of its ministers - the faithful - from the Last Supper and betrayal - to crucifixion - resurrection. Feet washed - ministers  recommitting themselves to the service of others - faithful - supporting everyone - with prayers.  Waiting.......

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Eight Hundred!

WOW - 800 posts - reflections on things spiritual and not always spiritual. Yesterday's post was number 800 since I started this blog.  If you look back over the years you will see times when I was able to post frequently and other times when life did not allow me time or energy to write.  Deacon Dale's Blog evolved into the I of God - which was done to reflect what I was thinking personally - keeping God in mind - what He wanted of me - what I wanted of Him. I know I have a few official followers - as noted on the blog front page.  There are also many more who get email updates for each post.  In addition - I see from the statistics that I have readers from all over the world. Besides the USA I see readers from Brazil - France - United Arab Emirates - Canada - Poland - Ukraine - Germany - Portugal - Russia - Belgium - Italy - China - United Kingdom - Latvia - Philippines - South Korea - Peru.  There are possibly other countries who were not included in that report.
In all of these posts I have tried in a simple way to affirm all who read that - God is real - His Son Jesus is real - that the Holy Spirit is alive and well - that He loves us - each and every one of us. He created us - as His children - to be one very large happy family - accepting each other - helping each other - to live fruitful - peaceful lives. Now - in Holy Week - we look forward to the Triduum - the three holiest days of the year. In these final three days - before Easter - we fast - pray - prepare our minds and hearts for the celebration of His triumph over sin - death.  At Easter we celebrate Resurrection - not only that of Jesus - ours as well.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Scream and Shout

There are a lot of reasons to scream and shout - to raise ones voice over all others.  Sporting events - cheering for a favorite team - dangerous situations - warning others to be careful - public protests - unhappy about current events - actions done to attract attention to a situation or issue being generally ignored.  All valid reasons to scream and shout.  In some instances - all one can do. In others - in addition to vocal demonstrations - additional actions possible.  Right now - in America - thousands of youth - adults - protesting current gun laws.  In spite of public mass shootings - hundreds of deaths of innocent people - those in power apparently failing to do anything about the issue.  Things are being done - unfortunately not fast enough or as well executed as hoped.  Youth marching out of schools - screaming that they want to study - gather in a safe environment. Youth are not the only ones who have that care - adults - parents - also carry that same wish - to be safe in any public space - gathering. People argue - more or less gun control - more or less police protection - more or less invasion of  government into personal lives. The old adage - guns don't kill people - people do - not a valid reason.  Unfortunately - life has consequences - how we are raised - the communities we live in - the parents who raise us - those who have major influence on our lives - shape us into the people we become.  Some - possibly many - at one point or another in their life - will act irrationally - going against the norms of society.  Most often - no danger to self or others - once in awhile - extreme action - harming - killing one or more as their only perceived option.  


God created all of us to be His children - living together in community - supporting each other - helping each other in difficult times. Unfortunately - His gift of Free Will - not always used as He would like.  For some - that Free Will - used to act out - harm others. What needs to change is - people - how we react and interact with each other - how we mentor  youth - how we treat people of different cultures - color - language - beliefs. We are all God's children - and should respect each other as such. If Jesus were alive today - He would protest - carry a sign - protesting how we act.  Many of the shootings in schools committed by youth themselves - against fellow youth - because of the way they were treated - singled out - ridiculed for different beliefs - life styles. Unfortunately the youth who are screaming for protection from their fellow youth - the ones who created the situation in the first place - failing to be inclusive - accepting - tolerant of others who are different. We do not need to change guns - they are tools made of metal - what needs to change is people - people who do not exclude - do not ridicule - do not single out those who are different.  God has given us the ability to be people of peace - joy - love.  It is up to each one of us to exercise our Free Will -make the decision to become all that God intended in the first place.  When we accomplish that - then we can gather to scream and shout in joy at what we have accomplished.  It is Holy Week - an awesome time to gather and become the Holy People of God - He created.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, March 26, 2018

Lube Job

Anyone who owns a vehicle knows that routinely certain things must be lubricated on their vehicle to keep it in good operating condition.  Keeping certain joints and moving parts well lubricated - essential - especially the vehicle's engine.  Most new vehicles have the option of original oil - semi-synthetic - full synthetic versions from which to select.  The cost of each is different with full synthetic being the most costly - also providing the benefit of lasting longer - equating to fewer oil changes - less inconvenience - promoted as being better for both the vehicle and the wallet at the same time. Oil wears out after thousands of miles of use - it looses its lubricating benefits - becomes dirty over time - thus the need for change. Monday - in many dioceses across the world - the annual Chrism Mass - the one Mass during Holy Week when the local bishop blesses new oils for the Church - to be used throughout the year - until next Easter.  Church oil - unlike the oil for vehicles does not wear out - does not become dirty - does not lose its properties.  Church oil - blessed only once during the year -gets used up - the annual Mass of the Oils - to replenish the oil stock in all churches in each diocese. These oils - Oil of the Infirm (Sick) - Oil of the Catechumens (Salvation) - Holy (Sacred) Chrism - used in the celebration of the sacraments. 


God imposes His blessings - grace to those who are anointed with the Church Oils. For those who are sick or preparing for surgery - for baptisms - last rites - ordination - consecration of churches - altars - all a very important part of these celebrations.  The oil - a tangible substance - carries with its slippery - oily feel - the presence of God - into the lives of people everywhere.  His oil - lubricates the heart - minds - spirits - of the faithful found around the globe. It is universal - one size fits all - every time - everywhere. Nothing synthetic - pure olive oil - perfume added to Sacred Chrism - authentic grace from our Heavenly Father - made available for all those who believe in the promises of God. 

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Passion Sunday

Today we began Holy Week - Palm Sunday - aka - Passion Sunday - one of the longest services in the Christian liturgical calendar.  Here in Arizona - on the reservation - we began outdoors in the warm Arizona sun with the blessing of palms at the outdoor altar - then -  procession inside into the 120 year old Spanish styled mission church.  Inside we celebrated a typical Palm Sunday Mass complete with a reading of the Passion - an enthusiastic homily  by Father Antony - fueled by the Fire of the Holy Spirit - a charism of the charismatic Franciscan Friars of The Holy Spirit. Two hours later we emerged - inspired - excited - to enter into Holy Week with a passion to - do it right - with right minds - focusing our energies on the events that will be celebrated during this very special week.


I enjoy hearing the reading of Holy Scripture - especially when it describe the Holy Land - places that I have personally visited - anticipating a third visit later t his fall.  My first pastor had told me that I would never hear Holy Scripture the same once I would visit Israel.  He was right - my writing - my preaching - have all changed since that first visit in 2010.  Now when I have an opportunity to preach and the scriptures refer to Cana or the Kidron Valley or Jerusalem - my preaching takes on a new excitement that I attempt to share with the congregation.  Visiting the Holy Land - important religious sites in Spain - Italy - Poland - have all increased my passion to preach the Gospel to all who will listen. As each of us enters Holy Week - we need to realize that all of us - ordained or not - have been called to share the Good news of Christ.- with passion.

Deacon Dale 



Saturday, March 24, 2018

Holy Land Update

Just a quickie update regarding our fall pilgrimage to  Israel - The Holy Land.  We have been notified that our final date to register and still earn $300 in early registration discounts is extended until April 25, 2018.  Any registration after that date loses the $250 early registration discount and the $50 webinar discount.  That means we now have thirty days to get those commitments finalized and registration forms submitted.  If you are serious about joining us on this exciting - educational - spiritual experience - now is the time!


Over the past 8 years Arlene and I have participated in 10 pilgrimages.  We have visited Spain twice - Italy three times - Poland twice - Israel three times which includes this 2018 experience.  Although itineraries have been very similar - none of our pilgrimages has been identical. Different participants - minor changes in itinerary - have resulted in 10 very different pilgrimages.  The only constant has been Arlene and myself -  pilgrimage specialists who - along with professional travel people - have delivered very memorable experiences that have brought people closer to God - closer to each other - in shared experiences.  

We are able to offer multiple gateways - which means people from many different locations are able to join us.  The main group will be departing from Chicago, Illinois.  Prices for all gateways are listed below:

Atlanta                          ATL        $3899
Chicago O’Hare           ORD       $3799   rated guaranteed
Los Angeles                 LAX        $3849
Minneapolis-St Paul     MSP       $3999
New York NYC  (JFK or LGA)    $3549
Orlando                        MCO      $3899
Philadelphia                 PHL        $3749
Phoenix                        PHX       $3849
San Diego                   SAN        $4049
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan YXE $3849
Tampa                          TPA        $3999

All prices shown reflect the $300 available in discounts and are per person - double occupancy.  Single person supplement is $800.  To register only costs $500 per person or if electing trip insurance/cancellation waiver then $290 insurance + $250 deposit.

Registration forms are available at www.deacontravel.org   If you have any questions please email:  deacondale-holyland@deacontravel.org  or call 1.630.334.5065

Deacon Dale 


                            

Friday, March 23, 2018

Tracking Number

Lately we have been doing a lot of online shopping - much easier for items that do not have to be tried on - for size and fit - staple items - consumables - that we buy in large quantity.  Easier to have shipped to the house than trying to fit in a vehicle - also very handy for unique items.  In the past we use to drive all over the place - going from one store to another to seek and find not so popular items.  Now - with the internet - very easy to do a search - investigate the assortment of brands - read reviews - then buy and have shipped.  All these purchases offer free tracking service - a number assigned by the merchant and whomever they ship through - providing a number to keep track of where your order is in the purchasing process and eventually the shipping - with date of arrival.  If anything gets delayed - the tracking number provides an explanation and new arrival date.



When a person talks with God - no need for tracking numbers - every request - every prayer - given top priority - all prayers are equal - all get the same attention.  Some people believe that God does not answer prayers right away - some think He stores away - assigns a tracking number - to be processed - answered later.  I personally believe that God answers our prayers even before they have left our lips - hearts - minds.  I have come to believe that God knows what I need - what I am going to request - even before I know it - and answers my prayers the second I initiate my conversation with Him. What confuses many - although God answers immediately - the result of that request often takes time to manifest in our lives. Not every answer will appear to us - until we actually believe that He has answered.  Some things have to happen through the course of natural events - other people - situations - demanding our patience.  The biggest road block to answered prayers - our disbelief that our prayer is worth answering - lack of faith in God - could possibly be the cause of any delay in seeing our prayer answered.  As we prepare for Palm Sunday - we must - be people of faith - believing all that He reveals to us now - today - during Holy Week - through out our entire Lenten experience. 

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Barriers

There are all kinds of barriers - sidewalk - city streets - highways - entrances to buildings - most erected to keep people out - a safety precaution - watching out for the well being of others.  Other barriers - not focused on a person's well being - erected to segregate - discriminate - to prevent others from joining in an activity - becoming involved in private - secretive events.  Many times these barriers erected by private clubs - exclusively restricted to those of a unique language - ethnicity - financial - social - organization.  It is reasonable - for example - that a knitting group would exclude those who do not know how or have no interest in knitting.  Unfortunately - some barriers - mean spirited - eliminating others for selfish reasons - fear of introducing the unknown - into their group.  Some barriers - perceived - unreal - only a figment of the imagination.  

There are those who for one reason or another - believe that God does not love them - want them - has no interest in them - their lives.  Nothing is further from the truth.  There are a few clerics - religious who may present that image - but in those cases - strictly their individual prejudices - not the organizations they represent.  In regards to the Catholic Church - some believe it a closed organization - open to only Catholics - nothing is further from the truth.  In the Catholic Church - as well as most faiths - people always welcome - invited in - to participate - to inquire - to learn - to become members to worship in community.  The majority of churches with which I am personally acquainted - go out of the way to be welcoming - inviting in the stranger - the lost - those seeking - faith - community.  Just as we welcome all - so does God.  As we come close to the end of Lent - as we prepare for the beginning of Holy Week - we remind all that all barriers to your participation -  have been removed.   Jesus stands at the door - arms open wide.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Fork In The Road

When driving -  hiking - biking - without a map or GPS - often difficult to decided which way to go - especially when you come to a - fork in the road - right - left - one way correct - opposite - off into strange uncharted areas - or familiar?  Without prior preparation - you could easily become lost. Before leaving on any journey - best to do some homework - look at maps - ask for directions - landmarks - learning the correct route. When we hiked the Camino de Santiago - The Way of Saint James - in Spain - we had our guide book - maps and concrete pylons containing the Camino shell logo and yellow painted arrows pointing the correct direction.  After almost 400 miles - our path well marked for us.  In spite of this - we did take a few wrong tuns when the yellow arrows had faded - covered over with the growth of shrubs.  Eventually - short delays - back on the path in short order.  The most confusing was an occasional fork in the road with no arrow to point the way - that is when we walked by faith - not sight. 

Fork In The Road

In Lent - everyone walks their own path - their own Camino - journey towards God - towards His Son - seeking to improved their relationship with both - seeking holiness.  Very often our Lenten exercises will bring us to a fork in the road - a place where we have to make a decision - to continue the path we have been following - to take a new direction. When walking with Jesus - walking towards God - there is no wrong path.  All paths - walked in openness - honesty - will eventually lead to God.  Along the way - we will experience  the Divine in new and unplanned ways - drawing us closer to - ourselves - closer to our own holiness.  As long as we keep our eye on Jesus - His Father - we can never go wrong.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Profit and Loss

In the business world profit and loss - primary indicators of how healthy a business is.  Big and small business alike all go through the same processes as they begin - grow - mature - into thriving or failing businesses. In a nutshell it is the task of increasing sales while minimizing expenses - seeking a wider margin between those two numbers.  Success not always measured in dollars - very often a business may be marginal - especially in very small operations - one owner - one employee - earning enough to keep the business alive and providing a reasonable income for the one individual. The service or product provided by that same business possibly could provide important benefits for those who buy or use the product.  Even though dollars earned are small - helping others and providing for oneself - an important gain - definitely a success.
In Lent all of us seek that which is hard to find - holiness.  Some make great effort while others apparently very little - all realizing growth in holiness.  Holiness can not be measured by the same tools used in business.  Holiness is an abstract - intangible - not held in human hands - rather in hearts - minds.  The only similarity to business in regards to profit and loss - what was gained - what was given up.  Losing the tendency to give in to sin - gaining the strength to spend more time with God - leaving behind wasted hours - experiencing growth in faith - unable to measure by normal means.  Only God really knows what change has happened - only God can see into the hearts - minds of each person - only God knows. In Lent we seek - not to please ourselves - only God - to lose any bad in our lives - to profit - from His love - forgiveness - acceptance.  Bottom line - growth in holiness - a winner every time.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Standing Ovation

Everyone who performs - stage - television - sports - in front of an audience - loves it when they receive a standing ovation - acknowledgement of an outstanding - awesome - performance. When anyone puts in great effort - invests time and energy into any project - being recognized by others - an affirmation of ones abilities - talent - worth as a person.  We freely shower those in the limelight with our applause - admiration.


When Jesus spoke before crowds of people - always recognized - not always appreciated - no standing ovations - often the opposite.  Frequently - when speaking the truth - not popular with the crowds.  Nobody enjoys being reminded that they have climbed to a lower level - sunk into the mud and mire of lowliness. Jesus never intended to make people feel bad - rather He wanted them to see that despite themselves - the bad they had done or allowed done - their future still looked positive if they would only see their own potential possible if they listened to God - followed His commands.  This Lent God ask us to reevaluate ourselves - to see in ourselves - what He sees in us.  We are all a possibility - a promise of what can be - our goodness there - waiting to be exposed to  the world - the promise of holiness - rejoicing in His standing ovation.

Deacon Dale  

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Rise and Shine

Three words that many hate to hear - especially in the morning - rise and shine. Many people value that extra five or ten minutes in their bed - delaying their eventual entrance into the world around them.  Adults and youth alike - love that extra time in a comfy bed - dreading - work - school - daily obligations. For many - hard to fall asleep - stay asleep - once in their happy place - too comfortable to face the upcoming days events - fearing what lies ahead of  them.  When considering work - school - difficult tasks - thoughts most often linger on more pleasurable things - fun - food - pleasing conversations.  
In today's Gospel - Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead - bringing him back from the nether world - to life and all that it held for him.  For his sisters - joy - for His disciples - confusion - for Lazarus himself - resurrection - another day - another chance to get it right.  For the Elect - those contemplating their baptism at the Easter Vigil - new life in Christ. For all of us - continued Hope in the promises of Jesus. Today we begin to seriously pray for those about to join the Church - they in turn pray for us - that we continue to hold to our beliefs - to support them in their journey to New Life in Christ.  This Fifth Sunday of Lent calls us to be alert - to stay the course towards Palm Sunday next week and the start of Holy Week - wakey wakey - rise and shine - now is the time for all.

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Green Beer and Little Men

Today all the world is Irish - celebrating Saint Patrick's Day - the myths - the truths - surrounding this holiday.  A day filled with Holy services - public gatherings - green beer - food and festivities - leprechauns.  There is nothing better than people gathering together - celebrating wonders of life. Irish dancers - corned beef and cabbage - shamrocks - celebrating Ireland's most famous saint - celebrating joy - happiness - in the midst of Lent.  I am only part Irish - but enough that this is one ethnic holiday that I happily claim. Anything that brings people together in the name of celebration is worthy of my - your - participation.


Saint Patrick's Day does not always fall on a Friday during Lent - a quandary for Catholics who normally abstain from meat on Fridays. This year very unusual that both Ash Wednesday fell on Valentine's Day - Saint Patrick's Day - a Friday - two special days of the year when most people celebrate with fine dining - very often meat dishes.  Bishops do have the authority to dispense their faithful from the obligation of abstaining from meat on these days - some do - some don't.  Truth be told - one does not have to eat meat - to celebrate well.  Celebrations take many different forms across the world - all celebrations worth noting - for God so loved  the world that He sent His Son - to remind us how much He loves us - how much He cares for us.  With that thought in mind - nothing can diminish our joy on this or any other day in our life.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, March 16, 2018

Conversions

I often ask myself what happened to the idea many years ago when the United States was going to give up their measurement system and go metric and fall in line with the majority of the world. Using a number system based on 10s seemed very practical.  I did not think about that until 2012 when my wife and I decided to walk the Camino de Santiago in Northern Spain.  Being based in Spain - a country where they use  the metric system caused me never ending concerns when trying to figure out how far to walk - where our final destination would be for  the day - the distance between two points.  I am so use to estimating a half mile or one mile - but try to do the same in kilometers or meters and I become very frustrated.  Even now when I bike I try to follow the metric system - with real difficulty.  I do know that 10 miles is equal to 16 kilometers - but to envision a goal one kilometer away - my eyes just can't do it.  Had we converted to the metric system back when I was in junior high school - it would obviously be second nature by now. 

Many conversions are very difficult for most Americans.  Converting miles - pounds - temperature - the three most common.  The easiest conversion I know - is that of Faith.  Coming to believe in God - His Son - Jesus - the Holy Spirit - a much easier task.  There are no numbers involved - no equation to memorize.  When one meets Jesus - his heart is touched by the hand of God - it becomes a new creation - soft - loving - accepting.  When a person experiences the Love of God - the Forgiveness - things happen - often quickly.  In seconds - hearts - minds are converted.  This Lent - God calls you to a conversion - to become a new person - to start freshly - to re imagine your life.  He waits patiently for you no numbers needed.

Deacon Dale  

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Claim The Crown

Recently we viewed the television series The Crown on Netflix.  The series is about Queen Elizabeth II and her early years as Queen of England.  It is interesting that watching  this series one learns that being a member of the Royal Family is not exactly what many members want.  It fairly accurately reveals the struggles that family members face - the loss of privacy - rules - protocols forced upon them - all in the name of protecting - The Crown. It is easy to see that what is important is not the person who wears The Crown - rather the entire concept of what The Crown represents. The Crown is much more than an ornamental piece of metal worn upon the head - it is the symbol upon which England proclaims - maintains - its status among other countries.  The Crown is - authority - power - strength - wisdom - always keeping the Royal Family as a proper role model for the peoples.

When Jesus went through His trials - temptations - final judgement - hung on a cross - He was given a Crown - of Thorns.  This Crown - not regal in any manner - placed upon His head - mockery of His lack of power - authority - an embarrassment to His followers.  He accepted this Crown - for you - me - the world.  He took upon Himself our sins - our faults - our short comings - that you and I would not have to.  Many would love to be a member of the Royal Family - to wear a Crown. In this Lent - ask yourself which Royal Family you would belong to - the Royals of England - The Royal Family of God - which crown you would wear and why?

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Final Destination

When people travel - their focus primarily on their final destination - time of arrival - who or what is there.  Plans are made to accommodate - meetings - family - events.  Looking forward to whatever it is that draws them to their destination - what they wish to accomplish - who they want to meet - things they wish to do.  Side trips during free time - viewing - visiting local attractions - dining at special places - experiencing local cuisine - speaking with people from that area - to gain additional insights of the region.  Many miss the real experience - focusing only on the departure and arrival - missing everything in the middle. The saying - getting there - half  the fun.  Every trip has a beginning and end - but what happens between those to points?  When flying - usually restricted to the flight and time on the airplane - on connecting flights - where is the connection - is there time to investigate that location - experience more?  When driving - walking - lots of opportunities to stop - take a break - visit attractions along the way - fill your travel experience with so much more. Walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain - 500 miles from start to finish - never a straight line - thousands of opportunities to stray from the path - making the journey even more than just a long hike.


Life is a journey - all start in the cradle - end in a grave - the journey itself so different for everyone.  As we journey through Lent our focus - on our life - where we have been - where we are going - focusing on Jesus - His birth - life - death - resurrection - what it meant to Him - what it means to us.  This Lent - walk on pilgrim - enjoy the journey.

Deacon Dale 


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Flight Time

Whenever I have to take a flight somewhere - one of most important things is the flight time - time of departure - time of arrival - length of flight. If it is not a non-stop flight - then the connecting time between flights - also important.  To me and many others time is very important.  I do not want to wake up at 4:30 AM in the morning to be able to board a flight that leaves at 6:30 AM - nor do I want to arrive at my destination in the middle of rush hour - too late to find a hotel - having to drive an hour or more at mid-night.  When flying with a connecting flight - time between flights has to be a minimum of one hour.  First flight risk of being late and leaving a small amount of time to exit one gate and get to the second gate - in a crowded airport - the two gates at opposite ends of the terminal.  As is said often - timing is everything. 


God is eternal - outside of time.  With God one day is as a thousand and one thousand as one day  (2 Peter 3:8 and again Psalm 90:4).  God is not bound by the limits of time since He is the one who created time - the author of the system which we use to mark days - weeks - months. He calls each of us and waits - no time limit - giving us all the time we need to move closer to Him.  In Lent we take 40 days - 30 days - 10 days - maybe less - to reflect on our lives - our relationship to Him - with His Son - Jesus.  Take all the time you need - He can afford it - but - can you?

Deacon Dale 

Monday, March 12, 2018

Playing Dominoes

We were introduced to the game of Dominoes a few years ago and one thing we have learned - one game where the rules seem to evolve as you play.  With one group of friends - their rules - with another group - different rules.  Recently we gathered with four family members and as we advanced through each round - the rules kept becoming more and more complex. In an effort to explain one rule - we developed a new additional - revised rule. During the course of thirteen rounds - rules modified at least six times. To say that it became very interesting - an understatement. 
When God created the World - when He revealed Himself to His people - simple rules - 
I will be your God - you my people - do as I say.  Jesus clarified those rules - after they had become more complex with so many do's and don't do's - Love the Lord your God with all your heart - mind - soul - and your neighbor as yourself. What should be so easy - simple - we have made complicated. This Lent uncomplicate your life - get back to the basics - do as God - Jesus - said.  Your Lent will be much more meaningful.

Deacon Dale  

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Laetare Sunday

Today is Laetare Sunday - the Sunday when clergy wear pink/rose colored vestments at Holy Mass.  We are now at the halfway point in Lent - half way done - half way to the finish line - a joyful marker in the season of Lent - half way to fulfilling our Lenten exercises. Many at this point - still waiting to begin their Lenten preparation.  No matter what one thinks - always better to have a glass half full than one that is completely empty. Even at this point in time - still plenty of time to have a meaningful Lent.  One only has to start - quit with the excuses - just start now. 


The Church provides this Season in the liturgical year to pause - reflect - examine - our lives - where we have been - where we currently are - where we are heading.   Jesus - always ready - when you are - waiting patiently for you to start - not to chastise - belittle -  offer a hand up - to help you get moving.  Simple prayer - Jesus I trust in you - if He can heal the man born blind - he surely can heal the blindness of your heart - today..

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Optical Illusions

We have all been fooled by optical illusions - images that look one way until you blink - then reverse - different image appears. Most common those in print format - in books - magazines - web pages - less common - those that appear in nature.  Driving on a dark highway at night when the space under an overpass appears to be a truck trailer turned sideways - in the middle of a very hot day - when it looks like water on the road - heat waves instead.  Sometimes people create their own optical illusion - acting like one person - hiding their real personality - the proverbial - sheep in wolf's clothing.  Those who intend on deceiving  - passing themselves off as honest persons.

When one comes to the Lord - God does not look at the face - external features - those are important facets of our lives - only one facet.  Instead - God looks at our hearts - what is inside - the true person that we are. In Lent we are asked to look at the world around us - not with our normal eyes - rather the eyes of our heart - to look beyond the obvious - to see the possibilities that each of us are - to see in us what God sees.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, March 9, 2018

Taking A Knee

To take a knee - now a days - does not honestly reflect what that phrase originally meant. 

From the October 5, 2017 New York Daily News in an opinion piece by Kenneth McCallion  - "Since when did the act of kneeling come to be viewed as an act of disrespect? Throughout history, the bending of the knee has always been an act of great respect and humility. People have been kneeling and genuflecting before kings, queens, and popes for centuries as a sign of homage and respect. Every avid follower of the TV series "Game of Thrones" knows that the "bending of the knee" is a symbolic gesture of fealty and allegiance.  In the Christian tradition, kneeling has been closely intertwined with the act of prayer to the almighty. The book of Romans (14:11) teaches: "'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; … every knee will bend to me…." The iconic 1965 photo of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. shows him praying on one knee with his head bowed while leading a group of kneeling civil rights workers in Selma, Alabama. Was this just a prayerful religious moment, or was it an act of civil disobedience just before they were carted off to the local jail? Either way, Dr. King's action was an expression of the constitutionally-protected rights of the religious freedom and freedom of speech. Isn't this kind of peaceful protest an essential part of what makes American democracy so exceptionally great?  In the church where my family worships on Sundays, some parishioners prefer to stand during the core portions of the service, while others kneel or remain seated. Is one method of worship any better than another. Of course not. The sincerity of a person's devotion depends upon what is in one's head and the heart, not whether you are standing or on your knees".

In the above article Mr McCallion says exactly what I would write.  In the Catholic Church - we are known for using kneelers - frequently during Holy Mass - not being disrespectful - rather kneeling at high points during Holy Mass - especially at the elevation of the host and chalice during consecration of the communion elements. Catholics take a knee every weekend when at Mass - routinely - especially during Lent as we kneel and pray to God for patience and understanding with us as we fumble our way through life.


God comes to us constantly - standing - kneeling - sitting - lying down - in any position in which we are comfortable.  In Lent we walk through these days of penance and prayer on knees bent to the Lord.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Due Diligence

Due diligence - defined by Merriam-Webster - in law - the care that a reasonable person exercises to avoid harm to other persons or their property - in business - the research and analysis of a company or organization done in preparation for a business transaction. In everyday life - due diligence - meaning that when one is about to undertake any project - they do their homework - in depth - so that the project is completed on time - on budget - as expected.  When we celebrated Ash Wednesday - each of us was asked to do three things - fast - pray - give alms - in other words - cleanse ourselves of that which was unnecessary in our lives - to take time to discuss our plans with God - to offer gifts to others as a thank you to God for His many blessings.  In order to do this we were expected - with  the help of the Church - to accomplish these goals.  Many took off running - some in retreat - fearing the burden of Lent - others ran forwards - jumping into every Lenten exercise offered - still others - held back - doing their own due diligence - making a serous thorough examination of conscience - self - to see what could be improved - then engaged themselves in the spiritual exercises they felt best would help them accomplish their personal goal. 

Lent is not a legal matter - nor a business proposition.  Lent is an annual opportunity for each of us to make time in an effort to grow - in holiness - no more - no less.  God is pleased with any effort we make along  this path.  Jesus - standing by - to help when needed. Whatever we decided to do for Lent is perfectly fine with God - as long as we actually do it.  It all starts with God and ends with Jesus on the Cross.

Deacon Dale 




Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Laundry Day

When I was growing up many families had a laundry day - major effort - washing and drying the clothes.  Mom had a fancy washing machine with a roller wringer operated by crank on top of the washer to squeeze water out of the washed clothes - excess dripped back into the washer.  Once wringed out - everything taken outside to hang the clothes on a line - to breeze dry in the outside air.  It took a fair amount of time since washing clothes back then was only semi-automatic and still involved a fair amount of effort.  Drying clothes outside - worked great in warm weather - not so good in cold.  On cold days or in cold months - laundry lines in the basement - to accomplish same thing - minus the sunshine and fresh air.  Today doing laundry - for most - completely automatic - throw clothes in washer - move to dryer - fold and put away - all within footsteps of other daily chores.  Ultimate goal - either way - to end up with white whites - bold clean colors. 



When a person first comes to God - to meet Jesus face to face - there is no need to clean up your life first. First step - most important is to acknowledge God - Jesus as Lord of your life. Once you encounter Christ - He will clean you - where it matters - inside - in your heart - mind.  No need for soap or water - Jesus will give you Living Water - His Holy Spirit - then things will begin to happen. If your Lent has revealed - dust bunnies - dirt - in your life - then let Jesus do the cleansing.  He is mild and pure in heart.- your laundry day with God - the first day of the rest of your life.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Cleanup In Aisle 7

We have all heard that voice calling from the sky - cleanup in aisle 7 or whichever aisle has been destroyed by a wild child or careless customer.  Usually not a matter of just one can rolling around on the floor - more like an army troop just came through - tank and all.  A major mess that needs to be taken care of immediately to avoid customers slipping - falling - their shopping rushing to a halt.  Sometimes the result of a poorly constructed tower of cans or boxes - more often the result of someone who doesn't know how to properly handle a shopping cart - running straight into someone's beautiful - creative display.  One can only wonder - how - why - who.


In Lent each of us constructs an action plan - how we will "do" Lent - when - where - how - listing goals to be accomplished - enjoying small achievements along the way. The best laid plans of mice - men - often go astray - in a major way.  False starts - wrong turns - poor scheduling - all parts of a failed plan.  All - resulting in - frustration - disappointment.  We are now in the  third week of Lent - plenty of time to regroup - start over - write a new plan. God does not expect quantity - quality of efforts - a much better barometer of what we have accomplished.  If you are one who is coping with a poor start - relax - there is still plenty of time to have a fruitful experience.  Trust in God - say to yourself - Jesus I Trust in You - It will be just fine.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, March 5, 2018

On The Outside Looking In

There are so many people now a days who feel like everyone else is in the - in group - while they are left- outside - all alone - looking in - observing the action - festivities. Except for rare instances - there should never be a time when anyone has to be excluded - left out. The reality - this happens all too often - usually for very selfish - mean reasons.  Often done by some in an effort to ridicule - embarrass - tease.  To those on the outside - not fun - being excluded.  Those who are guilty of  this action - not the type of people with which one should associate.  It is this type of activity that leads some to retaliate - become violent - act out in socially unacceptable behavior.  In Lent - as we look at ourselves - what and how we treat others - this is one sin that definitely needs to be eliminated.  To create a pure heart - a loving heart - one has to make sure not to be guilty of  this activity - even when deemed as just good natured fun.  Taking advantage of others - for laughs - never acceptable.


God has provided us with a world filled with wonders - opportunities for fun - laughter - enjoyment.  There should never be a need to ridicule others - instead we need to affirm - build up those around us.  There are lots of lonely people in this world - lots of opportunity for us - to bring them in from the outside - to include them in our groups - to make  them feel like part of our family - the family of God.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Drinking It In

When one is living in a desert - the value of water - quickly learned. In today's Gospel - the woman at the well - confronting Jesus - He asking her for a drink - she asking for Living Water - the bucket brought to the well - left lying on its side - empty.  What appears to be a simple story of an encounter with the Messiah - much more than most realize.  An outcast - a sinner - marginalized by society - forced to seek a basic need of life - water - in mid-day heat - abandoned by friends - family - neighbors - welcomed by The Christ.  Knowing exactly who she is - what she has done - representing you - me - accepted with open arms - forgiven.  In Lent each of us is seeking something - love - tolerance - acceptance - Living Water.  Through many prayers - giving of alms - fasting - we seek....


God - in His greatness - making everything possible.  Lent - the period of introspection - a time of looking deep into - self - the well of our being -  seeking holiness - drinking it in - new life in Christ.

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Pilgrimage To Israel

As was mentioned in Friday's blog - we are currently looking for persons who would be interested in joining us on a pilgrimage to Israel - The Holy Land. For most - this is a once in a lifetime journey - yet - I know of one Deacon and his wife who have traveled to Israel eighteen times - leading Catholic pilgrimages - over the span of eighteen years. Their focus - as leaders - strictly Israel - very meaningful to them. This will be our third pilgrimage to The Holy Land - very meaningful to us - also finding value in visiting other pilgrimage locations - thus a variety of places that we have led pilgrimages.   Many ask - why go to Israel - or for that matter - anywhere - the answer - to see with your own eyes - exactly where Jesus - the saints - lived - ministered - touched the people of God.  A large bonus on any pilgrimage - meeting - people from different cultures - learning on a first hand basis - what other people of God are like.


Pilgrimage To The Holy Land
October 24 - November 1, 2018
$3799*  All Inclusive - From Chicago**
Per Person - Double Occupancy
Deadline To Register - April 1, 2018
*Reflects Early Registration Discounts
** Additional Gateways Available - Please Ask
(Philadelphia - San Diego - New York - Phoenix)


Registering Singles - Couples - Families
Single Supplement $800
Optional Trip Insurance/Cancellation Waiver $290
Optional Side Trip To Qumran - Masada - Jericho - Dead Sea $90
**Includes Air - Transfers - Hotel - Bus - Tour Guide - Most Meals - Daily Mass

Our Spiritual Director - Father Matt Lamoureux, MIC

Pilgrimage Highlights
Jaffa – Caesarea – Nazareth – Cana – Tiberias – Sea of Galilee - Mount of Beatitudes – Capernaum – Church of the Nativity Bethlehem – Church of the Transfiguration – Jerusalem - Mount of Olives – Church of the Holy Sepulchre – Western Wall -
Via Dolorosa – Holy Mass Daily – Walk in Jesus’ Steps

To register call 630.334.5065 or
email:   deacondale-holyland@deacontravel.org
Registration Closes Soon

Those who have made this pilgrimage come home with a new appreciation of Israel - seeing with their own eyes - having walked in the footsteps of Jesus - prayed - celebrated Holy Mass in historical locations - their faith - strengthened - the Bible coming alive.  

Deacon Dale 


Friday, March 2, 2018

Wandering Pilgrims

I believe most of those who read this blog know that I - along with my wife - lead pilgrimages. We do an annual local pilgrimage to Chicago - sometimes Wisconsin - Indiana - for a local senior group - in addition to international locations. We have gone to Italy three times - Poland two times - Spain two times - Israel two times and are currently recruiting people to visit Israel - The Holy Land - for a third time.  We began leading pilgrimages back in 2010 and by the end of 2018 will have led a total of ten pilgrimages in eight years. In addition to religious pilgrimages - last year I arranged a two week trip for family to Italy for a group of fourteen and while in Italy arranged and hosted a family reunion for forty people. Every one of these experiences has been different - rewarding - fun.  The one issue that always pops up - those who stray from the group - have a need to explore on  their own - want to wander on their own for self exploration.  This is wonderful when people are confident enough to have the desire to wander on their own in a foreign country - a headache for those who lead  the group - no knowing where all their people are. We have never lost anyone - all eventually gathered back into the group - safe to continue the journey.  We begin our Lenten journey as a group - eventually drifting away from the large group events - often wandering off by ourselves - doing Lent - our way.  Although the entire Church is in the Season of Lent - individual members - encouraged to - wander - seek - search - find - that which will bring them closer to Our Lord.

Arlene at Western Wall - Ladies Section - Israel

God created people as a group of individuals - different colors - body types - nationalities - language - likes - dislikes.  He calls us as a group to draw closer to Him - His Son - Jesus. Not all hear His call - not all who do hear His call - respond. He encourages us to wander - under His umbrella of love - to experience all that He has for us - as individuals - as a group - to grow - this Lent - in Holiness.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Stations.....

The interesting thing about stations - usually fixed - one location - normally always there.  Buses - trains - taxis - all have stations where they usually meet persons - looking to go elsewhere.  The transportation industry - providing the service of helping people to move from one point to another - normally in a reasonable amount of time - usually on a specific time schedule.  Without these stations - persons would become helpless - paralyzed - in their attempts to move on in life.  Going to work - school - church - movies - dates - family events - stalled without the system of stations and schedules.  In Lent - usually Friday evenings - the Stations of the Cross - a journey of time and space - defies the normal concept of time - moves persons from past events - towards future goals.  Praying the Stations of the Cross - most importantly - moving hearts - minds - souls - on a journey - closer to Jesus - His suffering - closer to God.


The Church offers all people the opportunity to take this special journey - to participate in the Stations of the Cross - every Friday - sometimes more often - as a special way to move themselves - spiritually - from whatever point they are at - to a better place - closer to God.  This Lent - join the crowd at any church you can find - Fridays - as scheduled - on your journey - closer to Holiness.  All aboard.

Deacon Dale