Sunday, December 29, 2019

Holy Families

This Sunday we celebrated the Feast of the Holy Family which was very fitting - the Sunday following the commemoration of the birth of the Christ child.  A birth - a man and a woman - the beginning of a family.  Jesus - Mary - Joseph - role models for all families - an example of what a new family might look like.  Clean linens - comfortable bedding - nursing care - inside away from the elements - a definite advantage for modern families compared to the conditions for the Holy Family.  
God blesses all families - the basic foundation of the communities of the world. Language -  ethnicity - climate - location - cultural differences may all vary - the basics always the same. Food - clothing - protection from the elements - all necessities of life. Even with differences one common denominator required - love.  Love shared between individuals - between families - between communities.  In God's eyes - all families are Holy.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Buon Natale - Feliz Navidad - Merry Christmas

Briefly - Merry Christmas - to everyone.  It does not matter if you are a Christian or not - the Celebration of Christmas touches everyone in one way or another.  I pray that however - whenever - wherever - your life is touched - that you recognize that it is the Hand of God - you are feeling.  God is always present to all of us - it does not matter what style of worship we practice - God is always here.


In this special Season of Christmas - may God's loving presence fill your life!

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Counting Down

Rocket launches - wedding dates - arrival of a new baby - starting a new venture - job - changing careers - all share that countdown until you actually begin.  Justly then we countdown the hours now until the official celebration of Christmas begins -  awaiting that time when we commemorate that moment in time when Heaven touched the Earth - when God was born among us - Emmanuel - the Christ Child.  Very soon - early this afternoon - into the early - late evening -  celebrations around the world - celebrating that moment.  As moments in time that need to be celebrated - this is that one moment that rises above all others.


Just the thought that God - all powerful - almighty - would lower Himself - to become one of us.  Thinking about it - causes a mountain of emotions to rise up inside - to a point that one must explode - in tears of joy - happiness.  It has already happened - but every year since -  that same emotion - catches most of us in the magic of that moment. Angels bending near to touch the Earth with their music - announcing - that Jesus Christ is born.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, December 22, 2019

May The Fourth Be With You

Yes it is here - the Fourth Sunday of Advent.  What seemed like ages ago - here already - lighting the fourth candle on the Advent wreath - this fairly short fourth week of Advent - ending quickly this Wednesday - as we celebrate the Birth of the Christ Child - Celebration of Christmas.  However - as liturgical seasons come and go - we should always be in a state of preparedness - waiting - for Jesus' Second Coming. We have been told over and over than nobody knows the day or the hour.  He might come again in the Fall - Winter - Spring - Summer - really any time of the year - definitely - the day we breathe our last breath.  No matter what we are enduring - celebrating - coping with - He may come.  Knock Knock - it's Jesus.


Time and again Jesus reminds us the He loves us - His Father loves us - Both - forgive - want to heal - always seeking to make us whole - if only we let Him. It is never too late to stop and review your individual life - what you have done - what you are doing - what needs correcting - made better. Most people - in good condition - minor improvements necessary. No matter where you stand exactly - you are in a good place - making changes very easy - if you only invite Jesus into your heart - let Him work in you.  Giving up - in this case - one of the best things you can do - let go - let God.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, December 16, 2019

Why I?

Recently I was asked what is the "I" in the "I Of God" - what do I mean.  It is very simple - when I write my posts - I write as an individual - not we - them - us - they - only - I.  It is my thoughts - musings - feelings that come to me.  No church - no parish - no official party to whom I owe anything - except - God.  For all I do - say - speak - think - I pray that all is acceptable to God - to Jesus - my Lord.  Let me make it very clear - I am a Christian - baptized as an infant - by my father and mother.  He the son of a Methodist minister - she an inactive Catholic.  Dad firmly grounded in his faith - Mom - turned off from her faith by a mean spirited nun - closed mind - closed heart - damaged my mother's faith.  It stayed that way until dad's premature death - dad dying as a son of God - mom - still questioning until one eventful day in the hospital - when a Catholic priest - with the love of Jesus firmly embedded in his heart - reconciled mom to her faith - her God.  I never met him but whoever he was - thanks - long over due.  When mom died - she died with her rosary and renewed faith.  I have always believed - never not believed.  I have questioned - argued - wrestled with God - but when His hands are so large that He holds the world in them - when His heart is so large that He easily forgives any sin - you just have to give in to Him - accept Him for what He Is - what He has done - what He will do.  Throughout my life I have had moments when times looked bleak - I never gave up - never gave in.  In my mind - heart - I have always known that He is there - standing at my side - even in my darkest hours - even when I chose to do things I shouldn't - He has been there.  I cannot think of a single moment when I thought He abandoned me - He has always been there - still is.


All  that I am - I owe to Jesus - to God - His Holy Spirit.  At my lowest moments - when I feel over looked - not allowed to do what I do best - I know He is there - allowing me to rest my head on His shoulder - sharing my disappointments - sadness.  Luckily - for whatever reason - those times - moments -  have been few and far between.  God has blessed me with a strong faith - a beautiful loving wife - sons that respect me - challenge me.  Today I paused and experienced a moment of sadness - my father's birthday - gone for 57 years now - he would have been 113 years old  - 57 years sharing in the glory that God promises all of us when we join Him in Heaven.  Today - although a bit sad - filled with the JOY that we look for during Advent - when we pray - Hope.  I have been blessed with a marriage that has been a constant joy for over 50 years now - 31 years blessed as an ordained Catholic deacon - looking to many more years of both.  I am the I - in the I of God - me and no one else.  What you read is me - my inner thoughts - mostly for myself - also for you who read these musings - the fire of God burning strongly in me.  I pray that you know Jesus as I do - if not - I invite you to seek Him - He is everywhere - anywhere - you need Him to be.  Praying that you too may see yourself also as the - I of God.

Deacon Dale

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Not My Monkey

Not my monkey - not my circus - same as - not my rodeo - not my bull. The Third Sunday of Advent - too many people not engaged in Advent - even at this point.  For two weeks now we have been trying to focus on our lives - what we have done - what we have to do - to be better prepared for that day when the Lord will come again - end times.  Advent is a Season of Waiting - so no surprise that so many are doing exactly that - waiting. Waiting to start - waiting to make changes - waiting to improve - doubtful that the end is near.  No one knows when that day or hour will come - eventually - through the course of natural events - the end of the world - all of us will experience a point in time when our life will end. Being prepared for that end - fully engaged - making changes - not my monkey - not my circus - your concern - not mine.


The end has been prophesied so many times - no one cares anymore.  Certain dates - come and gone - nothing happened.  I dare say that in between those prophesies - many people have died - left this earth - for what?  Heaven?  Hell?  Nobody knows for sure - we can only hope.  To that point Advent is really a Season of Hope - Hope that God is real - that Jesus really is God - that God - Jesus loves us - forgives us - heals us - leads us - to an eternal existence of future joy - peace. In Advent we wait and hope - nothing more - nothing less - it is - our monkey.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Second Verse Same As The First

The Second Sunday of Advent - same drum - same drummer - the story has not changed.  For the second Sunday we have been reminded that we need to be ready - awake - for none of us know the day - hour - when Christ will come again.  The time to be prepared has passed - it is basically now or never.  We have been called - that celestial bus is on the way to pick us up - the route has been cleared - the roadblocks have been removed - time to shower and clean up has passed.  Time to stand at the door and wait for His knock.  John the Baptist has warned us - over and over again - prepare the way of the Lord.  Unfortunately too many have closed their eyes - ears to the words of warning.
For those who have listened - redemption - for  those who have ignored the message - not heard the words - a dangerous place to be.  The reality - that bus may not come for years - or it might come today - bottom line - none of us know.  We pray for ourselves - for others - for family - friends - that they will have time yet - to prepare themselves.  For us - best to worry about our own lives - trust in God that He will - in His Divine Mercy - grant the rest the time needed for themselves.   

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Burning Candles

Advent - the season marked with candles - purple - pink - white.  This Sunday - the First Sunday of Advent - lighting the first of three purple candles - a flame burning brightly marking a new liturgical year - the beginning of many different seasons in the Christian calendar. As we begin a new liturgical year it is only fitting that we start with the season of Advent - a time to acknowledge the Second Coming of Christ - that end time when Jesus will appear to call all just people home to be with Him - His Heavenly Father.  In Advent we are reminded that no one knows that day or hour - reminding us of the need to be constantly vigilant - to be prepared to meet the Lord when He comes.  Just as with any project - event - the need to assess where we are - what needs to be done - before the main event occurs.  In these four short weeks we will be reminded that the time is short to make sure all is ready.  This focus is very apparent during the first three weeks - in the fourth week the focus turns to the time of preparation to once again make ready for the celebration - commemoration of the birth of the Christ child.  


Any event worth participating in requires that whether we are in charge or only a participant - a need for some level of preparation. Taken seriously we can achieve all that is needed.  Cleaning up our lives - making sure that all is in good order - easier than most would think.  Impossible as it sometimes may seem - with Jesus - all things are possible.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Giving Thanks

Giving thanks for anything - the best gift ever - to everyone - to anyone.  Thanksgiving Day is not just an excuse to gather with family and friends - to eat and be merry.  Thanksgiving is the one special day - in addition to sharing food and fun with those we care about - to take time to give thanks - quitely - vocally - sharing that which we are thankful for.   Thankful for life - for those with whom we share life - those who make our lives enjoyable - those who challenge us - those who think differently from us - those who listen to us - those who stop us from talking.  The world is filled with so many different people - like the colors of the rainbow - the notes on a musical scale - so different - yet so complimentary - to all the other colors - notes.  Blended together into one beautiful landscape - a concert of notes making such beautiful music.


God created this world as a blank canvas upon which we are asked to paint the stories of our lives - to write a composition of discordant notes - blending into one magnificent beautiful creation.  God created us - each of us - that together - we might create a beautiful world of peace and harmony.  He has done His job - now it is our turn to use our brushes - our pens to compose a work - all will be proud of.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

2020 Shrines of Italy 11 Day Pilgrimage

Announcing our newest pilgrimage to Italy.  "Shrines of Italy" starts in Rome with our welcome dinner. The next day we go to Assisi for a full day. The following day is a free day to recover from any jet lag or to take an optional excursion to visit Florence.  The next day we cross the mountains and head towards the Adriatic Sea to Loretto.  From there we travel south to San Giovanni Rotondo to visit the churches of Padre Pio and visit the Grotto of Michael the Archangel. We then cross back to the other side of Italy and head to Pompeii to visit Madonna del Rosario.  Returning north we visit Montecassino then return for our final days in Rome.  In Rome we attend a Papal Audience and visit St Peter's, Mary Major, St John in Lateran just to name a few before returning home.  We will experience the spiritual and cultural sides of Italy with free time to wander on our own both in Assisi and in Rome itself.  To view a promotional video of this pilgrimage click below: 




You may also visit our website for registration forms and complete details at:

For the complete itinerary click the link below:
Shrines of Italy Itinerary


We look forward to having you journey with us on this excellent adventure 

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Ireland Pilgrimage Review

I have been gone for a few weeks now - we left October 27th and returned November 4th from our scheduled 8 day Ireland Pilgrimage.  Yes - if you count the days - it comes to 9 days - one day delay in returning due to a missed flight out of Dublin.  Our group of fourteen pilgrims arrived safely in Dublin on Monday October 28th - met our tour director who traveled with us - hopped into our private bus - under the control of "Driver Dawn" - as she calls herself - and immediately began a tour around Dublin to acquaint ourselves with some of the local sights. Day one was departing the Chicago area and Day two marked our arrival in Dublin to pickup our private tour bus.


"Driver Dawn" Our Tour Guide 


Our first stop was Saint Patrick Cathedral erected in 1191- originally a Roman Catholic Cathedral - now an Anglican Church of Ireland. The change came about in 1537 when the King separated from the Roman Catholic Church and began the Church of England - the Anglican Church.

Saint Patrick Cathedral - Dublin 

From there we visited Trinity College where the famous Book of Kells - one of the earliest forms of the Book of Gospels is displayed.

Trinity College - Book of Kells

Having exhausted ourselves we needed a relaxing diversion and proceeded to a visit and self guided tour of the Guinness Storehouse to learn about the history of Guinness and sample a pint for ourselves.

 
Welcome To Guinness

Guinness - The Falling Of The Veil

Our third day began the official pilgrimage with the group heading to Armagh - the spiritual center of Ireland - to visit the Catholic St. Patrick's Cathedral and the Medieval-Byzantine Anglican St. Patrick's Cathedral.

St Patrick Catholic Cathedral - Armagh

From there we continued to Downpatrick and Down Cathedral where St. Patrick is buried along with St. Columbia and St. Brigid.  We returned in the early evening to explore the Temple Bar area which is filled with restaurants and pubs where we would enjoy the local cuisine.  


St Patrick Burial Site 

Our fourth day found us leaving Dublin and heading to the Galway area to visit the medieval city of Kilkenny to tour the area and Kilkenny Castle. 



Kilkenny Castle 

 Moving on we went to the Rock of Cashel to visit the Romanesque Comac Chapel and Round Tower.  Checking in to our hotel in Lough Rea we settled in for dinner and relaxation.


Comac Chapel at Rock of Cashel

The fifth day of our pilgrimage found us visiting the 13th century Ballintubber Abbey - an Augustinian Monastery built next to the site where St. Patrick baptized his earliest converts.  Traveling onwards we came to Croagh Patrick - the mountain where St. Patrick fasted for 40 days.  A few of the more energetic members of our group spent the next few hours climbing about half way up the mountain before rejoining the remainder of the group. 



Ballintubber Abbey

Day six we began by observing the Holy Day of All Saints at The Abbey in Loughrea - home of the Discalced Carmelites.  After holy Mass we headed to the coast viewing the Atlantic Ocean through a bit of fog and visiting the Cliffs of Moher and the coastal land line.  We ventured on to see the 12th century Cistercian Corcomroe Abbey and stopped in Galway before ending the day in Lough Rea and a local pub.



Cliffs of Moher

The final day of our pilgrimage - day seven - focused on our journey to Knock - the site of a Marian apparition when in 1879 Mary appeared to 15 adults and children.  Prior to our visit we stopped at a woolen mill where a sister single handedly restarted the mill processing wool into garments and employing at least one person out of every family living in the village and helping to rebuild their lives and the future of the village. 



Woolen Mill 

At the Knock Shrine we visited the five various churches located there and held our farewell luncheon as time would not allow a farewell dinner.



The Apparition Chapel at Knock Shrine

Day eight - our final scheduled day in Ireland found us visiting a few unscheduled sites on our way to  the airport for our late afternoon flight home. 



Lots of Celtic Crosses

All was going well until we had an unexpected issue with the bus - a blown tire - which had us sitting on the road side for about an hour while we waited another bus to pick us up and take us to the airport.  



Looking for 4 Leaf Clovers and a Bus 

Unfortunately - some would say fortunately - we arrived at the airport later than scheduled and were not allowed to board our flight.  The airline apologized for the inconvenience and rescheduled us for the next flight back to Chicago - the next morning.  Bottom line we spent an additional night in Dublin with our family of pilgrims and enjoyed one extra meal and evening with each other. 



Suffering Pilgrims Looking Sad 

 The morning arrived too soon and we were all onboard our return flight and back to our daily lives in Chicago by early evening.

All of the pilgrimages that we have led have all been special in their own way - each group has been special. Now with 11 pilgrimages completed in eight years - not counting years that we did not lead a pilgrimage - we are preparing for pilgrimage number 12 to Italy in November 2020.



2019 Ireland Pilgrims 

The one common thing that we have experienced in all these pilgrimages is sharing our faith among each other - no matter how we worship - when we worship - all would agree that being involved in a pilgrimage has been one of the best memories in their lives - one of the 
best times when each of us - in one way or another - touched the Divine.

Deacon Dale  


Sunday, October 20, 2019

Seeking Faith

It is not surprising when so many people seem to have so much - money - friends - technology - that many feel that they have a large void in their life that needs filling.  Most try to fill that void with the obvious - sports - hiding at work - out side interests - drugs - none filling that void they way they hope.  Finding it difficult to fill that void some turn to things that will only lead to further disappointment.  A few turn their sight heavenward - seeking God in an attempt to see if He can fill that void. 


Many people have found that what they thought was so difficult a task was in reality an easy one.  God is always there - waiting - sending His Holy Spirit upon all.  Not everyone will respond - to those who do - untold peace - joy -  a void perfectly filled.  Seeking faith - not always easy - once done - always rewarding.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Clean Mind Clean Body - Take Your Pick?

Many years ago there was a joke going around - "clean mind - clean body - take your pick" - the implication that either your thoughts - speech  could be nice and your body would be vile - nasty or just the opposite.  The reality - you can have both - it is not an either - or - option.  In today's scripture the focus seems to be almost completely on a clean body - that is being cleansed from leprosy - either by bathing in water or through the words of Jesus.  Leprosy was a disease without a cure in the time of Jesus - a disease which could be easily passed from one person to another - thus the need to separate those afflicted with the disease from the remaining community.  It was feared so much that an infected person - when out walking - had to shout "unclean unclean" to warn anyone nearby to pass on the other side - to avoid contamination. Although disease ridden - one could still be a very faithful person - unfortunately cursed by separation from others.  That meant no contact with family - friends - anyone - condemned to isolation from loved ones - unable to earn a living - dependent on the generosity of others.

Today people in the same situation no longer condemned to isolation. Now with better healthcare and information - the need to be isolated no longer necessary.  Today the issue is not coping with a skin - body issue - rather the mistaken idea that one has to be clean - physically - morally - spiritually - before God will welcome you into His home.  The truth is that God - Jesus welcomes you - just as you are - just where you are.  You do not have to wash your face - clean your mind - or anything.  All one needs is to be open and approach Jesus with an expectant heart.  Clean - dirty - Jesus stands there - arms outstretched - waiting for you to come to Him.  Once you ask Jesus into your heart - you will be changed - your life will change - anything that needs improving will get better.  Clean mind - clean body - you will have both.  Jesus stands waiting...

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Flame Throwers

A flamethrower is a mechanical incendiary device designed to project a long, controllable stream of fire. First deployed by the Greeks in the 1st century AD, flamethrowers saw use in modern times during World War I, and more widely in World War II.  Those who use flamethrowers are also sometimes referred to as flamethrowers.  Normally a flamethrower is used as a weapon - to either consume a target by aiming the stream of flammable propellant at an object or person - other times used as a defensive weapon to start a controlled fire of flammable objects such as buildings as in warfare - other times when fighting large fires in open areas - to burn a defense line to contain an otherwise out of control forest or brush fire.  Flamethrowers may be considered evil or good depending on their use.  


In today's Scriptures we were told "I remind you, to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands" - to freely share the fire of faith that one receives when they were prayed over and were baptized in the Holy Spirit. A reminder to all of the baptized that your baptism was not a gift from God for only your personal use - rather a gift to be freely shared amongst the people at large.  Jesus urges each of us to become flamethrowers of His Holy Spirit - to use the power of God living inside of each of us - to spread His message of love - forgiveness - acceptance - healing.  Each is called to become a flamethrower.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Leaping Lizards

Walking any path - unobstructed - straight - smooth - easy for most everyone.  Walking a path that crosses a body of water - an open space below - also - easy as long as there is a bridge.  Walking a path that goes from one region over a giant chasm - impossible - unless a giant bridge exists - to allow the journey to continue. Quite often when the open space in the path is small enough - one may leap over - to the other side to safely continue onwards.  Too often - large spaces - too large for leaping lizards - even the most athletically gifted to attempt - a total barrier.  Perhaps one - like the Famous Evil Kenieval - might attempt the crossing on a motorcycle or other vehicle to propel themselves across.  For the majority - time to turn around - go back - attempt failed.


In today's Gospel we heard about the rich man - tormented in Hell - begging Father Abraham to allow poor suffering Lazarus to cross the chasm that separated them - for help.  Unfortunately - his fate sealed by his own selfish actions while alive - Lazarus being rewarded with the gifts of eternal life in Heaven - because he suffered quietly at the rich man's door.  A pointed reminder that how we live our own life will determine if we end up in Heaven or Hell.  For all of us - difficult - so easy to sin - easy to leave others out - to speak an unkind word - to close the door when it should have been opened - to spend a few minutes with the lonely - sick - homebound.  For those of faith - we trust in Jesus - through His Cross - the bridge that enables us to walk over those times - spaces - in our lives when we were not as good as we should have been.  The Wood of His Cross - the Forgiveness that He offers each of us - the Bridge to bring us from wrong to right - from selfishness to sharing the Gift of Faith that we received freely - to share with others among us. For God all things are possible - for all - a leap of faith.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, September 22, 2019

The Root Of All Evil

If I asked you what is the root of all evil - most would say - money.  That would be incorrect.  The root of all evil is the excessive love of anything - money - sports - study - food - gaming - music - art - knowledge.  Anything that is done to an excessive level - anything that takes our attention away from - God - is evil. Evil in the sense that we have allowed ourselves to become obsessed with - things. 


Being focused one hundred percent and more on anything is not good.  Even obsessive attention to God - would not be good - in the sense that in order to live life as intended by Our Creator - we must live life to the fullest.  Our priorities must be in correct order - first God - second our spouse and children - third family - fourth our occupation - fifth the church - and beyond that all the other areas of our lives.  We cannot allow ourselves to become so obsessed with - things - that we fail to pay attention to the others. Focussing obsessively on money - work - sports - takes our attention away from other things in our life.  How many people who are workaholics - moan the loss of their marriage - relationship with children - all because the focused all their energy on work?  How many people who were always at church - attending meetings - worshiping constantly - destroyed the relationship with spouse and children because they were never home?  The key to the wealth laid before us by God is balance.  Balancing all the things in our lives - keeping our priorities in correct order - so that none is ignored - that none becomes the only focus of our lives.  Jesus - God loves all the love and attention they can get - not at the expense in the others gifts He has given you. 

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Clean Sweep

A clean sweep in any contest refers to a complete - overwhelming victory.  Doing one's best - going far beyond the expected - winning against all odds - proving to the naysayers that victory is possible.  Clean sweeps are claimed often by sport teams - people running for election - anyone going against the odds.  In some situations - a strong dominant team - person expected to win - hands down.  In others where the competition is not dominated by anyone - clean sweep a sweet victory.


In today's Gospel we hear of the woman with ten coins who lost one - searched diligently - sweeping the floor - until she found it - rejoiced with others over her good fortune.  Also the shepherd who noticed one sheep missing from the flock - desperate to locate the one who was lost - eventually bringing it back to join the flock.  As we celebrated Holy Mass this weekend - our pastor - the leader of our flock - shared a story via an interview with one who had been wandering lost for years - now brought into the flock of believers.  His story as one on the outside - apart from the community of believers - having been invited numerous times to join the flock - finally - through circumstances beyond his control - forced to contemplate his relationship with God - finding in that time - all that had been missing in his life.  Now a member of the community enjoying all the benefits of Christian unity - a clean sweep in his life.  God calls each of us - Jesus - stands at the door of our heart - knocking (Rev 3:20)  - patiently waiting to be invited in.  In time - all will experience the joy of Christian fellowship - the biggest clean sweep - in anyone's life.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Celebrating Life

Life is definitely worth living - living to the fullest - enjoying all that the world has to offer - all that nature offers - all that God offers.  In today's Gospel - it appears that Jesus is telling us to abandon all that we have - even ourselves - in order to follow Him - to become His disciple.  In typical Jewish tradition - what you hear - what is spoken - has to be clearly understood - to get at the real meaning.  Some might call it double speak - saying the opposite of what you mean - answering a question with a question - using misdirection to get others to focus on the real subject at hand. In writing - a literary tool - in speech -  like in magic illusions - making people think outside the box - going deeper - looking at what is not clearly seen.


To die to ourselves - to forget about others - is not dying - not forgetting - rather redirecting our attention - first to what is truly important - our relationship with Jesus - with God.  Once we have refocused on God - we will see that following Jesus as His Disciple - our attention has to be focused on others - their well being - their comfort - helping them before we help ourselves. Our needs can wait - be put on hold - while we help others to see value in their own lives - to bring them closer to God - to appreciate every day of their life.  All too often we only celebrate life after someone has died - the reality - we need to celebrate all lives - everyday - while they - we - are living. 

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Getting High

Nobody likes feeling low - down - depressed - unhappy.  In a similar vein nobody enjoys being the last to be picked for the team - the last in line - the final one to be served. Being last almost always creates a feeling of unworthiness - being less than than you would like.  Everyone appreciates being lifted up - made to feel better - important - recognized - sitting in the place of honor.


In today's Gospel that is exactly what Jesus was talking about - humble yourself and take a less significant place at the table with the possibility that you may be called forward - to join others at the head table - being recognized as special.  It is not only the host at a dinner or party that has this responsibility - this is something that falls on each of us.  As we go though our day - each of us is asked to notice those who have been left behind - ignored - cast to the side. Not only notice them - also to do whatever is in our power to help raise them up - to elevate their spirit - to welcome them - to raise them up to a higher place.  In doing so we not only raise that individual up - but ourselves also as one who appreciates the value of others.  To get high - raise others up - just as Christ was raised by God His Father - we too - through our acts of kindness - can also - get high.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Heaven's Gate

In today's Gospel Jesus instructs us to strive to enter by the narrow gate - not an easy task for most.  His reference to the different sized gates surrounding the city.  During daytime the large gate - suitable for both people as well as pack animals - camels loaded with large baskets - open to all - closed at night for security.  Once closed only the very small gates - passages - available for passage - people only - no baggage - no goods.  To get into the city one can only enter with the clothes on their back.  


When it comes to any of us entering the gates of heaven - very similar - we enter as we are mostly naked - no possessions - nothing extra.  That includes the excess baggage we all carry with us - sins - guilt - fears - doubts - anxiety - unbelief.  To enter heaven freely - one has to trust in the Lord - give up everything and enter just as one was born - naked - trusting completely in the Mercy of God - trusting that He will heal - forgive - accept us - just as we are.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Fire In The Hole

This Sunday we heard about Jeremiah being thrown in a cistern that was full of mud - no water - bad design - bad plan - king couldn't stand the heat Jeremiah was putting on him to treat his subjects properly as God demanded - Jeremiah on fire to move the king to action.  In the Gospel Jesus says He has come to set the world on fire - to get people motivated to follow His Father's plan.  Both the heat from Jeremiah and the fire from Jesus - not literal - rather a metaphor - seeking to stimulate people into action.


In Jeremiah's case - thrown in a hole - into a cistern .  With Jesus - attempting to kindle people from complacency to action.  The fire in the hole - the fire on Earth - all actions of the Holy Spirit.  The goal of these scriptures in the Liturgy today - to stir the fire of the Holy Spirit - in all of us to become active disciples of Jesus.  To move ourselves from a place of comfort to a place of discipleship - where we go out and share  the Good News with all we meet. God calls all of - to spread His fire that is inside us.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Crowning A Queen

The coronation process for Kings and Queens is a very formal lengthy process - many protocols must be followed - dotting every i - crossing every t.  When all is said and done - hundreds - thousands of guests - dignitaries - in attendance - lots of pomp - fuss - grand parties - celebrations - to mark the event.  The aftermath - a new Royal - one to look up to - to emulate - to show respect towards. 


Today in churches around the world - Catholics honor - reverence the one True Queen of the World.  A simple maiden - born not of royal blood - special only to God - God who chose her to bear His Son - to be entrusted with the most precious jewel to grow in the tabernacle of her womb.  As a Virgin - unstained - she accepted the Angel's request - granted permission that allowed God to use her - to become the God with flesh on.  Throughout her pregnancy - she lived a normal humble life - climbing mountains to visit her cousin Elizabeth - to help Elizabeth through her pregnancy - returning home after many months to  finish her own pregnancy - to finally delivering Our Lord to the World in a small smelly manger because  there was no room at the inn.  Mary was there from conception to the Cross.  She brought Jesus into the world to nurture Him - teach Him - walk with Him as His first disciple - to sit in the Upper Room - to stand at the foot of the Cross - to dress His body at death.  As the One woman - the Mother of Jesus - as our example of Disciple - she was crowned not in a pompous event - rather in the blood of her Son - as Queen of Heaven.  Today Catholics around the World honor Our One True Queen.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Who Would Be King?

For so many people  - the most important thing in their life is to be the head person - the leader - the chosen one - president - to be King.  To them it does not matter how they achieve that goal - devious action - lies - schemes - manipulating the truth - no shame in falsely attaining their top dog status - as long as they become King.  Once at the top - once King - they rule with themselves only in mind.  A true King rules with compassion - seeing the value - importance of those below them.  A false King - blind to all others - seeking only that which is personal gain to  them.


In the movie - The Lion King - the King's brother - filled with jealousy - conspires - eventually  seeing his brother die - falsely placing the blame on the King's heir - essentially banishing him from the pride - that he may take his brother's place as the new king.  As in  other stories -in this vein - the brother eventually pays the price for his schemes - evil actions - with his own life.  The banished son - the heir apparent - rightfully crowned King after enduring much hardship.  Moral of the story - to be King carries a great responsibility of caring for others - not one self.  As the Son of God - Jesus - heir apparent - crucified - tortured - left bloody on the Cross - now rightfully - King of Life.  To know the King is to serve the King - not for self - rather for others - in serving we bring life in the fullest to those who need it most.  All of us are called to be modern disciples - servants of our Lord and King - Jesus Christ.

Deacon Dale 


Sunday, August 11, 2019

Blindsided

You know the scenario - you are having a discussion with someone or perhaps you are involved in an activity - when out of the blue you are either physically or emotionally attacked with no warning.  One minute you are having what you believe to be a friendly casual conversation - when suddenly something is either spoken or your mind realizes that you are being attacked.  The worse part - an accusation made - no chance to face the accuser - no chance to rationally discuss the situation - from some previous months.  Judgement has been made - no witnesses - no defense - tried - convicted - decision made.  What most rational people would call rushing to a conclusion without listening to both sides - unfair - unjust -completely justified by the one before you.  Conversation closed - no further discussion allowed. 


That is a little bit what we heard in today's Gospel - be ready - be prepared - you never know when final judgement will be made. At least in the Gospel - a warning given.  Those who hear and understand - given the time - the courtesy of preparing themselves - modifying their lives- so everything may be in order.  God is just in His actions - unfortunately - many people are not.  Luckily being blindsided by another person - not usually a critical event - more of an insult due to their lack of empathy.   When something important is about to happen - God sends His messengers - gives a sign - fair warning.  None of us know the day or the hour - so imperative that we live our lives - prepared

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Enough Already!

Yes - Enough already - stop it - stop!  In today's Holy Scriptures all three scriptures point to one thing - look at what is above - what is important - not what is below.  In the first scripture vanities refers to all the things that we tend to focus our attention on - both good and bad - how many good things - how many bad things - that we have in our lives - things that may vanish in an instant - in God's mind not of true value.  The second scripture and third continues this exact theme - do not worry about possessions - how many you have - where to store them - what you might do with them in the future.  For - as in the Gospel - we never know when God will call us from this place - and to whom will those possessions go?  In the Gospel ther farmer wanted to build ;larger buildings - in the midwest we love silos - big silos - lots of silos - to store the abundance of our crops.  Some to store - to dry - to prepare before moving to sell.  Others to store our grains - holding for a time when the value of those grains may be maximized.  Farmer or not we all have treasure - treasure stored in various places.  Banks - stocks - bonds - buildings - vehicles - all stored in our personal "silo" where we can sit and admire the physical wealth they represent.  But all of that - no matter how much - has no value in our life as spiritual creatures - as children of God - who cares less about what we have - compared to what we have not.  To God our most important possession is our relationship with Him - with His Son - Jesus.  He wants us to know HIM - to know His LOVE - PEACE - FORGIVENESS - ACCEPTANCE.  If our personal silos are not filled with these things - then we are the poorest of the poor - a sad lot to be sure. I love it when I am in Arizona.  So many days after being so busy - God paints the sky with such beautiful sunsets - a gift for all to see - a painting - saying job well done - enjoy my sky. These are the things that I put in my silo.


Our parish is currently part of the Divine Renovation Project to recreate the Church - through targeted evangelization via personal contact - through use of the Alpha Program - by getting parishioners to stop and refocus their attention on getting to completely understand their relationship with God - and forming a personal relationship with Jesus.  Once accomplished - renewed through the power of the Holy Spirit - better educated - fully understanding what it means to be a disciple in this day and age - all are empowered to take the mission of Jesus into the streets - to anyone who will listen.  In our parish we have seen the fruits of our labors as new people come to join our parish - as neighboring parishes come to see what the excitement is all about - asking us to help them renovate their own parishes to move from a maintenance model of a status quo - to a revitalized model of active evangelization.  Becoming a true disciple of ChrIst is very easy - as long as one focuses their yes on what is above rather than what is of Earth.  Yes - some possessions are expected and fine - they only become a problem when they take our attention away from the One who made them available in the first place.

We all have a "silo" where we store our special possessions - how big is Your silo - and what does it hold?

Deacon Dale



Wednesday, July 31, 2019

In The Good Old Summertime

In the good old summertime - time tends to get away from all of us.  None of us is immune to time slip.  For myself it appears that my blogging took a brief vacation - too busy with other projects to be able to sit and blog.  I feel bad - sort of - not going to bemoan this - it just is a fact of life.  When the weather is good - to many options outside that calls us outdoors - when the weather is bad - too much to do trying to cope with excessive rain and all those things that come with excess water.  The other - primary reason - for being distracted - preparing for the celebration of our 50th wedding anniversary.  Unlike many couples who choose to celebrate privately - on a cruise - or similar event - we chose to hold a party for the entire family - including all the cousins.  As far as anyone knows - we are the first couple to reach this mark and family members begged that we gather the family to celebrate the fact that one of their own reached this goal.  So we did - dinner and dancing - sharing our story over and over again in the hopes that other family members will be encouraged to stay the course - in good times and in bad - to stick out the rough times - times that no couple is happy about - but did manage to work through them when they happened.  In 50 years - multiple opportunities to make wrong things right.


Happily for us - God has always had an important part in our marriage - He has been with us from the first day of our marriage and continues to walk with us and guide us through the difficult times.  All marriages experience difficulties - deaths - miscarriages - stress from jobs - and more.  God has been there in good times as well as bad.  We could never imagine not having Him close with us in all these years.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Seventy-Two

Seventy-Two is a large number until you divide it by two - thirty-six a more comfortable number to visualize.  Teams of two - counter balance - two stroke - two view points - twin cycles - double vision.  When the gasoline engine was first developed it employed the use of two cylinders - one to counter balance the other. Further developments saw the introduction of the four stroke engine - again - keeping the engine balanced so it would not shake itself apart. It was not until later that a single stroke engine was developed.  In nature many things seem to automatically balance by using the rule of two - front and back - top and bottom - left and right - up and down - in and out.  In Physics - Newton's Third Law states - that for every reaction - there is an equal and opposite reaction. In religion - we profess good versus evil - heaven and hell - Jesus and Satan.  Apparently Two is the Rule of the Universe.  God knew this and throughout history tried to get humans to understand this simple principle - we are not alone.  Even when we think we are alone - we are never alone.  Moses brought two of every creature on the Ark - Adam had his Eve - the sun had it's moon.  It only makes sense that the Rule of Two is valid.
When Jesus sent His disciples out - He sent in groups of two.  Just as in the past - in the time of Christ - so are modern day disciples sent out as two. It is scriptural - it follows the natural course of events - it makes complete sense.  When one forgets - the second remembers - when one becomes tired - frustrated - disillusioned - the second encourages - revitalizes the other - renews the original vision - mission - to keep both on track.  Jesus sent those in two - we do the same today - energized by the fact that in groups of two - we will accomplish the goal set by God from the beginning of time - to tell all we meet and greet - that God loves them - forgives them - wants them to live life to the fullest - to become members of His family - here on Earth - eventually in Heaven.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Excuse Me?

We all do it - make excuses - why we did something - why we didn't - explaining why we did not honor our word - commitment.  We make excuses for ourselves - spouses - children - parents - family - friends - the list is endless.  Every one of us has had at least one time - probably more - when we failed - ourselves - others.  We are asked to commit to an unfavorable project - event - we honestly do not want to do - at least at the moment - so we make an excuse - attempting to put off to a more convenient time. 


That is what is happening in today's scriptures - come follow me - be a prophet - be a disciple - stop what you are doing - to do something - better - more important.  Let me bury my father - although he is not that old and very much alive - let me wait and say goodbye to my family - scattered as they are - years before we can all get together.  God calls - Jesus calls - even prophets call  - yet we make an excuse - not my call - not my gift - not worthy enough - not smart enough - not quite ready to make that commitment.  When Jesus was asked to die for us - even Jesus faltered - Father, let this cup pass me by - then accepting His fate - but Your Will be done.  The One obedient Son - the One who made a permanent commitment - to God - His Father - to US - His brothers - sisters.  When He calls us - can we do any less?

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Real Deal

Today we celebrate The Feast of Corpus Christi also known in Liturgical Latin as Dies Sanctissimi Corporis et Sanguinis Domini Iesu Christi  - Latin for "Day of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ the Lord" -  also known as the Solemnity of the Corpus Christi.  It is on this day that we proclaim our belief of the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist.  The bread and wine once consecrated during Holy Mass - although still appearing as ordinary bread and wine - is no longer as it appears - rather - through the miracle of transubstantiation - has become the real body - real blood - of Jesus Christ.  It is not a symbol - rather the very real presence of Christ Himself present under the appearance of bread and wine.  It is a miracle that most do not understand - many do not believe.  That is when True Faith happens.


As Catholics we believe what Jesus said when He said that we would eat His body and drink His blood - not as cannibals - rather as True Believers - that what we see and what is real - is as different as night and day.  This is what sets Catholics apart from other Christians - a belief - not easily explained - nor believed.  In religion - there are many facets of Faith that exist only because of Faith - no hard evidence - Belief in the unknown - unexplained.  Today - around the world - Corpus Christi processions - taking the consecrated host - the  bread - The Blessed Sacrament - placed in a Monstrance - in the center - for all to see - through neighborhoods - small villages - large cities alike - to reverence - to ponder - the True Presence of Jesus Christ - in their midst.

Deacon Dale