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 

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Three-peat

In sports and many other events a three-peat - a repeat of some win or accomplishment - three times in a row.  To be able to repeat a successful campaign - effort - three times in a row is a sign of excellent.  A triple crown of success - three being the magic number in so many places.  Today the Church celebrates its own three-peat as it celebrates the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity - Father - Son - Holy Spirit - One God - three manifestations.  To clearly understand the Trinity would take pages and pages to explain the theology that makes this understandable - even then - most walk away - still confused.  As faithful Christians - most accept the doctrine of a God with three names - accepting that the Trinity is a Mystery understood only by God .  


As modern day disciples of Christ we accept without question that God does exists in three identities all equal - in the form of the One God.  Rather than waste valuable time debating a Mystery that is difficult to comprehend - we do as Jesus told us - go make disciples of all nations - baptizing in  the Name of the Father - Son - Holy Spirit.  As our lives are transformed by the Holy Spirit working in our own lives - we freely share  this Mystery - this Gift with all whom we meet.  We accept with open minds and hearts - Jesus we trust in You - Your Words - Your Promises - Your Gift of New Life.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Great Balls of Fire

Today is Pentecost Sunday - one of the most significant days of the liturgical year.  Today we remember that day - in time- when God sent His Holy Spirit - down from heaven - upon the apostles - disciples of Jesus.  Ordinary men - women - of little faith - not quite understanding the crucifixion of Jesus - contemplating His command to wait - for - Another - the Paraclete - The One Who Would Empower - to go boldly - where others had failed to venture.  The color of the day is - Red - the color of blood - the color of fire - the color of the Rose - a reminder of Life.  Today - in time - the Birthday - of the Church - the Universal Church of God - centered on Jesus - the Christ.


Just as the apostles - disciples - of Jesus experienced the rush of the Holy Spirit - so may we also.  Truth be told - most of us - baptized - catechized - Christians - have already had the Holy Spirit - poured upon us.  That power laying dormant - inside us - waiting to be set free - to do as commanded by God.  To release that Spirit - to become an effective Christian - to teach - heal - witness - evangelize  - simply speak a simple prayer.  Come Holy Spirit Come - I believe I have received you in baptism - confirmation - Holy Eucharist - the sacraments - come release your power in my life - that I may glorify and serve the Lord - Our God.  Say this prayer - then keep watch for how the Spirit will manifest itself in your life - for your good - for the good of others.

Deacon Dale 


Saturday, June 1, 2019

Sabbatical is Over

YES - My short sabbatical is over and I am now back from tasks that kept me away from this blog.  I will not go into detail - leaving the winter retreat - returning home - attending to personal issues with which everyone has - back to writing.  Taking a break from the routine is suggested by so many people - time to take deep breaths - slow the pace - review where one has been - where one wishes to go.  It is now June 1st - not yet summer - but close to it.  Summer chores and tasks waiting for all of us - hopefully - rest and relaxation included in those plans.  Easter season is almost over and next week Pentecost.  Two weeks later - Corpus Christi and many Eucharistic processions to be observed.  


God gives us this time - time so precious - wasted by so many - enjoyed - celebrated by others.  In this time - each of us should reevaluate our individual lives - objectively look at what we have or have not accomplished in the first five months of this year.  Each of us is a promise - to ourselves - to our family - to our community - to the world.  Everyone is a piece of a giant puzzle that we call life - and each of us adds value to the larger picture.  Today is the perfect day to step back and look at that larger picture - ask yourself where is my piece - am I fitting in as I should - do I need to fine tune my presence - if so - ask God for help and everything will fall into place.

Deacon Dale 


Sunday, April 21, 2019

Life Saver

Easter Sunday - Resurrection - New Life - the focus of this day around the world - the Holiest Day of the year for Christians and those who believe in Jesus as the Christ - the Anointed One of God.  Today we celebrate - we rejoice - we praise God for His awesome deeds done for us.  Sending His Son to walk - live with us - to teach - preach - prepare us for a life after death - life in heaven - with Him - His Father.  On one hand it seems impossible - impossible that any of us would be good enough to be granted this gift - for all have fallen short of the Glory of God.  Yet in His awesome love for us - that gift is offered freely to all people.  One does not even have to be a Christian - nor baptized - to receive this gift.  All it takes is an open mind - heart - willing to accept Jesus into their mind - heart - to profess Him as Lord and God.  
Jesus came for all - not all will accept Him - to those who do - New Life in Christ.  Last night at the Easter Vigil - people were baptized and received into the Church.  Following that Holy Mass they may now call themselves Christians - official members of the Church.  Last night was not the end  - rather the beginning of their formation into disciples of Christ.  They along with those of us - renewed and energized by them and the sacraments celebrated - now called to go forward - to become intentional disciples - to spread the Good News - that lives can be changed - those on a path to doom and gloom - may change their focus - walk a new direction.  To those on the edge looking in - the invitation is there always - come join us - the community of believers - invite Jesus into your life - He is waiting to be your own life saver.

Happy Easter!
Deacon Dale 

Friday, April 19, 2019

3 Daze

Dazed - as being confused - in a fog - unable to think clearly - act normally due to injury - shock -bewilderment.  The number three - reflecting on the Triduum - the three holiest days in the Christian year - Holy Thursday - Good Friday - Holy Saturday - all leading up to - culminating in Easter - the day of Resurrection - celebration of good over evil.  Nobody - layperson - deacon - priest - bishop - can completely know - understand the mind of God.  Exactly what is God's plan - why were certain things allowed to happen - for what reason?  Of course - those who have spent years contemplating these questions may offer us  their understanding of the why - wherefores - but the honest reality - all are educated guesses.  Nobody - not even the Pope - can know the mind of God.  We can make certain assumptions - read the Doctors of the Church - study the writings of those who have invested their entire life into learning these secrets - make observations of past historical events - to help us draw our own conclusions - answers. To This point the Church gives us the gift of these three days to contemplate these specific mysteries.  Holy Thursday - the institution of ministry - helping others - humbling ourselves to wash feet - service to those in need - pulling all this into the sacred mystery of Holy Eucharist - Holy Mass.  Good Friday - a day spent being dazed - confused - trying to focus on the ability of man to harm man - contemplating why humans are able to sink to the lowest levels when facing the darkest secrets in their own lives - creating misdirection - putting the blame on others for their shortcomings - through unspeakable actions.  Holy Saturday - the third day of being dazed - trying to see clearly - to understand the events already experienced - praying that out of chaos - good may surface - to justify bad actions - the good that rises from the ashes of evil. 



At Easter - the Day of celebrating - Resurrection - waving the victory flag - happy to be on the winning team - yet not clearing understanding what was gained - lost.  We will never clearly understand - we will always be in some way dazed by these events - yet - as people of Hope - we Believe.  As believers - we worship - pray - rejoice in the promise that is yet to come in our personal life.  

Deacon Dale 

Monday, April 15, 2019

Prayer Partners

Monday the beginning of Holy Week - parishioners around the world - yesterday - encouraged to embrace this week - the Holiest week in the Christian Year - specifically asked to pray more.  Contemplating the Passion that was shared in churches worldwide on Sunday - most left for home - their assignment to immerse themselves into Holy Week - more deeply - this year.  Today the fire - burning a majority of the Cathedral of Notre Dame - in Paris - shocking the world.  If not a religious symbol known the world over - at least a cultural one visited by millions of tourists - pilgrims - yearly.  As I write this - thousands in France praying intently that the Cathedral will not be a total loss - that the relics - important to all Catholics - will be saved from harm - preserved for the next generation and beyond. Today when a majority of Bishops will be celebrating the Chrism Mass this evening - blessing the oils used throughout the liturgical year - more prayers - commitments offered - to stand firm in faith - honoring promises made at ordination - promising prayers for our fellow Catholics in France - one body - the true body of Christ - all praying together for our common needs - partners in prayer.


God calls each of us - to Him - to His Son - to Jesus - in prayer - sharing our wants - needs - thanks - for all He has - will do for us.  The Cathedral - will be rebuilt - as servants of God - that is what we do.  We build our bodies into temples - for His Holy Spirit - we build houses  - to hold - protect our loved ones - we build churches - temples - cathedrals - to provide space where we may gather as the family of God - to petition - to praise - to thank - Him - for who He is - what He has done - what He will do - for ourselves - gathered together in this bond of faith - to live out our lives in holiness.  Pray for the people of France - pray for  the peoples of the world - pray for yourselves - that we may one day worship - in complete peace - harmony.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Blowing In The Wind

It has been windy here for the past few days - difficult to enjoy cycling with winds blowing strongly in your face - telling one - go home.  Cycling with the wind - at your back makes for an easy go - quite the opposite when the winds turn against you.  Same goes for many of life's instances - school - work - relationships - everyone happy with you - motivates one to continue on their path - to stay the course.  It is the times when you lose favor - projects miss due dates - your thoughts - ideas not in favor with others - relationships sour - difficult to accomplish even simple tasks.  It is in the difficult times that one is tested - the true metal of a person shows through.

Palm Sunday In India

So it was with Jesus - a triumphant entry into Jerusalem - riding on the back of a donkey - something reserved for only the most worthy - notable.  Crowds cheering Him on - waving palm branches - leaves of anticipation blowing in the winds - laying robes at His feet - screaming praises - arousing those on the side lines to stand up - view - the Messiah.  A great entrance - only to be followed by a great fall - a last supper - unplanned - not anticipated - arrested - bound in chains - to be led away - questioned - over and over again - stripped naked - beaten - condemned.  Such is the beginning of Holy Week - the one week of the Christian calendar - unlike any other week - time for serious prayer - fasting - confession - reconciliation - forgiveness - families coming together - to acknowledge - in one way or another - the importance of family - each other - our purpose in life - the importance of God - His Son - Jesus.  In this week - we complete our Lenten Journey - to wholeness.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Picking Olives and Hearts

On this Fifth Sunday of Lent - we hear the story about the woman accused of adultery - alternately - for those attending Holy Mass where the Third Scrutiny is being celebrated - the story of Lazarus - his death - being raised by Jesus to New Life. In the Cycle C Scripture Jesus is presented with a woman caught in adultery - condemned to death by stoning - the question presented to Him by the Scribes and Pharisees at the Mount of Olives - questioning the validity of the Law of Moses in such matters.  Thorny question - tell the people that Moses was wrong - stone a person to death for failing to live up to her potential as a person - what to do.  Do nothing - do something - take control of the situation by turning the answer back to those seeking to trap Him - let them - the one without sin cast the first stone - then the remainder may follow suit. Everyone walks away - no one has the guts to think they are without sin - Jesus - forgives - admonishes her to go - a changed person.  I have been privileged to visit the Mount of Olives on three occasions - each visit different - each experience special - each time a fresh opportunity to touch the Divine. From the Mount of Olives a clear view of the Kidron Valley - The Old City Wall of The City of David - the burial sites of the faithful - a proposed path that Jesus Himself might have walked on that fateful evening of The Last Supper - a shortcut that He may have taken on His way to Bethany - the site of Lazarus' burial. 


In the celebration of this Third Scrutiny - the focus on New Life - New Life granted through the celebration of Baptism - Confirmation - Holy Eucharist - New Life celebrated in the act of forgiveness - reconciliation - making oneself right with themselves - others - God.  In granting His forgiveness to the woman - in raising Lazarus from the dead - in our own reconciliation with Jesus - through the Sacrament of Confession - all of us given the opportunity of the GIFT of NEW LIFE.  Lent is not over yet - there are still many days in which we may make things right - amend our ways - put ourselves back on the path to God.  In Lent we pick olives - new hearts - new ways - your choice.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, March 31, 2019

A Blind Eye

During this period of Lent - The Church makes special use of the Third - Fourth - Fifth Sundays of Lent - particularly when it is blessed with those seeking Baptism - Confirmation - Holy Eucharist.  Although we are currently sharing the Scriptures from Cycle C of the Liturgical Year - those parishes with Catechumens - now called the Elect - have the option to use the scriptures from Liturgical Cycle A on these three specific Sundays.  In order - the Scriptures focus the attention of the Elect on the Rite of Baptism - Living Water - Light that opens the eyes - New Life - offered to all who claim Jesus as the Lord of their lives.  Lent has been designed as the Final Retreat for those seeking to enter into full communion with the Holy Catholic Church to be celebrated at the Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday.  Those of us - already full members of the Church - travel along with the Elect - supporting them in their quest with our prayers - they in turn - supporting us with their exuberance - excitement - at the Gift they will soon receive. 


It makes no difference if this Sunday you hear the Gospel proclaimed by the deacon - sharing the story of the Man born Blind - or alternately the popular Prodigal Son.  With our hearing the words effectively spoken - each of us acknowledges the blindness in our own lives - the times we failed to see - failed to act in humility - asked for more than was due us - charging ahead following our own plans - ignoring the plans laid before us by God.  Thankfully - Jesus waits for each of us - giving us time to wipe the fog from our eyes - dropping our heads in humility - acknowledging our failing - weakness - as we return - back to the embrace of our Heavenly Father. In Lent - we thank God for His Divine Mercy and praise Him for His patience with us.  With God - there is always time.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Bearing Fruit

Fruit - in botanical terms - the seed bearing structure in flowering plants formed from the ovary after flowering.  Most people hearing the word fruit - think of apples - oranges - grapes - berries - easily harvested from various plants.  Less often - the product of any concentrated effort - the fruit of hard labor - the outcome of concentrated effort.  Before fruit of any kind can be harvested - much work - effort must be invested.  Soil needs to be tilled - seeds - planted - nurtured with nutrients - water from above - sweat from the brow - warmth from the sun - no one ingredient more important than the other.  After many long hours - results finally seen.  In time - all bear fruit.

In today's Gospel - the story of the fig plant - barren - not producing any fruit.  The impatient owner suggesting to dig up - remove the plant - to stop putting additional effort in an attempt to harvest fruit.  The gardener - refusing to comply - willing to invest more time - energy into the plant - wisely knowing that all will eventually produce if given enough time.  So often we see the same situation with people - people who appear to be going no where - taking up space - non productive members of society.  God knows differently - even with the worst - willing to give each of us all the time we need - to grow - to learn - to blossom into the gifts that we can be.  Each of us is a promise - a possibility - to untold greatness - in small - grand ways.  In this season of Lent - we seek that which will nurture us - prayer - fasting - giving to others.  There is still plenty of time this Lent to bear fruit in your life - for yourself - for others.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Building Bridges & Tents

The Second Sunday of Lent and most are attempting to have a meaningful Lenten experience.  Praying more - fasting - making sacrifices - giving alms - basically doing the right thing.  Most are doing this - not all.  For some - no interest in participating in any sort of spiritual exercise - others - too many other issues they are coping with - more important at the moment.  None of us has the right answer - all doing the best we can - at the moment to face our individual lives - praying - hoping that we are on the correct path.  

Mount Tabor - Church of the Transfiguration

God calls each of us - to discipleship - to be aware of His presence - in our daily lives - the things we experience - see - hear - observe.  When Jesus' disciples saw Him standing with Moses and Elijah they had no idea what they were seeing.  Peter wanted to erect tents - one for each of them - his immediate reaction to what had been observed.  There is no mention what John and James wanted to do - caught up in the moment - processing in their minds what they had seen.  Just like them - all of us - standing at their sides - in the beginning of the Second week of Lent - sorting out what we need to do - how to accomplish what we are suppose to do.  With Jesus at our sides - not to worry - in His time - we will figure this all out.  In the meantime - eat less - drink less - give alms - pray like there is no tomorrow - build bridges with others - if you have time - erect a tent.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, March 10, 2019

In The Beginning

In the beginning - God created man - male and female He created them - to dominate and rule the World.  All was good - for a time - then - things changed.  Utilizing the Gift of Free Will - man began to think - that is when things started to change.  Men and women thought - communicated - developed ideas - most good - some not so.  Over time wrong thinking invaded God's World - clashed with the good - created tension.  Tension as such can be good when utilized to create - develop - advance society.  Tension between individuals - the opposite effect.  


Because of the development of society - how people interact - mankind allowed itself to drift away from God's Plan.  Rather than seek what God intended - people started overly focusing on what they wanted - whether good or bad.  In the course of time as religion became formalized - as moral codes developed - the need to pause and examine one's life - what they were doing - where they were headed - how they had fallen short of life's goals - drifted towards the selfish side  - the need for Lent became obvious.  Thus - today - we observe the First Sunday of Lent - the first of many Sundays and an entire forty day period to do a self examination - to help each of us to get back on course - to guide our lives in the proper direction - to make our life meaningful and of value to the world in which we live.  With Jesus - the God who walked this Earth - it is a task that can be undertaken with joy and peace.  May your personal Lenten experience be one filled with a multitude of blessings.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Smudges & Smears

When working with different media many artists intentionally allow smudges and smears to enter into their work - others go to extremes to avoid anything that looks like a smudge or smear in  their works.  Through their efforts - the artist is seeking to convey a message to the observer - tell a story - share an emotion.  The final product accomplishes this otherwise the efforts was in vain.


Most clergy are not artists - on Ash Wednesday - as seen above by @BillDonaghy - the ashes imposed on the foreheads of the faithful take many various forms.  As an artistic effort - most clergy fail - their goal not an artistic feat - rather an act of love - imposing ash from the previous years palms used on Palm Sunday - to bring the faithful closer to their faith - their belief in the death and resurrection - their own sins - their opportunity to look deeper inside to what they need to do in order to worthily celebrate Jesus' resurrection on Easter Sunday.  As we enter Lent - we pray for ourselves - each other - that Jesus will truely be the Lord of our lives.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Pancake Day - Pączkis Day - Fastnacht Day

Pancake Day - Shrove Tuesday - Mardi Gras - Karnival - Fat Tuesday - all the same observance on the Tuesday immediately preceding Ash Wednesday - by Christians everywhere - in particular Anglicans - Lutherans - Methodists - Roman Catholics.  This observance in current times no longer limited to people of these groups - Christians of numerous denominations everywhere now - officially - unofficially - preparing themselves for the beginning of Lent - eventually Easter.  Today is celebrated as the last day when one may indulge in excesses - food - drink - partying - as they embrace the solemn days of Lent.  In England the custom of eating pancakes - in Germany fasnachts - in Poland pączkis - in the USA  - almost any pastry depending on your cultural heritage.  Parties are common with fun and fellowship.


On this day - wherever one may be - time should be spent with family and friends - celebrating all that God has blessed us with - rejoicing in the lives we live - preparing ourselves through prayer - fasting - giving to others - for the days of Lent when we look inside to see who and what we are - who and what we should be - in God's eyes.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, February 4, 2019

He Saw His Shadow

As He gazed around at everything surrounding Him - people - daylight - vegetation - ground - He saw His shadow.  Stretched out there before Him - His likeness - crawling out from His feet - slowly meandering away from Him.  Easy for all to see - the two of them - the One created by God Almighty - the other - a darkened image of who He might be.  Looking upon either - revealing only the shape - not the inner substance - the heart - mind - soul - the potential of a life lived well - the hopes and dreams - the possibilities.  Shadows fail - always - to reveal the Truth - darkened reflections of a shell - plant - animal - mineral - all casting  their own shadows - painting the surface of the surrounding earth with darkened shapes - masks of a reality - unknown.  


Not the shadow of Punxsutawney Phil, the world-famous meteorologist/groundhog - rather the shadow of the One who gave everything - for you - for me - that we might have life and live it  to the fullest.  To appreciate His shadow - understand what it represents - one must know the One who cast the shadow.  His name is Jesus - waiting for each of us - to answer His call - to come close to Him - to learn who He is - how much He loves us.  It only takes a second - He will come - you only have to invite Him into your life. 

Deacon Dale 

Monday, January 28, 2019

Rites Of Passage

A rite is a ritual of various natures observed by many different groups.  Some rites are religious in nature - baptism - confirmation - marriage - ordination.  Other rites are secular observances - reaching puberty - birthdays - coming of age - graduation - joining various groups.  All rites confer a change in status - observe a transition in one's life - recognizing a new period - a beginning or end.  Throughout everyone's life - all will experience  these rites of passage.  Not always recognized - birth and death - for all people - two rites of passage that all will experience. In the world view - births a rite to be celebrated - death a rite to be mourned.  In people with religious beliefs - death should be celebrated as the next step in one's spiritual life - reaching heaven - getting closer to their eventual goal - attainment of a completeness of their life.  For those with spiritual beliefs - death is not to be feared - rather expected.  

God created the world and all that is in it - that which we can see - things not visible to the naked eye.  No one can see atoms and molecules - with the aid of instrumentation - readily viewed.  All can smell the freshness of the morning air - none can see it.  Most can hear the sounds of nature - never view able.  So many things that exist in the world - intangible - untouchable - physically out of reach - grasped only by our minds and intellect.  For those who believe in a life after death - belief that once conceived - life eternal - ongoing - changed but never ending.  All will share these rites - embraced - and experienced - one life at a time.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, January 21, 2019

Walking To A Different Beat

I have a lot of people that I know who are different from the main stream world - doing their own thing - in their own way - walking to a different beat of the drum.  What is interesting - they are the ones that I prefer to be with.  In fact - as I think about it - my entire family is that way - each of us - using different thought processes - arriving at the same conclusion - the majority of the time - often in loud voices.  As my cousins like to say - we are not arguing - we are just Italians and we talk very loud - with passion.  Passionate - definitely - for different things - work - sports - relationships - faith.  As I ponder the people in my life - those who have had a major influence - living or dead - the majority - were different.  Many would call them - weird - stubborn - arrogant - laid back - over the top - someone most would avoid.  It is from these people that I have learned the most - intellectually - spiritually.  All of my brothers and sisters - my wife and sons - friends - at one time or another - real pains in the rear - but all of them have added real value to my life.  They are the ones who have shaped me into the person that I am today - all of us - just a little bit different from the others.  Those most influential - people that I will never forget. 


Walking To A Different Beat 

Jesus - definitely was different from all the rest - did things that were misunderstood - went against the flow - swam up river - walked against the winds of time - teaching those who would listen - how to do the same - to go - not as the world goes - but against the common - popular flow.  Too many - comfortable with what is - seduced by the easy - popular - politically correct - doomed to uneventful lives.  Following Jesus - always a challenge - not an easy task - many barriers to climb over - always defending that which cannot be seen - walking - not blindly - but by faith alone.  Faith in God - His Son - His Words - His promise - that He will always be there - at our side - as we walk with Him - to a different beat.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, January 18, 2019

R.I.P. Father Jerome Zalonis M.I.C.

Thursday - January 17, 2019 - the angels and the people of God cried at the news of the death of Father Jerome Zalonis MIC - fondly known as Father Jerry.  Ordained on May 23, 1959 - along with his twin brother - Father John Zalonis - Father Jerry served the Catholic communities of believers in numerous locations - his final assignment at St. Patrick Parish in Yorkville, Illinois.  In his 60 years of priesthood - Father Jerry laughed - cried - comforted more people of all ages than can be counted.  He will be missed by all who knew him.  My first encounter with Father Jerry was in June 1988 - newly assigned to St. Mary Church in Plano, Illinois and St. Patrick Mission in Bristol, Illinois.  I was nervous - a deacon candidate about to meet his new pastor for the first time.  Opening his office door at St. Mary's rectory - my nervousness completely disappeared as I gazed at his darkly bearded face - an almost mirror image of my own darkly bearded face.  At least he approved of beards - and after asking his one question - what did I preach on - a large smile and a laugh of approval - the beginning of a long friendship - he serving as my vesting priest at my ordination as a Permanent Deacon.  Together - especially at St Patrick Mission - we built a parish community with numerous new programs - reaching out to the community - eventually constructing a new parish church in Yorkville - saw it officially designated as a parish - shedding 117 years of Mission status on February 15, 2002 by Bishop Joseph Imesch DD - Bishop of Joliet-in-Illinois Diocese.  

Father Jerry at His 50th Anniversary of Ordination

Father Jerry was not afraid to offer correction to anyone who needed it - always with a smile and words of encouragement.  Shortly after my ordination he politely told me to quit reading my homilies - instead to speak from my heart with the knowledge and love that he knew I had for Our Lord.  Needless to say - my homilies improved very quickly - as did the length - a fact that became a private joke between us.  

I am thankful that we were out east at Thanksgiving of 2018 - a time when my wife and I were able to visit him - to spend time talking about the ministry that we shared between the three of us - attending one final Mass together.  His smile - as seen above - permanently embedded in our hearts - he will never be any farther than our hearts and memories.  

Rest in Peace - Good and Faithful Servant
Deacon Dale 



Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Felice anno nuovo - Feliz año nuevo - Bonne année - Happy New Year

No matter how you say it - welcome to 2019 and all that is waiting for you to experience.  Ending one year - leaving behind both happy and sad memories - propelling ourselves into a new year - a fresh start - new beginnings - new challenges - another chance to do the right thing.  The past is the past - that is where it belongs.  There are very few things that can be undone - we cannot go back in time to correct our errors - moving forward we can attempt to avoid repeating mistakes - changing our ways - seeking other paths and directions for our lives.

Zakochany aka Zako (Our 3rd Keeshond)

In this New Year of 2019 - all things are possible - with God.  With Jesus at your side - you can do and achieve so much.  With a smile on our face - we look at the New Year and all the possibilities that exist.

Happy New Year
Deacon Dale