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