Sunday, December 27, 2020

Christmas 2020 The Celebration That wasn't

This year the normal celebration of Christmas was anything but normal. Travel canceled - church services - canceled - simplified - family gatherings - on hold.  The pandemic that was suppose to be under control - still raging its ugly head - every where.  Needless to say - most likely the biggest disappointment of 2020.  However - there were moments - unmatched in previous years - that managed to bring joy - peace into many lives. 


Jesus told us that He didn't promise us a rose garden - often He reminded us that there would be tests - trials that we would have to endure.  2020 has been a giant trial - test.  He also told us that He would never leave us - that He would be with us constantly - throughout 2020 - time and again - He has proven that.  With God - Jesus - Our Savior all is possible.

Deacon Dale  

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Advent Goals

For the first three weeks of Advent we have been asking ourselves - are we ready to meet the Lord when He comes?  If our lives ended today - would we end up in heaven ? If we died today - where would we spend eternity?  For three weeks we have inventoried our lives - looking to our final destination.  Now in the Fourth week of Advent - our focus switches to Jesus - His birth -  what it means to us that God came down from the heavens to live with the very people He created - why He came as an infant - not an adult - why He chose to go through the birthing process - the growing process from child to adult - enduring - embracing the hardships - experiencing life - just as any ordinary human does.  To some these questions - very confusing.  To others - no issue - for a God who exists outside of time - 30 years a drop in the bucket - for we are told (2 Peter 3:8) "with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day",  Simply stated - for God who is eternal - outside of time - it was nothing - a blip in the calendars of the world.  Experiencing life just as His people - what better way to really get to  know them - understand them - understand what our needs were - the temptations we would face - the accomplishments we would experience.  

For with God - nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37) - what He desires for us - what He needs to do to help us - never impossible - knowing that He - Jesus is always at our side - that He fully knows our needs - we go forward as we end Advent - we go to the crib of our Lord - knowing that He is always with us.  In the crib - at our side - holding our hands - together we celebrate Christmas.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Unwrapping Your Cheer

Pink - Rose - Purple - on this Third Sunday of Advent the focus is not on the color of vestments worn at Holy Mass - rather - Joy - Happiness - Hope.  As people of hope we pause and reflect on where we might possibly find moments of joy - cheer - happy events that bring pleasure into our lives.  Advent - unlike Lent - which is a time of penance - is the season in which we reflect and review our lives and what we have accomplished - how good we are. In Advent  - we should focus on how we can improve - become better Christians .  All too often - others - meaning well - lead us on a path of discovery - focusing only on our failures - disappointments - wrapping the good - happy moments - in stories that overshadow any cheerful moments we could remember. 

Rather than focusing on our failures - we need to unwrap everything that is hiding the cheer that is in our life.  With the help of Jesus - we may see our goodness - too often hidden by guilt - anxiety - distractions - placed in front of us by the world.  As Christians we live counter cultural to what the world says is important.  People not things are what helps us unwrap our cheer.  As we continue our Advent journey - may all of us rediscover the cheer in our lives.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Road To Salvation

On this Second Sunday of Advent we hear - "Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God"  (Is 40:3) - prepare a path for Him.  We have been called to go before Him - to smooth out the path - to make clear for His feet - to prepare hearts - to hear His message - to be heralds of His message. The majority or us will ask - how?  How can we possibly do that?  We are not theologians - priests - deacons - not trained in Holy Scripture - not comfortable sharing our faith with others - not people of influence.  How may we do as He asks - as limited as we are?  In faith we go into the world - to walk a path of faith.

The reality of the matter - all of us have been called - through our baptism - we have been given everything we need.  We believe - therefore we can share what we know with all that we meet.  We are not called to debate - only to share our faith - our belief.  It is up to those who hear - to sort out our message - to digest it in their minds - hearts - to let the words we share grow within them.  Like farmers - we are called to spread seeds - to let God do the watering.  We share what we know freely in Advent because so many people are searching in these days for words of hope - inspiration.  Whatever path we take - Jesus will always be with us.

Come Journey With Us

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Happy New Year

Happy New Year? Now?  Yes! - The First Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of a new Church Liturgical Year - in this four week period we are given a fresh chance to prepare ourselves for what lies ahead.  Short vision - preparing for Christmas - the Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Long vision - preparing for that time - somewhere in the future - when we will meet Our Lord Face to Face - the end of our life - the end of the world. Advent is not a penitential season - rather a time of reflection to see who we are - what we have done - where we are headed - what we need to do - to be ready for Christ's Second Coming.

There are so many times in our lives that we are given a second chance to get things right - a re-do of sorts.  Time to revisit events and situations that we have already experienced when we did not do as well as originally hoped.  In Advent we have the gift of four weeks to focus on our spiritual life - what was done well - what needs improvement - how to accomplish that goal.  At the end of these four weeks we will not just be ready to celebrate Our Lord's birth - but also better prepared for our own end days.  Advent a season looking to the future - what is coming.

Come Lord Jesus
Deacon Dale 


Friday, November 20, 2020

Waiting For A Miracle

Everyone is waiting for some sort of a miracle.  For the majority - an end to the pandemic - for others - personal needs - new jobs - financial relief - physical and spiritual healings.  Like most people - I am not the best model of quiet waiting.  Since this pandemic started I have been preoccupied with so many things - primarily - avoiding people - keeping my risk to a minimum. Obviously I am not alone.  Avoiding family - close friends - neighbors - wearing a mask when necessary - hiding from life.  These past months have created tension - stress - concern not only for my own well being - also for my spouse - children.  On top of all this - I recently had knee surgery which has placed me in a higher risk category.  Adding surgical pain - physical therapy which challenges my body - lack of sleep - I am ready for a miracle.

Deacon Class Ordained October 1988 - The Other Twelve

This past October we celebrated our 32nd year of ordination.  In those 32 years we - the Other Twelve - served our parishes - the parishioners - through the grace of our ordination as Permanent Deacons - ordinary men called to do the extra ordinary.  We have performed weddings - funerals - preached hundreds - maybe thousands of homilies - easily baptized thousands of babies and some adults. In the last ten years I have been privileged to lead some 20+ pilgrimages - domestic and international.  I have been blessed to preach at Shepherd's Field Chapel in Bethlehem in the Holy Land - la Familia Sagrada in Barcelona - Saint Francis Basilica in Assisi, Italy and many others.  These memories - experiences - the people who joined me on pilgrimage - all inspire me to continue on - to look forward to that day - when by the grace of God we will emerge from this pandemic.  Until then we wait - trusting in God - for a miracle.

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, September 5, 2020

America The Beautiful

The beginning of September - Labor Day weekend upon us - the corn starting to turn brown - signaling that harvest will soon be upon us.  And in this year of 2020 - the pandemic still very present in our lives.  Face masks - restrictions on gathering in groups - cancelled vacations - students returning to school - the threat of the Corona virus still with us - numbers of those infected still growing - people confused with fake - false news - where do we turn for help?  The President - governors - local authorities - just as clueless as the rest of us.  It is unbelievable in the midst of a pandemic - which has affected the entire world -  conspiracy theories fly around us like a swarm of murder hornets - that it is all political.  It does not matter which party one belongs to - lies flying out of their mouths like bees as seen in so many horror movies.  Concern for others - down the toilet like so much other political waste - where does it end?  The end begins with us - you and me - responsible people who act - not react - act with common sense - study the information published by reliable sources - understand what we read - what the numbers really mean - not what others tell us they mean.  A recent report stated that only 6 percent of those who died recently - only died from the Corona virus. So that means that 94 percent who died in that same time period did not die from the virus - false!  The majority of people who die always die from multiple causes - drunk driving - car accident - was only one factor the cause - no - two causes.  I have seen plenty of people who were drunk or in car accidents who did not die from either - same with diseases that affect multiple parts of the body - a virus that affects the structure of the lungs - lungs that fail to properly absorb oxygen - it is called cause and effect.  Was it lung disease - virus infection - both?  Many people have multiple medical issues who contract the virus and do not die - so what gives?  Different people - different levels of health - no two exactly the same.  The answer - all take precautions to guard yourself - others.

When God created the world - all was good - then evil entered and sickness followed.  As People of God - we have been blessed with all that we need to live productive - helpful lives.  In times of trouble - we are called to be messengers of hope - healing.  The healing begins inside us - spreads to others - as we share faith that we will survive - as will many others.  With common sense - taking reasonable precautions - caring for each other - this pandemic will eventually end.  It takes time - faith in each other - faith in God.  A prayer here and there wouldn't hurt either. 

Deacon Dale 



Tuesday, August 11, 2020

In His Time

When we consider God and what He has in store for each of us - we must remember - In His Time.  This has been a very rough year for everyone,  Even the elite - cannot be guaranteed that they will not be touched by the pandemic that we are experiencing.  It has been two months since my last post.  In that time away from blogging - I have been occupied with - little things.  Mowing the lawn - doing minor repairs - completing small projects that had been set aside for a better time - filling the empty hours - with stuff.  Free time can be a gift - or an enemy - depending on how one uses it.  On the plus side we were able to freshen up our outdoor deck - making it comfortable for ourselves and visitors - the people we normally socialize with and entertain.  That will not happen this year.  So many events cancelled - family reunions - the annual chili cook off - family gatherings - bocce games - all on hold for some future date.  In the midst of all this - time to sit on the deck - to reflect - pray - talk to God.  


Luckily for us - we have been blessed by God with a peaceful view from our deck.  Nice landscaping - a field of corn standing tall reaching upwards to heaven.  Each tassel gently waving in the wind - as if God's angels were saying hello - our flag waving in that breeze - reminding us of the promises to each of us that on this planet we have the right to live and worship as we choose with promises of equality for all - a promise still not quite a reality - one day soon we pray.  We realize that there are those who may not enjoy those promises yet - but through prayer and actively helping those that we can - it will become a truth - not just a dream.  With God - all things are possible - in His Time

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Flesh and Blood

Today around the world - Churches everywhere are celebrating the Feast of Corpus Christi - The Body and Blood of Christ.  In the early Church - even in the time of Jesus Himself - many followers walked away - from Him - His message - His teachings - when He said that He - Jesus of Nazareth - was the Bread come down from Heaven - referencing the Manna - Jews had eaten - lived upon in the desert.  Those followers - not comprehending - understand this statement - elected to distance themselves from Him.  Unfortunately too many people today - including Catholics - do not understand the concept of - the Real Presence in the Eucharist.  This is a confusing concept that many struggle with - the fact that during the words of consecration - the communion bread and wine - become transformed into Christ's Body and Blood - while remaining to look like ordinary communion wafers and everyday wine.  To believe - takes a step of faith - faith in Jesus' own words spoken at the Last Supper with His disciples.  After offering the bread and wine to His Heavenly Father - He said "take and eat - this IS my body and in similar words this IS my blood"  - as people of faith - we believe.



God sent His Son - Jesus - that we might have life and live it to the fullest.  That means enjoying all the benefits that this life gives us - along with the evil that surrounds us.  He never said it would be perfect - with His help - better than many would expect.  To complete the gifts He gives - the gift of Himself in Holy Communion - Eucharist - at every Mass we participate in whether in person - or now online - live streamed.  Jesus is Lord - now and forever.  Amen

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, May 24, 2020

A Rising Son

Sunday - The Ascension of the Lord - leaving His disciples - going to Heaven - to take His seat at the right hand of his Father.  Like we mere mortals - after spending some time in apprenticeship - we move from student to crafts person - educated in the ways of whatever craft we have selected.  Spending some thirty - three years living among His people - God experiencing humanity through the life of Jesus - better prepared to understand how people - think - feel - tick.  Although God has all knowledge - His gift of Free Will - a variable He could not know - until He became man himself - experienced it for Himself in daily life.  In that time - He listened - reasoned - debated - with the very people He gave life to.  Completing His apprenticeship - His time on Earth completed - time to return to His Father. 

Deacon Don - Father Dan - Deacon Jerry - Deacon Dale at Deacon Jerry's Ordination

So it is and will be with us.  Our lives are short - compared to time itself - each one of us is here - on Earth - living lives as full as we chose to fill them.  Some end their lives - relatively empty - having acquired little while they were alive.  Others - like my good friend - Deacon Jerome Heitschmidt - who died May 15th - left this life completely filled.  Filled with the  experiences he shared with his family - his wife - his friends.  Deacon Jerry was a leader - filled his personal life and the lives of all who knew him with prayer - joy - celebration of all that God gives each of us.  Because of Deacon Jerry - many programs were started - given new life - because of the energy he brought into those programs.  The lives he touched - all better now because he took the time - interest - in others.  Deacon Jerry - now ascended to his heavenly reward - definitely used his gift of Free Will to accept Jesus as his savior - freely choosing ordination to become a deacon - freely electing to serve God's people in Illinois - California - Internationally.   To Deacon Jerry I owe many thank yous for encouraging me to travel to Israel with him which led to a pilgrimage ministry which has flourished over ten years.  It was on pilgrimage to the Holy Land - when we walked in the steps of Jesus - along with our wives and during our private pilgrimage to Poland where we discovered churches in Poland not normally visited when on pilgrimage.  His constant smile - a gift to all - will remain with each of us.  Like Jesus - our brother Deacon Jerry now - rising to heaven to take his place at the altar of the Lord.  Rest in Peace - Good and Faithful Servant - until we meet again.

Deacon Dale 


Sunday, May 10, 2020

The Way

In the earliest days of Christianity - before the official Church was established - those who followed Jesus - the earliest disciples - did not identify themselves as Christians.  They were Jews - Jews when Jesus called them by name to follow Him - Jews in their observance of Jewish laws - customs - Jews after the crucifixion.  It was not until later - after Jesus' death - that they were challenged by authorities to define just who they were - Jews or some new cult.  As Christ followers they were still Jews and as such bound by Jewish laws.  In an effort to honor Jesus' words at the Last Supper - they had to find another time - place - where they could - "do this in memory of me".  At first they attended Shabbat - the recognized Jewish time and place of worship of God on Saturday.  Adding the commemoration of the Last Supper - moved onto Sunday - to avoid conflict with existing Jewish law.  For a time - they attended both services - eventually leaving Shabbat - attending only the developing service worshiping God trough Jesus' teachings.  This new worship - still not labeled as Christianity - became known as the - Way.  Initially because of extreme persecution - a new cult - not an established religion - an underground movement.  Those seeking to learn - attend services - under whispered breath - asked how - where - was The Way.


In today's Holy Scripture - Jesus once again - tells His disciples that He is The Way.  Simple enough - hard enough to comprehend - understand fully - just what that meant - still means to us today.  Jesus told His disciples - no one could come to the Father without first coming to Him - The Christ.  Plain and simple - no alternatives.  Many seek Him - not all find Him.  Distracted by worldly concerns - money - material possessions.  For those who seek earnestly - He is there waiting - silently - for them - you - to accept Him as the Lord of your life.  Today would be a good day to do that - say yes to Jesus - make mom proud.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Back To The Future?

So many people - during the Coronavirus pandemic - praying to go back - to the way it was - unhappy with the world right now.  For myself - praying that we do not go back - restart a world that was broken - not working - unfair practices - too much negativity - too many rich - too many poor - too many hungry - struggling to exist.  With so much money in so few hands - wealth most cannot imagine - standing next to personal warehouses filled with all sorts of toys - collections - millions of dollars of things - benefiting no one.  Empty buildings that could house the homeless - people starving while food products go to waste - sitting on shipping docks - rotting.  Human beings deprived of water - not just clean water - no water at all - villages with no electricity - while millions of homes run enough electricity through their meters that could power a village.  I pray that we don't go back to a normal that was broken - did not work.  There must be a better future - for all - as we rebuild our world.
While they were walking on their way to Emmaus - two disciples talking about the Resurrection Event - encounter Jesus - not recognizing Him at first.  As they walked together - their eyes opened - finally - understood everything Jesus had told them.  Jesus disappeared - they turned - back to where they had been.  Sharing the joy - news - new knowledge gained from that short time with Jesus.  From that meeting - a new normal - not going back - rather forward - knowledge gained - guiding future events - benefiting all.  It is true - once you encounter Jesus - you cannot continue to walk the same path - your journey changed - now heading in a new direction.  With faith we walk with Jesus - God at our side - as we move now to a new - better - normal.

Deacon Dale 


Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Immersion Therapy

When we think of immersion therapy - a psychological technique which allows a patient to overcome fears - phobias - can also be used for anxiety and panic disorders.  Very often when we realize that we have a fear of something - better to immerse ourselves in study - learning all we can about what we  fear.  Once we know our enemy better - the easier it is to fight that enemy.  It is said that knowledge is power - proven to be true over and over again.  More information places additional tools in our storehouse - to help us battle what we fear. 


When we learn that even with a full tool box - many issues - impossible to battle on our own.  That is when we call on God - His Son - Jesus - to help us.  Our first - most important tool - connecting with God.  Once connected we see the various tools at our disposal - relaxed breathing - calming - prayer - meditation - contemplation - compassion - service.  As we learn about these tools - as we immerse ourselves in the knowledge - given by God - study the teachings of Jesus - we become better prepared to cope with life - all that life throws at us.  Immersed in the knowledge - God always with us - we stand armed to fight any battle we may face.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, April 19, 2020

My Lord And My God

It wasn't until doubting Thomas saw Jesus after His Resurrection - placed his fingers in His wounds - exclaimed - My Lord and My God.  According to Scripture this happened a week after His resurrection - after the other disciples had already seen the Risen Lord.  If we count time in a similar vein - this Sunday - the Second Sunday of Easter - the same time - 2000 years later - one week after Easter Sunday.  Very often we do not make the same connection to God - the timeline with Jesus - until we stop and consider what the scriptures are telling us.  It is no wonder then that Saint John Paul II - designated this Sunday - Divine Mercy Sunday.


For many this is a history lesson - to be digested - studied - debated over.  For those of Faith - a very significant day - another day when Jesus revealed Himself to His disciples - today to modern day Christians - a reminder of God's Mercy - Love - Hope.  This Sunday - Divine Mercy Sunday - we praise God that He is truly merciful - a day when our hearts - minds - souls - touch the Divine

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Living in Boldness

In today's reading from Acts 4:13-21 we notice that Peter and John were observed by the Jewish leaders as - living in boldness.  At first sight they assumed that Peter and John were uneducated people - surprised when they heard them talking about the resurrection - the story of Jesus - His life - death - rising from the dead - people being healed in His name.  It is not surprising when we observe those who are famous - athletes - political figures - movie stars - boldness their middle name.  Even when they are clueless about certain issues - freely open their mouths - speak with authority of which they have no knowledge.  


In our case - modern day disciples - those who have made a commitment to serve The Lord - a definite need to be well informed - to speak boldly - to freely share the Gospel with all we meet.  On occasion - peer pressure - judgement by some - we might hold back - shrink from our duty - to do as we have been commanded.  Gathering strength - reminded of our personal commitment - called to ignore those who judge us - to go boldly where none have gone before - reassured  that Jesus - always with us - we go forth - living in boldness - just as Peter and John did,

Deacon Dale 

Friday, April 17, 2020

Building Blocks

Psalm 118:22 - The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone - Jesus - the Christ - The Risen One - rejected by the priests - Sadducees -  would not accept the fact that Jesus had risen from the dead.  The disciples - filled with the Holy Spirit - could not keep quiet about the resurrection - as word grew - these few disciples - sharing their message with hundreds - thousands - grew the Church.  As all buildings have a cornerstone - that first brick - rock - creates the starting point that additional bricks follow.  As in all construction - be it a building - any project - there is always a starting point.  The Church was no different - Jesus - that starting point that led the way for the Christian faith.  


For those of us who call ourselves Christians - as our lives were formed - developed - at some point our spiritual formation was begun.  Most as young children formed by the faith - efforts - of our parents.  As we grew - the point in time finally arrived when we continued the process started for us - growing into mature adult Christians.  Each step of the way - building blocks added - to the point where we are today.  The first stone - laid by parents - the next stones - blocks put in place by relatives - family - friends.  Finally - blocks added by the Church - its ministers - a community which helped form us into  the faithful people that we are today.  An old African saying - it takes a village to raise a child - same for our development as a person of faith - it takes a faith community to raise us to maturity in our beliefs.  As we look back on our development - we see that first stone - laid for us - thousands of years ago - by Jesus.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Storehouses

In today's first reading we heard about the crippled man who was healed by God in response to prayers offered by Peter.  In that scripture we can see ourselves - our current situation - as we wait - in prayer - looking for answers - response from God.  We pray for those on the front line - those most at risk - those closest to anyone hospitalized.  As people of faith - we know that the majority will live through this pandemic.  As people recover - as fewer experience symptoms - as the number declines - life will return back to the way it was - hopefully better prepared for the next crisis.  As we move forwards - our prayer is that those in control will make better efforts to be better prepared so that this crisis does not ever repeat itself.  There is no way anyone can reasonably predict the next crisis - what that crisis may be - building up storehouses of critical supplies for different scenarios - definitely possible.


Walking with Jesus at our side as we journey through life - we pray - contemplate our personal future.  As committed Christians it is important that each of us build our own storehouses - filled with our own prayers - acts of kindness - charitable deeds - concern for others.  God has given us the space - tools needed.  Our hearts -minds - contain so much space for us to fill - never reaching capacity - God always giving us exactly what we need - when we need it.  Today - as this world begins to heal itself - we seek wholeness in our own lives - discarding anything in our life that is not of the Lord - creating space for our personal storehouse.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Warriors and Heroes

When we think of warriors and heroes who come into our minds - Saint George - King Richard I - Batman - Robin - Superman - Wonder Woman - Spider Man - Captain America?  A few years ago high school students were asked to list their super heroes - people they most wanted to grow up to be.  A small percent listed Michael Jordan of basketball fame - the majority - their parents - mothers - fathers - ordinary people - doing ordinary things.  They were teachers - lawyers - doctors - pharmacists - accountants - writers - motivational speakers - truck drivers - construction workers - police officers - fire fighters - stay at home moms and dads - employed by giant corporations - self employed - sole proprietors.  Most doing what is perceived as very ordinary jobs - not out of the ordinary.  Today - battling this unseen enemy - the Coronavirus - so small that only Ant Man might be able to see face to face - all are warriors fighting united in this battle that is threatening to claim too many lives.  Those who fight - warriors - those who follow official recommendations - sheltering in place - staying home - today's heroes.  One does not have to be on the front line in this battle - those staying at home - making it easier for our front line warriors to do their jobs - heroes.


Fighting the Coronavirus - a battle that will be short lived - in time - an all clear message will be sent - people allowed to leave home - return to work.  The one constant battle - ongoing since the beginning of time - battle of good against evil.  Those who fight against this enemy - both warrior - hero.  The struggle very real - not recognized by many - ignored by some - always on the minds of the Faithful.  As Christians our battle is not against municipalities - governments - the true battle is against - The King of Liars - the One who deceives - disrupts - causes division - creates - chaos.   Chaos - is not of the Lord -  (1 Corinthians 14:33) - He The Lord of Lords - The Prince of Peace - is the One who journeys with all of us - as we fight all the battles of life.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Moving On

The phrase - rolling stones - gather no moss - very applicable right now - spiritually - morally.  We have just experienced a very unusual Lent - Triduum - Easter - sheltering in place - staying at home - in isolation.  For the lucky ones - with spouse - family - those alone - definitely more isolated.  We have come to realize that in this period of pandemic - we need each other.  When we first discovered God - Jesus - wandered on our own - joined a group - parish - community - we began to grow - with the help from others.  We learned that our faith journey was never in total isolation - God placing the right people along the path - to guide - inspire us.  With the help of others - God revealed His Truth - Love - to us.



Once you meet Jesus - you can not continue to walk the same path - your eyes set on new directions - avenues - to walk as you continue your growth as a disciple. The same with this pandemic - so much revealed - inadequate health facilities - unfair employment practices - unjust benefits provided by employers - government - lack of housing for those unable to provide for themselves.  Jesus told us 2000 years ago - the poor will always be with us - does not explain why - after 2000 years - nations still have not found a way to address - poverty - adequate housing - feeding - clothing those poor.  I recently read that in one part of the world - the people take mud - formed into patties - baked on the ground in the sun - eaten to fill the stomachs of those without food. As Christians - as people of God - now is the time to make changes.  Returning to what was the norm - no longer an option - now the time to make drastic changes - to correct these social ills.  As we work to do this - we will also grow in our relationship with Jesus - doing as He asked - feed His sheep - love His sheep - care for His people.  The time to act is now - not later - rolling stones - we the rocks of faith - gathering no moss - as we move forward - into His future. 

Deacon Dale 

Monday, April 13, 2020

Rolling Stones

From Scripture we read that on the first day of the week when the disciples went to visit the tomb where Jesus had been laid - found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance to the tomb - peering inside noticed that there was no body - nothing - inside.  The discussion about this event - how heavy was that stone - who could have moved it  - was it possible for a single person to move - multiple people involved - miracle?  


The majority of us know nothing about rolling stones - except for the famous English rock group founded in 1962.   For the majority  of believers - that issue no concern - rather a faith statement - that God moved that rock - released Jesus - to transition into the next stage of His ministry.  Resurrection - spreading His word to all - now a task of His disciples.  Bringing the Word of God - unbelievable story of death - resurrection - the story that got their foot in the door.  Today that task still ours - many still do not  know - many do not believe the resurrection event.  Now as His modern day disciples - our duty - continue His work - spread His message of love - forgiveness - acceptance - tolerance - healing - to all.  Nothing more - nothing less.  We leave rolling stones to God.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, April 12, 2020

He Is Risen!

Alleluia - Alleluia - Jesus Christ is risen today!  Nothing could keep Him down - The Lord of Lords - the King of Kings - around the world - social distancing in place - stores closed - churches closed - stay at home instructions in place - we may be down - but just as Jesus rose from the dead - we too will rise from these restrictions.


Today's celebration of Resurrection - the promise of New Life - Life after death - continues.  This Easter - your special opportunity to focus on your immediate family - those with whom you live.  Today we focus on them - Jesus - the gift each one of them is to us.  Together - with united voices - across the miles - across the internet - we exclaim - Jesus Christ is Risen!

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday - the third day of the Triduum - this day spent in prayer - mourning the death of Jesus - lying in a tomb - His disciples left confused - trying to understand the events of the past three days.  Today - we who commemorate these events - know how it all turned out.  Now in modern times - we also wait - not for  the resurrection - the end of the current pandemic.  Had the internet existed at the time of Jesus - the entire world would have been in mourning - as it was - a handful of those closest to Him.  Instead we took our Easter baskets - to be blessed for our Easter Sunday celebrations - done at home by ourselves - for some - online.  This evening - the Easter Vigil - online - very few allowed to actually be in Church.  The Vigil goes on - people or not - just as Easter will come - people in church or not.  In faith - this is the final night of waiting.


The third day - many confuse Easter Sunday as the third day.  Jesus said - destroy this temple and on the third day it will rise.  In the time of Jesus - days counted from sunset to sunset.  Thursday - The Last Supper - Day 1 - Friday - The Crucifixion - Day 2 - Saturday - Day 3 - The Resurrection - The Triduum.  Easter Sunday - Day 4 - the people learn of the Resurrection.  Tonight - final preparation for Sunday's celebration.

Deacon Dale  



Friday, April 10, 2020

Good Friday

What is so good about Good Friday?  In ancient times when our vocabulary was very different - people used the word good to mean someone - something - that was holy.  The two words were interchangeable back then.  As time passed - cultures evolved - language changed - that connection has been lost - except in this particular case.  This Friday - definitely a holy day - time stands still - churches empty - the faithful - isolated in their homes - deprived of religious observances.  This is a memory that will not fade - just as the memory of the crucifixion of Jesus does not fade. 
Today in our own way - we remember that eventful day when Christ was crucified - not for His sins - rather for ours.  Our sins are the metal that held Him to the wood of the cross.  Our sins - the reason He came in the first place.  Our sins - that keep Him nailed there - even today.  Today is the one day - we reflect on what we have done - what we have failed to do - what God did for us.  His Gift to us - forgiveness - reconciliation - resurrection.  Our gift to Him.........?

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Holy Thursday

Holy Thursday - the first day of the Triduum - the three holiest days of the Christian year.  No morning Masses today - the only Mass tonight.  We normally wash feet at this Mass - not tonight - all Masses online only - minimal people involved - we do listen to God's word - we commemorate the institution of the Priesthood and Eucharist - things definitely worth celebrating.  Normally - the Blessed Sacrament removed to a place of Adoration - while the altar and tabernacle stripped bare. The Mass - ending in silence - awaiting the events of tomorrow - Good Friday.  Not a lot to say - Jesus has said it all.


Our focus - our relationship to Jesus - God - what we are called to do - what we have done - failed to do.  Have we washed feet - carried a burden for another - offered a drink to the thirsty - given money to the poor.  Have we made an intentional donation to a food pantry - care center - resource center for those in need.  In these days of isolation - sheltering at home - have we called - parents - siblings - friends - anyone - have we accepted - with Grace - our difficulties - thought about those who cannot care for themselves.  These are the three Holy Days - it is up to each of us - to make them - Holy.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

It Is Finished - Maybe

Today brings us to the official end of Lent - Thursday marks the beginning of the Triduum - the three holiest days of the Christian liturgical year - Holy Thursday - Good Friday - Holy Saturday. Following those three very special days we begin the Easter Season - marked by the celebration of Easter Sunday. The Season of Easter is the period of 50 days - spanning from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday.  One might wonder - why so long - first 40 days then 3 more days just to get to Easter - why another 50 days?
I could ask - how many days did it take for you to be born - the majority - nine months - 280 days - 40 weeks - of gestation - growing in our mother's womb - just to enter the world - helpless - none of us ready to walk - talk - eat - on our own.  As with most things in life a period of gestation - time spent developing - evolving - preparing - for life.  Many people wrongly think Easter is a day - similar to Christmas only a day.  In reality both Christmas - Easter are seasons - two very special days which deserve our extended attention.  Easter - the one major feast - celebrating life - death - resurrection - new life in Christ - deserves many days to celebrate this miracle of resurrection.  Today Lent ends - tomorrow the next season on our journey to the Easter miracle.

Deacon Dale 




Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Down Not Out

Right now the entire world is fighting a battle with an enemy that cannot be seen.  When most people are called to fight - arm themselves - prepare for battle - they know what their enemy looks like - where they live - their strong points - weaknesses.  This battle - not like any normal battle. As big - as strong as we may be - nothing to compare when fighting microscopic enemies.  Our strength - our knowledge - our intellect - our faith.
Throughout history - many battles fought - won - lost - by people all over the world.  Some large - some very small.  In all battles - always a winner.  This current battle with Corona Virus - not our first - not our last.  We may be down - feeling subdued - not out.   We have not lost - we will not lose.  In all battles - time determines the final winner.  A few days left in Lent - our 40 days in the desert drawing to a close.  When Jesus was ready to leave the desert - His battle with the Evil One - never gave up - walked away - to fight another day.  Like Jesus - we too will walk away from this battle - like Jesus - victorious - as long as we remember - with Jesus at our side - we may be down - not out.  

Monday, April 6, 2020

Gone MIssing

The one thing I hear the most from Catholics during this pandemic - shelter at home - how much they miss Holy Mass. In particular - receiving Holy Eucharist. It has been estimated that perhaps only one-third of Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. In simple terms - that the Bread and Wine have in reality been turned into the Body and Blood of Jesus. Very few believe in transubstantiation - the changing of Bread and Wine into the Body and Blood. The majority treat communion as a - symbol - something representing Jesus. Unfortunately more Catholics believe in purgatory - than the Real Presence. Some think this has happened because almost all Catholics have Protestant friends whose belief in Communion is different from that as Catholics - communion - a symbol of Jesus. Thomas Aquinas is one of the first to use the term transubstantiation - when the "substance" of the Bread and Wine is changed into the "substance" of Jesus' Body and Blood. . This is called faith - when visible proof not available. It is interesting that believing in the Real Presence or not - does not make a difference in the fact that it is missed.  So for a few weeks we have been denied receiving communion - imagine when - according to Father Frank O'Dea SSS - Congregation of The Blessed Sacrament - a period from the fourth century on - Christians were reluctant to receive the Body and Blood of Christ. A new kind of vocabulary of awe and fear was attached to the sacred mysteries. This situation was not reversed in any significant way until the early twentieth century with the letter of Pius X urging frequent communion. By the thirteenth century the reception of communion had become so rare that the Church made a law that everyone must receive communion at least once a year. That such a law should be necessary indicates how poorly the Eucharist was understood at that time. Thankfully - through better catechesis - our understanding has improved such that a majority of Catholics now receive Communion almost weekly - some daily.  


Not being able to receive Communion - a special sacrifice for the faithful - pales in comparison to the sacrifice Jesus made on the Cross. In our diocese - typically on this Monday - the bishop would bless the oils used during the liturgical year - Mass not happening as normal.  Social distancing - disrupting all liturgical celebrations during Holy Week.  As mentioned - our sacrifice small in comparison to what the entire world is experiencing.  The Blessing - Eucharist is still celebrated daily - our participation will return in time.  When that day does come - when we are able to once again attend Holy Mass - when we can once again be offered Holy Eucharist - we will be able to respond with our hearty - Amen!

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, April 5, 2020

And So It Begins

Today - Palm Sunday - Passion Sunday - marks the beginning of the holiest week of the liturgical year.  Holy Week - all the significant celebrations that brings Lent to a close - leads us to the three holiest days of the year - the Triduum - finally Easter - the Season of Easter that follows.  This week when the bishop blesses the oils used thought out the year - renews his commitment along with his priests - to serve the Church with their entire being - promising to pastor the flocks they lead - when deacons and religious and the laity promise their obedience - heart felt service to the community of believers - the celebration of the institutions of Holy Mass - Holy Eucharist - the Priesthood - the washing of feet - New Life in Christ.  This is the week  that will be - when the Elect professes their belief in the Holy Roman Catholic Church - receive Baptism - Confirmation - Holy Communion.  This is the week when all this should happen - this year - 2020 - the year of the pandemic - putting almost all of this on hold - liturgical celebrations limited to a few who will live stream - to be viewed by the masses - denied the blessing of attending in person.



For probably all of us - the first time - Holy Week - without us in attendance.  To most - an extreme sacrifice - nothing to compare with the sacrifice Jesus made on the Cross - for all of us.  He came for all - many received Him - but not all.  He came to offer us life - life filled with His Grace - not all accepted His Gift. He carried our sins onto the Cross - He endured a fate that none should experience.  This Easter as we feel denied of the graces of Holy Week  - may we be united with Him - Our Lord and Savior - in this once in a lifetime - Easter Sacrifice.  He has endured - we will also endure.  In God - in Jesus - we trust.  It is all in His hands.  Jesus We Trust In You.

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Who's God?

It is not unusual for people to argue who God belongs to - as if He is some sort of possession.  Is He a Catholic God - Protestant God - Jewish God - who can claim Him as their god?  In truth He is everyone's God.  This is made very clear in Ezekiel when He says "I will be their God, and they shall be my people".  When He said that - the Christian Church had not even been started.  That was spoken to our ancestors - the people of God who would much later come to recognize Jesus as the Son of God - the Lord of Lords.


As a Christian it is so important that you do not worry about claims by some people that they have exclusive rights to God.  We know - without a doubt - He is our God - Jesus Our Savior.  As we look forward to Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem with Sunday's celebration of Palm Sunday - we rejoice that we are privileged to stand on the wayside - to wave palms - with all the others - who claim Jesus as their Lord.   He is my God - I belong to Him - who do you belong to?  Jesus We Trust In You..........

Deacon Dale  

Friday, April 3, 2020

Tending The Garden

Almost everyone who has a home has some sort of garden to manage.  It might be shrubs - flowers - winding their way around the house - perhaps decorative trees to provide shade.  Those with enough property - often have a separate garden set to the side in which they grow whatever their hearts desire.  Flowers - herbs - vegetables - pretty plants to admire - food to eat.  Whichever garden is planted - needs attention if it will become the garden of one's dream.  Tilling - weeding - fertilizing - irrigating - combined together - insures a fruitful yield.


During Lent we are asked to look at the garden of our lives - what grows in our minds - hearts - what needs attention - what is doing well.  Spending time in prayer - contemplating those things that need work - seeking answers to self improvement.  For those of faith - an easier job than for those with no faith.  With faith - Jesus stands at one's side - guiding - urging - helping to first recognize - then fix what may be needing improvement.  His love is the ground that your faith is planted in - His Holy Spirit - the water that rains down from heaven to nurture the seeds of faith - planted in His love.  As this time of Lent comes to an end - the time to harvest - those seeds planted - now a full grown crop - very near.  A few days more - harvest time.  Now is the time to finish this task - prepare to meet Jesus - face to face at Easter

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Rock Of Ages

When we were little kids there would be occasions when an argument would break out between each other.  As in any argument - disagreement - the first tools of battle - words - words carelessly thrown about like balls - sticks - stones.  When words were not enough - actual sticks - stones - whatever was nearby.  Many of us remember the mantra - sticks and stones may break my bones - words will never hurt me - a taunt that physical objects could inflict pain - but words were just words - not fatal in a fight.  So it is as adults that fights start with - words - arguing one point against another - a debate - in most cases a verbal conflict - frequently settled through negotiation - discussion - peaceful resolution.  In those rare moments when peaceful resolution not attained - the argument escalates.  Once escalated - the conflict may become physical - hand to hand combat - worse case scenario - actual battle - war.  Never a winner in war - losses rarely justify the win - peaceful resolution preferred. 


Jesus was frequently the object of anger - those in power - afraid that He would take their power - control - away from them.  In today's Gospel Jesus - once again - in a dispute with some leaders - losing a debate about Abraham - in frustration picking up stones to throw at Him.  Makes one think - for over two thousand years we have not progressed  beyond throwing stones at each other. In this period of Lent we need to reflect - contemplate - those things that caused us to become angry - throw rocks at others.  If recent - now a good time to reconcile - if an old conflict - never too late to say sorry - resolve old conflicts - use those stones to build - rebuild relationships - with family - friends - God.  

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

A New Normal

Really - this is the new normal?  I certainly hope not - there  is no way that what we are currently experiencing can be called normal.  Isolation - empty grocery shelves - paranoid people all over the place - those who are preparing - those ignoring - no way is this normal.  This is chaos - disruption to what life is suppose to be.  What we are experiencing is a battle - life against death - rational against irrational - brilliance against ignorance.  


This is not the life that God has planned for us - He is not the one who caused this problem.  People - who made mistakes - bad decisions - misinformation - the ones - creating - stirring the pot of confusion - fear.  Worry is not of the Lord.  In John 14:1 Jesus told us "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me."  In these days of fear - confusion - focus your eyes on Him who saves you - He will not leave you an orphan - He will not leave you alone.  In strength - as people of Hope remind yourself and those around you - Jesus I Trust In You - Amen 

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Protecting Our Homes

Everyone who owns or rents a home - apartment - always purchase insurance to protect their dwelling - possessions.  In addition to insurance many add home security systems - burglar alarms - cameras - so they can monitor their places.  On long trips - many notify neighbors - family - to help watch over their home while gone.  It is not being paranoid - rather prudent - part of being a good steward of what you possess.


In these days of the pandemic - the same goes for adding an additional level of protection - calling for the blessings of God to wrap your home in a bubble of protection.  In the Hebrew Scriptures in Exodus 12:23 the Israelites were told to put blood from the lamb over the top and sides of the door frame so that the Angel of Death would pass over their homes and keep everyone inside safe when he was seeking the lives of the Egyptians who were oppressing them. In a similar vein - as Jesus - the Lamb that was slain - we are suggesting that Christians place the image of the Divine Mercy on the outside of their front doors - in hopes that Jesus will protect those homes from this illness - to Seal the Doors.



We pray - Jesus I Trust in You - that by Your Precious Blood - You will protect all who live inside our dwellings.  If you need an image to post on your front door one is available from the Marian Fathers at https://www.thedivinemercy.org/DivineMercyImage  It is free and you can print on your home computer. 

Deacon Dale 

Monday, March 30, 2020

Who Do You Trust?

In today's Scriptures from Daniel and today's Gospel the focus is on rightful judgement.  Who are those judging - what are the claims - what is true - false - who stands to gain from the final decision.  One does not have to be an official judge - plaintiff - defendant - to be involved in situations that require inspection - discovery -  final decision.  Most of us will frequently be called upon to - pick a side - listen to the arguments - come to a decision.  Our days begin with the decision process - what time to get out of bed - what to wear - what to eat for breakfast - do we eat breakfast or skip it - where to go - what to do.  Luckily the majority of our decisions do not involve legal matters - rather personal choice - how to arrange our day.  On occasion - we might be called to add our voice in helping others to come to a decision.  Rarely do we become involved in legal matters - serving court duty. In all these matters - it comes down to who do you trust - can you make your own decisions - do you need help from others - better informed - wiser people.


In matters of faith - we only need to look at Jesus - to trust in His words - instructions - to live a good - proper life.  As our role model - Jesus showed us how to live - how to act.  In today's Gospel - He did not see the point of stoning the woman to death because of her sins - rather he offered His forgiveness - told her to go - sin no more.  He offers that same judgement to all of us - although sinners - we should not dwell on what we did wrong - rather learn from our mistakes -  move on with our lives - not repeating what was wrong.  As our time in Lent draws to a close - we need to trust that we have been learning how to be better people - to move from sin - into grace - with Jesus walking at our sides.  Constantly reminding ourselves - Jesus I trust in you.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, March 29, 2020

New Beginnings

How many times in your life have you wished that you could start over - go back to the beginning - make different choices - walk a different path.  If we were completely honest - most of us would say yes - begin anew - chose a different career - different life - take the high road - the path less traveled.  The majority - life experiences - not always as we hoped - careers that never developed the way we expected - lives that were a constant struggle - choices made - too many disappointments. At this point in the world - many world leaders - now regretting bad decisions - watching their citizens dying of an illness - earlier wrong decisions - ruining the lives of many.  Doom and Gloom - Hope on the horizon.


For the past three Sundays all the Scriptures have focused on the anticipation of Easter.  We have focused on water - light - new life - the baptism liturgy - celebrated with those anxiously looking forward to Baptism - Confirmation - Eucharist.  The culmination at the Easter Vigil - when the Elect - would become new creations in Christ - new members in the Christian Community of the faithful.  For them - us - a chance to return to Go - on the game board of life - finishing our Lenten experience - renewed - energized - filled with faith - that in the end - all will work out for the good.  In anticipation of our Easter celebration - we continue our walk - with Jesus - always at our side - towards a new beginning.

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Hide and Seek

I would guess that most people in my age group played the game of hide and seek when they were young.  Typically a group of children would gather together - select one to be - it - that person - close their eyes count to ten - the remaining kids - run and hide.  At the count of ten - the one person ran all over trying to find everyone in their hiding place.  Sometimes - very easy - other times - somewhat difficult.  Once everyone was found a new person selected to be - it - the game resumed - lasting for quite some time.  At times when seeking a place to hide - very difficult - those who lived on larger property - had numerous buildings - many more places to hide. 


In Lent there are always those who would rather hide from God - rather than seek Him out. Afraid of His opinion - fearing harsh judgement - rather run away from Him.  Lent is possibly one of the best times to run towards - not away from God.  In Lent so many - praying - fasting - doing charitable deeds - seeking His forgiveness - looking everywhere they can think of - to seek - find Him.  Truth be told - He is always there - at one's side - never any father away - than the distance of our mind to our heart.  One only needs to open one's eyes - ears - mouth - to look for the signs that He is near - to hear His comforting words - to speak your desire for Him.  Jesus is there - waiting - for you to make your move.  He is not running away - hiding from you - rather - He seeks you with arms open wide.

Deacon Dale 



Friday, March 27, 2020

Just Another Friday

Yep - just another Friday - except - trapped in the house - no place to go - locked down - self isolating.  Not the first Friday for this experience - won't be the last.  From the articles I just read - it appears that we are in this virus lock down for multiple months - not weeks.  I know that many people are already getting anxious about this - however - there is no option.  If we as a nation are to survive this pandemic - then as a nation - we must stick together - cooperate with our governors - mayors - follow their guidelines.  


With Jesus - this is all possible.  Sure some changes have to be made - very limited time outside the home - running critical errands - milk and bread only good for so many days.  For us as Catholics - we need to look at this as a long Lent retreat - days in solitude - time to be alone with Jesus - walking in the desert.  For those with other family members - - need to utilize different rooms - give each person their own space - time to be alone.  Front porch - a private space - back yard - your private retreat - multiple possibilities exist.  Time with family - time alone - all gifts to be appreciated - as we isolate.  In Lent we seek Faith - in Jesus we Trust.

Deacon Dale