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Scenes from my first Christmas

Yes, this is my First Christmas.....as a Deacon of course. Fr. Andrew reminded me and the entire congregation of that, along with the story ...

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I thought you were a sinner just like me?

This past week has been just incredible. I am so proud of what I am aspiring to be that I can't help but share the good news with everyone. My wife at times cringes to send me out to run errands, she warns me not to talk to anyone. There aren't any quick pops into almost anyplace. Two events stand out for me this past week.

First on Christmas eve Terry sent me to the IGA to pick up some items to make homemade bread (the same that she brought to our last formation weekend.) I was doing really well for the most part until I met one of my customers Steve. Steve talked to me about his paint projects, and commented about my resignation from the board. I mentioned to him that I am studying to be a deacon in the church and that the studies needed more attention and so I had to resign from the board. His comment was..."Mitch, I thought you were a sinner like me?" and I said..."I am! And this is something I really want to do!" Steve has always been a great customer and a friend, and shared his best wishes for me. Again, his support was very sincere, but I believe that there are some inner questions  that are lingering that will probably pop up some day.

On Sunday, I love going to church with Terry and my folks. We take them to church at Holy Family in Gorham. Following mass someone congratulated me for studying to be a deacon and offered to pray for me. I have said it before, and I'll say it again I am so blessed by the support I am receiving by all. After mass, we went out to eat. After the meal was done another parishioner asked me a question..."So when will we be seeing you in church?", remember I said in my profile sometimes I'm corny, I said "Every Sunday!" I knew what she meant, but I couldn't resist. She was very nice about it, and before you knew it we all spent about an extra 45 minutes talking together.

I never tire from discussing my journey. There is such a sense of pride and joy in me that I really need to share. I'm not really one that loves to talk about himself, but this is different because it really isn't about me. It's about the work of the Lord and the needs of his people. This part of me can't go away. I need to be available out there in the world, and share the Good News! This wonderful lady asked how long will it take to be a deacon, and then said "Please hurry, we really need you!" There is so much of a need out there, and God willing I may be his instrument.

Adieu,

Mitch

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

So someday you may be a man of the drop cloth?

Yes,  you read that right. I have told you all that I had resigned the school board and my peers on the board secretly arranged a few weeks ago a luncheon gathering to wish me well and recognize me for my service. The local press was there and I told him that my studies to be a deacon in the church has become a greater focus in my life. I have been approached by many who have congratulated me, offered to pray, and wished me the very best.

Today, had to be the most unusual response I have heard yet. I walked into Munce's Konvenience in Berlin where I always pick up a morning paper, Mike a regular there said, "So you're all done on the board, and I heard you are studying to be a minister!" I said "Yes it's true!" So the conversation continued about still working for Sherwin-Williams Paint Company, and I said yes I will still be working full time and that being a deacon will be done after work hours when I complete my studies.

Mike was like everyone I've talked to so far, curious, maybe incredulous, and I believe genuinely supportive. Carl, also a regular there at the store, piped in just about the end of the conversation with this remark..."So you're going to be a man of the drop cloth!" That was without a doubt the funniest comment I have ever heard. I loved it. It really got to me! I had to shake his hand and tell him that it will be in the blog that I am writing. So there you have it, Mitch Couture a man of the drop cloth.  Our Lord has such a great sense of humor, Jesus must love it too!

Adieu,

Mitch

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Celebrating the Family!

Today at Mass Fr. Mark Dollard our Pastor spoke extremely well as usual. We are so blessed here to have him leading our parishes Good Shepherd/Holy Family. He began with his typical style of relaxing everyone with a joke. Then, in a style I am getting used to is where he gets to the point in a very simple way. He doesn't preach for very long, he has  been quoted as saying "I need to sell my product within 7 minutes". This may not sound right to some, but I get it. You see, I am a salesman by career. I realize very well that information overload doesn't usually get the results. A direct and individual thought will provoke more interest and reflection.

As we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family, Fr. Mark tied in all the readings from Sirach, St. Paul, and the Gospel. Honoring our parents with a patient and kind love, ultimately brings us closer to our Father in Heaven. When we honor those who nurtured us, we grow closer in love to God.

Finally, again in a style of preaching I greatly admire father used two acronyms to bring about his message. First he shared the BIBLE,  basic information before I leave earth, something I had never heard. It rang a bell with what Deacon Greg taught us in class, that we can learn and grow in our relationship with God by reading and trying to understand the scriptures, but not all the answers in life will be found in the Bible.

The last acronym used was FAMILY, Forget About Me, I Love You! Wow, I got it. We need a true unselfish love that gives, and we must always remember that Our Lord Loves Us all!

Today, I wish for all the gift of Love! God Bless you all on this very Blessed Day!

PS: Please pray today for all our young families, the challenges, and the distractions can be overwhelming for some. I pray that they will put family and faith first in their lives!

Adieu

Mitch

Friday, December 24, 2010

Music from Christmas Past, Il est ne le Divin Enfant (The Divine Child is Born!)

Merry Christmas to all! I thought I would share this little piece of my heritage with you! God Bless you all on the Blessed Day. I pray with all my heart that Our Mother Mary and Joseph find many that have made room for Jesus to be born!


Adieu mes Amis, Joyeux Noel!

Mitch

Coos County: November job losses grim - Friday, Dec. 24, 2010

I would ask that everyone today also pray for the unemployed in our county, especially in the Berlin-Gorham area. We are strong, and resilient people, but the burden can become overwhelming, especially during the Christmas Season.

Adieu Mitch

Coos County: November job losses grim - Friday, Dec. 24, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Touched by an Angel!

Before I get started I know I'm dating myself, but I really enjoyed the television series Touched by an Angel. It was a great show that dealt with the ever day life of ordinary people and how God helped people along in their daily lives. Most of the episodes were quite dramatic changes, but sometimes the touches were gentle and subtle signs that God's presence was always there.

Today I received one of those gentle touches. A physical education and a very Christian teacher in the public school system in Berlin sent me card. He wrote a beautiful note I'd Love to share..."Dear Mitch, Congratulations on the direction your life is taking. I'm sure God will bless you as you do his work. Also, thank you for your many years of Service as a School Board member in a time when the economy makes a job like that so much more difficult. You did what you had to do with the interest of the Kids a top priority. Best wishes for the the future and thanks again." Steve Enman.

Needless to say I was very moved by this note. Terry said to me today, " another blog right?" and I said " definitely". The touching part of all of this is that it is so wonderful to know that there are people that get it. What is incredible is the timing of the note that coincides with what I wrote about in "Whisper in the Wind." Another timely word of encouragement directed by our Lord.

It has been an amazing vacation week where the Lord has been reaching out to me in so many ways, and it's only Wednesday. What else will happen this week? Only God knows for sure. Emanuel, God is with us, is manifested daily we just need to be aware that the touches maybe just gentle smiles, a thank you, and a Merry Christmas greeting.

Adieu mes Amis!

Mitch

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

And you my child shall be called the prophet of the Most High!

This was the title of my last paper for the Old Testament class. I researched the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah. I initially tried to overload the paper with facts and information on these two prophets and then during Mass early Sunday morning it hit me. Too much! What was the point? What did I really learn?

I started over, not totally from scratch because the information was extremely useful. I first changed the title from really listening to my morning prayers. I got it! Who is the child to be the prophet of the Most High? We are! By our Baptism we becom Priest, Prophet, and King. I am not diminishing the other two, because my paper relates to being a prophet.

A few things stood out for me. First we have a willing and eager choice Isaiah..."Here I am; I said; send me" Isaiah 6:8, and then Jeremiah...."Ah Lord God!" I said " I know not how to speak; I am too young." Jeremiah 1:6. I could literally see myself in both of the prophets.  At times I am the willing an eager one, and then I can doubt myself and say " Ah, God are you sure about this?"

The next interesting discovery I made was both prophets were touched on the mouth. Isaiah by a seraphim with a burning ember to prurify him, and Jeremiah by the hand of God over his mouth. Hum! Where else do I see this? At Mass by the Celebrant before they procailm the Gospel. Coincidence, no! God prepared them to preach the Word out there and make a change despite their inadaquacies. This actually encouraged me by really not worrying what to say out there, I am learning to let God do the work through me!

Finally I ended the paper with a short reflection from an Advent Meditation booklet written by Fr. Patrick Hannon C.S.C. The booklet is titled Hearts & Voices and the the words that inspired me were these.."And we, who through our baptism in Christ, have been anointed prophets, will with every act of love testify to this truth. The prophet's heart will not be stilled. The prophet's voice will not be silenced."
Hearts & Voices by Fr. Patrick Hannon C.S.C. page 13

Bonjour, Notre Sauveur est proche (Good day our Savior is near)

Adieu mes amis!

Mitch

Finally I ended with a reflection

The check is in the mail....I mean the final paper was emailed!

Yes! My final paper for the Old Testament class was emailed last night! I finished it off before the Christmas Eve deadline, 2010 according to Deacon Greg. There are no mulligans this time, and quite frankly I know I wouldn't need it. I'm not saying that it would get published anywhere, but I did the time, put in the effort and I like the results. Even the boss (my wife Terry) thought it was good and she noted that the papers are getting better. Go figure! Obviously I needed the extra time in my life afforded me by giving up on something, thanks Fr. Dennis!

The next class for our little group (remember we have room in Plymouth!!!) starts January 27th with our New Testament course. Our instructor is going to be Fr. Robert Biron. Hum, french name maybe a Berlin Boy! Yup, sure is. His dad had a barber shop on main street right next to the the Princess Theatre (Now called TBA). Yes, we are starting a little later than everyone else. We had a couple of conflicts with some including myself so the course was delayed until the 27th. BTW it's been snowing everyday in Berlin!

Bonjour a tous, Good day to all!

Adieu

Mitch

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A whisper in the wind....!

Yesterday I received a whisper in the wind, by way of an email from Deacon Frank Vonesh. Who? Deacon Frank is a recently ordained Permanent Deacon from the Archdiocese of St. Louis.  Apparently someone passed the link for the Diocese's Diaconate website and he looked over my blog. He explained the process he went through and related well to the struggles of writing papers after all those years.

He was extremely kind and offered to all of us Aspirants his encouragement and support.  Voila, our Lord whispered to me today! I mentioned before how I read the Word Among Us daily meditations, and today's readings dealt with Mary hurrying to visit Elizabeth to share and rejoice together. Together they enjoyed mutual support and companionship. This is the passage that really got me to stop and reflect.....
"How important it is that we support and affirm one another in the
same way! Especially in those times when we start to doubt our own
value or ability to do the work which God has called us, the right words
from a trusted companion can make all the difference. Mary and Elizabeth
show us how much we can help each other simply by our reassuring presence.
By listening attentively and by offering words of encouragement, we can help each other embrace the road that God has marked out for us with energy,
enthusiasm, and hope-no matter how daunting it may seem at times."
                                            Word Among Us December 21- Page 45

Christ's whisper to me came twofold, first an unknown supporter in the person of Deacon Frank, and today by reading my daily meditations that reinforced what I read both in the email and the Meditations.  Coincidence, no there are no coincidences in life. I was so blessed to receive a little whisper in the wind of encouragement that was extended to me and to all Aspirants in the Diocese and I know throughout the World. Thank you Frank for that little whisper, and I plan on passing it on to all my brothers out there.

As we become energized by the Lord during this Holy Season, may we all be the bearers of the little whispers of encouragement that we all need.

Adieu mes Amis,

Bonsoir.

Mitch

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Nostalgic feel of Christmas past.

Well, time to share a little more about myself as we prepare for the coming of our Savior. This year I celebrated two milestones. First I celebrated my 25th anniversary with Sherwin-Williams. Before I started with this great company I was almost like a wanderer in the desert. I often moved on and on to what I believed would be the best thing for me. Like everything else I had to weather some storms, and enjoyed some great years. I have met some great people, and some not too great people. All in all, I have truly enjoyed my career. It has been a blessing that I have been able to support my family through my work.

On 9/11, yes 9/11 I celebrated my 50th birthday. I actually was in the twin towers in NY at my 40th birthday, a year before the tragedy.  This year was very special. Terry gave me a personal party that I had with family and friends, and yes we topped it off with a campfire to end a perfect day.

So where does the nostalgia come in? Well, if you haven't read my bio I was raised in a french Catholic parish in Berlin's east side. My french Canadian heritage wasn't something I was born with, it was my life. My faith and my heritage is what I lived by. Faith and family were always first in my life. I grew up like most east side children, speaking french, playing hockey (after all Berlin is the original Hockey Town USA), attending Mass at L'Ange Guardian (Guardian Angel), and going to school at L'ecole Ange Guardian. 

Now to the point of this nostalgia. One item that has been missing from this Advent Season and will be at Christmas mass is my french heritage. I know it's difficult, if not impossible to find priest's today who can celebrate in french, but it's the one thing I really do miss. My daughter, who is a lapsed Catholic, called me and asked about french Christmas songs. It really affected two nerves. First that there is still a spark of faith in her working through our Lord. Then it touched my heart in remembering Christmas past.

As I look outside the window today and see the beautiful white snow, yes we do have snow up north, I long for my childhood memories of O Nuit de Paix (Silent Night), and all the other songs and the entire Mass in French. As a child I may have not always felt this way, but as I reflect back I do miss it. I don't necessarily want to go back in time, but I was blessed to have two languages, two heritages, and one great faith!

Joyeux Noel, Bonne Heureuse Annee a tous!

Merry Christmas & a Very Happy New Year to all!

Adieu,

Mitch

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Celebrating Open House In Berlin

Today we celebrated an open house with all the parish volunteers and  employees. Fr. Mark Dollard has always celebrated with his parishes an open house and from the results of today, I can see why he does this. It was an awesome time to get to know the parish employees, and volunteers in a very informal setting.
        I remember something that Fr. Dennis shared with me and I'm sure with many others, and that is that we must keep in mind that while we are trying to figure out our new leader (Fr. Mark Dollard) he's trying to do the same.


        Fr. Mark looked very pleased toward the end of the afternoon. He made an extremely kind and very heartening comment.  He said ... It's nice to have people around in the rectory. His personal and human side came out loud and clear to me. He loves his ministry, and he also loves and needs that personal friendship without talking business as he so well put.


          Fr. Steve our associate is a very kind and soft spoken priest. Without a doubt this day was as important to him as it was to us. We all received the opportunity to get to know each other a little better.


         My highlights for today were:


  • The smiles on every body's faces.
  • The opportunity to talk with new and old friends
  • The tremendous support I received from so many of them. ( I have been so blessed with support from all the parishioners.)
  • The great food that was provided.
  • But most of all that Fr. Mark and Fr. Steve seemed to feel more and more like family to all of us. (Similar to what is happening in our community of Aspirants)
Bonsoir, Adieu

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Making changes, playing around!

I am enjoying the beginning of my last vacation for the year. I decided today to play around with a few gadgets. I'm not very computer literate but I do love to play around and try to, I guess enhance the blog. I've added some pictures, probably inspired by our last formation weekend. I added a slide show that I thought looked neat, and I've added some news links that I thought people might like to see.


For the past several months I have been reading the Word Among Us each morning. Our parish offers copies for the parishioners. I have loved reading these, for they have inspired me, helped me in my reflection papers, and just got me going on the right path each day. I have opened a link to wau.org, Word Among Us. Please take the time to review, I'm sure you will enjoy.


God Bless
Adieu!


Mitch

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I got a mulligan and a flashback!

Yes you heard right we all got a mulligan in our Old Testament class. As you may remember the day we got our first papers back wasn't exactly the best day of my life. Actually it wasn't very good at all. Anyways we all got our papers back with a mulligan and a directive to get it right. Yes I believe we were all a little shell shocked by the experience, I know I was. After all I thought I had put my best effort into that paper.

Well I would have to say looking back over my life I vividly and maybe not too fondly remember a similar experience I had in High School. I had an English teacher in High School, Mrs. Piper, who put me through the same experience. Ironically, I felt the same this year as I did back in 1976. She was a very intelligent, and demanding person, who seemed to have an uncanny knack of getting the best out of someone one way or another. She didn't accept good enough, she knew somehow what we were capable of and wanted to bring it out in us. You know, she was right. She challenged me, I worked harder, understood more what was expected, and voila the desired results were obtained.

Were in 2010 and the flashback begins. Once again in my life I am challenged, and pushed to be more than I probably thought capable. Both times after the ego bruising healed and I reflected I knew they were right. The only difference is it didn't take as long to figure it out this time.

Well I knew the expectations had increased and of course the effort, research, etc. was ramped up. I thought I had it right and I reviewed the expectations outline one last time. I guess I received an inspiration, and remembered what Deacon Greg said..."When you think you have it, ask yourself so what?" I did and I didn't like what I had. It wasn't terrible but I really knew that I didn't get to the point. Sometimes working on a single important message is more effective when you try to reflect on what you learned. Call it inspiration, or whatever but I started over again, and I like it. I reviewed the outline and I really feel that I learned something and that I really got my point across.

I'll be typing out the paper and have the boss, Terry, proof it for me and then I'll email it to Deacon Greg this weekend.  Having a second chance is good, but we were reminded today that there aren't any mulligans on the second paper. By the way we all passed on our second try, and I feel good that the second one will be just fine. I'll have to ask Deacon Greg if he is related to a particular retired Enlish teacher in Berlin.

Take care, and Adieu mes amis.


Mitch

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I love campfires!!

Terry and I really loved this past formation weekend, and especially sharing time with our new family. Terry and I both love to go camping and especially enjoy camp fires. We have campfires both at our house, my best friends house and at the campgrounds. Terry and I asked Deacon Greg if he would be open to having a campfire at our last formation weekend. He sounded very open to the idea, not quite as excited as receiving a loaf of homemade bread but it looked promising.

The big appeal to us has been our friendships have grown by just sitting down, sharing stories, jokes, etc. I even had a theological discussion with my french Canadian uncle who is not very kind to catholics. Our children initially thought it would be boring to sit around and talk, yet it didn't take long for them to join in by sitting around the fire. Our circle of fires vary, but one thing is constant. There has never been anytime that someone wasn't welcomed, there was always room for one more, and there are no strangers. We never seem to run out of something to talk about and when the evening comes to a close the silence of the night is very comforting.

So if the answer is yes, we'll all need to probably bring folding chairs, marshmallows, smores, etc. I can't think of a better way to get to know even more of you.

Bonsoir, adieu mes amis.

Mitch

PS. by the way our next fire is in Berlin at my best friends house on New Year's Eve. I'll take pictures and share them with you, and if any of you are available, remember there's always room for one more. Take care!


I had request to explain what I meant by folding chairs at a campfire. Here you will see my favorite chair at a campfire. They pack and fold nicely, easy to carry around, and they have beverage holders. There isn't a better way of getting to know someone than sitting around a beautiful fire and sharing good times!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Finding Comfort in the silence of the moment......


Another Reflection from our weekend together.

There are many times I find myself drawn to certain words or phrases that I hear, and one in particular stood out for me this weekend. When we strive to encounter Jesus we must be prepared to be comfortable in the silence of the moment. We need to prepare to listen when we have a conversation with Jesus, not always feeling the need to say something. I have found that in my prayer life silence has become as important to me as the spoken prayers I do.

On a human level the first thing I thought about when I heard this was the first date I had with my wife Terry. In the past when I dated I felt uncomfortable with the silent moments that occurred and I thought I had the need to say something. When Terry and I had our very first date, we traveled to North Conway to have supper and probably go dancing or take in a movie. We had our supper together at Horsefeathers and the amazing part was from that first night together, I was very comfortable with the silence of the moment. I felt very much at ease with her. After a great supper, we decided to walk together up and down main street in Conway. We walked for a couple of hours and the time appeared to stand still, and yet two hours had passed. We were able to talk, listen, and share as we began our journey together. I was late in returning Terry back to Berlin, she was living with and caring for her grandmother. Her grandmother stayed up and asked her about the date, and said...."you have my permission to marry this one!"

I was blessed to find such a wonderful partner to share my life with, and I relate this relationship with the one I am having with Jesus right now. I am very comfortable to just listen, and enjoy the silence of the moment. Twenty Eight years ago I was taught a lesson about how wonderful a close relationship really is. This relationship has helped and inspired me to be comfortable with silence as I continue my journey with Jesus.

Tonight when I examen the day, I will work to listen and be open to what our Lord has to tell me in the silence of my heart!

Bonjour mes amis, adieu.

Mitch

ps: yes this is a day off, I'm working this weekend, and I did learn that we are visual people, this picture gives me a quiet sense of peace and tranquility.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Encountering Christ together!

What a weekend I had and I'm sure you all felt the same way. The ebb and flow of the weekend was so different than the first. We traveled together at a smooth and easy pace all weekend with the ultimate goal of encountering our Lord Jesus Christ. What a presentation by Brother Mark, he opened my eyes and reassured me with what I learned. I learned two things from him this weekend, I learned so much about the various avenues that we have to help us encounter Christ. I was reassured to know that I had and for quite some time now used some of these opportunities in my everyday prayer life.

I started this title with encountering together. I wanted to make a point to start sitting, talking, and getting to know my new family. Terry and I were definitely on the same page with this. As large a group as we are I know it will still take some time to get to meet and be with each one of you. I'm sure we weren't the only ones out there attempting to do the same.

Returning back to the theme of ebb and flow, I sensed a change of pace that many more were looking to sit down talk and share about their lives and journey. I really enjoyed the conversations right up until about 10:40 pm when our little group were the last to say good night.  I am in awe that the feelings and the emotions of being there were very mutual. It's great to share what we have with family who get it, and feel the same way.

I would like to share words, ideas, and thoughts that resonate with me!
Susan you helped create a great sense of family (community by what you started) Bravo!
Pauline you have such a warm smile and a very welcoming personality
Mike and Linda we both share a bond meeting our loved one in a grocery store
Deacon Greg dances so well when given a loaf of bread
It was a pleasure to meet Dana finally!
Geoff you are so funny: Passing with humility, self sanding roads, & lastly the Ordeal
Bob,Chris, Bill, Ken, Deacon Greg it was great taking with you to the end.
Bill I believe I share a passion of our french heritage, Merci Beaucoups mon amis
Sharing the words spoken by our Lord in the Psalms.
Again I read Invited or not God is present, this was presented in another passage, truly God was present among us!
Missing Steve & his Wife, Our community prays for you in unity; our Love, Prayers, and Thoughts are with you constantly!
A special thanks to everyone for the kindness and Love they share.
To my mini family in Plymouth: Tom, Lynn,Steve, Linda we share something very special that Terry and I treasure immensely.
To all of You I wish you a very blessed Advent Season as we continue to prepare to Encounter Christ.

Bonsoir, Adieu ma famille!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Another class almost done!

Last night was the last in class session that we had for our Old Testament course. We all still have another paper to write, but the classroom time for this class is over. So what did I learn from this class.....
  1. The Kingdom of God is at hand
  2. There are no coincidences
  3. Carmody never refers to God with a masculine adjective
  4. There is a reason for every name, and a name means something
  5. There's a lot of drama in the Old Testament
  6. The individuals would make a great reality show today
  7. The prophets would always deal with the here and now, don't look too far ahead
  8. Deacon Greg knows his schtufffffffff!
  9. I Loved understanding how the women played a major role in God's Will
  10. I started confused, and now it's starting to make more sense,...possibly a longer course someday!
  11. Tom had excellent choice in pizza and is a great site leader.
  12. I Love our small classes....we have room for more. Any takers???
  13. The drive home gives me a chance to unwind and dissect what went on.

Well it's time to prepare for this weekend, my wife is baking bread, whole community catechises tonight, and up early tomorrow. See you all tomorrow.

Bonsoir, Adieu.

Mitch

Monday, November 29, 2010

Making room for Jesus!

I talked about what I would have to put aside to do the Lord's work. I love that quote and felt it was very appropriate. The irony is that I made this decision just before Advent. I not only dropped something that didn't allow me to fully function as an Aspirant, I began to make room for Jesus to come into my heart. I have had a few people ask me why I was giving up the school board, and the answer comes out very easily; I am studying to be a deacon and I need more time to do this well. Surprisingly the educators get it, but probably on an intellectual level. They understand the time and dedication it takes to really get into the studies. Yet, I think there is a curiosity about what I'm really doing and probably why? I think more questions will come in time. The parishioners have been awesome. The support, prayers, and kind words  are a real help to me. All of what is going on right now was a wake up call by Jesus. My life, family, faith, friends, studies all need to be directed to one goal. The message was well received, it's up to me to make room for Jesus.

Bonsoir mes amis, Adieu, a la prochaine fois.
(Good night my friends, unto God I give you, at the next time we meet)

ps my french Canadian background is kicking in, today my daughter called me to ask about a french Christmas Song.

Mitch

Thursday, November 25, 2010

.....and now there are five!

Well just to share that our little prayer group that started with Mike Johnson and I grew to  four after one night. This morning we had did the liturgy of the hours at 7:30 am in the church and we had Deacon Merle leading us. This is incredible. Deacon Merle has recently lost his wife, and I know he needs this as much as we do. We have started a little community of men gathering, praying, and growing together. It's really special what happens when you plant a seed.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, bonjour, & Adieu.

Mitch

PS. I love to leave with an Adieu, which means in french so much more than goodbye. It actually doesn't mean goodbye, it means unto God I give you until we meet again face to face. Take Care.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What will you put aside to do the Lord's work?

These words have echoed in my mind for some time now. It is amazing to me how something that I read a while ago has come back to me.  A month ago I finished a book, "No One but You!" Yes I have mentioned this book several times in my blog. That line "What will you put aside to do the Lord's work?", stood out for me in the sense that it was challenging people to go out there and serve the Lord. This past week as you all know was a very stressful week for me. I have been balancing so many things in my life that I had to reflect and talk with my wife where I was going in life. I realized that I don't have an S tattooed on my chest. I so love to work and serve people, that I thought I could work 48 hours a week, serve as chairman and a member of the Berlin Board of Education, go to school each week, study, read, write, oh yeah spend time with my wife, etc. Well the title of this blog came back to me in a different way. I was serving the Lord by helping my community, but I have committed to this journey and I was asked by the Lord what I was going to put aside for him, and I guess God wanted to know if I was really committed to following him. Those who know me, or will get to know me will understand that this is really the first thing in my life that I didn't finish.  I can't and won't do anything half way, and my whole heart, mind, and soul is in this journey now. I resigned from the board and though it was difficult to deal with I was given so much support from my peers that I was truly touched by them. A great relief has come over me and a new energy is building up inside.

I know that this will be one of probably many challenges that will come before in the next few years. This was my first challenge, and as they say this was a no brainer. I know I want to continue this journey. I want to learn, spend time with my new family of Aspirants and their spouses, and I want to grow in whatever way God has mapped out for me. 

I don't believe this will be the last time I will be dealing with this question, "What will you put aside to do the Lord's work?

Adieu, and a blessed Thanksgiving to all of you.

Mitch

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Balancing my life.

Well it's been a little over a week since I put something together on this blog. I'm sure you have all seen a pattern that I can write when I have free time, like vacation; and when I'm not it can be a challenge. Wednesday and Thursday were challenges for me. On Wednesday I worked alone from 7 am till 6 pm and rushed to a school board meeting at 6:15. A can of soup was my supper before heading to the meeting. That meeting lasted until 9pm, and I had to prepare to leave early the next day for a 9 am meeting in Lebanon on Thursday. A company meeting that had a very full day of learning and that one lasted until 4:20, off in my car and then trust the GPS to get me to Plymouth for my 6 pm Old Testament class. That class lasted until about 9:15 that night. Do I feel balanced in my life? No! I was warned by everyone Fr. Dennis, Pat, my family that this probably won't work. For those of you who know me, I become very passionate in my work. My wife reminds me of that whenever I discuss what is going on in my class. Unfortunately because of a long day I literally didn't have much left in the tank for Thursday night.  I have mentioned in the past that I have read a  book "NO ONE but You!" One passage now stands out for me, what will you put aside to do the Lord's work?

I have been doing my best to balance all of these missions in my life. I have even refused to participate in something new, knowing I didn't have the time. I have been torn by a promise to give my niece and nephew their diplomas at graduation in June. I have been telling myself I can't wait until June, so I can let go of the mission of being a member and chair of the Berlin Board of Education. Inside I know my heart isn't in me for being on the board any longer. I am probably still doing more work half hearted than many have done with full effort, yet that isn't good enough for me. I don't like, and I can't do anything half way.

I need more time in my life to really dive into my studies, and indulge my passion. Again, my wife and I discussed how she, my mother, and others were wondering how much longer I can burn the candle on both ends.

It's now time to put aside something to do the Lord's work. If I am so blessed to be a Deacon some day I can't do anything half way, and I really have to immerse myself in my studies. I'm sure you all know where I'm going with this, and the difficult part now comes telling everyone. I know some will be disappointed, some angry, and some who won't understand. I know all of you Aspirants will and those of you who really care for me.

Today will be a new beginning of a better balanced life, family, faith, work, studies, and fun time. Time to have a better balanced life.

Take Care, Adieu, and I am so looking forward to seeing all of you on our next formation weekend.

Mitch

Friday, November 12, 2010

Moved by the Spirit to Pray!

One of the things I really enjoyed at St. Methodios was our community prayer time. Mike Johnson and I set a time together to meet every other Wednesday night to say evening prayers together. On the first night a friend of mine Roland Arsenault asked what we were doing. We shared our experience from our first retreat and also shared the joy we had praying together that night. He asked if he could join us, and mentioned that he had a friend who would come also. This past Wednesday evening we had four men praying together and sharing our petitions to God. Well, Roland asked if he could ask others to join us and also asked if we could put aside one morning every week to do morning prayers together. We did morning prayers at 6:30 am in the Church and of course we all enjoyed it. Such a basic little thing as gathering together to pray, and extremely enjoyable. A coincidence this is happening, not! I don't believe in coincidences The Spirit is alive and moving us all in a new direction. I am loving this so much I had to share it with all of you. I will let you know how our little group is moving forward.

God Bless, Adieu!

Mitch

Old Testament.....A study in Church Genealogy!

Yeah Genealogy! Last night was our third class for Old Testament with Deacon Greg. I'll be honest, the first class really left me in the dark wondering if I was ready for this, or even if I could really start to understand and get this. I'm not an expert, but you know I'm starting to grasp the beauty of the Old Testament. The subtle inferences, the links with our rich tradition, and the true foundation that our wonderful Church is built upon. This week we really got into a great discussion on King David. (For those of you in Manchester that maybe looking for a smaller class size, consider the drive to Plymouth to join us). I was really moved by King David's prayer to God. An excellent snapshot on how close a relationship a human being had with God. King David and Moses are right up there with a true personal relationship with God. Two great men filled with flaws, a deep burning Love for God, and I could go on and on. So I started this class with doubt, and I'm starting to sift through this heavy stuff and I really Love it. I always call Terry (my wife) when I'm leaving Plymouth, and I was ranting on how much I really enjoy this class. I'll be writing my first paper in this class and I will be writing about being chosen by God, their relationship, the blessings received, and how God's blessing can cause uprooting, conflict, and insecurity.

God Bless all of you, Take Care, Mitch!

Monday, November 8, 2010

What do names really mean,....what do words really mean?

From taking the Old Testament course I have come to learn that names really mean something. The names are just not names, they have a meaning. I learned that Israel means "wrestles with God", Bethel "House of God", Melchezidek "My God is Righteous". And the names can go on and on. In the Hebrew tradition we learned that naming someone or someplace had great significance, or was impacted by some event. Very fascinating for me. It's incredible and extremely interesting how this tradition developed. If you recall in my past blogs I have come to literally grab some words that have really hit me in some profound way. They seem to come to me in my classes, my spiritual reading, prayers, etc. This past week I have come across some words that have caused me to stop and reflect. I participated in the whole community catechises this week and a few key words came to light. Attitude, a very interesting word that seems to have a double meaning. As a child I remember when a teacher might have said you are developing an attitude. Not a very flattering or positive statement, or is it? I once put on a message on my old cell phone and the message was "Attitude is everything!" I believed that a positive attitude or developing an honest attitude in life was important for me. We all have choices, and I strongly believe a positive attitude is the only choice to make.

Gratitude, giving thanks, being grateful were all key words that were shared that same evening. Are they just words or are they something more? When we participate in the Mass Fr. Mark reminded us that we are not there just to ask for something, we are there to be grateful, and give thanks to Our Lord for what we have received. Are we not developing a better attitude about our faith when we our thankful for all of our even tiniest blessings that we have received?

That same evening when I was in a group I was asked about the message that was in the current Parable magazine. I was asked about what was the sign and the answer I received from God. I was a little choked up at first explaining something very profound that happened in my life. I shared that the message I learned from God was to Trust. I really need to work on having an attitude of Trust in my relationship with God. I need to Trust that whether I call on God or not, God will always be there for me.

So, this past week in class I learned that names have a very special meaning to them, and God taught me that words are not just words. These words that have been shared with me will help improve my attitude about everything. After all I do believe that Attitude is everything. What do words really mean to you?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Seeing life through a different lens

I remember very well the day I first put on my new glasses. I was 27 years old and I was so amazed how well I could see, and I couldn't help but think why I had waited so long to fix the problem. The headaches were going away and the clarity of vision was incredible. I wasted a few years of my life because I was too stubborn and probably too vain to think I needed glasses. I am in session #2 of my Old Testament class and I'm starting to get it. Deacon Greg last night was talking about seeing our past through a different lens. Ironic in that I have been contemplating writing this little piece for about a week now and I had already picked the title. This isn't just a class for me and I'm sure it isn't for the Aspirants, it's so much more than that. I can see the work of the Spirit guiding me along. Take for instance on Saturday I'm returning from the cross country championship in Manchester with my best friend of over 39 years. We talked about my vocation and he shared one very touching and prophetic statement. Bruce was concerned that now that his children were graduating from High School we would have more time to hang out, but he was afraid that the Diocese would uproot me and take me away from Berlin. I told him not too worry too much because there was 4 more years of studies, and I still have about 15 years to go to retire. That night I was reading from Carmody on the mixed blessings that come from being chosen by God. "Being chosen by God brings with it uprooting, conflict, and insecurity." Powerful stuff there for me, so powerful I had to stop reading and try to absorb all of it. All I could think of was what Bruce said to me that afternoon. I asked Deacon Greg how he felt about the mixed blessings that come from being chosen by God. He shared that he was amazed at the fact that he was chosen by God to do this work and loves it. He isn't necessarily doing everything he wants to do, but he is doing what he is called to do. Like the first day of wearing my new glasses, I'm starting to see things more clearly and God is revealing a little more to me each and every day. I'm just as amazed today as I was when I was 27. I'm so glad God fitted me with some new lenses.

Take Care, God Bless to all my Aspirant family.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Walking the tightrope together.

I'm just getting into my second class, Old Testament, and the schedule of everything going on in my life makes it feel that I'm on a tightrope. I think most of you understand where I'm coming from. We are all being pulled in many directions, family time, work time, school time, homework time, and volunteer time. Time is becoming extremely precious to me. Probably for the first time in my life I have had to use a calendar to keep track of what is going on. It's getting close to the point of having to make an appointment with my wife to spend time with her. Yesterday I spent the day with family in Manchester watching my niece and nephew run at the X-country championship. What little time the event actually was, became precious moments spent with them. On the way home I was planning to do some reading for my second class. I'm starting to get this class a little bit and beginning to enjoy it. Then it hit me, a phrase in the Bible reader. I had to stop and talk with my wife about it. I won't share this with you today, because it provides me a very tough question I will be asking Deacon Greg my teacher. The discussion time I had with Terry was great. I really think the moment was God's way of slowing me down a bit, reflecting, jumping off the tightrope for just a moment. We all have a challenging road ahead of us, for a day yesterday I did a better job balancing my life.

My Blessings to all of you my Brothers and Sisters, I pray for all of you every day.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What happened to you on your journey through St. Methodios????

What a great weekend , I feel like I'm still soaring, and like a great concert it left me with the desire for more.
I decided to create a list of my highlights:
  • Make sure to leave the deadbolt on when not in the room! Oops my bad!
  • Great revelations: my wife sharing that we are all different and each one of us brings something special to the Table! (Excellent symbolism! Love it!)
  • The Three Amigos & their wives were awesome! Thank you!
  • Pat is a really special lady, what a gift she is to us!
  • Celebrating our first homecoming "We are family I've got all my brothers and sisters with me!"
  • Yes I'm corny, and a 70's child. Not bad though!
  • Enjoying the time to sit down and share, & as Mike Johnson told me "It's great to spend time with people who think and feel the same way you do!" Right On!
  • During my spiritual reading I came across a Latin phrase I wanted to share (Please note I am not a big fan of Latin) I think you'll love this one ..."Vocatus atque non vocatus Deus aderit.....Summoned or not summoned God will be present"
  • I am humbled to do God's work in this blog, thank you so much to everyone who talked to me about this, I'd like to share some comments: a soap opera with a cliffhanger on one blog, thank yous, suggesting that EWTN creates a new reality show-"So you want to be a deacon??? anybody up for that??? Some were worried to be a target in the blog, who kicked me in the family picture?, No way I would target anyone here, after all were family right?
  • Wasn't the community prayer inspirational. Mike and I started tonight and we plan on meeting two times a month and invite others. We may have found two others already to join us. The Spirit is moving!
  • Just feeling great about being a part of something very special.
  • I love our family picture!!!!!
  • Sunday Mass was spectacular!
  • I was so sorry to see the weekend end, and I can't wait for the next formation weekend!
  • Feeling the Spirit being a part of us!
  • For some of us Old Testament starts tomorrow!
  • God luck to all, God Bless and until we meet again Adieu!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Our classes.......a time to Cultivate our faith!

Last night our group of four just ended our first class. We actually spent a couple of hours together to just relax, reflect, and again share information about where we are now in our journey. The group was so kind to think of my driving as we made plans to meet at St. Josephs in Lincoln. The difference from Lincoln to Plymouth is about half an hour. I got to save about an hour of driving yesterday. We all met at St. Joseph's at 5:30 and unfortunately all the doors were locked. Fr. John is gone to Israel, and probably the word didn't get out that we would be meeting there. Plan b came into place and we had a great evening at Fratello's in Lincoln. Yes, they do have one in Lincoln and it is great! They gave us a quiet table in the back corner by the fireplace. Last night was an opportunity to share our ideas, and how we have already changed by this experience. Sr. Monique Couture (my cousin, not really but we call each other that) really challenged us in many ways. I could see that she wanted us to really open up and she would gently persuade us to do that. She helped us cultivate our faith, by planting seeds (ideas) in us; unearthed new thoughts and feelings, and really helped bring us to a new place in our lives. A strong bond is being formed by this group and also our instructor, I see a passion and fire in all of us, but most of all the Spirit is moving us along at a comfortable pace. I learned by the prodding of Sr. Monique that my work place experience has been more fertile ground for my faith than I ever knew. Last night I shared phrases and philosophies that I have used for years in my business, that I thought only related to the business world.  I'll share one, "It's risk and reward time!" Bob Harrington was my first district manager with Sherwin-Williams and would often pass that phrase along. I used that quote in my last reflection paper. It means so much more to me now in my life than ever before. Our Mother Mary took the greatest risk of all. She said Yes, to God. Her life was immensely changed and she is our model of being risk takers. I will end with this, today please pray to God to give each and every one of us the courage to say yes, to take the risks and someday enjoy the rewards of faith.

God Bless you all, and I am looking forward to seeing all of my fellow aspirants and their wives this weekend for our first Retreat (gathering of brothers)!

*One last thing, we had snow this morning in Berlin!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Ministry, what is it, where does it start, where does it happen?

Theology of Ministry is the first course that I am taking. We have only four students in our class and it provides very lively and thought provoking discussions. If you would have asked me several years ago what ministry is I would have probably told you it's something for our priests and religious, and possibly a few lay ministers out there.Ministry I thought was reserved for these individuals and we were there to help them when needed.  This class has helped me evolve to understand quite a bit more where ministry exists. I just wrote my third paper and it seems each and every paper I write I am learning more about me and my faith. I am not at the same place that I was when I began this journed almost a year ago. Fr. Dollard our pastor has asked Mike (Mike Johnson Berlin's other aspirant) to get involved by working with the altar servers, lectors, and Eucharistic ministers. Yeah, I would have always looked at that as ministry, helping our pastor in an area he has needs. Pretty easy stuff so far. I now look at ministry and see it everywhere, whether our faith community sees it or not. We have many young families working hard to take care of and raise their children. That is a vocation and they are definitely ministering to each other. We have adults who coach, work with Scouting, volunteer to help the less fortunate. We have High School students who do fundraising to help support the hungry, those who need winter clothes, etc. I guess you probably know where this is going. We have so many people out there helping and caring for others. Ok, so many of us do that because we love it. That's great, and yet maybe there are other needs not being met that are overlooked. We have a new group in Berlin that Mike Johnson is working on to deal with bereavement. My wife is on board and very excited to be a part of that group. This is one new group! What if we all found something that we can get passionate about in our local community and started a following of supporters. This week in the Union Leader I read and article where there was a call for the Faith Communities to join together to care for and support our soldiers. Imagine the need not only for the soldier away that could receive letters, and gifts, but also for the loved ones here at home. There is so much need in all our towns, in Berlin and Gorham we have a mill that just closed, and we have high unemployment. What can each and everyone do to support Christ's children in neeed. Find a need, gather some friends, take up the cause, minister to your neighbors. Pray a little more this week and ask to have our eyes open, and as my teacher recently quoted St. Benedit " Please God Open the ear of my heart!" Ministry is charity, and caring, it starts with me, and it can happen everywhere. God Bless all of you.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A time for School, a time for fun,....a time to Give Thanks!

Well today's readings centered around giving thanks to the Lord. Fr. Mark Dollard was today's Celebrant and as usual his homily was right on! The Gospel centered around the 10 lepers who asked to be healed, and only one returned to Thank the Lord for his blessing. Our Lord said, "Your faith has saved you!" Fr. reminded us of all we have in life and when times are good we like many people believe its all because of us. We made the right decisions! So today I'm reminded to give Thanks to Our Lord for many things in my life. First for my faith, second for my family and friends. Next for my calling to be an Aspirant and God willing to serve as a Deacon. I have been forever changed by all that is happening in my life and I thank God for that. Today I am enjoying the sunshine, the beautiful foliage ( by the way this is a fall photo of St. Anne's Church in Berlin along the Androscoggin River, gorgeous isn't it?) spending time with my family, and my dogs. I don't want to forget one more thing......and that is the prayers and support for my calling. I'm sure all the other Aspirants will agree the outpouring and encouragement is truly special.

We Give Thanks to the Lord, for He is Good!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Take a walk today!


A few blogs ago I talked about a word that was popping up in my life quite often and that was Trust. I also mentioned another word that caught my attention and that was walking. I love to walk as often as I can. I have two dogs who are always begging to go out for a walk and meet their other dog friends. In our orientation the topic of walking came up for many reasons. It was brought out that it was a great way to get people you walk with to talk, and share. The Newman center at PSU offers walks and hikes for our Catholic college students.  Walking is good for the heart, the mind, and our soul. We can connect with others and also with God. While walking in the past year I have gained so much in my life, I was given a message to trust, I have met new friends, lost weight, and got my wife to walk with me. So put your sneakers or hiking boots on a get out there and maybe you might make a real connection with God.

Relax.......Relax......Turn the radio off, & the radar on!

Well I'm on vacation again, yes the perks of working for a great company for over 25 years is 6 weeks vacation. I still have 2 more weeks to go to finish off the year. The last time I was on vacation I was in a writing frenzy. I'm not sure that will happen again but, we'll see.

I know all Aspirants (aspirins) agree that life is getting hectic and extremely busy. I'm learning to be better disciplined in my time with homework and everything else going on in my life. Interestingly enough I am probably slowing down a bit while moving along. Terry my wife and I spent lunch (dinner) together last friday at Tea Birds in berlin. A fellow knight Scott & Heather Gregory own the restaurant. Terry was very hungry and left it up to me to choose the place to go to. We got there at noon and it was almost 2 before we got home. Everything was great including the quiet time we had together. I called the time a decadent time because I put away my diet and enjoyed some indulgent food. I had a hot pastrami, a bowl of chili, and a pepsi. Low fat was thrown out and it was Great!  The food was incredible but what was really special was our time to talk, listen, and be together. A true blessing for the two of us. (By the way if you ever visit Berlin stop by and eat at Tea Birds and say Hi to Scott & Heather you'll love it!)

Saturday Terry, Kady, Rocky and I spent the day with our daughter Danielle in Dover. We walked the whole afternoon on central avenue enjoying the apple harvest festival. I was really impressed by everything about this event. There was an incredible amount of people and yet we were all together talking, listening, and sharing what was going on there and in our lives. It was truly a special day. We were blessed with great weather. As busy as we all are the time together was at a slower and more enjoyable pace. (By the way Kady and Rocky are our dogs!) The event was filled with vendors, informational booths, and all denominations were there for anyone in need. Great idea to bring back to Berlin.

Sunday was and is always special for me. First our virus infested computer was brought back early in the morning and moving along again. Then Terry,my Mom, Dad and I celebrated Eucharist at Holy Family in Gorham. I am still blest to have my Mom and Dad alive in their mid 80's. I love being with them and helping them as much as possible. After Eucharist my Mom loves to go out to eat, so we all went to eat at the Dairy Bar in Berlin (another must go place if you are ever in Berlin, The Roy's are great hosts and fellow parishoners) Busy as my life is I want to take the time to deal with what is important to me, my family. I know you all see a pattern that food plays a role, today we nourished the soul, the spirit, and the body.

Now to explain the title of this latest blog. I spent 1 1/2 years at St. Meinrad Seminary College in Indiana. I will never forget the Monk who taught me a philosophy class there. I can't remember his name but he reminded of the professor in Back to the future. He actually also resembled him tremendously. His manerisms, his style, and his passion. His favorite phrase to all of us was " Relax, Relax, turn the radio off, and the radar on!" Slow down turn off all the distractions around you, turn on your radar's and be aware of what is going on close to you. Today being the feast of St. Francis I was reminded of this little phrase and how he lived his life enjoying and respecting of all God's creation both St. Francis and the Monk.

So today and tomorrow turn on the radar, be aware, say a kind word, smile, pet a dog. Love a little more.
Thank you Dear Lord for all your blessings. Amen!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bowling,.....yes I said Bowling my sanity time!

I just love to bowl. Two nights per week I get a great gift from God. I bowl with my wife on a Sunday Couples League that we both started over 10 years ago, and I bowl on Tuesday Nights, with a team I sponsor. I guard my nights dearly and they are great for my mental health, what little I have. I have learned that I really need a release time that I am away and can just play for a few hours. I encourage everyone to just have fun sometimes, I'm sure God wants that from us.

Good Luck to all of you and God Bless.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

First Day of School!

I never dreamed of another day of school when I stopped going to school back in 1981. Here I am and many others of us (Aspirants) starting again. Living in Berlin guarantees you one thing in life, you will travel and no distance is too great. My first little ride of many to come to Plymouth. Just a leisure 1 1/2 hour scoot down 93. I was excited, I just couldn't wait till we got started. I was the furthest away from the school and in typical Berlin fashion I was the first to arrive.

Soon thereafter Steve, Linda, and our instructor Sr. Monique arrived, and not too long after that Tom arrived. We were all there early and Sr. Monique asked if we could get started. Everyone agreed, it was easy since we are only 4 students taking this course. Sr. began with a short autobiography of her life and asked us to do the same. It was amazing to hear about every one's life and discovering that though we were all a little different we would all be sharing the same journey together.

You know when something is special when it clicks right away. This is it! We were all clicking right from the start and you all know where I'm going with this; before we knew it, it was time to leave. The ride home seemed to pass away quickly, and yes I was careful not to hit a moose on the way home. I Love this, and I want more.

I started my homework last night, and spent about an hour and a half reading, writing notes, and reflecting. I am being challenged again on many fronts. First to get back in the Academic mode, second to read books (remember this is definitely not my favorite thing to do), and also challenged Spiritually. I feel inspired and moved in a way that is definitely awesome.

I met Mike Johnson yesterday and he asked how it went and that he was thinking about me. I shared my first night of school and I felt touched by his caring thought. I'm also concerned about everyone of us (Aspirants) and inspired. I am starting to know a few of our team and I like what I see. The honesty, the devotion, the caring that is felt is contagious. I come away from meeting and knowing each person and realize that each and every time we gather we become better disciples. Without a doubt "Where two or three (or more) are gathered together Our Lord is there!"

Thank You Lord for giving me this great gift!

Peace to all of my brothers and their wives.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Just an ordinary guy learning to Trust in God's Providence!

I have a late start for going to work today and it gives me a great opportunity to relate to a word that has been popping up in my life lately. It's been amazing how in the past few months I have had these situations or moments that make me stop and reflect. The reason I'm referring to my title of my blog is because of the word TRUST. Trust in God's Providence, Trust in your professors, "Fear is Useless, what is needed is Trust," by Richard Gribble CSC  No ONE but YOU!

Trust is very difficult for all of us. It is easy to Trust in someone or something when everything is going great in our lives. The real challenge comes when we face difficulties, hardships, and problems. I used learning because I fall into that trap also. I always want to follow and Trust in God, but I seem to want to have my life packaged up neatly with all the answers before me. Frustration sets in and I seem to move off course by getting irritated etc. And then it hits me, God's subtle little messages that reassures me that all I need to do is TRUST.

This past Saturday morning I and many others attended Orientation at Saint Anselm College to begin our journey in learning more about God and our Spirituality. Katherine Tardif worked with all of us to help get us jump started back into the student mode of our lives. For me it's been since 1981 that I set foot into a formal classroom. Katherine touched on many important topics from the dynamics of working and incorporating our personal experiences in faith and the Church's Tradition. Two single words that she used that day hit me hard. Trust and Walk, and today only I will relate to Trust. Katherine mentioned that we should Trust our Professors who will be teaching us. Trust that they will be honest with us, and our works will remain confidential. Throughout my life I don't remember anyone asking me to TRUST my teacher. I think this will put us all in the right mindset before we even set foot in the classroom. I guess I was reminded that day that I must continuously learn to TRUST in God. By the way even with the 2 hour plus drive this was a great day to revisit with the Aspirants, other faithful seeking to learn, and seeing Pat again.

"Fear is Useless, What is needed is TRUST!There was that word again TRUST. I am still reading the book  "No ONE but YOU!" and it had been a little over a day since I had a chance to read it, and because of the early morning drive I put off reading the chapter.  I was very excited about Saturday and really enjoyed the beautiful and relaxing ride home. My wife and I thought of inviting family and friends over for a backyard campfire. As soon as I got home I helped out  and my Dad started the campfire. Family and friends were coming by and before we knew it we had about 15 people sharing time together. I Love these moments with everyone, we share memories, we laugh, we talk, and we just have fun together. At about 11 everyone said there goodbyes and we all called it another great evening to share. Another day had passed without getting a chance to get to my book. At this point I still didn't know what would be waiting for me in the book.

Sunday morning I get up and caught up with my prayers and finally the chance to read again. There it was "Fear is Useless, What is needed is TRUST!" the title hit me hard. There I am facing that word again. What is most interesting is how the author puts it by saying Fear is Useless. The author uses great examples of how the faithful have TRUSTED in our Lord. Richard recalls the woman who Trusts that if she could only touch the cloak of Jesus she would be cured, and of course our Lord tells her that her Faith had healed her. The author also speaks of the Roman military leader who asks of the Lord to heal his family member who is ill and dying. The Roman leader doesn't require that the Lord comes with him to pray over his family he TRUSTS that Jesus has only to say it will be so and he believes. Of course Our Lord was moved by this Trust and Faith by a previous non follower. I know this chapter was saved for the right moment to teach me a lesson. Trust and have Faith in the Lord! Relax everything is going to be OK!

This past weekend I was blessed to share time, with old and new brothers and friends. I Trust all of you had as Blessed of a weekend as I  DID!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Jesus Unchains Us!

Every morning I read a short chapter from the book "No ONE but YOU". The same book that I mentioned in an earlier blog. This past Saturday morning I read the chapter titled "Jesus Unchains Us" and chills came over me the more I read this chapter. The author Richard Gribble, CSC gives me the impression he is a Paul Harvey "The rest of the story" kind of guy.

The chapter begins talking about an individual by the name of John Newton and he clearly states that very few people are familiar with the man. You see John Newton was born in a seafaring family and followed in his fathers footsteps and became an apprentice at the age of eleven. Growing up on a ship didn't offer him many opportunities to meet quality individuals. The tough examples lead to a tough life. He would eventually succeed to captain his own ship. He faced a very tough run with his ship that challenged his skill and would begin the process of loosening his chains. He continued for seven years longer and eventually gave up the life completely.  In 1764 he became an Episcopal Priest and was a well known preacher. John worked very hard in the Abolitionist Movement in the United States. In 1779 he wrote some famous autobiographical words that are familiar to all "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see."

Amazing how our Lord is patient and ever forgiving. I've known this song ever since I can remember and because of this knowledge it will forever be changed in my heart. We all face chains that bind us from the Love of Christ, and when we let go and allow Our Lord to transform us, we are able to be what we are meant to be true Holy Disciples. The next morning I was Lector at the 9 am Mass and Amazing Grace was sung by our wonderful church choir. I really had to fight back the tears a few times as I imagined what our Lord accomplished in John Newton.

I pray for us all that we allow Jesus to remove all our chains.

Friday, September 10, 2010

How does the Spirit Move You Today???

How is the Spirit moving you Today? Today like many days I questioned why doesn't someone recognize a person for their kind works. In this month's Parable I saw a picture and read an article about a very Faithful and Charitable family, the Dumont's Pierre, Diana, and Gabrielle. I am proud to say they are one of our own. I often times wonder why we are suddenly moved by the Holy Spirit and today it happened again. It's great that the Diocese sees and recognizes the Dumont's efforts and Love. Why stop there, I felt that everyone in Berlin and Gorham should know about these people. I said to others someone should get this to the newspaper and have them carry this story.  Today the Holy Spirit inspired me to at least attempt to make this happen. I visited the Berlin Daily Sun and met with a reporter friend and asked him to share the Good News. I'm not sure it will really happen but at least one other person in Berlin will know about the Dumonts.

Each and every day we are afforded an opportunity to share something special with others, and are called to break out and evangelize. Call it what you will, but the feeling was strong and impossible to resist. I was a little nervous but the words were easy to come by, you see I was Moved by the Spirit and nothing can stop what the Spirit wants.

I know this is my third blog of the week, yes you might have guessed I'm on vacation. I painted a little, cleaned a little, and found out that the Holy Spirit is never on vacation.  I hope each and everyone of us will let the Spirit Move them today, or tomorrow, or real soon!

Take Care, Bonjour, Peace to All.

In Service to One. In Service to all......the call of a Knight!


Michael Johnson (Jackson inside joke) and I were inducted into the Knighs of Columbus last night. Mike and I are being linked together more and more along our journey. We will both benefit in many ways by this great organizaton. I was a member of the Knights over 20 years ago and felt at that time they were not very active serving our community. I guess a lot of my life is coming back full circle. Last night proved to me that they as a group are a great example of what men should be in our community. They are faithful, caring, and offer great works of Charity. Pierre Dumont a classmate and friend of mine spent a weeks vacation with his family helping the people of New Orleans. This is just one example of what we have here in Berlin. I am proud and I'm sure Mike is of joining such a fine group of men.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A moment, a feeling, a coincidence?

Friday afternoon in Berlin & I'm getting out early from work. I decided to pop in at our Parish Book store that is managed by the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary (my teachers in Catholic School Guardian Angel, and Berlin Regional Catholic Junior High). I just had a feeling, a desire, to look around and see if any book caught my attention.

While searching around I met up with Mrs. Sanschagrin who is the wife of the Knight who stopped me to offer the financial support for the coming year. I just had to share with her the story about this unusual circumstance. She was definitely moved by the moment, or some would say a coincidence. I am not a strong believer in coincidences. I felt that the moment was open for me to share and explain how God is supporting me and guiding my feet into the way of peace. We both discussed our education and goals and we would both like to have a Bachelor's degree in Theology, maybe someday when the next four years proceed.

I started looking around and found a book that caught my attention. The cover stock was yellow (two things to know about me, I was a salesman for a printing company, and also I manage a Sherwin-Williams Paint store in Berlin) and then the title got me "No ONE but YOU" by Richard Gribble, CSC  Living Your Call in an Ever-Changing World. Well there is something else I can share about me, I really don't like reading too many books, I don't know maybe ADHD or the fact I have a short attention span. Well this happens to be my kind of book. Short paragraphs and a message that gets right to the point in each short chapter. It fits my daily prayer time and offers me challenges each and every day. I love it, I give it Mitch's two thumbs up!!!!

My last funny story about this unusual moment, is that when I came to pay I tried my debit card. Sister said were too small of a store and they only accept cash or check. Well I asked to have the book put aside and I would come back to pay. Sister told me to take the book and come back another day to pay. Not your typical store, I still haven't paid her yet but I'm sure she knows where to find me. Sister and Mrs. Sanschagrin both mentioned that they would be praying for me, and the feeling was both great and humbling. I'm sure all the Aspirants understand. At times the outpouring is overwhelming, and it leads me to believe that we have such a great need in our parishes and communities that many are excited by this.

Please anyone share your coincidences, feelings, or moments with others, and if the Spirit moves you post it on my blog.

God Bless

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Come to me.......part deux!

The day is getting better by the moment and even with the feelings of uncertainty and the unknown we travel to meet a large group of people we don't really know. The trip was without a doubt as special as the whole day. You see, Mike & Elise Johnson have been people that we have shared a few things together. First of all we share the times spent at St. Michael School in Berlin with our children through education and sports. We also share a common faith. Beyond our time spent in Berlin we pretty much knew a little of each other, but not really all that much.

Our travel together was our second trip with both couples, I guess the beauty of being confined in a car is that it offers opportunities if we take advantage of them. I believe we all did, we got to share our experiences that have brought us to this point. Our conversations were open, honest, and refreshing. We are really getting to know each other and the distance is not awkward. We also have moments of silence and they aren't uncomfortable.  The time seems to move quickly even when we weren't quite sure if we were on the right road.

Finally we arrive a little late, but there none the less. Deacon Greg is the first to greet us with a great big smile, welcoming us to his home and showing us around a bit. Initial impressions for me were great, and comfortable. The uncertainty fades away to a feeling of relaxation, and even more. Both couples move in and we get to meet Fr. Dennis and share very good conversations with him. Next I see Pat and she greets me and Terry very warmly. This is all incredible to me, a unique and undescribable feeling comes over me. We were also introduced to Deacon Arnold.

We all move over to the porch outside and we all seem to find our way to meet and greet with as many people as we can. I carried on a conversation with Deacon Greg and I was able to get to know him a little better by the time we spent. I got to know about his background, his family, his faith, and the direction the Permanent Diaconate program is going.  My wife who is a very open person seems to be quite comfortable also as I could see her while glancing around. From the look of things it appears that the Johnson's are quite comfortable also with the time spent with others. 

It was great to meet some of the other Aspirants and their wives. The time there was incredible. It felt like time stood still and yet moved along quickly. Before we knew it, it was time to leave. Deacon Greg thanked us all and told us this was the beginning of many more of these to come, and the feelings and the looks throughout the room was great. I think many of us were already looking forward to the next time together.

The last person I met was Deacon Ed, and he asked if we had been introduced. I said we weren't and he seemed disappointed and apologized. I told him not to worry, we did meet. This final greeting and farewell was very moving. You see because of this blog I got myself a little notepad to write down my thoughts and feelings to share with all you what has been special to me. This moment was one that I didn't want to forget, so as soon as I got home I wrote them down along with the date of the event.  Now to get back to Deacon Ed, as we were leaving he shared a vision and a message, " We are now all, Aspirants and Deacons part of a greater community, a brotherhood!"

I describe this day as a bit of a Homecoming, and for me a continuation of my coming back to my calling. I know we all come from different backgrounds but on this day we were all part of something special, a new beginning that will help us become what we are all called to be. To all my brothers and their wives thank you for our first family day.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Come to me.........

Come to me the song from the Weston Priory has been stuck in my head for some time now, during my prayers and at mass. It just tugs away at me, and inspires me at many moments. I want to share a very special day with all of you.

Sunday August 22nd was an extremely special day to have in my life. This was the day where all the Permanent Deacon Aspirants (Aspirants is such a strange name, my buddy calls me an Aspirin, hopefully both are helpful) were meeting for the first time at Deacon Greg's house. Mike Johnson my fellow Aspirant from Berlin and our wives were anxious and also uncertain what this day would bring.

Our plans called for leaving sometime after 11:30 to be in Sutton by 2, possible but tight. My wife Terry and I attended the 9 am Mass (this is our usual Mass). I thought it odd that there were three chairs up front that morning, must be a visiting Priest. As Mass began we see Bishop John and Fr. Jason Jalbert (a Berlin Boy) there. The whole congregation was surprised. Bishop John said that this was a surprise visit and that there were no problems in Berlin, that brought some laughter and probably relief from some. This would be my second visit this year, with the Bishop and each time I meet him I come away with more appreciation of him. The Mass obviously was special in many ways, the readings dealt with coming back to the Lord, and that song came back.... Come to Me. I just sang it that morning in my morning prayers, again we were singing it at Mass that day, it just lifts me up and inspires me. Bishop John touched on this in his homily about Jesus sharing our burdens and putting on the yoke to carry us and pull us forward. I could picture myself being bull headed at times in my life (no pun intended) and refusing Our Lord's help. I could also picture how much as a team, which Bishop John reminded us a yoke is for two, Jesus can help me pull forward and not give up. What a way to start the day, and my wife agreed.

Mike Johnson and Elise picked us up and we were off to visit with families we really spent very little time with. When we got to Plymouth we had agreed to stop at the McDonald's and eat dinner. At the restaurant I saw my Yellow Freight driver there and said hi. I say Yellow Freight driver because up until that day I didn't know his name. Mike asked me who I was talking to and I said he's my Yellow Freight driver and I really don't know his name but I was impressed that he knew mine. Right next to me in line was a very nice young lady who kindly told me that's my husband. I was amazed and told her that. She said her husband knows everyone by name. I told her I was impressed and she said he is a very special man. I then introduced myself to Kelley his wife and told her I was Mitch Couture from Sherwin-Williams in Berlin. She asked where I was going to that day. I told her that I was preparing to be a Deacon in the Catholic Church and we were heading south to meet all the other candidates. I was not hesitant to share my good news, I felt moved to share and it felt good. I wished her a great day also.

I sat down to eat with the Johnson's and my wife and the discussion about what happened was a very nice topic during dinner. Before leaving I wanted to go to the rest room and I saw Kelley and the Yellow Freight Driver with their children. I kept thinking that I need to take just a few minutes to talk and get to know this Yellow Freight Driver. I got out of the rest room and told him about meeting his very lovely wife and apologizing for not knowing his name, the Yellow Freight Driver is Tom. I told Tom he had a very special wife and I was impressed by him knowing me by name.I told Tom that Yellow Freight is very lucky to have an employee like him. His daughter Chelsea jumped up and said her name and her brother's name which was hard to understand (I will ask Tom about it next time). I told Chelsea that she was very lucky to have such a nice father, and she smiled. I was moved by the moment to spend time and greet people, I believe that this was a lesson learned by the Holy Spirit. I plan on this being a lesson I don't want to forget.

This Day is getting better by the moment, and .......................to be continued!!! Stay tuned!!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Signs, Signs, Everywhere there are Signs!

Yes I know I am dating my self to being a sixties and seventies child. I remembered the title not the band, The Five Man Electrical Band I Googled it, by the way a 1971 hit song. I and my family aren't immune to the economic downturn, my wife has been unemployed since February. I admire her so much because she volunteers with the Senior Centers in Berlin and is discovering her passion and career calling. Unfortunately with the potential cut off of unemployment benefits I was questioning how we could afford traveling to Plymouth once a week to take classes, and also pay for the classes. Well, I sat down and prayed and begged the Lord for His help and a sign. I asked if you really want me to be a Deacon I need your help. My wife and I soon after went out for our usual walk with the dogs in town. During the walk a member of the Knights of Columbus yelled over to me, " Mitch got a minute!"  "Sure" I said. What's up!" Satch told me "The Knights have always sponsored Seminarians and want to help you and Mike, we will be sending you a check to cover the cost of gas for the upcoming year!" I thanked him and I was speechless, I told my wife that if that wasn't a sign I don't know what could be one.  My prayers were answered within 30 minutes, Unbelievable and true! I don't expect returns that quickly, but the message was clear there are signs everwhere and we just have to learn to be patient and trust in God's Providence. He will provide. That Sunday I was asked to replace someone as Lector for the 9 am Mass. Our new Pastor Fr. Mark Dollard gave me more great news, he said "Mitch, you and Mike won't have to worry about any expenses, the parishes have money aside for Seminarians which will cover whatever you need !" Wow! Another sign to learn to trust. I'm just amazed, and humbled by all of this. In my God's eye I am realizing how special I am to him, I hope I can share that feeling with others, and pray that we can all experience this in our own lives. Ask and You Shall Receive! This journey is becoming more and more amazing with each passing moment. To my Aspirant Brothers I pray for all of us each and every day! We are just ordinary men preparing to do Extraordinary things with the Grace of God.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Welcome to All!

This will continue to be a challenge and an adventure for a computer challenged person. Our God has such a great sense of humor to get someone like me to do this. I am humbled and excited to move forward. Without asking, the outpouring of support has been tremendous by Family, Friends, Parishioners, and everyone. Just picking up some food at the Berlin IGA  presents opportunities to share, reflect, and listen. I pray that I will always have the time, and patience to be open to whatever is presented before me. God Bless you all!