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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 ...

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!