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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 ...

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Back on the road again; knock knock!

Well, I was back on the road again this week. Thursday was the first night of our New Testament class. It was an interesting night of reviewing our Old Testament class and plowing into our New Testament class. I say plowing into, because as you all know we are trying to load up on so much information in such a small amount of time. Like all the other classes, three hours goes by rather quickly. Fr. Biron is very articulate and enthusiastic in his deliveries. I think the most important element he presented dealt with a book that we would not be using. It presented the parallels in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. He presented a snippet of information for us to reflect on. The opening lines from the rich young man in each Gospel:

 "And behold, one came up to him saying, "Teacher what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?" Matthew 19:16; "And he was setting out on his journey, a man ran and knelt before him, and asked him,"Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Mark 10:17; "And a ruler asked him,"Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"
 Luke 18:18!

These parallels reminded me of a game we all learned, where we hear something and it always seems to get changed somehow. Sometimes the changes are extremely obvious, other times they are simply subtle, the more people involved the more obvious the changes. Since Mark was the first and influenced Matthew and Mark we notice subtle differences. The essence or the message is universal and yet we notice each one gave the message in a different way. This part of the class really impressed me the most of everything we learned. The drive home was uneventful as usual and I thank the Lord for that.

Today marked the second official time I did hospital ministry. The last time I was there I felt that I missed an opportunity to be a witness to someone who wasn't on the official list. I should have pressed forward and yet I didn't. I resolved to avoid this happening again to me. I can't put into words how much I am changed by being there. The look, the Love, and the faith is incredible. I met so many people that each and every experience was special. I Love it! 

This was truly a great week of work, schooling, ministry, and family time.

Adieu mes Amis,


Friday, January 28, 2011

Who me Lord?

Last week before I left for my National Sales Meeting my world got turned upside down. A friend of mine that I've know for over 25 years passed away. Bob was my first original painting customer who I grew very close to. Bob was a terrific gentlemen in every sense of the word. The night before I was leaving for my trip his wife calls me and asks me to read the prayer of the faithful at the funeral and then she asked if I could go over to meet with her. I asked if I could see her when I got back on Sunday and she said that would be too late. I said sure, I'll see you in an hour. I showered, ate supper, got ready for bowling and went to visit her. I expected this would take about 15 to 20 minutes, and then it happened.

Jesus obviously had other plans for me that night. I spent time listening, sharing, and just being there for her. She asked me to give each child a gift that she was planning on giving to her husband on Valentine's day. The gifts were very beautiful. The Lord's plan was unfolding before me, be patient, listen, talk, and most of all let's pray together. I held her hand and asked our Lord the Great Physician to heal both body and soul, and to give her the courage and strength to deal with this.  Before I knew it, an hour and a half had passed and I left.

As I got into my car, I had to sit and reflect. What happened here? Why me? Is this a small snippet of what is to come? I felt comfortable and you know what? It is true what our Lord said, about the Holy Spirit giving you the words to say. It happened to me that night, and also at the reception after the funeral. I was moved and honored to be a member of Bob's family for a day, and the opportunity to present the gifts to his children.

I remember a time when Terry and I were taking our Marriage classes and our priest told us something very special. He said, you know we speak of the two becoming one,it actually  occurs prior to the marriage. I honestly think that my journey towards being a Deacon is similar. I still have a long road to go, and yet it can't be something that bang now your ready and official. I am realizing that there will be opportunities before me that the Lord is preparing me for and I must be ready and willing to serve.

Bosoir mes Amis,



Monday, January 24, 2011


Yesterday at Mass our Celebrant was Fr. Mark and since his arrival he has been known for sharing a joke with everyone at his sermons. The congregation loves it so much that yesterday he shared one that someone passed on to him. It was a great joke that loosened up everyone and then he tied it in with his sermon. I can't say enough how fortunate we are to have him leading our parishes.

In the spirit of sharing, my assistant manager shared with me a little article she thought would be appropriate in my blog. The article dealt with people making quick judgements on anyone. It really got to the point without a religious twist. The author alerted people how often times we are all guilty of this. We look at an overweight individual whom we believe is ordering or eating the wrong foods and  they obviously just lack self control. You may see a mother trying to deal with an agitated child, and some might say..."can't she control that child!" Everyone who is on welfare is lazy and a drain on society and should just get a job like everyone else. The examples could go on and on!

I have been guilty of this at some points of my life. It is easy to make quick judgements on people without knowing them or trying to understand them. The answer was rather simple in nature. Don't look and judge, share a kind word, smile, be different from what they are used to seeing. Change begins one person at a time, just like Jesus did! Our mission is to be like the Master and attempt to do one on one ministry. Jesus didn't do mass healing, he dealt with the most important person in the world at the time. The one in front of him!

Bonsoir mes Amis!!


PS. school starts up again Thursday night for us pioneers. Good luck to all of you!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A new connection.........a coincidence????

On Wednesday morning I left a snowy and frigid Berlin to fly to Orlando to attend my company's yearly National Sales Meeting. It was a great week to learn about new products, a new launching that will occur in June, a chance to renew old friendships, and begin new friendships. Thursday evening our district gathered at the ESPN Zone and I thought the highlight was getting to know the personal sides of my coworkers (friends), especially three of them. We wrapped up a very quick three days and Saturday's return trip home was upon me.

I have been traveling on these trips for over 23 years, and this one produced a new connection and some would call only a coincidence. I left the hotel at 6:30 am to try to avoid the mad rush to get checked in. You see, there were about 7,000 of us attending these meetings. I had hoped by getting there early I could do my prayers and reflect in some silence. Yes, even at an airport it is possible to find peace. So I caught up with my prayers and then sat back to read WAU (Word Among Us).The reflection for Saturday begins with this..."How much more will the blood of Christ.....cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God (Hebrews 9:14) and then quickly reminds us that today is the 38th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, and that there would be many people descending upon Washington DC to affirm and support the dignity of life.

Again, I have been taking these trips for over 23 years and I have rarely traveled through Washington DC, and normally our trip is  a week later. I sat in silence and pondered the significance of me leaving Orlando and being in Washington on this anniversary. Our plane left Orlando as scheduled and arrived a little early in Washington. Our group gathered together to eat lunch and I could see large groups of people traveling together. They were heading home; I saw a Brother with a large group of teenagers all decked out with bright yellow hats and scarves. I also saw another group with two nuns gathered together.

One common element stood out for me. They were all happy, and all seemed to have an incredible smile. I couldn't really take my eyes off of them. I was sitting with 7 other friends for lunch and my attention was drawn to these people. They were all there to reaffirm the value and sanctity of human life. I was truly mesmerized by this experience. Soon they left and our lunch was over and I had some quiet time to reflect, pray, and read. My newest district friends were directly across from my gate and I left what I was doing to talk, and be with them. I felt pulled by someone to drop what I was doing and be with others. The experience again left me with a great feeling. I said my goodbyes and wished them well until we meet again (Adieu).

My flight home was not as spectacular but I carried on a conversation with a young college student that I really enjoyed. I also gave kind words to a woman who was traveling with her two daughters. She was a little frustrated by their talking and seemed to be very concerned if we were annoyed by them. I know that I wasn't bothered and it really didn't seem like anyone else was. When we landed in Portland I got up and invited her to go before me, and told her that her children were very good considering their ages. She didn't agree but I said...."They are really alive! She seemed to like that.

I'm so sorry that this was so long, but this day offered me so much that I had to share. I dealt with a new connection traveling through Washington DC on the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. I read the WAU reflection that alerted me. I saw so much, and felt so much Love there and throughout the entire day. Coincidence to some maybe, to me no!  All this was meant for me, and I pray that I didn't miss any opportunities that Our Lord put before me.

I am forever changed and grateful for such a memorable day!

God Bless you all, and Adieu mes Amis!


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Behold the Lamb of God!

Yesterday I officially began my ministry at the hospital. I say officially because of the paperwork that is needed in this day and age, good or bad the experience for me is unequaled. The faith I see, and the way their eyes light up when they are about to receive the Holy Eucharist is incredible. I am also in awe of the one yesterday who didn't receive, but was very willing to pray along with me for his health. We prayed, I touched his hands and asked that the Great Physician our Lord Jesus Christ heal both body and Soul. The faith of those in the hospital was truly inspirational for me.

Last night, to balance off our lives Terry and I joined my best friend and his wife for supper. Just the time to spend together away from the distractions of the world was so nice. Terry topped it off by sharing some of her homemade bread. I still find it incredible the joy that people express whenever she presents this to them. A simple gift that offers so much basic human pleasure. My folks were given one also, and my Dad couldn't wait till morning to have his toast.

Today at Mass we hear from the Gospel of John the words uttered by John the Baptist..."This is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world." I believe that I have stated many times that I read the Word Among Us each day. Today I had a busy morning that I didn't have the opportunity to read it until after receiving the Eucharist. Needless to say, the inspiration provided to me by the daily meditation was overwhelming.  John the Baptist after preparing so long to see Our Lord, immediately recognizes him without having known him. I could see the faces of those in the hospital recognizing Jesus. They saw with bright and inviting eyes, and I could see the joy that only true Faith and Love for the Eucharist could bring. Yesterday presented me the opportunity to truly witness something spectacular, and today I saw and recognized Our Lord in a new light. I pray that I may always recognize Jesus when I see him, and also have that look of Love that the patients had when they were able to receive Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

The pace of my blog will slow down a bit as I am preparing to leave for a national sales meeting for Sherwin-Williams where I work. I am leaving early Wednesday morning to get to the airport in Portland Maine.  While away I will be praying for all my families, (blood,aspirants,friends,& parishioners), and also for those who have followed what I share in this blog. I am extremely humbled as to how this information gets out there!

God Bless you all, and I pray that today and from now on we can all be like John the Baptist and easily recognize and embrace Our Lord.

Adieu mes Amis, a bientot!


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Practice, Practice, We're Talking About Practice?

Anybody who follows professional sports at all will definitely remember this line.The quote comes from NBA star Alan Iverson who was frustrated by his coach who ridiculed him and fined him for missing practice, and not really putting in a strong effort when he was there. I remember quite well how foolish I thought he looked for making those comments. I also felt he thought too highly of himself, that he didn't need to waste his time putting a full effort, or really practicing his craft. After all he was an NBA superstar, why did he need to practice?

I use to coach girl's basketball and always stressed practicing the fundamentals with them. I reminded them that it might be boring, repetitive, and at times not very fruitful, but someday they will realize the value in what they did. All the girl's no matter what their level of skill was improved. They got it! They would actually beg me to set up extra practices to sharpen their skills.  I was so proud of them for their effort.

So where am I going with this you say? Today I read my daily reflection from the Word Among Us and the message today was that we need to practice our faith through the fundamentals of prayer, reflection, and asking our Lord for help. Bingo! The Alan Iverson quote immediately popped into my head. It's amazing how I thought he appeared to be so above everything, and quite arrogant.

I began to imagine Jesus our Coach trying to get me and everyone to just spend time practicing our faith. Say our prayers, smile, talk to a stranger, help out someone in need, be a minister in the marketplace. At times in my life I was Alan Iverson so to speak. Come on Jesus we're talking about practice? . Alan Iverson doesn't look as bad to me anymore, because at times I see myself telling my Coach the same thing. So today, begins a new challenge to really focus on the fundamentals and really practice my faith. I'm sure with the proper attitude, and determination my Coach will be proud of my effort.

Adieu mes Amis,


I Refuse!

Well, we all recovered from our mini storm yesterday! It was supposed to be 2 to 6 inches, then 10 inches and it ended up being over 18 inches. I had 3 little angels last night who helped me clear out my driveway. My assistant manager, her husband, and le petit Michel (her son Michael) finished most of my driveway with their truck and plow. I thanked them so much for the help, and it really proved invaluable. While trying to finish up the driveway I broke a shear pin on my snow blower and I thought for sure I had another one. I searched for over 10 minutes and no luck. I took the dogs out with me for a trip to see if I could get lucky enough to find someone open who had one. The odds were slim and none,  and it turned out it was none. With the driveway mostly done I called it a night and had supper with Terry.  It was a long day so I finished my journal, said my prayers, and called it a night.

Oh yeah, the title of the blog is I Refuse! The story behind it is this....at our Thursday group morning prayer Rollie shared with me a you tube video I Refuse by Josh Wilson. You really have to see this. As Rollie said to me...it really spells out our mission. "I can't do everything, but I refuse to do nothing!"  Check it out!

Bonsoir mes Amis, Adieu!


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

So when are you going to be quitting your job???

I don't really understand it, but there is this belief out there that I'm going to quit my job to be a full time deacon. In the past few weeks I have been fielding this question, along with the question of how long will it be before I am a deacon, maybe 6 months??? Yeah, six months in a crash course would be outrageous. My assistant manager is also being asked if she is excited about being the manager of my store real soon!!

I'm not kidding about all of this. I guess there is a lot of excitement and there is need for a little bit of communication out there. I kind of wish Fr. Mark would describe the process to all the parishioners, but I think I would be missing out on an opportunity to talk with people and personally answer their questions. People are going out of their way to talk to me and I find that the door is open for me to share the good news with others. So to share the the news I've completed two courses, and passed both of them. I have completed two weekends one informational and one extremely enjoyable and being of the formation side of studies.

My next course starts January 27th at Plymouth State University and the course will be New Testament. It's been a nice break and I'm actually getting anxious to get going again.  Obviously the days aren't boring I work 48 hours a week as manager of the Berlin NH Sherwin-Williams store, I'm league secretary of the Sunday Couples Bowling league, and I sponsor and bowl on Tuesday's Commercial league.  I'm faithfully maintaining my journal, my prayers, and I meet one morning a week for prayers with 1 Deacon, 1 Aspirant, and two other men in our parish. I'm also planning to start weekend ministry at the hospital very shortly, you know a little training here and there and proper identification is required. You gotta love this red tape world we live in.

All in all I keep fairly busy working, squeezing in time for Terry, and keeping up with this blog. So to repeat to everyone out there I will not be quitting my job for at least 12 years, when I hope I can retire!!! Oh! Is anyone else out there fielding this issue! Please let me know that I'm not the only one!

Bonsoir mes Amis, Adieu!


Monday, January 10, 2011

Taking a walk on the white side!

Saturday morning Terry and I decided to take a trip to North Conway and do some shopping. We brought the dogs along with us to get them out of the house. While we were heading down there I mentioned to Terry that we should stop by Dolly Copp campground and take a walk with the dogs.

We haven't had too much snow yet and the snow has packed up very hard so there wasn't a need for snow shoes. It was so nice to just walk for about an hour just the four of us. It was so quiet and peaceful. I don't really know who enjoyed it most, Terry and I or the dogs?

The day reminded me of a mini retreat, a time to think, share, and be recharged.

Bonsoir mes amis,



Saturday, January 8, 2011

Vatican not collaborating with Discovery Channel’s exorcism series, says spokesman :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Vatican not collaborating with Discovery Channel’s exorcism series, says spokesman :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

What's my line......and the answer is???

Would the real St. Peter
Please stand up!

Last night our parishes held the monthly whole community catechises, and the topic was discipleship. The leaders organized ten volunteers who would answer questions about themselves and the audience would guess which disciple each one of us represented. I represented St. Peter last night. I did a little Internet homework to be able to give just enough information to get a glimpse without giving it totally away.

I was thrown for a curve ball right away as Fr. Mark read the gospel of John and it described to a T exactly who I was if I answered the way I had planned. I had to change it up enough to make it a little more difficult for everyone. It appeared to be a big hit with everyone as the audience was really getting into it.

Wanted Disciples of Jesus

Must be willing to go where ever needed
Must be able to handle rejection
Must be flexible
No experience required or special skills needed
The Boss is willing to train anyone
Fringe benefits are out of this world!!!

The last part of our night dealt with what it would take to be a disciple. We discussed the job description as this was a sample of what we came up with. A few of us shared about what we felt was our calling and Emilie our teacher asked me to share and I felt it important to share what is going on in my life and what will be expected of me. I have felt it very important, so much so, that I feel compelled to be visible to the parishioners and almost everyone out there. Remember, a lamp can't be hidden under the bed. I need to be out there even if it takes more time out of my day. Last night, was great to share and I hope I was able to spread a little good news out there.

Bonjour mes amis,



Thursday, January 6, 2011

Door man: St. Andre Bessette

Door man: St. Andre Bessette

Good evening to all, today we celebrate the first feast day of St. Andre Bessette. I thought it appropriate to share this with all of you today. I have been very fortunate to visit L' Oratoire St. Joseph in Montreal two times thus far and both with my wife. Together we spent time in reflection and awe at what can be accomplished with a little faith. Montreal is not too far away for us in New Hampshire and I highly recommend that if you are ever in Montreal you must go visit. PS plan on being there for some time, it is so peaceful. Don't forget to click on the title "Door man: to get a little information on St. Andre.

Bonsoir et Adieu mes Amis.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The pen, the ball, and what's my line!

What's this all about? Well with a New Year before us I'm tackling one of our challenges, writing a daily journal! I'm on a roll I have taken the time to write a little something each and every day of what is going on in my life. It may be something funny, serious, or somewhat significant, either way I jot it down. I read the Word Among Us daily and saw a 2011 Journal book for sale. I ordered it and I really love it so far. Yeah, I know it's been only a few days old but like new beginnings they have to start somewhere. Remember, we have all been encouraged to do so and I can see why? Good luck with yours.

Yes, once again I'm bringing up one of my favorite pastimes. Bowling is a guarded passion of mine. Good night, bad night, it's always a great night. I get to lose myself and just have fun. Fr. Mark and I will be on the lanes eventually. There is even talk of having a parish bowling night out, I think I could chair that event. Anyways, find your passion and let it roll! I know corny, but I warned you!

Yes I'm old enough to know what this show is all about! I have seen the original in reruns of course and always enjoyed it. So why is this significant? Well Friday night we will be having our monthly whole community catechises event and the topic is discipleship. Again, so what? Well the organizers thought it would be neat to have people come up and answer questions to allow the participants to guess which disciple you are. I won't reveal which one I am in case some of our parishioners are attempting to cheat and win the big prize, whatever it is.

So in a nutshell this is a snippet of what is happening in my life before the next class begins, and for the northern contingent it is January 27th at PSU. (We still have room available)

Bonsoir mes amis!



PS, what's up with the visual effects. Two reasons, when I first became league secretary in the Sunday Couples league I started a tongue and cheek newsletter to roast people, spice up the league, and get everyone energized. It worked, people really enjoyed the graphics and I had fun with it. Secondly, our last formation Brother Mark reminded me that we are people of senses and the sense of sight can often times be lost. So voila!

Monday, January 3, 2011

I just love a campfire!

I thought I would share some pictures of our New Year's Campfire and my 50th Birthday!

Please note picture above; our celebration was at my best friends home and there were approximately 60 High School students who later that evening joined us at the fire, and the greatest compliment received by one student was....
"I can't believe we could have so much fun without alcohol!"
We all enjoyed a wonderful evening of gathering together!

Yeah, that's me with the green John Deere Hat, with some great friends.

My Best Friend Bruce and me the birthday boy!
Yes 50!

Bonsoir mes Amis!


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Blog Alert!

I recommend to everyone to check out the Deacon's bench blog, but especially his homily for tomorrow January 2, 2011. You can link this from my blog list located at the right hand side at about the middle of the column.

Adieu mes amis!


Works of Mercy....who benefits?

A blessed day and a Happy New year to all! Mike, my brother aspirant and I have been talking about presenting Communion to the hospital here on weekends. For some time now I thought about this,shared this with Mike, and he got the green light from Fr. Mark to do this. This being my first time going to the hospital I thought it would be better if we  went together. We met at Church to pick up the Blessed Sacrament. 

Mike mentioned that it shouldn't take very long. We anticipated probably 5 or 6 people and were surprised to see that there were actually eleven. Mike's wife Elise works there and helped us through the process. We had a list to follow and we proceeded to meet each and every one.

There was a mixture of reactions from many. First, our parishes didn't provide Communion on weekends at the hospital which seemed to catch some off guard. Then, I'm sure there was the curiosity of who we were, and this gave us both a wonderful opportunity to share our journey with them. We were extremely well received. We had most who wanted Communion, and we had very few who said no. Today being the Feast of Mary Mother of God we made sure to pray with everyone. Those who didn't receive Communion requested and participated in prayer. We shared with everyone that they would be thought of in our Evening Prayers. We had one person in ICU who we couldn't give Communion to, or even meet, so at her door Mike and I prayed for her to be healed.

The lady in ICU was our last parishioner to meet or so we thought. On the way  back to check out I met an old friend. I asked her what she was doing there and she said that her husband was ill and she was going to see him. I mentioned to her that I didn't see his name on the list. She told me that her husband had lost his desire to attend Mass many years ago, especially since the sexual abuse scandals broke out, but she mentioned that he would always watch Mass every evening on the television. I shared that I felt he didn't lose his faith or Love for God. She was pleased and comforted by that. This man was sleeping so Mike and I prayed and implored Our Blessed Mother to intercede on our behalf for him.

We shared our journey with other staff from the hospital, and we met more parishioners who asked us to stop in. When I finished talking with a parishioner, Mike alerted to me that my old friend wanted me to come in to see her husband who had awakened. He shared with me the pains of his spiritual life and his great love for the Mass,  and that he would watch faithfully. I encouraged and listened to him to share his story. I also shared about my journey, my pains, and my joys in faith. I offered him to pray over him and he agreed. I can't describe in words the inner peace that I received from this. A calm still was in the room and even though there were two patients nurses, etc. all I could feel was the gentlemen, his wife, myself and Our Lord.


Mike asked what I thought of the experience, again I was lacking the words. Mike stated it best..."I think we receive so much from this experience." Amen!

Mike and I will be alternating weekends to care,comfort, and counsel the sick. I know I was truly moved by what happened today. I am so looking forward to my next visit in 2 weeks.

God Bless you all! Today we pray for the sick, those Mike and I met today; the special request from our brother aspirants, and all those in hospitals, nursing homes, and the home bound.

Adieu mes amis!