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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, March 30, 2011

Je Cherche le Visage!

Yesterday, was a very mixed bag of happenings in my life. Terry and I attended a funeral for her Aunt yesterday. If you would have asked me what was an area of ministry that I would struggle with, immediately I would have said prison ministry. Without having even spent one moment dealing with that ministry, the unknown left me with uncertainty and probably fears.

Recently I have had to deal with the death of three friends, and one whom I saw on his deathbed. I am struggling with this for many reasons. I have not lost very many people that I Love. I am so blest to have my Mom and Dad still alive, and I regard each and every day a blessing in my life. I know that their mortality eats away at me, each and every time I deal with a friend who is dying. In her recent questionnaire Terry listed dealing with death as an issue that should be addressed at our formation weekends.  I whole heartedly agree. Not just for me personally, but in an aging community this ministry will be a fact of life for me.

At Mass yesterday and old Hymn was played and sung so beautifully. "Je Cherche le Visage" was one that has remained with me, and to hear it again literally brought tears to my eyes! Our faith is so rich by the diversity, of all our ethnic, and cultural heritages. I am searching or looking for the face of God is the literal translation. Vous etes le corps du Christ, you are the body of Christ, vous etes le sang du Christ, you are the blood of Christ, vous etes la paix du Christ, you are the peace of Christ. Alors, qu'avez vous faites pour lui, So what have you done for him? You can sing a song all your life and bang, it comes to life for you all over again. This song is so simple, loving, and powerful as we focus on the words. As we all journey on searching for the face of God, please reflect on these during Lent. If you are interested in hearing the song, just go to youtube.com and check it out.

After Mass Terry, my Son, and I had lunch at a restaurant and had the chance to talk. My Son is going through a difficult break up with his girlfriend and moved back home. He is struggling along and will have to sift through the difficulties of change and being depressed by the lost of a relationship, which is a grieving process. I've also noticed how the tension can escalate and cause arguments, which we had to deal with. Again, our faith is on forgiveness and redemption and we talked through those issues later that night.

Lastly, Tuesdays are my league bowling night and we were in fourth place facing the third place team. My first game I bowled a 251 and had seven strikes in a row. That was the best game I ever bowled in my life. The next two games weren't as impressive but we had a great team night, and took four points to move up to third place and meet next week to decide who finishes in second place. The ups and downs in life is just like a bowling game, keep plugging away and you never know how it will finish up. Go back to basics, relax, and trust in what you have learned.

Well that's it for today, and yeah I'm on vacation this week.

Adieu mes Amis!


Monday, March 28, 2011

Discernment Time!

This coming weekend our group of Aspirants will be enjoying another formation weekend, and the focus will be on Vocation Discernment. I think the timing is perfect. During this time of Lent we are given the opportunity to search for Our Lord and search our hearts for His Call!

This weekend I'm sure will guide us through the journey of moving on towards Candidacy for the Permanent Diaconate. Similar to a marriage our journey begins to mesh into the future. We are Aspirants and most if not all will move on to Candidacy. As we move forward we take on the mantle of our calling. I relate it to a marriage in that the two become one is witnessed at a single public event, but the transformation happens much sooner than that.

I know that I am not the same person that began this journey last year in anticipation of acceptance to this wonderful family. The classes, the formation weekends, the prayers, the support of our parishioners, all are some important. I've learned to say no at times because I can't do it all and I need to continue to balance my life. The Spirit is guiding me along and taking me to places, meeting people, and giving me the words that need to be said.

This week I'm on vacation with Terry and we have the opportunity to just be together and try to get some projects done around the house.

I am so looking forward to meeting my other family again, and I want to continue to meet and talk with others that I haven't been able to do that with. Amazingly enough, you would think that I would have had the chance to talk with everyone. Time and chance hasn't allowed that to happen. I love hearing every one's stories of life,family, & faith.

Please pray for all of us as we can all use them!

Adieu mes Amis,


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Taking Time To Listen!

Well, I discussed earlier how busy these past weekdays were, and that I was anxiously awaiting what the weekend would unveil. It actually began on Friday night, a night I usually spend with my best friend. I left him with an open invitation to do something that night and when he didn't call, I called him at about 8 pm. He shared with me that he had been at the hospital to visit his Uncle who was dying. We also got to talk about his son participating in the state welding tournament, where his son had finished in 9th place. He was pretty proud of his son and I agreed.

Saturday morning the parish added and 8 am Mass and I was asked to serve as a Eucharistic Minister and gladly offered a couple of weekends during Lent. I was there early to finish up some prayers and my best friend's mom "Tiger" was there. Tiger will be a discussion at a future blog edition. Tiger sat with me and we enjoyed a very nice Mass with a small but fervent group of faithful. After Mass we sat together for about 20 minutes just talking, and mostly listening on my part. She is a wonderful lady, that I Love dearly and I was so glad to hear her stories about the family.

After Mass I picked up the Blessed Sacrament to do my hospital ministry. I went home first because I forgot my name badge, you know the rules I have to look official. My son asked me if he could borrow my car to go skiing, so I worked out the details with Terry and Mitch Jr. was happy to go out there and share in his passion. After Terry finished her hair appointment I took her to the Senior Center where she was volunteering for an Old Fashioned Sugar house dinner.

I headed to the hospital and picked up my list and again something new happened. I waited at the desk for any instructions and I saw a nurse I knew and asked her if she knew of anyone else who wanted to receive the Blessed Sacramaent. She said "Please let me receive Him, I really need Him today!" She shared how difficult the day has been already and a I thanked her for the important care she provides.

Unfortunately, most of the faithful were sleeping except for one of them and she was so enthusiastic to receive Our Lord. I am so in awe with the look in their eyes when the receive, it is indescribable. I also went to the children's ICU and prayed outside the doors and when I walked by the chapel I noticed some young people and I was moved to go in and offer my prayers and support for them.

The hospital visit ended with a discussion I had with a classmate of mine. I shared with her how difficult it was for me visiting friends who are dying. She knew who I was talking about, and she shared that they provide as much Love and attention that is humanly possible to give. She added that although it is very difficult at times she is fulfilled by her Loving work.

I traveled back to the Church to return the Blessed Sacrament. When I left the altar I met a parishioner who thought I was Fr. Mark. I guess were both pretty tall guys so it is understable. He asked me how my studies were going and how much longer before I could serve the parish. This question still comes up very frequently. I told him that my studies were going very well and he wanted to discuss his love for the old Hymns. He offered that he really misses them and doesn't like the new hymns. I listened as he would share his passion for the music and I understood his nostalgia for the past.Ironically, I would read in my book that evening how we see the image of Christ. I honestly feel that he would see and meet Christ in music. We finished my discussing how we have evolved into one parish, and the fact that our one Church of worship is probably one of the most beautiful Churches in the Diocese. "Check out the pictures on catholicchurchnh.org where you can see our Stations of the Cross and other beautiful pictures.

The rest of the day was simple, a beautiful dinner with my family at the Senior Center. Mom, Dad, my sister, and my wife had dinner together. My son came back home and we had supper together. I started reading for class, and Terry and I were waiting for Bruce again to call. He didn't call so I texted him and he quickly got sick of texting and called me. He was at Wal Mart at the Dunkin Donuts. Terry wanted to go so while she was shopping I sat down, had a cup of coffee with him. We talked, and we both listened to each other. It was a short but enjoyable time.

Well, that is a recap of a very interesting day. I know this was a very long discussion today, but this week has been, let's say inspirational.

I pray that Our Lord showers you with the same Blessings that I have received this week. It has truly been a week of Epiphanies!

Adieu mes Amis,


Friday, March 25, 2011


This week was anything but boring. An old friend came by to spend time with me and my staff this week. I have been in business with Sherwin-Williams for almost 26 years. In that time span I have met many, many people. Bob works in the wallpaper industry and we have known each other for over 20 years. I haven't seen him in about three or four years and it was great to renew an old friendship. The people that I work with become more than just associates, I generally build a relationship with them. Bob was always a great person to talk to, work with, and help out in any way he could.

My Son moved back home from California. Yeah, most people say what??? Like any place in the world, scenery and weather may not give you everything you want out of life. The transition for him will be challenging, as I remember dearly coming home after leaving the Seminary in my second year. I shared the experience with him and I know he'll be ok but coming home doesn't look too good to him at this time.

Last night we had our third Christology class and right now it seems to me that this is a course that inspires some passion in all of us. We have had some great discussions and the atmosphere is just wonderful. We had a problem with our class being locked up, so Steve found a lounge room that would be large enough for our small group. We were all comfy, cozy in that little room. Before we knew it the time was up and we were making that little trip back home again.

Today I was trying to wrap up a bunch of things at work before heading for a vacation. I called my best friend and asked him to join me for dinner at McDonalds. Yeah, nothing is too good for me and my buddy. Filet of Fish are on sale and even though we can eat meat today I still love to have them during lent. We weren't together for very long but the time spent together talking and sharing is something I will never tire from.

Yes, this week thus far has been eventful. I'm looking forward to the weekend to see what will happen. I will attend Mass tomorrow morning and then probably visit the hospital. It reminds me of what we discussed at class last night. Fr. John said that while in the Seminary he volunteered to tutor to a youth club. The ministry began with tutoring, the end result was to be in the presence of people and share some time with them. That's what has been happening with me when I visit the hospital.

Well a walk through town now that the weather is better will be on the agenda and my fasting day is tomorrow.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Adieu mes Amis!


PS please pray for those who have no one to pray for them. I heard this last night and I love it!

Monday, March 21, 2011

A weekend of friendship, relaxing, and best of all bowling!

For the past six years I have spent one weekend attending the NH state amateur bowling association tournament. The key word for me is amateur as even though I'm not too bad at home I have yet to come back with a successful weekend of bowling. You may wonder why I would put myself through this for six years and not even having one great weekend of bowling. Well first of all I guess I'm the eternal optimist believing that eventually the law of averages has to balance out. Second if it was all about winning I probably wouldn't go, don't get me wrong I am a very competitive person, but my main reason for going is a chance to hang out with my buddies and doing something I love to do.

This year was an improvement over last year in scores, but the experience was heads and tails above all of them. The main reason was the four other guys who joined me were so much fun to be with. For the first time my best friend Bruce was right there with me and I know we both loved it. We shared good food, good times, and I wouldn't have traded it for anything else.

As disappointing as it is to struggle with my bowling, next year I plan on going back with my buddies and trying it out again. We are thinking of merging our two teams together, Sherwin-Williams and Windshield World into SHER-WIN World! I think it has a great ring to it.  

The weekend also gave me a chance to have a little balance in my life. So I'm back refreshed, a little frustrated, but ready to tackle my studies and a return to class on Thursday. By the way I really love this class, Christology.

I hope you all had a great weekend.

Adieu mes Amis!


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Who loves to receive letters?

I do! Yesterday Terry called me and told me I received a letter in the mail and that she thought it was a medal. I was definitely curious. As soon as I got home I looked for the letter. I haven't received too many letters that got me this excited. The last one was waiting for the acceptance letter from the Bishop.

The letter was a very small white envelope with two Christmas stamps on the right side. There was no return address anywhere to be found. I could definitely feel that there was a medal inside. I opened it and found a beautiful and very touching medal. One side of the medal was St. Michael, my actual name is Michael, and the other side of the medal was the Guardian Angel. My first parish was Guardian Angel.

I was so touched by the gesture and quickly found that there wasn't a note at all, or so I thought. I looked around and could see on the inside a short note. "we thought of You!"
Wow! I had to share this with all of you today! I Love letters and this is right up there with the best of them, because it came from the heart. My last paper I wrote for New Testament class was on the Letters of St. Paul and how I felt that the underlining message throughout was Love. Yesterday I was reminded that the Love of Christ is shared with many, and today I am still treasuring that Love.

How do you top an event like that, or even describe how you feel after getting this wonderful gift. I will always be reminded of the little things in life that keep me going.

Share a little Love out there on St. Patrick's Day!

Adieu mes Amis,

Mitch (Michael)

ps: Last night we had our second Christology course and we had a discussion on the Diaconate and then Fr. John stated that unfortunately we don't get letters from God. I had to tell everyone about the letter I received the other day and that I felt it was a letter from God. Fr. John smiled and said.."You know it isn't important to try to figure out who it came from, because it actually was a letter from God!"

Monday, March 14, 2011

A look back at this past weekend!

I had a full weekend to deal with. On Saturday morning I helped my brother knights with the Northern championship for freethrow shooting. I have to say it was so much fun coming back to some of my roots. I coached basketball for several years and being back on the court was just awesome. .

That afternoon I spent quiet time reading my assignments and getting ready for next Thursday's class. I really love this class and I can feel myself growing and getting hungry for even more knowledge.  I will be writing my pre- class paper tonight and just relax for the rest of the evening.

The knights planned a group Mass at 4 pm and I volunteered for anything they needed and I was assigned to be an altar server. It's been a least 14 years since the last time I did this with my son. I felt that I did alright, and I really enjoyed the experience.

Saturday night we had friends from Manchester, and my best friend over. We started playing a game of Michigan Rummy and we ended up just talking for the evening. Yeah, I live a wild life! I enjoy just spending time with people, and judging by the clock striking 1 am, I guess every one else felt the same way.

On Sunday I was lector for the 9 am Mass, and to be honest with you I just love to read at Mass. After Mass I decided to go to the hospital to bring the Eucharist to the sick and just be there for them. This event started rather strangely as the receptionist said " I have your list ready, I've been expecting you!" This has never happened to me before. It was a fairly long list and I made sure to allow plenty of time with all of them. The experience was so up and down for me. I Love being there, and for the first time in my Ministry I had to deal with a friend who is dying. I really don't remember what I said to the family, but I was awestruck by this man's Love and Faith in Our Lord. With very little energy inside of him, he had  the strength to make the sign of the cross and pray with all of us. There are no words that I can find to describe the feelings that came over me. I met or prayed with everyone else and I was so glad to be there, yet my friends health really affected me.

I had lunch with my family and throughout the meal and the time together I felt the weight of the experience at the hospital hanging over me. The rest of the day was a struggle, even at bowling  night I just wasn't myself. I couldn't escape from what had happened and I guess I will have to accept that the Lord will help me through this and that despite my lack of experience I was an instrument of His Love.

Today, I am dealing with this a little better and you can bet this will be an interesting discussion at my next spiritual direction session.

Well, I hope you all had a great weekend and I pray for all the sick, their families, and all my brothers and sisters.

Adieu mes Amis,


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ministry of Presence

I left out something very important that occurred during my last spiritual direction meeting with Fr. Mark. I got on the discussion of how much I enjoyed giving the Eucharist to those in the hospital on Saturday's. I mentioned to him how much more important it has become to me in my life.  That's when Fr. Mark said it's all about the Ministry of Presence. We need to just be there for someone, to touch them both physically and spiritually.  Hold their hands, listen to them, and just be a physical presence of Our Lord to them.

Last week I lost a very dear man that I truly loved. Romeo was my Boy Scout Leader, an inspiration, a man of Love, and faith. Romeo battled his demons, and showed everyone what can happen when you embrace your faith. He earned respect from everyone for his love of life and his true devotion to mankind. I attended his funeral on Friday and was touched by his daughter's stories about her Dad. One especially touched me where she said that a young man shared with her at the IGA how much Romeo influenced his life by being his Scout Leader. I cried believing that I was the one who told her that story. Today I met her at the Dollar store ( remember no coincidences ) and there she was. I just had to share my love for her Dad and just be there for her. I asked her about that story and she said it wasn't me, and then I said " Louise that story was not just Denis's story, or Mitch's, or just one young man, it was all our stories from a man who touched so many." Romeo was a man who was there for people,and who epitomized the Ministry of Presence. We talked for over an hour and I returned the gift her father shared with me. Jesus led me to be bold, to give, share, and just be there for someone. Again I received as much from this as I had given.

I pray that when the opportunity arrives for any one of you to be there for someone, you will seize the moment and be able to be there for someone.

Adieu mes Amis,


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A week off??? Yeah Right!

Well after kick starting our class last week we are all on break this week. So what do you do when you have a week off? Relax right? Well not quite. This is my schedule for the week. Last night I was supposed to go with Terry to do our taxes, well you probably saw that we got dumped on yesterday to the tune of about 15 inches of heavy wet snow. Yuk! I spent an hour and half cleaning my driveway while Terry was off having the taxes done.

So Tuesday will be a a relaxing night right? Actually it is. I will be heading to my favorite past time tonight, bowling. Unfortunately I was low man on my team and I will be keeping score and cheering on our team. We are in second place in this league and fourth place on Sunday.

Wednesday being Ash Wednesday I will be attending Mass and will be an extraordinary minister for this Mass. This is a break I really need. I get recharged by attending Mass and I am really looking forward to Lent this year. I have been using a prayer to keep myself in check, "Lord Jesus Christ Son of God have mercy on me a sinner! I'm sure some of you have heard of this and I'm really enjoying it.

Thursday night will be another good night, I will be attending a Knight's of Columbus meeting. Because they meet on class nights I haven't been able to attend too many of these, so I get a treat this week.

Finally, what will the weekend be like?  I'm wide open and I possibly may head down south to watch the boy's basketball finals for division III. Haven't firmed that one yet, and it all depends on what happens tonight. If we do make it, the south will be invaded by all Berlinites who are the best traveling fans next to the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. I'm really not exaggerating this at all.

Well, a week off has opened up a few things that I Love to do.  I hope all of you are enjoying your week and let's prepare ourselves during this time of Lent.

Adieu mes Amis,


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Dealing with the ups and downs of the week.

 Thursday was one of those days where I was really up for going to class . I picked up Terry in Glen to make sure that she would be joining me for Christology class in Plymouth. Terry was taking a course on the elderly (her passion) and she wanted to make sure that I wasn't traveling alone. We had a great class with Fr. John. We discussed how our own perceptions and experiences filtered our relationship with Jesus. The truly human and divine person of Jesus. Our final discussion dealt with ascending or descending Christology. My life, my experiences lead me to a descending Christology, but I find myself morphing into a little bit of both. My life as a Catholic in a very small community based life at Guardian Angel guided me to the point that I have been in my life, and now as my journey in faith continues I am growing, changing, and my relationship with Jesus is not the same.  Obviously this was such a great class to be in.

Last night I participated in the Whole Community Catechises and we were doing the Stations of the Cross. I was asked to do the first station, The Agony in the Garden. I felt it tied in very well with our Christology class. The fully human and divine Jesus that endured all of our pains and understands our sufferings. We discussed how we have become a world that avoids pain and suffering, and we are becoming literally numb to pain. You know what was the best part of both my class on Thursday and last night? Being with people I Love and have so much to share with.

I topped off the night spending time with my best friend at the Millyard last night. We had a few appetizers and some beer and best of all we were able to just relax and have fun together. We met so many people who talked to us and there it was again, just being in the presence of people I love and care for.

The downs for the week? Only one! Thursday night we were over 20 below zero! Yuk!

Have a great weekend everybody!

Adieu mes Amis,


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

No more lonely rides home!

Today, Terry and I received some wonderful news. Pat Gabree called Terry and told her that she would be welcomed to join me, Tom,Steve & Linda at our classes in Plymouth. Terry has been worrying about my long trips home and asked if they would consider her joining the classes. Steve and Linda (thank you) put in a plug to get the ok. So officially tomorrow begins the joint venture we will be sharing with our group. I know that she will like the classes and we will have another opportunity to share together. Tom, you will have to bring an extra plate for supper tomorrow night! (Pizza is always on our menu!)

Christology begins tomorrow night and once again I can't wait. I sent in my final paper for New Testament on Sunday, and started to dive into the reading portion. I looked at the author of the book and saw Matthias Neuman OSB. Hmm, OSB I wondered if he was from St. Meinrad, and I thought he might have been a classmate of mine when I attended college there. It turns out, I was only half right. Yes he was from St. Meinrad and no he wasn't a former classmate of mine. Anyways the Catechism and the book were very good so far. Maybe, just maybe I'm beginning to enjoy reading books again. Well, the Christology book is not very large and it is definitely easy reading.

Good luck to all you taking the classes and rest assured I will still be thinking of all you on my journeys back home. I'm pretty sure that the radio will stay off on the way home, I'm getting used to not have those distractions in my life.

Take Care & Adieu mes Amis!