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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 ...

Friday, April 29, 2011

Are we there yet?????

Ah, that sweet phrase that children ask their parents all the time. We are all getting closer to the end of our first year of studies. One more class and two more formation weekends are on the agenda. Honestly it's with mixed emotions to see it come to an end. Steve, Tom, and I are all looking forward to a chance to unpack what we have learned and start to integrate this into our lives.I am are starting to get busier at the store, so the weekly travels coming to an end are a blessing.

Our small prayer group is still meeting every morning at 6:15 am. I'm finding it easier to get up a little earlier. I just love the time with my friends praying and we plan on gathering together after the studies to share our little stories.

Well, this being Friday I'm getting ready for tomorrow's trip to St. Methodius. I can't wait to see all of my brother aspirants, and all the other members of our family. The times spent together are definitely bringing us together.

I wish you all a beautiful weekend and a very blessed Divine Mercy Sunday!

Adieu mes Amis!


Monday, April 25, 2011

My First Holy Week? Welcome Home!

Well, here are my final reflections of the week that was. Yes, I did write my first Holy Week! What I mean by that is that now that I am on this journey to potentially being a Permanent Deacon I felt a renewed enthusiasm, similar to what happens when you experience something for the first time. My job as commentator for explaining what will be happening ended at Easter Vigil and I have to say the experience was so Spiritually filling. Incredible, awesome, wonderful, I think you get the idea. I had the first reading of Genesis for that evening and I captured so much from that experience. God spoke, It Happened, and it was Good!

We received three new members to our community and it was so special to be a part of it. At the end of the Liturgy everyone had the opportunity to meet and greet the newest members, congratulations were given, and something came over me. When I met each one I said..."Welcome Home!" They all looked at me with a confused look, except for one sponsor who also happened to be a grandmother. She responded.."That's beautiful, I Love it!" So to all of you out there including Dana, Welcome Home! Alleluia!

The group of men that I have  been praying with daily, continued our early morning gatherings all the way through Easter Sunday.  There is something so special when you pray as a community. I want to try to recruit more people to join us, especially during Holy Week next year.  On Easter Sunday I celebrated with my wife, my mom & dad, and again it was Good!

What a week indeed!

Adieu mes Amis!


Saturday, April 23, 2011

And I will be aided by my two robbers!

It was Friday evening, time for Good Friday Liturgy. I picked up my Mom and Dad to attend the service. I had to meet early with Fr. Mark to discuss the commentary that I would be reading and then he mentioned that he wanted Mike Johnson and I to each hold a cross on both sides of him to allow the faithful to venerate the Cross. I said yes and I'm sure Mike said likewise. When it came time to prepare for venerating the Cross Fr. Mark introduced us to the congregation as Aspirants. He described what an Aspirant was and mentioned that we would be on each side of him, and also said " And  I will be aided by my two robbers!" You can only imagine the laughter from everyone and I couldn't help but think, "Who's going to Heaven?"; I'm sure Mike thought the same. I was very humbled by the experience and really overwhelmed by it all, the symbolism, the faith, it was a lot to take all in.

At the end of the service I met up with Fr. Mark and thanked him so much for making me a part of such a wonderful and enjoyable Service. I tried to describe the feelings I had and had to share this with Fr. Mark...."I've been called many things in public, but never a robber!"  and his response was..."Make sure you are the one going to Paradise!" ?Again, I just had to laugh and really enjoy the moment.

This is our very first Holy Week as Aspirants and I'm pretty sure everyone is really feeling the Spirit, and the emotions that are out there. I have loved this so much that next year I want to take a vacation week for this. Not necessarily to do more, but mostly to enjoy and feel His Presence.

This morning our small group of men met again for prayer. We began our week on Monday at 6:12 and have met together every morning except yesterday. Today was very special, as after praying the Liturgy of the Hours, we prayed the Rosary, and a Daily Chaplet to complete a Holy Hour. Afterwards, we helped Fr. Mark set up a few things to prepare for the Easter Vigil Service.

If you haven't guessed it yet, it seems that each and every day has become even more special to me. This feels good, it feels right, it's very comfortable, and it feels like home. I will be relaxing today and start some of my readings for Thursday's class, but most of all I want to be ready and open to what the Spirit will bring this evening.

God Bless all you and may the Spirit of the Lord be always deep inside of You!

Adieu mes Amis!


Friday, April 22, 2011

And they will carry you!

Are any of you like me, in that you really don't like being on the sidelines? When there is something to be done, do you instinctively jump in to get the project completed? I'm like that and honestly I'm having a hard time just moving slowly through this beautiful week. I have pulled back from so many things that I would love to do, and I'm just taking it all in. I've forced myself to slow down, relax, and let myself be carried during this week.

Monday night Terry and I traveled to Franconia to meet with Deacon Greg for our interview. There is something you all need to know about me. Punctuality is one of my few obsessions in life. I hate being late for anything, to the point that I often arrive way too early. That happened again on Monday. I got the appointment time mixed up and we were there about 45 minutes early. It worked out fine as we had a chance to talk to Linda and share our experience that we had distributing food last Saturday. The interview went so well that we were in there for about 55 minutes. I guess when your on a roll, time moves on rather quickly.

On Tuesday night I called an old friend that I have wanted to call for almost a year now. This man was a true blessing to me in a very difficult time in my life. I was home just checking things out on the computer and I felt nudged along to call him. My dilemma was that I knew his name, I knew just about where he lived, and unfortunately there were two men with that name. I hit it right on the first try, and we spoke for just a few moments and the feeling was just incredible. I've been wanting to tell him how my life was going along, the new journey I was under taking, and to tell him how often I thank God that he entered into my life.

Wednesday was also an eventful day. We have been quite busy at work and I had to work until 6pm. I wanted to make an appointment to go to confession for quite some time and Fr. Steve offered to stay late and hear my confession. We talked for over an hour and once again the Spirit moved me. Going to confession like many Catholics wasn't always high on my priorities. I probably used every excuse I could think of, and during a low point in my life I just felt empty with absolutely no desire to go to Confession. After Holy Week I will let you all know of a very special person who inspired a change in me. Any ways, Confession that night really prepared me to take in what will be happening for the next few days. I felt awesome again!

Last week I received a phone call from our parish secretary asking me if I would be available for the Triduum. I was planning on going so I said yes, and I asked what would I be doing? She said Fr. Mark wants you to be the narrator. Narrator? I don't remember anything like that but OK. She said be there 20 minutes before Mass and you will know what you will need to read. OK? A little blind faith was needed. Shortly after I arrived Fr. Mark handed me a sheet and instructed me on what would be said, when to say it, and he said thank you! I got the chance to welcome the congregation, announce the significance of the evening, and proclaim the reception of the Holy Oils. I felt so priviliged and I loved it!

Today I really wanted to get out of work early and attend the Stations of the Cross. We have very beautiful Stations here at St. Anne's Church (Check them out on catholicchurchnh.org website) and we had a very nice gathering of faithful. My Mom and Dad showed up and we sat together and enjoyed how Fr. Mark presented each and every one. Tonight I will be there early again to find out what I will be reading. With the initial surprise over with, I'm looking forward to having another small part  of Good Friday.

Tomorrow I will be participating in the Easter Vigil. Again I'll find out what I need to announce and I will have the first reading. I haven't touched a text book for our current class at all this week, and do you know what? I'm so glad that I'm letting that go and just taking it all in.

I almost forgot to share something else with all of you. I know I'm writing quite a bit today, but can you feel the excitement that's in my heart? While walking into the Church to participate in the Stations a parishioner whom I've never met before asked me how my studies were going along. I told her I loved them tremendously, but that I was ready to take a break. She recalled how she traveled to get her Masters degree and said "the journey will be worthwhile, and you must let the Lord and all our prayers carry you on your journey!" I was so touched by this, and I thanked her for her support.

Well, finally in ending this little installment, I wish you all a very Blessed Easter and pray that your week has been as astonishing for all of you as it has been for me.

Adieu mes Amis!


Monday, April 18, 2011

Feed My Sheep!

Friday night I made plans with my best friend to go watch his kids run at a high school track meet in Bristol. We planned on leaving at 6:30 am and we agreed to go have breakfast together. Well the call came at 6:25 am and we wouldn't be making the trip. I was kind of bummed out about the cancellation. I was really looking forward to watching the kids run. Well with an empty schedule ahead of me it was time to go to plan b.

Terry and I agreed on three things that we would do for the day. First a little house cleaning, second take the dog's for a walk, and third help out the parish in the food distribution event. Well after a little cleaning, Terry and I got all three dogs ready for a walk. They were so excited to get out there and move around. We got to the dog park and we came up to the pack of dogs and their owners. Kady is a little bossy girl and she got into a little scuffle with an Airedale and they soon became friends. Another dog came into the picture and she and Kady got into another scuffle. It's tough with a bossy dog but they were over it quickly. This was a great lesson for humans. The dog's get vicious, they bite a little, they will pin someone down, but in no time at all; all is forgotten and they will run around like best buddies.  We really enjoyed walking and talking with the other owners and the dogs.

Well the parish was sponsoring a food sharing event. I originally wanted to go, but when Bruce called me to attend the track meet I agreed to go to the meet. Now that I was free Terry and I showed up to help out in any way possible. My experience with handling freight came in handy and we were all set up in no time. I helped gather every one around the coordinator with a little humor calling her our quarterback. She loved it, she said she was never called a quarterback before. We must have served over 200 families that day. I helped carry the loads for people who couldn't carry the food. The people were amazed at the amount of food we were giving away, with no questions asked. One thought kept popping up in my mind. When Jesus asked Peter to "Feed MY Sheep!" I was humbled and overwhelmed by the experience. We all did something so good for our people. I was sore and ecstatic by the day.

I guess it turned out that God had different plans for me. I wasn't supposed to be there and God found a way to get me there. I couldn't have asked for a better lesson. We are called to Feed, Tend, and Love Christ's Sheep without question or judgement. Fr. Mark was the Spirit to guide and organize this event. In his typical fashion he allowed us all to do our thing, and he just sat back while the parish took over the job. He taught me an awesome lesson through his leadership in so many ways.

My day ended spending the evening with my best friend and his wife. We had a great time at their house playing Sorry. Well that was my weekend experience and lessons that I learned. I think that plan b will always be the Lord's plan, this one was a great one!

Adieu mes Amis,


Friday, April 15, 2011

Just another normal night!

Well, it was Thursday and that means it was time to attend another class in Plymouth. The current class is Theology of Church and we have Sr. Monique Couture teaching us again. She does a wonderful job to get us to reflect on what we are learning and she helps us to uncover the little nuances of what is going on.

I am so fascinated by Pope John XXIII, again as I have learned through our Scripture studies, God has a knack of choosing the unlikeliest person to get His message across to us. The humility and holiness, and how much he was moved by the Holy Spirit is just incredible. He never lost his love for being pastoral, and Our Church has never been the same since, and I mean that in an extremely positive sense.

Well in typical class fashion the night moved on rather quickly and before we knew it Terry and I were heading back home. The ride was uneventful until we turned on to route 3 to Twin Mountain. I was shocked to see a large Moose in the middle of the road. I have been preparing myself for the night it would happen and finally I did. I take my time through that stretch of road and fortunately we were able to quickly avoid it.

A very cute animal to see during the day, but not driving up and seeing them at night!

Well, we all have a one week break in between our next class for Holy Week. I'll be busy wrapping up my Sunday bowling league and helping out the parish during Holy Week. Our small men's prayer group will be meeting every morning in community prayer. I'm so looking forward to this.

Adieu mes Amis,


Monday, April 11, 2011

In His Presence!

To some of the regular followers of this blog I may be coming across as repeating myself on a certain trend. Yes, there always seems to be a word that has a tendency to stick inside my head. As I have spent time preparing for my final paper for Christology, again a single word became the center point of my world for now. That word that has captured me and become a part of me is the word Presence.

My final paper is titled "In His Presence"! I am a cradle Catholic and my traditional upbringing has given me a very strong foundation in my faith. I have a mother who nurtured and lived a life of faith. I have a parochial school education that reinforced and also nurtured my faith. Growing up wasn't being Catholic, it was living the faith and walking the talk.

Now as my journey shifts into another gear, I am being exposed to more about Jesus and especially the Presence of God. Opening up to this has only made this walk even more exciting than I could have imagined. Being in the Presence happens every day, and I want to be sure that I don't miss out on anything.  When I get up to pray in my inner room, I search for His Presence. When I read the Word of God, I search for His Presence. When I minister to the sick at the hospital, I need to do ministry of Presence. This action happens also when I meet and greet people, in my studies, and when I search for the face of God in the hearts of all His children.

Yesterday at Mass when Fr. Mark preached about the Gospel and  he reminded us to strive to be in the Presence of God. He is also the one who defined the ministry of Presence in a very simple and loving way. He said that what I need to do is to make sure that I am there for people in whatever way the Spirit moves me, by a smile, a kind word, holding their hands, listening to them, but most of all just being with them in their presence. When I truly search for the face of God, then I begin to be in His Presence!

So to quote The Word Among Us..."Slow down, spend time in God's Presence, and let Him speak to you and lift you up!"

Adieu mes Amis,


Friday, April 8, 2011

A Mug Shot?

You really know that you belong to a family, when one of the members of the family is comortable enough to pick on you. Yesterday, I read an email from a brother aspiant and he referred to a link that was below my "mug shot" as he quite eloquently called it. I love it! Mostly because the more you know of me, the more you realize that I love to tease people and have fun. So here it is my mug shot....

We're all getting closer to the end of our courses until this fall. The vote was in from our class and it was unanimous. We are all anxious to take a break and really unpack what we have learned this year. At our class last night Sr. Monique talked about integrating what we have learned in our lives. I like that word! Since I have started this journey I don't know if it is just me, but individual words seem to pop up and grab my attention.

I have a full weekend ahead of me. I'm lector at Mass tomorrow morning, I'm heading to Dover to help my daughter move , I have to finish my Christology paper, and my Sunday night League is wrapping up. Just another normal weekend in my life. I hope you are all enjoying the beautitful weather today and tomorrow.

Adieu mes Amis,


Monday, April 4, 2011

Rating the Weekend, and doing the Deacon Shuffle!

After reflecting on our most recent weekend together, Terry and I both agree it was a great time spent with everyone. I had the chance to talk to many more people and yet I still have a few that I haven't carried a really good conversation with yet. The mood is obviously very relaxed. Similar to a family gathering, after all we are family now. Terry and I are very touched by the kind words, and support we feel. When someone mentioned to me "your son is home" , I was wondering how they knew. I almost forgot that I have been sharing my life with all of you. Thank you!

A small but inspirational group is developing in it's infancy. We have some would be entertainers calling themselves the boys in the hoods working on a new routine called the Deacon Shuffle. It was bantered about that we could post it on You Tube. Any interested in joining?

On a more serious note, what really inspired me from this weekend? Well, first of all I am realizing that I still have work to do and I'm ok with that. You know the routine, you realize that there are some things you have to work on and wonder when you will be able to do it. Well, I know it means surrendering time for me. Key words for me were patience, The Scriptures,  prayer,who is my neighbor, plus finish my final paper for Christology. BTW that was my favorite course, if I haven't mentioned it yet, that is so far!

As we shuffled back to Berlin, Terry and I with the radio off of course talked all the way back about what we learned, felt, and enjoyed about this past weekend. With a little over two hours of driving for us, we are really lucky to be with each other and communicating.

I hope all of you have come away with the same feelings I experienced. Also, we have less than 26 days until the next time we gather as family in our journey to seek the face of God.

May God Bless you always, and all who share in my journey.

Bonsoir mes Amis, et Cherchez Pour Le Visage Du Seigneur! (Good night my friends, and keep searching for the face of God!)