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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 ...

Monday, May 30, 2011

A Weekend to Remember!

It has been a while since I posted anything on this blog, call it writers block, fatigue, allergies or probably all of the above. For whatever the reason I just couldn't come up with anything new to write about, and you know what? I think it's just fine.

I sheltered myself in the house for a couple of days trying to get some relief from my allergies. I will be making an appointment tomorrow with a doctor to see if there is anything different I can do. My allergies keep me from sleeping at night, and when it hits I usually suffer from coughing fits.

Yesterday, I was on the schedule to give the Precious Blood at Liturgy. I was really debating whether I should go at  all and I decided it would be best to at least try. I have told you all that our Pastor Fr. Mark has made sure that our Parishioners are aware of our journey and especially the past two weekends he has listed our Rite of Candidacy in his personal comments section as dates to be aware of. Upon entering the church a couple greeted me very warmly and offered their support.  When presenting the Precious Blood one distinguished man said " God Bless you Mitch!" After we had all returned to the altar  Joe congratulated me and offered a very touching comment that really humbled me and drew tears to my eyes. I have said it often and I can't say it enough, the support of our parish is just unbelievable. This is a journey that Mike and I aren't walking alone, both parish communities are walking this along with us.

Last night being Sunday night is also my summer bowling night and some dear friends from Manchester who camp in Shelburne in the summer invited us over for supper. You all know how much I love bowling, and Patty said you're giving up bowling tonight? I said " I just don't do that for everyone!" Again, a nice little trend of spending time with people I Love and sharing a wonderful meal with.  I was fortunate that the allergies didn't hit until a little later, where we could enjoy most of the evening together.

Today being Memorial Day and vacation for me, I got up early enough to attend our morning prayer group at 6:15 am. It was great not having to worry about what time it was and just enjoying the time spent in prayer. I also attended Mass this morning to cap off the morning. I'm home spending time with Terry and finally getting back to this little blog.

Oh, I forgot one other detail of this weekend. On Saturday Terry called to me and said you have a letter from the Bishop. I looked at the front and said "How do you know it's from the Bishop?" Obviously I forgot to look at the back and said "Oh!"  The letter was nice and the welcoming news to Candidacy was great! Mike and I commented that it was special but didn't quite carry the thrill and the anticipation of being accepted last July.

Well, I believe that I have more than made up for what was missing from last week with only one posting. This week begins with the anticipation of the coming weekend. I am so looking forward to being with my other family this weekend, our last formation weekend in our Aspirants year. 

I hope everyone enjoys their week and please continue to pray for all of our Aspirants and soon to be Candidates, all 23 of us, our wives of those married, and our parishes who support us through prayers, words of encouragement, and also financially.

Adieu mes Amis,


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What am I going to do with all this free time?

Well classes are over until this fall and yes with that brings about some free time. The extra time is being well spent. I've gotten involved in a morning prayer group where we meet at 6:15 from Monday to Friday. We are a small group of three and we recite the Liturgy of the Hours, and one thing we don't lack is the desire to be there every morning.

This past week has been a killer for me as my allergies are at the max. It's tough but it should pass fairly quickly. I haven't had a lot of motivation for the last three days, but it seems to be letting up a bit.

Well I can tell you what is next on the agenda, camp fires! I haven't had one since New Years Eve so we are well past due.

Fr. Mark listed our Rite of Candidacy Mass that is coming up and the parishioners have been talking it up with me. My second Mother (Tiger) wanted to come but the event conflicts with her grand children. I'm touched by the support that I'm receiving. Again, I keep hearing the question "Isn't there an accelerated course?"

Free time means time spent with friends and family. I will be going on vacation next week and I am so looking forward to the time to unwind, work a bit, and unpack what we have learned all year.

Enjoy the sun, and go figure Berlin was the Hot spot of NH. We are definitely the Honolulu of New Hampshire.

Adieu mes Amis!


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Of Gods and Men, and spending a wonderful night with Friends!

Last night turned out to be another very special evening in my life. During our last class in Plymouth I brought out the article in Columbia about the French movie of Gods and Men. Linda had mentioned that the movie was playing in Bethlehem at the Colonial Theatre. Sure enough it was and I definitely wanted to see this film. Linda sent out an email and Terry and I agreed that last night would fit our schedule.

We traveled to Bethlehem not just to see the film, but to spend time with Linda and Steve and get to know each other better. They offered a barbecue and that also really appealed to us. Bethlehem is about 48 minutes away, yeah I know only in the north country is that just a little drive.

The food was awesome and the time spent together was even better. We talked often in class that we needed to spend more time to get to know Jesus, and that is the same with everyone else. What better way to know someone over a burger and sausage with onions and peppers.

The theatre was less than five minutes from their house by car. Bethlehem is not a very large town. The film got off to a slow start, something that Terry mentioned to me afterward, but there were so many messages and thought provoking scenes. I am not one to give away what was in the film. My french background helped tremendously but really wasn't necessary. Terry caught me reciting the prayers in french, busted! I shared afterward that growing up in Berlin being bilingual was a way of life. Anyways, the film is well worth seeing and I'm sure almost anyone would get something out of this film.

It was ten in the evening and we had an offer of coffee or tea, but we were both ready to head home for the night. This was a very special week for me, two evenings spent with new friends, really new family members and it was good. I still find it amazing how close we are becoming to one another. I'm sure I'm not the only one experiencing this, as our lives are changing before us.

Earlier in the evening Steve asked me if I had done any special reading at all, and I answered no and he agreed. This off time is needed for all of us. This week I probably learned so much more spending time with people. I had two wonderful evenings with our new family, coffee time with a customer (friend), and just people you meet on the streets. Our lives are truly different and you know what? It is good! (Sorry couldn't help it)

The best to all our soon to be Candidates, their families, and all who pray for us!

Adieu mes Amis!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A day, a night, and "It was Good!"

I've been hooked on that phrase "It was Good" ever since I read at Easter Vigil. God, like the ultimate artist would look back at creation, and pronounced it Good! Sunday was a very interesting day. I've gotten myself in the habit of reviewing the readings for Mass and also looking over the commentaries provided in my lectors workbook. After doing this I sat quietly and tried to tie in all the readings, and then  attempt to find how the Lord is speaking to me. The readings brought a common word that rang in my heart, and that would be the voice of God. The Good Shepherd, the Gate-Keeper, said that His sheep know his voice. I couldn't help to imagine that most animals recognize their master by their voice, and that they were always ready to serve,and would always listen intently to what the master had to say.  Fr. Mark was the Celebrant and his message mirrored the one that I heard. He used very similar analogies and it was awesome to feel that at least for this day I really got it.

Monday I traveled to Laconia to help out at one of our sister stores. I offered my help for a couple of days, one of them to give the manager a much needed day off. Monday I called Tom and Lynn and told them that I was in Laconia and I was wondering if they would be interested in having supper together. Tom called back that afternoon and we agreed to meet that evening. The restaurant was so close to the hotel that  I really could have walked there. This has to go down as one of the most enjoyable evening I have ever had. I'm still in awe how in such short of time a strong bond is being formed by our group. We were together for almost two hours and it felt like only a half hour. This is truly special what we all have as Aspirants.

I got back to the hotel and called my sister in Illinois. She has had a tough time with her health and I have been praying for her daily. She shared a very remarkable story with me. When she was meeting with the medical staff they were positive she had stage four breast cancer and upon further tests there was no cancer. A miracle they said! Immediately I got chills running through me, I had been praying for her health and asking Blessed John Paul to intercede on her behalf.I guess I got the answer. We talked for an hour and she said that she was feeling great,and also told me that she quit smoking.

Looking back at the last few days and spending time in another store, reminded me of how fortunate I am to have such dedicated and talented employees.

This week thus far has been different, but most of all "It was Good!"

Adieu mes Amis,


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Feeling like a Boy Scout again!

Last Friday night I was out on Main Street to pick up a birthday sandwich for my son. As I got out of the car I looked on the sidewalk and saw what looked like a credit card, and sure enough it was. I picked it up and looked around and really didn't see anyone around. I picked up the sandwich and thought I probably should just bring it to the police station. I brought it home and Terry called the bank where the card was issued. I drove right down to the bank while remembering how anxious I was when I lost my card. I felt great for doing this little action.

Today I got a visitor in my store. The person who owned the card came in to thank me for turning in the card. She said she didn't even know that she had lost the card until the bank called her to let her know I turned in the card. We spoke for a few minutes and then she said thank you again and left. This event reminded me of when I was in High School and found an envelope that had $500.00 in it (this was in 1978 big bucks then!). It happened to belong to the sister of my High School french teacher who also asked me to do him a favor. I asked why me? He said because I can trust you, because of what you did for my sister.

So today I felt like a Boy Scout again, Do a good turn daily!

I hope you all had an awesome day!

Adieu mes Amis,


Just a year ago!

Last night I was privileged to serve as the sponsor for my nephew's Confirmation. About two weeks ago he asked me and I was obviously thrilled an honored by his selection. Zachary is a very kind young man with a very big and loving heart. He has faced many challenges and continues to do so with his own style.

The liturgy was so beautiful and it was encouraging to see 27 area youths being Confirmed. Bishop John was there along with Berlin native Fr. Jason Jalbert, and Bishop John spoke about his visits to Berlin and seeing Berlin through the eyes of of Fr. Jason. A few people remarked to me how well he spoke of Berlin and pronounces it like a native. I had a few minutes to speak with him and reminded him that a year ago at this time I asked him to accept me as an Aspirant and now I am asking to be a Candidate. I didn't get a yes but there wasn't a no either. Terry got a chance to talk with him and shared her own experiences of formation.

Finally the evening was capped off by meeting a friend that I haven't seen in many years. Agnes and I grew up together on Berlin's east side attending school together since kindergarten. I walked up to her and she said " Hi Mitch " and I said " Hi Agnes ". Amazingly we both felt unsure whether we would recognize each other. We talked about our families and what was going on in our lives. I got to share with her that I was studying to be a Permanent Deacon in the Church and she had a very big smile and said, " Wow, good for you that's great!"  She said she wasn't surprised by the news and commented that I was always a very determined and passionate person that always put all my efforts into anything that I did. When she said that I remembered how Bishop John talked about seeing through some one's eyes and I was very moved by the experience.

Last night was very special for many reasons. Sort of like what has been happening in my life in the past couple of years, where I never know how the Lord will be revealing Himself to me. The formal classes are done for now, but the moments to learn something never seem to end. Oh yeah, Bishop John also said that were only 3 weeks away from the Rite of Candidacy.

Adieu mes Amis,


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

And she said thank you!

It all began with a beautiful Sunday morning and my family would be attending Mass together. I really enjoyed being with them and worshipping together. How could I possibly ask for more as my best friend and his family were sitting in front of us. While returning from receiving the Eucharist I saw two great friends from Manchester who we got a chance to talk to after Mass. Then it happened I saw a lady who I ministered to and her family at the hospital. We spoke very briefly about how challenging life was and that there were doing their best to live, and she ended by saying "Thank you for being there for us!" These two little words touched me like never before. You just never know what happens when the Lord leads and calls us to serve.

Adieu mes Amis,


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Show me the Way!

My reflections papers have somewhat mirrored what I have been writing in my blogs. Theology of Church was  our final course until this fall. As we study where the Church has been and where are we going there seems to be more questions than answers. How are  we ever going to overcome these challenges before us? I have fought some pretty tough demons, and I'm at a place right now that is "good" and one that I never would have imagined five years ago. My journey through the times of confusion and illusions proves to me that Hope exists. We need to trust in God's plan and not our own, and we need not be afraid. We need to get down to the basics, or the core of our existence. Our core, our source of life Jesus Christ will guide us and lead us no matter how many times we fail. Here is a little video from someone who adapted the song Show Me the Way by Styxx....

So on the eve of Mother's day I say may God Bless all Mothers, thank you for all that you do and who you are, and remember when you see the light you will believe!

Adieu mes Amis!


Friday, May 6, 2011

Time to unpack!

I'm still doing some reflecting on this past weekend, and it is good! One thing that the frequency of these weekends has given us is more time to meet and get to know more of the other aspirants and their spouses. I love being in Plymouth with one exception, and that is we don't spend time with you folks in the south. Our only real opportunity comes on our formation weekends. I got to be with Chris and Michelle a little on the court and spend some time with Jim. Jim made a point that I really liked, it's been a while since the last Diaconate program and we will be the first cut in a long time, and the first cut (hay) is always the best. I agree, we have some very special men willing to serve and we have great support.

When Fr. John talked about the story about the master and the vineyard hiring people at different times of day and all receiving the same pay, cause an epiphany for me. As a businessman I would never want to work for someone like that, after all why should the reward be the same for those who didn't work as hard or as long. Then it came to me, we have all been called to work in the vineyard by the Master at different times in our lives and our reward will be the same. Yeah, God is so generous and we need to encourage more to work the vineyard and get the job done. 

Last night was our last trip to Plymouth for this year, the feelings are mixed. I don't really want it to stop, but I need time to start unpacking and integrating what I've learned so far this year. I've learned so much in the class room and I have learned so much just watching how my mentor and pastor Fr. Mark serves. He has taught me many valuable lessons without saying a word. I am truly blessed for his presence in my life.

To my aspirant family and supporters I wish you all a very blessed weekend and I wish that Our Lord Jesus Christ send his blessings upon all the Mothers out there.

Adieu mes Amis,


Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Wow! Did I ever believe that just several questions would take me over for a weekend? Not a chance! This journey is like none other that I have ever walked before. Words take over me like, Presence, Trust, Love, Balance. These are but a few of the words that cause me to reflect and dig deep inside of me for answers.  Our formation weekend on the person of Jesus continued to be like the one's before, to be much more than I could imagine. You probably all know that I love camp fires, and honestly the feelings that I have can be described as a fire. Consuming, intense, burning, and something so bright that it always seems to draw me in. Fr. John noticed something special about us, it's a Love that is deep inside of us.

Last night I was reading the May issue of Columbia (Knight's of Columbus) and I was looking over an excellent article about the story of Of Gods and Men. The title of the article is called Following a Greater Love, and it states that Of Gods and Men, a film about Trappist monks in Algeria, illuminates the meaning of the Christian vocation. You all should try to find this article and read it. I will offer a small excerpt that moved me......

"In one scene, a Muslim girl asks one of the monks what it is like to fall in love.
But the monk, Brother Luc, gives a most amazing answer:
"There's something inside of you that comes alive, the presence of someone.
It's irrepressible and makes your heart beat faster.
It's an attraction, a desire"
When the girl asks Brother Luc, if he has even been in love he answers,
"Yes, several times,
And then I encountered another love, even greater.
And I answered that love"

And what is your answer?????

Adieu mes Amis,