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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, December 31, 2012

Do you believe in miracles?

I came across this quote last week and thought, wow!

“There are two ways to live: You can live as if nothing 
is a miracle; or, you can live as if everything is a miracle.”
Albert Einstein

So now the million dollar question............."Do you believe in miracles?

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Sunday, December 23, 2012

You are a lamp!

On Thursday Terry and I traveled to Portsmouth to be with Danielle, Doug, and our future grand child. It had been some time since we were together and this would turn out to be a very special day indeed. 

Danielle had a doctors appointment to check the health and also the sex of the baby. We offered to meet them at a restaurant, yet she asked us to meet them at their apartment and that we would be very excited with the news. Today's technology can give you so much information and we were blessed to hear that it will be a girl. Ironically for some reason Terry and I kept calling the baby a girl from the beginning. 

We stopped at one of Danielle's favorite restaurant to celebrate the glorious news. It was a wonderful time, just being together to soak this all in. 

Danielle wanted to visit an eclectic shop in downturn Portsmouth so we followed her there. We had taken the dogs with us so we took them for a short walk into the park. I could see the crosses from the top of the roofs of the Catholic school, and I mentioned them to Danielle. We talked about schooling for the child and she was so shaken up by the events at Newtown that she said she would probably home school the child instead of public or private school. 

I'm not against home schooling, but to do so only out of fear of the current situation isn't always the best idea. I then mentioned to her about scripture where we are a lamp, and a lamp isn't meant to be hidden under a bed. A lamp must be out there to shine for all to see. It is a scary world out there, and we are all getting a sense that something horrific can happen anywhere. Yet, we need to live, we need to shine, we all need to be with others. True happiness can't be found alone, we need others, we need to gather, we need Christ in our lives. 

That day Terry and I shed tears of joy over the blessing that is yet to come. This little child that will bring joy, love, and possibly hope for a better world. She is a gift from above, and we all look forward to witnessing the gifts that she has been given.

This Advent as I await the coming of Our Lord and realizing what Jesus has done in my life and others, I am relating well how everything is different when it all begins with a Child!

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Sunday, December 16, 2012

It's all about holding their hands, listening to their stories, ....

This past Thursday evening I traveled to Littleton to be with my spiritual director. It had been a few months since we gathered, as we were both dealing with challenges in our lives. You see, my director is now also my former pastor and he has moved away. Fortunately he didn't go very far at all. 

I sent him an email earlier in the week and hoped we could get together on Thursday evening. He had sent me his Christmas letter and left a note about going bowling. Ironically, we both seem to share the passion of bowling.  

This night though, I really didn't want to go bowling. I just needed someone to share my thoughts, my feelings, and what was going on in my life.  We had supper together where we openly spoke of many things. 

When we got back to the rectory we continued our conversation for a couple of hours longer. He gave me excellent feedback on why this year has been a challenge for me, he shared his thoughts on the words of remembrance I had for my sister, and he continued to challenge me on what he truly believes is the most important aspect of anyone's ministry. He said...."Mitch, it still is about holding their hands, listening to their stories even if you have heard it at least 20 times before, it's all about bringing the presence of Christ in their lives!" He reminded me that there are no greater things to be done than to be in the presence for those in need! 

Tonight I was watching the interview that ABC had with the Monsignor from the Newtown Conn. He spoke about the horrific events, but one phrase, one message truly opened my heart. He shared that his parishioners thanked him for his presence! 

As we all prepare for the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ, may we all be reminded that He came to be in our presence, and He continues to challenge us to bring him to the broken, to the hungry, to the prisoners, to anyone in need. On it's face value it can be viewed as not much at all, but it can truly change this world!

I believe in the ministry of presence!

Bonsoir et Adieu mes Amis,


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Featured Article: "Perseverence in Difficult Times"

This morning while checking out the diocese website I came across this very beautiful picture and wonderful message of hope. I then looked over it and I thought it would be the right thing to share! Check it out at....catholicchurchnh.org. Yes, I did recently say that posting would be light because of spending time in reflection! Well, I also said that if the Spirit stirred something inside of me, I would present something to all of you. It really hit me when it discussed the difficult economic times, or perhaps the loss of a loved one. This can be a very difficult time of year, yet with our spiritual family at our side, and especially with the grace of God when can persevere! Take the time to check it out!

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Saturday, December 8, 2012


As we all prepare for the birth of Our Lord, I will spend more time in reflection during this time of preparation. I want to be spending more time in prayer, time in Adoration, time for Reconciliation, and time with family, and friends. I really can't believe how quickly this year is coming to an end. The dreaded third year, as I was told! I think what has  made it so difficult is all the challenges that life hands to all of us. What I recently discovered is that how much the Lord shares in our pains and sufferings, along with our joys and hopes. 

While I continue to prepare,my posting will be lighter than normal. I plan on posting one reflection that has captured me, or stirred something inside me. Then again, who knows what will happen as the Spirit inspires something from within! 

I will be doing the one thing that I learned at the last formation weekend, and that is quietly enjoying this journey. At least I will attempt to! (Patience is a virtue that I'm still trying to seek!)

 Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis!


Friday, December 7, 2012

Where did that come from?

If any of you are like Terry and I, you may have some pictures that are still hiding away in the cache of your digital camera. We recently stumbled upon these treasures and I wanted to share some with all of you!

 Yes, very happy guys indeed!

Tom, Lynn & Family!
One more from the Feast of St. Anne!

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Practice what you teach!

Practice what you teach! These are part of the words that a Deacon is called to do:

‘Believe what you read. Teach what you believe. Practice what you teach.’

Yesterday Mike and I traveled to our retreat house for another formation weekend. The topic was Homelitics. We continue to get knowledge and experience on this very important part of our future ministry, God willing of course! 

The day was everything I had expected. My family was there for me to offer hope with kind words, a bear hug, and all the support that God could give me through them. 

We had a breakout session to discuss the readings for the Advent season. It went very well. We were being pushed a little further in our thoughts and soon Ken looked at me and asked me to share my experience during this challenging time. I honestly saw the face and the voice of Christ coming to me, asking me to open up that wound and sharing how the hand of God raised us all up when we were so low. 

Soon we found the floodgates opening and our thoughts were directed in how we experience Christ in our lives through the challenging moments, and how we are called by Christ to stand up straight and tall and see how truly Good God is!

We finished our night prayer and I went to my room to put a few things away and was about to head upstairs to be with everyone. Mike told me that Terry had called and I knew that the news wasn't very good. My assistant had a pipe break in his apartment and was struggling to save what he had. The damage was almost everywhere. He had lossed hope and was discouraged by the work before him. He was also scheduled to be at work today at 10 am. Well I told Terry without hesitation that I coming home. My travel partner Mike also said he was coming with me, as he didn't want me to make the journey alone. He was very Christ like for me last night, and I thanked him! Kevin called me and I noticed he was very down. I told him not to worry that I would be there to cover the store. 

I was told, and I believe that my work does come before this ministry. I must fulfill these obligations that I also hold very seriously. Yes, I am saddened that I missed the rest of this weekend, yes I am saddened that I couldn't spend more time with everyone, and yes it bothers me that I couldn't wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a  Blessed Advent season, but when you are committed to something, you have to be all in or you aren't really committed at all. 

In today's readings we hear that the signs are there, and I need to stand up, look around,  look at my life and then,  

‘Believe what I read. Teach what I believe. Practice what I teach.’

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Friday, November 30, 2012

A much needed road trip!

Mike and I are headed south tomorrow to be with our community. I can honestly tell you that I have REALLY been looking forward to this weekend. It has been a very challenging time, and to be with so many people that I love will be special. 

This weekends topic is Homiletics! (Preaching)

I will fill you all in on the details sometime next week!

Bonsoir et Adieu mes Amis,


Monday, November 26, 2012

One of His brightest stars!

I have been thinking a lot about my sister, my faith, and how much we are a gift to each other. I have literally been overwhelmed how many stars, (little angels) have been there to comfort us and reassure us. Last night I thought of God speaking to Abraham and showing him his lineage. I see God pointing out to Abraham all the stars that are just too many to number. I also imagine God pointing to Abraham and telling him something about every little star in the heavens. Each precious and loved in their own way. Today, I see God pointing out to Abraham my sister who continues to shine even though she is now at peace in the Lord's arms. He tells her how much love she gave, and that she was one who  gave of herself so unselfishly. 

My family and I want to thank you all, all the little angels who sent a card, shared some food, gave us a hug when we needed one, and carried us all in this difficult time. We realize that we aren't alone that everyone suffers and shares in our loss. We are a community of Love!

Today I attended morning prayer with my buddy and once again, the Lord was fully present in Scriptures. I read the following verse from Psalm 42 and immediately thought of my sister:

 These things will I remember
as I pour out my soul:
how I would lead the rejoicing crowd
into the house of God,
amid cries of gladness and thanksgiving,
the throng wild with joy.

All I could think of was how my sister would greet us when we all join her in Heaven. I can see her leading us amid cries of gladness and thanksgiving, wild with joy. 

Merci beaucoups a tous! (thank you very much to all!)

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis!


Monday, November 19, 2012

Away in Prayer!

I will not be posting anything for at least a week and a half, as I and my family are mourning the loss of my sister! I ask for your continued support and prayers through this difficult time.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

East vs. West!

Before I get started I want all of you to know that this isn't another plug for the glories, the joys, and the benefits of being brought up in Berlin's east side. With that out of the way, for the past few weeks I have been listening to NHPR at the store. We have all kind of got hooked into this by the quirky programs that they put on. 

Yesterday I was listening and they had a topic about the eastern and western cultures. One of the issues they discussed was about the way intelligence was viewed. They talked to a college professor who once taught in a public school. He mentioned that he once sent a student to the blackboard to work out a math problem. The student was not the top of his class and was struggling with the problem. He asked the other students repeatedly if the answer was correct and the answer was no. He worried about the pressure that was placed upon the child. In time the young man got it right, and the class confirmed that he was in fact correct. The class applauded the young man who left the board beaming.

The next discussion centered upon an exercise with eastern children vs. western children given an almost impossible math problem to solve. They were both given one hour to try to solve the problem. The western children gave up after about 5 minutes, while the eastern children were told that time was up! 

So what's my point. Well, as Catholics we need to realize that struggling and persevering is a tremendous part of the journey. It's not always about knowing more, it's how we deal with issues and work to resolve them. 

I really didn't think this was just an eastern culture issue. I remember growing up hearing stories how our ancestors would grow in faith and maturity through their own challenges in life. Maybe it's more that we have not embraced the crosses in our lives that makes being a Catholic so challenging. 

Either way, I thought that this radio segment tied into my journey in faith and discernment very well.

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis!


Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Widow!

In today's reading we discover in both the Old Testament and the Gospel, a discussion that centers around the widows. We find that these widows have given completely of themselves with no regards for their own livelihood. 

Are we as Catholics,  that committed to our faith?  Do we give completely of ourselves, our total selves when we aren't surrounded by the safe confines of the walls of the Church?

Fr. Marc challenged us to be the widow, and to pray that there can be more of the widow inside of us all. 

He spoke of power and how we use it. The use of money, and of knowledge as power over how we live our lives. Are we using it? Or, are we simply witholding it? 

I know I struggle with this challenge. The more you know, the more you have, the more that is expected of you. It isn't all about money, or just knowledge, it is about the gifts that we are blessed with. 

This week I'll be reflecting daily on what I'm really doing with the knowledge, and the financial gifts that I have received. May they all glorify God, and bring about the kingdom of God. 

I pray that I may become more like the widow, and  also the good Deacon who is charged to care for the widows, and the orphans. May I never forget that my calling is to serve and not to be served!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

In honor of our Deacon!

Deacon Merle M. Albert
November 06, 2012

Deacon Merle M. Albert,76, of 215 Sweden St., Berlin passed away on Tuesday November 6, 2012 at the Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin. He was born in Portland, ME on April 1, 1936 the son of Stanley J. and Alice L. (Hackett) Albert and graduated from Berlin High School. He lived in Alaska for about 14 years, returning to Milan in 1990. He had been employed as a Senior Electronic Technician for Communication Satelite Corporation and R.C. A. and served in the Army National Guard for 14 years. Merle was ordained a Catholic Deacon in 1981 in Alaska and later served as the Catholic Deacon for the Berlin area Catholic Churches. Merle was an accomplished pilot and guitar player. He was passionate about his faith and his family. He loved to preach the Gospel and he touched many lives with his words. Members of the family include his son Mark Albert of Texas; daughters Lisa Konecky of Palmer, AK, Janet Albert of Berlin, NH and Annmarie Hopkins of Hansville, WA; stepchildren Patrick McKenzie of Hooksett, NH, Kevin McKenzie of Milan, NH and Kathleen Anderson of Gorham, NH; grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and cousins. He was predeceased by his first wife Roseanne (Fitzmorris) Albert in 1983 and his second wife Jackie (Blake) Albert in 2009.
SERVICES: The Rite of Reception of Deacon Merle will be held at St. Anne Church of Good Shepherd Parish on Friday evening Nov. 9, 2012 at 6:00 PM, where he will lie in state from 6 to 8 PM for public visitation. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday Nov. 10 at 10:00 AM at the Church. Interment will follow at St. Kieran Cemetery in Berlin. In his Memory, Masses may be said for the Repose of His Soul. The Bryant Funeral Home in Berlin is in charge of the arrangements.

Monday, November 5, 2012

My Family

I just couldn't resist!

This is the latest picture of our 3rd year Class!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Solemn Evening!

Last night was a very solemn evening! We gathered together to pray for all those souls who have passed away since the last Remembrance Mass. Any time you have something special, you only need to look at those who put all their heart into this night and realize the love and the warmth that filled the Church. 

I and Terry want to thank everyone involved for such a spiritual evening. 

Special thanks goes to my buddy Mike J., who is much too humble to take any credit for all the time and effort he put into this.

We gathered, we remembered, we cried, we loved, and we gave glory to God!

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Friday, November 2, 2012

Your innermost vision!

"May he enlighten your innermost vision that you may know the great hope to which he has called you"     Ephesians 1:18

 It's always wonderful to know that you are never alone in your struggles, and yesterday I was reminded about that when I came upon this reading during morning prayers. It's the final day of inventory and I'm praying alone in the Adoration Chapel, and then his word comes upon me. My pain, my fears, all seemed to go away. I'm not Superman, so I know that life is full of tests and challenges. I'm trying hard to cope with the changes and struggles that life has dealt me. Yesterday's reading just literally brought tears to my eyes. This beautiful line of Hope, when he opened my eyes to see. I learned that everyday life blinds us to the wonders of his love, Lord God have pity on me! Help me see!

 Sometimes just hearing his voice is enough to pick me right up, and it was what the Great Physician ordered!

Merci beaucoup Mon Dieux!

Thank you so much my Lord!


Sunday, October 28, 2012

My least favorite time of the year!

Blogging will be light this week as I have two classes, Monday and Wednesday night, one paper due Wednesday, and I will be doing inventory this week at work! 

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

When in doubt!

On Monday night we had our first class on the Liturgy. Fr. Jason  (a Berlin native, from the east side) is our teacher. He brings a wonderful energy to the table. You can always tell how much someone loves someone or something by their attitude and enthusiasm. He has both of them, in a very positive way.

We all have a paper to write for tonight's class on various topics. I selected the question on what I discovered to be profound from the first class. My topic was centered around reading directions. I know that isn't something men do very well with, and I'm probably number one on that list. 

We discussed how there are instructions on the Liturgy of the Hours, the General instructions of the the Roman Missal, and Sacrosanctum Concilium (yes Latin). Like in all things in life there are instructions on how to do things right or better and the Church is full of treasures that will help anyone,including me, on why we do what we do and how to do it better. Unity, was a key word that grabbed my attention. We glorify our Lord when we pray, when we sing, when we love as one!

It didn't take too long for me to figure out that maybe, just maybe I should also read the instructions on how to bring Communion to the Sick. Yes, there are instructions on that too. 

I'm sure you now know that I'm trying to lead you all to the same place that I'm moving to. If you pray the Liturgy of the Hours read the instructions, read the General instructions of the Roman Missal, and if you are an EM going to the sick, read the instructions. 

Read the instructions not because you want to know more, but because it will help you better understand and give greater glory to God!

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Sunday, October 21, 2012

I heard it in Church today!

We have a new pastor, Fr. Marc Gagne, and with someone new things always seem to change. We all now the story, but we all struggle with change. This being his second full weekend he is starting to challenge all of us to evangelize in the not so safe areas. We do a good job in Church, at home, but outside of that we are all really closet Catholics. He spoke of just small steps out there, like when we are gathered at our favorite restaurants we should begin with a prayer. It doesn't have to be an exaggerated action, but one of true thanks and piety. 

This being the Year of Faith, we are being called to let that light of Christ that is within us shine out to a broken world. Tonight I'm reading  a book, yes me the non-reader. The book is is called "One Body, Many Blogs" by TJ Burdick. This book is a guide for Christian bloggers and I have it downloaded on my Kindle Fire. I'm almost half done, yes it is a short book, and I'm getting some inspiration on how to improve on what I'm called to do. The number one commandment in most of the writers is to first pray! I was probably doing that for the most part, but I'm working to be better at it.

Tonight there was a biblical quotation that I thought really summed up our calling to procalaim the word, and also how prophetic some of the words were to describe our world today.................

I challenge you all to read this verse several times in prayer, let it sink in, and make sure you let that last line be your guide in life....But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances; put up with hardship; perform the work of an evangelist; fulfill your ministry.

 Remember to do this in the not so safe areas!

Bonsoir et Adieu mes Amis,


Friday, October 19, 2012

The Word!

To say that I have rested during these last two weeks would not be accurate. My life will be changing again in the business world which is actually something I don't cherish, but I have grown accustomed to. My assistant has chosen a new career path and I have honestly been very blessed by her presence over the last eight plus years. On Monday morning upon entering the store there was an empty feeling inside those walls. It was very noticeable when I entered the office, which was no longer adorned with her family photos. Her presence and kind words will be greatly missed. Tomorrow we celebrate the 55th anniversary of the store and we will also be closing her chapter in my business career. 

I'm gearing up for the next course which will be Liturgy. This year, like the last two have been moving right along. 

This morning as usual Mike M. and I gathered for morning prayers and my attention drifted off when I read the following antiphon:  
Ant. 3 Zion, praise your God, who sent his word to renew the earth.

Inside of me I'm thinking, "wait a minute, I'm hearing the Gospel of John still speaking to me"
1In the beginning* was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.a

and then I remembered what my spiritual director loves to say when someone quotes John 3:16 "so what does John 3:17 say?"

17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn* the world, but that the world might be saved through him.l

So this evening as I reflect one more time on the Gospel of John, I'm reminded of the mighty power of the Word!

Bonsoir et Adieu mes Amis,


Monday, October 15, 2012

Time to take out the gardening tools!

Pope John XXIII 

“We are not on earth to guard a museum, but to cultivate a flowering garden of life.”

This weekend we had our first formation weekend of year three. The highlight of the weekend was being together as a community. We had not been with each other since the right of Lector in June. It still amazes me how we have come so close to each other in such a short time. The smiles and the moments we have to share any "Good News" like being expectant grandparents is precious.

This weekend the focus was on sharing information on resources and thoughts about evangelizing, specifically through catechesis. It was a weekend packed to the gills, and we mixed in a time where we designed candles that spoke of our faith. We had to think of someone who was instrumental in our faith. Terry selected a CCD teacher and I chose my Mom. The symbols was a dove for Terry and the fleur de lis for me. My Mom is from Quebec and thus you have my reasoning.  We shared many thoughts on the Church and one of the highlights for me was this phrase that you see above.

It really caught my attention as it speaks volumes of the thought of tradition vs. traditionalism. The Church isn't something that is frozen in time that is so precious that it needs to be placed under glass like in a museum. The Church is alive, filled with the Spirit and ready to change as the Spirit moves us. 

I liken this to celebrating Christmas as a family. When I was young I celebrated with my family, my domestic Church. We held strong to the way we celebrated our Christmas traditions. When the day came that Terry and I became parents we decided to bring new traditions to our new family our new and expanded domestic Church. We held strong to the past but mixed in something new that our children deeply cherish. In the future I suspect that my daughter will do the same as we did. 

We also learned that the way to perfection is to change. This isn't a concept that most people are very excited to hear about. My life since this journey began would be like an evolution of change. I thought I knew what I needed to do, and certainly what I didn't want to do. I now know that the Lord has His own plans for my formation and that I'm still learning to trust in His Providence.

So I challenge you all today that even though winter will soon be upon us, you need to take out your gardening tools and get to work. You may love what the Lord gave you the grace to cultivate.

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,




Saturday, October 13, 2012

Time to be formed!

I believe that Deacon Greg one of our directors would quickly correct me on the title of this posting, or at least he would ask me to qualify it. 

This morning Terry and I are heading south with Mike for another formation weekend. The last time we gathered together was in June and it really feels a lot longer than that for me. I know that this one will be very special as we will be sharing some good news with everyone.

I ask for your prayers for all of us as we continue the ongoing process of discernment and the never ending job of formation. I'm sure Deacon Greg would approve of that statement. 

God  Bless you all and I will post some thoughts on Monday!

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Monday, October 8, 2012

We are useless servants!

Last night I'm preparing to close out a wonderful day and I'm doing Evening Prayers. This was one of those nights where my attention was at it's best.  I'm really enjoying the prayers and then we have the following antiphon for the Canticle of Mary...

"Tell yourselves: We are useless servants, for we did only what we should have done."


Wasn't that a harsh statement to hear when your almost at the end of your prayers. Coincidence, I think not. I can't even remember how many times that I have read something for a few years before, bang! Well I guess the timing was as good as any, as He really got me thinking.

In an age where we are suppose to pump everyone up, and say you can be anything you want to be, this is tough to accept. After all, He can't mean me! I instantly thought about the Gospel of John where John the Baptist said "He must increase and I must decrease!" For the most part in my life I have been the useless servant. I've gotten better since I started this journey, and  of course all through the grace of God, but do I really extend myself? 

So you went to Mass yesterday Mitch, you visited at the hospital, you spent time with your Mom and Dad, you did something nice for your wife, you did some spiritual reading, so what do you want Lord? Obviously He wants more, because as the phrase states .......I've only done what I should have done anyways. Yes, this can be brought to an extreme, but I think the Lord is asking us not to get too puffed up about doing the right thing. After all, who gave us the gifts and the grace to do those things anyways?

I also really believe that the Lord is calling all of us to listen to His voice, and to stretch out of our comfort zone and answer those difficult calls. Our priests are overworked and they need our help. So in the next few days find some quiet time and as useless as we are, we may be able to break out a bit more.

Bonsoir et Adieu mes Amis,


Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Other trinity!

Tonight I attended Mass with my folks, and our new pastor Fr. Marc Gagne was the Celebrant. There is a difference and it is all good. Each and everyone of us carries our own style, our own personality, and as Terry puts it "we each bring something special to the Table." 

I really loved his homily tonight on Marriage, commitment, and how we have turned this world into a disposable society. We don't repair anything anymore, we just replace it. Unfortunately, we do that with employees, friends, and relatives. 

He mentioned how we can get caught up in the other trinity, "me, myself, and I." When he said that it reminded me of how we like to live and have everything in our life according to our satisfaction. 

Our focus has to be on Christ's message of reconciliation, love, forgiveness, and a strong commitment in all our relationships. Our life has to be rooted in Love!

Well together with Fr. Marc, Fr. Kyle and our entire community we are beginning a journey together. I'm really looking forward to this long walk that we will have.

Bonsoir et Adieu mes Amis,


Friday, October 5, 2012

You may be gone....

On October 6th officially, my pastor, and spiritual director will become the new pastor of St. Rose of Lima in Littleton. I have really enjoyed having him in Berlin and I'm also very happy that this new location will offer to him what he needs and deserves in his ministry.

I can sum up in one word what he offered to me and all the parishioners, Presence! Fr. Mark's key phrase was much more than a catch phrase, it was a way of life. He forever reminded me that ministry was about people, and being in their midst. You need to listen, to hold their hands when necessary, to cry with them, to be with them.

Well Fr. Mark, you may be gone but your presence will be forever felt and never forgotten.

God Bless you my friend!

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Good Night John.....for now!

Tonight we will be taking our final class for the Gospel of John course. Unbelievable how four weeks has passed by.  This class has been just like the Gospel, very special indeed. The video-conferencing this year have been fabulous and the instructor has opened my eyes to the beauty of this Gospel. I especially enjoyed the connections that were made between the Gospel itself and the Wisdom books of the Old Testament.

A question or comment that I have heard from others is that Luke, Mark, or John is my favorite Gospel. So, what is my favorite? I don't have one yet. I guess I'll need more time plunging into the Gospels to determine that one someday. 

Honestly, I'm not so sure that I will have a favorite. There is so much beauty in each one that I feel like I'm being enriched whenever I devour the Lord's words.

After tonight we will be on break for a couple of weeks and we will also have a Formation weekend coming up on October 13th and 14th. 

Thank you all for your prayers and your support. We as a community really appreciate it!

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Was that a Deacon who said that?

''You have to put yourself last if you want to lead,'' said the former All-Star catcher, who spent the first 11 seasons of his 18-year playing career in Cleveland.
''You have to serve first,'' Alomar said. ''Be unselfish and do what you can for others.''

I was checking out a few articles on the internet and looked at one where Terry Francona and Sandy Alomar are candidates for the managers position with the Cleveland Indians. The words were so inspiring I thought that I would share them with you. I think his words speak for themselves!

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


 Happy Birthday Fr. Mark Dollard

Men are like wine: some turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age.
Pope John XXIII

Sunday, September 23, 2012

...be servants of peace!

“Stay as you are…be servants of peace…work at home as you have worked abroad, humbly, persistently, intelligently.  Weep with those who are sorrowful, rejoice with those who are joyful. Teach those who are ignorant. Care for those who are sick. Serve your wives…serve your families…serve your neighbors…serve your cities…serve the poor. Join others who serve.
Serve, serve, serve! That’s the challenge.
For in the end it will be the servants who save us all.”

I found this quote on another blog and really felt that I needed to share this with all of you. R. Sargent Shriver ran for President when was 15 and being the times and my character I worked for his campaign. Unfortunately he didn't receive the nomination to his party, but his message means so much more to me today. Serve, serve, serve, the true message for all of us, but especially for those of us who are studying to be Deacons. This truly is appropriate with today's Gospel.

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


It's so good to hear your voice!

For a few months now I've been trying to reconnect with my days at St. Meinrad Seminary in Indiana. I think since our Bishop Peter is an alumni of this school my interest to reflect back on my days there has resurfaced. I spent a year and four months on the Holy Hill and I feel the Spirit has guided me to reach out with my past. There were two individuals who made a strong impact on my life. One of them was a New Hampshire native studying for a Diocese in Florida, and also another gentlemen from Rhode Island who was  studying for the Diocese of Manchester with me. 

Over thirty years have passed and I began the process of updating my files in the alumni section and then looking up the profiles of these two. I found John (from RI) and read about his journey, and then searched for Mike. 

John's email was out there so I sent him a little note. I remembered the late night sessions studying for History exams, but most of all that he was such an exceptional friend. When I left the seminary I was dealing with a very trying issue and really put everything behind me and didn't look back. Today, that was probably the greatest regret of my life, but I really wasn't ready to stay in touch.

John responded to my email a couple of weeks ago and his words really lifted my spirits. Unfortunately he shared some very difficult news as Mike had passed away two years ago. John gave me his cell phone number and a couple of weeks passed by. 

On Friday I reached out and called him and he soon said ........."it's so good to hear your voice!" We talked for about a half hour and the wonderful memories of those years gone by came welling up inside of me. He is now an Episcopal Priest in RI and he is still the same wonderful man. There were no questions about why we lost touch, only enjoying the words of someone you missed. 

He asked about my journey and wants to be there in two years, God willing of course, when I hope to be a Permanent Deacon for the Diocese of Manchester.  Terry wants to plan a camping trip this summer and visit John and another friend we have in Rhode Island. 

Friday was a wonderful day, and it was great for me also to hear his voice!

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Saturday, September 22, 2012

A four letter word!

We are all aware of the four letter words that just aren't said in public, at least they shouldn't be.  Unfortunately, each and every day it gets harder to go through a day where they are thrown out there, like it's just a common everyday word. Yet, in today's reading I uncovered one of the worst one's to hear, WAIT! Yes, the dreaded wait! 

This word isn't one many if any of us enjoy hearing. "What we await are new heavens and earth where, according to his promise, the justice of God will reside!" Certainly we can all await for true justice. But here is the clincher ......... "While waiting for this, make every effort to be found without stain or defilement, and at peace in his sight!"  Using an old sports cliche, the ball is literally in our court. We need to make the effort, we need to give it our best shot. It won't be easy, and at times maybe not fun, but to finally achieve justice, I think it's worth the wait!

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Bringing back memories!

This week I shared with Terry my favorite birthday of all time. I was about 15 or 16 years old and I was at an Order of the Arrow weekend at Hidden Valley. It was the first time in my life that I was away from home on my birthday. I loved attending these events and there was no way I was going to miss it. On Saturday the leaders produced a newsletter for us and I happened to notice that there was a little message..............
"today is someones birthday!" I thought to myself, "who told them?" 

That evening at supper we gathered and laughed. Soon a birthday cake came out full of candles and they all began to sing "Happy Birthday" to me. I will never, ever forget that day. I have always loved birthdays, with cake and ice cream. 

This year I had a double dose of joy. On Tuesday evening after supper Terry, and my Son had a cake with candles and sang "Happy Birthday" to me. On Wednesday evening Steve and Linda had a carrot cake for me, and Mike and Elise sent over brownies. I guess the group from St. A's saw it and I lifted up the brownies for them to see. They heard it was my birthday and they all sang "Happy Birthday" to me. 

I can't thank you all enough for making this year a birthday that I will always remember. This is an awesome community of families that loves each other as much as we love God. I am truly blessed to be one of your brothers on this journey. 

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


It all begins in the garden!

This year Terry and I tried a few different things in our vegetable garden. We mulched in our left over leaves into the garden instead of bagging or burning them. In the spring time we added some peat moss, and some manure to the garden and we have been extremely rewarded from just a small space. We have marveled at the abundance of fruit that we have received and have shared our blessings with families and friends. 

On Wednesday evening we held our second class on the Gospel of John and Steve brought up how there were so many connections with Genesis in the Gospel of John. Life began in the garden, man had fallen in the garden! Christ agonized in the garden, He died and rose again in the garden.

I was truly amazed by the parallels that Steve had uncovered, and I couldn't help but think about how many times we read in Scripture about pruning, gardens, and bearing fruit. 

Our time in formation is similar, the Lord through others is planting seeds within us with the anticipation of a wonderful bounty in the future.

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Rivers of Living Water!

"Whoever Believes in Me,
as Scripture says, 'Rivers
of living water will flow from
within him.'" John 7:38

 It's back to school time for our community as we begin our third year of formation. Last night Mike and I did a little catching up with each other and we enjoyed a very different and definitely shorter trip to school. Our little North Country group has remained intact despite Tom now being the road warrior. 

We had a wonderful evening last night in a very good and inviting environment. I do believe there is truly hope for this teleconferencing tool, and it may indeed prove to be good for us and future classes.

If you haven't figured it out yet we are studying the Gospel of John as our first class this year. There occurred an interesting irony from yesterday. Before leaving Berlin Mike and Elise gave me an early birthday card, yes today is my birthday and I'm 52, and upon the card was written the scripture passage you see above, and it was an interesting moment of discussion last night. 

Well, tonight will be back to the books time as we now have classes on Monday and Wednesday evening. 

Bonsoir et Adieu mes Amis,


Thursday, September 6, 2012

and no one saw your footprints!

"Your thunder rolled round the sky,
your flashes lighted up the world.
The earth was moved and trembled
when your way led through the sea,
your path through the mighty waters
and no one saw your footprints. "

From Psalm 77 "Recalling God's Good Works!"

 I'm trying to get back to my regular schedule but unfortunately at times life gets in the way. This week has been one of my toughest week to bear with some family issues, a busy work schedule, and the anticipation of a new school year beginning. I was reminded yesterday through the Lord that He is in my life, ready, and waiting for me, and open to sharing the burdens I have dealt with. Throughout my life I have seen magnificent things happen, special events, and throughout all of these He has been there. I have had times where I soared like an Eagle, and times where I've felt as lowly as an ant, and every time He was there. 

This psalm made me think of the poem about footprints, and yet it is so different. We all see the magnificence of the Lord at various times in our lives, and yet we never see the footprints. 

When we wrap ourselves up and try to handle it on our own, we never see the footprints. We pump ourselves up when things are great, and we can get awfully cranky when there not. 

This week I needed this prayer time to be reminded that as we pass through those mighty waters we will never see the footprints, but we need to know and feel in our hearts that He is there!

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Discovering God in the darkness of the world!

Yes the title is a mouthful, yes the title is provocative, and yes it carries immense meaning to me especially today. When I was interviewed to be an aspirant to the Permanent Diaconate I was asked a very challenging question ............ "Of all the things that you could do as a Deacon, what would be the one you would like least to do!" I didn't take very long to think about this one ........... "prison ministry!" 

Okay so now that a few years has passed in my life where am I at now? Well for several months now I have been wrestling with this challenge, prison ministry. In our final class of the year we discussed the passage in Matthew where the Lord stated how we can care for his children and the one with "when you visited me in prison" hit me hard. 

I have been praying for a long time about this and I shared this with my wife, who in her wonderful ways supports me 100%, there was never you don't really want to do this! Just a few weeks ago we had a small gathering at Tom's house and Deacon Greg was there and shared that next summer we will be working on a practicum, and Terry quickly jumped in and said, "Prison Ministry!" 

Tonight I had an awesome night, spent with my Pastor and Spiritual Director. I shared with him my thoughts, and my feelings. I opened the door and asked if there was anything else that he thought might be productive to help out the parish. He couldn't come up with another option and gave me great insight on how to prepare for this for next year. We spent maybe an hour an half together and it was great!

Well tonight I'm home and I turned on my Kindle fire to listen to Pope Benedict's daily reflections. Today is the feast of the beheading of John the Baptist. I guess if I needed only a few more subtle hints on which way to go with this, I got them tonight. The words were magnificent and inspiring. John the Baptist discovers God in the darkness of the world (in prison), he experiences a metanoya in prison (a change of heart, repentance), we need to move from the visible to the invisible to discover God (who are probably the most invisible children of the Lord; prisoners!), we will know God to the extent that we are set free from ourselves, and John the Baptist's greatest words "He must increase and I must decrease!"
I literally could go on with this, with all that happened tonight! The answer is simple, follow, and trust!

Bonsoir et Adieu mes Amis,


Saturday, August 25, 2012

bad and good alike!

"Then the king said to his servants, 'The feast is ready,
but those who were invited were not worthy to come.
Go out, therefore, into the main roads
and invite to the feast whomever you find.'
The servants went out into the streets
and gathered all they found, bad and good alike,
and the hall was filled with guests." Mt. 22:1-14

Here we go again, getting all worked up over something that I have heard or read at least a hundred times over. Ironically, that morning Mike my prayer partner, and I had discussed garments, or clothing while attending Mass, and that is also part of this Gospel. I was highly moved by the phrasing of bad and good alike, and discovered the reference was to sinners and gentiles, which in my case I fall into both categories.

I read the Gospel after Mike and I finished our Morning Prayers and discussion and I was so moved that I had to call him to alert him. I then read the reflection from the Word Among Us and the epiphanies continued, which is also what I shared with Mike. 

I then reflected upon what the prophet Jeremiah said ............ "When I discovered your words I devoured them!"

I'm inviting you to take a few minutes out of your busy schedules and sink your teeth into this passage.
So what did you discover this week? 

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,