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Scenes from my first Christmas

Yes, this is my First Christmas.....as a Deacon of course. Fr. Andrew reminded me and the entire congregation of that, along with the story ...

Saturday, March 31, 2012

You're handling it better!

How do you like reading and following directions. I know most of you and myself included would say that it isn't something men do very often, or very well. Probably so, but as age seems to catch up on us maybe a hint of intelligence comes forward. At the store we had to reset a sixteen foot section for brushes and rollers. Yes, we do carry a very large assortment of tools for the painting trade. My part time employee held off on doing this alone after reading that it should take only 4 hours with two people. Either we are slow or someone who had never done this before took a stab at how long it would take. Double that time for our store with a little more needed to apply the finishing touches. 

Well the day is winding down and my assistant manager offers a comment..."You're handling this year better than last year!" I looked at her a little puzzled at first and then said..."You mean school right?" and she said yes! She told me that I don't seem so stressed out, and that she can't quite figure out how I've been able to manage everything. What an awesome compliment. Honestly though, I'm not so sure how I've been able to do it myself. It's only through the grace of God that any of us have been able to persevere through these challenges.

We have one class left from our current course that I won't be able to attend. I have already made a commitment that I just can't give up. I'll be working on my paper this week and I will be watching the "video" of the last class with Mike on the 12th. 

Enjoy the break everybody and I ask the Lord to shower all of you with His blessings during this very Holy Week!

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Friday, March 30, 2012

A message of Hope!

It's Tuesday evening and Mike and I are heading to Plymouth when Terry gives me a call. She has rarely called me on class night. It obviously was something very important that she had to share. I got an email from another Candidate Brother and it was a message that just couldn't wait. One thing that I have learned in my studies is that when you do receive a message, it can be from someone you least likely expect. Ironically they like this one, are special because they come from the heart!

The message was reaffirming what I had written in a posting how we are all being targeted by the evil one. These complications, distractions, and frustrations can at times feel too much to handle. The message reminded us how far we have traveled together and that we must be patient and persevere through these challenges. 

It was a wonderful message of hope and it came at just the right time. This class has to be the most challenging course to date. There's a lot of thinking going on by some very strong intellectuals that are difficult to follow and they are definitely on another level.

So the message of Hope is there...."hang in there, don't despair, just go with the flow!" Allow the Lord to lead you and trust that He'll always be there!

The message was definitely inspiring and without a doubt was inspired.

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Word, A Greeting, and still on a High!

It's early this morning and I'm catching up on my readings for my class. Of all the works that we have studied so far, St. Thomas Aquinas has been my favorite. I just love his thought process and the simplicity behind it. This morning I read from Hans Urs von Balthasar and one word hit me like running into a brick wall. Patience! Trying to deal with God's time by taking the "long view". This isn't a concept that I do very well with. To be patient I need to give up control. Again, something I'm not very good at. I really loved this quote I read....

"Hence the importance of patience in the New Testament, which becomes the basic 
constituent of Christianity, more central than humility: the power to wait, 
to persevere, to hold out, to endure to the end, and not to transcend one's own
limitations, not to force issues by playing hero or the titan, but to practice the virtue that lies beyond heroism,  
the meekness of the lamb which is led."

I read this just before leaving for Mass this morning and it was definitely something I had to put down and reflect upon. Of all that I could have read during Lent, these words high lighted the struggles that I find myself in. Mix in with the word Obedience in today's Gospel and you can pretty much find that I like all of us still have lot's of work to do.

I was scheduled as a Eucharistic Minister today and we are asked to sign in. I walked into the Sacristy and was alone at first. I checked off my name and then Fr. Kyle popped in and greeted me and then said..."So I hear that you Love Aquinas!"  That's all it took for me and we shared a few thoughts. Inside of me I was wondering....."How in the world does he know this??????" I soon found out that Mike shared that information with him. With so little time I know I want to talk more with Fr. Kyle about this.

As far as yesterday's event, I can tell you without a doubt that I'm still on a high. I feel a call to share this with as many as possible and work to invite more men and their children to this event next year.

I know that I probably misled you all with the title. It isn't really just one word today. 

Patience, meekness, obedience!

I will end with a quote from my pastor.....

"I'm a practicing Catholic, and I have a lot of practicing to do!"
 Fr. Mark Dollard!

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Three Mike's and a Mitch!

I have been thinking about this day for quite some time. I talked it up with a few people and we had four of us committing to the trip. The four of us got up very early to be on the road by 5 am. Today the diocese celebrated the feast of St. Joseph and invited men from all over the diocese to attend rosary, Mass, and breakfast with our new Bishop Peter. 

It was an event that all I can say is.....I'm looking forward to attending again. The homily from the Bishop was worth the trip itself. To be part of over 300 men celebrating their faith together was spectacular. We then had breakfast together and the Bishop again was just as amazing. I got to touch base base with a few of my brother Candidates and a very dear friend that I miss. 

We made sure to talk to fellow Berliner Fr. Jason and then we spoke briefly with our Bishop. The four of us shared thoughts on who we would be inviting to attend next year with us. 

It was early to rise this morning and it will definitely be a day I won't forget any time soon. 

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Friday, March 23, 2012

Still Practicing!

It's been an up and down week this week. I have really enjoyed this course "Christology and The Trinity". Tuesday night went very well with one little problem, fatigue. After getting up early, a full day's work, travel time, classes, ....it's a challenge. I even went to Church this week for a few moments to pray that I have the physical strength to make it through each and every night.

Last night I felt that my energy level was very good and I was pumped up for a good class. We celebrated Tom's 60th Birthday last night before, and during class. Upon the start of the class I had a question and noticed something odd about the video portion of the conference. It took a while longer but we noticed that the video portion was getting scrambled, and that there was a delay between the audio and the video portion. It was so distracting that the second half of the class I could only listen because viewing the video was giving me a headache. 

It was frustrating for all of us again. Mike and I both discussed our frustrations with this way of learning. Today my professor mentioned that he also wishes we were all together as he feels "disconnected". I shared this with Terry today, that Mike and I felt that the evil one is doing his very best to discourage us. Terry said.."I'm not surprised!" I looked at her quite confused. She said this.."The devil will attack the easier prey, the smaller flock that is away from everyone!" I really loved that point and I'm convinced that this is definitely going on.

Tomorrow there are three of us traveling to the Breakfast with the Bishop. We have three Mike's and a Mitch leaving early to assemble, share, and just be with others who believe. 

I ask for all of your prayers of support for all of the Candidates but especially for our little flock in Plymouth. 

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Summa Time!

Twice a year Sherwin-Williams stores participate in an event called "The Blue Bucket Sale". This was will be the third year we hold this event. It is a very simple idea, whatever you can fit into a bucket you can get 35% off your purchase of associated products that we sell. My assistant and I are both very competitive. Our store which is one of the smallest in my district has been the top seller in 3 out of 4 times. Thursday is our big and final day of the Sale. We pull out all the stops, calling everyone who hasn't showed up, pizza, meatball subs for lunch, cookies etc. You would think by the way we compete that their is some glorious prize attached to this. Except for one time the only prize was the satisfaction of being the top selling store. This year we have a chance to have supper on the boss, but all in all it really isn't about the prize. We love to work as a team and succeed as a team. 

Thursday at 4 pm is the time I was leaving with Mike to head down to Plymouth for night classes. I was completely exhausted from the day and needless to say I had a tough time absorbing anything in the first half of the class. We were tying up thoughts of the previous class and after the break we started to discuss St. Thomas Aquinas and his thoughts. The teacher asked us...."Given that Jesus is the Ultimate teacher what can you infer?" There was a pause and then something inspired me to say...."He can't learn anything!" I thought to myself, how did that come out of you? The rest of the class I was literally at the edge of my seat. By the help of the Spirit I was able to wrap myself around these thoughts and really loved it! I really enjoyed the logic and thought process he used. It was Summa time and I enjoyed every single minute of it. I actually have been sharing these feelings with family and friends. 

What I thought was going to be a very rough night, ended up being the most enjoyable time I've had this year. I actually downloaded the Summa Theologica on my Kindle fire last night for 99 cents. How could I go wrong? Honestly I'm not that deep of a thinker but something is burning inside of me and I want to know more. 

So that's what went on, when I expected nothing at all I was caught up in Summa Time! I hope you all find that moment that just burns inside of you this Lenten Season. 

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Saturday, March 17, 2012

What do you Treasure?

Ah, the thought of treasures conjures up many thoughts for everybody. This week in the Diocesan magazine "Parable" there is a wonderful article by Cynthia Nicolosi titled..."Saint Joseph, Husband of Mary". She had two lines shortly after the heading that really caught my attention. The first was...
"In his teaching, Jesus gave his disciples a measure for knowing themselves:
"Where your treasure is, there is also your heart"
If you identify what it is you value above everything
you will now the truth about yourself.

Wow! These are very powerful words indeed. One of the books in the Old Testament that I love is the book of Sirach. In it there are a couple of references that I immediately thought of when I read this line. The "Treasures" it speaks of are precious as a rare gem and a one of a kind treasure. There are two treasures that I read about first a wife, and also a friend. That could be both for some of us, and if you are blessed you may also have several friends that is, not wives! 

My treasures are my faith, my family, my friends, my candidate family, my coworkers. I strongly suggest to read through this book. Even today I found that Chapter two in the book is speaking to me about the Duties to God!
Saint Joseph is a great model of purity and of putting the real treasures in life first!

Now for the final line in the heading.....
"In the same way, you can also know others.......
Show me what you treasure, and I will tell you who you are!"

So what is your Treasure?

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Div. III Boys' Basketball Championship: Berlin rallies to capture first crown in 72 years | New Hampshire SPORTS

Div. III Boys' Basketball Championship: Berlin rallies to capture first crown in 72 years | New Hampshire SPORTS

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis!


It's..........Our Time!

For the past few weeks I've been very busy on Sunday's. I have either been a lector or Eucharistic Minister at the 9 am Mass and then I've been taking my folks to the 11 am Mass in Gorham. What I've really enjoyed by the experience is hearing two different homilies. We are blessed to have two fantastic Priests who are great at homilies. 

This weekend was my first in a while to only hear one. Fr. Kyle our birthday boy, (he just turned 29 yesterday) spoke about how the world is encroaching upon the Church and how we need to take our Christianity out there to the world. He spoke about how Tim Tebow a devout Christian for many years created a stir because of his outward signs of faith. I also read about how Phillip Rivers another NFL quarterback spoke of his faith and how he felt it necessary to attend Mass on Sunday's in order to be completely ready to play. Fr. also talked about how the cathedral of the NFL and corporate America was uncomfortable by Tim Tebow's public display. 

Fr. stressed that we need to take our faith out there in God's world. Not just in Church on Sunday, not just because He lives inside of each one of us, we need to evangelize and change the world. 

So really for me I felt that the message was it's not Tebow time, it's actually......Our Time! It's up to us to be the one's taking it to the streets. (Just like the Doobie Brothers song!) 

We need to stop the world from dictating our beliefs and to start sharing the message of the Gospel!

It's Our Time!

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Off to a rocky start!

As most of you may well know school has gotten off to a very rocky start. We begin with the cancellation of a class because of snow last Thursday. The ironic part to that one is that this has been one of the mildest winters I've ever seen and oh well, that's the way it goes. 

Tuesday night would be our first class. There was a little less anxiety on my part, as I'm trying to go with the flow. We started fine and then it happened! The video was frozen and then two messages...."St. Anselm has left the Conference".......Recording!" 

Well, it wasn't as if this has never happened to us, so we discussed our thoughts on the last class we just finished. We then got into a discussion on our thoughts of what we had just read for that evening. The general feeling is that this will be an intense and thought provoking course. Christology and the Trinity, not exactly two very easy beliefs to define as we were finding out. I came away feeling that what I take for granted and accept very well, took so long to define. Now we will be trying to understand this, hopefully more than ever before.

We talked amongst ourselves for a little over an hour and agreed that if by 7:30 we weren't on we would call it a night. Unfortunately, we wrapped up the evening at that time and we headed back home. 

I arrived in Berlin at about 9 pm and I dropped off Mike home. I decided that I would go visit my buddies at the bowling alley. They were all surprised to see me, and it seemed that they were then a little more energized and won that final game. The other team noticed also, as they said.."things changed when the heckler showed up!"  I stayed for a couple of beers and some good conversation.

Thursday night's class was right on! No interruptions, no distractions, and it was wonderful. I thought our professor did an awesome job, and he kept me alert. Yeah, after a long day it can be tough. I loved it! It's still hard to be fully involved when you aren't in the room. You can still get that feeling that you aren't really there. I'm working on adjusting myself to get comfortable with this way of learning. 

So that is the week of schooling in a nut shell!

Today I'm going on another road trip. I'm heading south to SNHU to watch our Mountaineers play in the Division III basketball finals. I've been praying for them to have a safe trip, be healthy, and enjoy the experience. I've also prayed that our fans show the dignity and respect of what it is to be from Berlin. 

Today, if you are anywhere near that gymnasium and see a large migration of fans, you will know what it is like to be a Mountaineer. Terry said it best last night while talking to friends from Manchester. No matter where you are in life, where you live, Berlin will always be your home. You are a Mountaineer for life! With pride and excitement I and many of us will make the journey south and share our home town pride with the rest of the state! The northern invasion will begin soon......

"Go Mountaineers!"

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Monday, March 5, 2012

You did not withhold from me!

After a day of digesting yesterday's Old Testament Reading from Genesis, one theme stands out from me. Abraham was promised many blessings and rewards because he did not withhold from God. The greatest treasure that Abraham had was his son Isaac, and to be asked to give up something so special that you have been waiting years is just so incredible.

I'm not Abraham, nor will I ever be, but I know I'm being put through the test also. The question I ask myself is....."what am I withholding from the Lord!" Am I always giving my best or at times am I just mailing it in. Honestly, there are many times that I feel that I'm fully on board. Unfortunately, there are also times that I'm just withholding a little too much. Because of my own failings and my issues with control I'm not 100 % on board. I still rely too much on myself and that is where I feel I'm being tested.

Yesterday, I was looking at Jesus on the Cross. There He is fully exposed, and holding nothing back because He loves me. He was fully engaged, leaving nothing behind and giving every last ounce in Him!

So, I got down on my knees and prayed for strength and guidance to make those changes that are needed. I'll keep working at it, realizing that I will struggle with this but also inspired to know that "abundant blessings await those who do not withhold anything from Him!"

Bonsoir et Adieu mes Amis,


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Jesus Patrol!

Yesterday, Terry and I made a road trip to visit our daughter. We hadn't seen her since Christmas and she was also moving into a new apartment. She is a very motivated individual and she had already moved everything in. We were planning on helping her pick up her couch at the store. She was very proud! She's got a good job, a new place to live, a new car, and soon to be having a new dog. Well she showed off her apartment to us. It's cute small but very affordable. She is starting to be very frugal. 

As we were leaving to head to the store she pulls out a gift for me. She had a hat that was marked "Jesus Patrol!" She was asking kind of sheepishly if I loved it or not? The answer came quickly as I put it on my head and told her that I would wear it to our next formation weekend. I think it's her way of finally understanding what this journey means to me. She still has a few questions but she seems to realize that this is something very special in my life.

Last night we celebrated the birthday party for a friend and the hat was noticed almost immediately. We had a great time, a wonderful campfire, but after a long day on the road we called it a night around 10.

Looking back, it was a wonderful day full of little things that made it very special. Best of all I shared this with Terry.

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Friday, March 2, 2012

No....It isn't your time yet!

Discerning a vocation is something we are all called to do. I'm beginning to believe that period of discernment  isn't a one shot deal. Let me share a wonderful little story with you how God spoke to me yesterday through my best friend. 

I have known Bruce since we were eleven years old. You may have seen a few pictures of us together in my campfire blogs. We have so much history together, that we really know each other very well. Yesterday he called me to help out with a little situation that he knew I could deal with.

Minutes later he called me back and said..."you know when you felt that you were being called to be a priest?"  I said ...."Yes!" ....."You really thought you had that calling but the Lord said No.....It isn't your time yet!" "The Lord didn't let you go, he continued to groom you, for what was to come in the future!"  "Your time is know Mitch, and you will be a great Deacon!" "I can see you helping so many people and bringing them to the Lord!" 

Wow! I was so humbled and very speechless from what he said! I'm still a little overwhelmed by this even now.  We have a relationship where we are constantly teasing each other and after doing this for over 40 years everyone expects this from us. What they don't see is the wonderful moments we have together that are really a treasure to both of us, the very quiet and personal ones that are truly from the heart.

So if there are any doubts, any anxieties at all, just have a talk with your best friend! You may be teased a  bit, but you will always hear what comes from the heart!

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,