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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, April 30, 2012

Reflection on Acts 10:40-43

Another formation weekend has come and gone, and way too fast for me. They are all great, but this one was very special. It seemed to be such a long time since we last gathered, even though it was the usual two months. This weekend's formation session was on marriage, the youngest and yet one of the oldest sacraments.

The weekend also brought about my first opportunity to practice a homily, by sharing a reflection on Sunday's morning prayer reading. I was the sixth person to get their first shot at this and this is how it went...

"Each and everyone of us have gone through a process 
to be selected, to be chosen,
and it is in our nature to want to be a part of a team,
part of something special, being part of a mission!
As children we can all remember the times where we stood up in line,
waiting to hear our name, waiting to be chosen.
It could have been for baseball, hockey, a play, almost anything, 
and when they called your name you felt very special.
As adults I would have to say that these emotions were even more intensified. 
We too long for the feeling of honor and acceptance. 
Who can forget Sally Fields when she won her first Oscar 
Most people just laughed at her, but it underlies the need and the desire
to be loved and to be a part of something special.
We can also see the Hall of Fame candidates who waited not very patiently by the phone for "THE CALL", and when they gave their acceptance speech,
they cried like little babies, with tears of joy. 
They too loved that feeling of being Chosen!
We as a candidate community can relate very well to waiting, 
again not so patiently for that letter to come in the mail.
Each and every day I checked the mailbox, and Terry kept telling me relax
it will show up any day  now!
Well we planned a weekend camping trip, and I made sure it was close to home!
Saturday morning I told Terry I forgot something and needed to go back home,
really what I wanted to do was to check the mailbox. 
I would have to wait another day!
I called my buddy who also went back home to pick up some items, and asked him
to check the mailbox, again nothing there!
I decided to enjoy the rest of the weekend, and soon it was time to head home.
We unpacked as we always do, and after we were all done, 
I checked the box and finally the letter was there!
I just stared at it and Terry said "Well aren't you going to open it?"
The answer was yes you have been selected, you are chosen!
Unlike the selections as a child or the other examples this selection isn't from something we've done, or an honorary award, 
this is a call for something yet to be done!
It is a call to be a member of a team with a mission!
Today's reading announces that the Apostles were the first witnesses 
of the Risen Christ.
Even though they were the first, they actually looked more like they were in the 
witness protection program.
They were literally, physically, spiritually all locked up away!
Then when the Risen Lord revealed himself to them,
they ate, they drank with Him, and they were never the same!
They were unleashed to the World and what a difference they made!
Pope Benedict in one of his reflections stated....
"Jesus reveals Himself to the one He can entrust on a mission!"
So as the Apostles were the first witnesses, the first to share in Christ's Mission,
We too are called to be his witnesses!
Soon we will gather at the Lord's Table and we as a community will
witness the Risen Lord in the Sacrifice of the Mass,
and as witnesses we too will share in Christ's mission of
Peace, Love, and the forgiveness of sins.
My Brothers and Sisters, We have been Chosen!"

Thank you for your prayers and support!

Bonsoir et Adieu mes Amis,



Friday, April 27, 2012

Just what we needed!

Well, we are all back in school this week to work on our final course for the year, which is Moral Theology.  I can honestly say that I was looking forward to the end of this year. I have shared with all of you our frustrations with this technology and that the year has not gone as well as expected. 

So I made the trip to Plymouth with a little apprehension and quite a bit of fatigue. We just completed a major sale at the store and we were extremely busy, and a little short staffed. The fuse is also a little short, and there is always the unknown of what to expect from a new class and professor.

Two words will describe what I and all of us felt in Plymouth. ENERGY and WOW! I can't even begin to share with all of you how everything has now been turned around. These two classes that we just had were absolutely amazing. I feel like the Apostles who were let loose from being locked up, with the need to share the "Good News" with everyone.

The Holy Spirit definitely made His Presence felt these last two nights, and as we learned in class, it is, and has always been Our Lord's agenda. We as a group desperately needed a spark to bring more hope to this process. What we got was a roaring fire instead. 

As I continue to unpack what I am learning I will share some of this with all of you!

In the meantime thank you all so much for your prayers as they were definitely answered for us!

I will be away this weekend for another formation weekend to enjoy much needed time with my community. I will also be delivering my first attempt at a homily on Sunday Morning, and I continue to ask for your prayers.

God Bless you all!

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Is it ever good enough?

Well another milestone was achieved very early this morning. At about 7:30 am I emailed my final paper for the Christology and Trinity class. This paper was to be a 7 to 10 page academic paper. I haven't done very many academic papers in the past 30 years, and so I really tried to put my best foot forward on this one. I did something for this course that I have shared with all of you that is a little foreign for me. I have never, and I repeat really never been one to read very many books. I have always done quite well in my school career but never really became one of those figures you would see near a lake or at the beach reading for pleasure. 

This class did something for me that no other class in my life has ever done. I wasn't satisfied with what I had to read for this course. I was so much into St. Thomas that I wanted to read more and the same goes for St. Athanasius.  I read "The Incarnation" and small parts of "The Summa Theologica" and I do mean small parts. Each one in it's own way provided the foundation I needed to dig deeper and get more out of this course. Most of you are well aware of the technical challenges that we faced in Plymouth, so I guess the Spirit moved me in a very different direction.

This morning after the paper went out I wanted to shout ALLELUIA! Unfortunately we had someone sleeping and it wouldn't have been fun for him. I shared with Fr. Kyle this morning that I finally finished my paper and I told him that I worked hard on it and really hoped it was good enough. I shared with him that I can be my worst critic. He told me he felt the same way when it came to delivering a homily. He just isn't so sure at times if it was really good enough.

Well he delivered a wonderful homily and I told him that it was good enough. He looked at me a little puzzled, and I guess the choice of words wasn't exactly the best. It was really good but I thought he would have gotten the connection with our earlier conversation. I then told him that it was so good, that it answered an issue for me that had been weighing on my mind for over a week. That response really got his attention. 

His message was quite simple and very beautiful. He spoke about how we all have a choice in our faith. We can be Christians who focus on the crucified Lord or we can focus on the Resurrected Lord that offers us Peace. They are both equally important in our Salvation yet the Resurrected Lord challenges us to go further in our lives. To share the Good News and be witnesses. He ended by saying the decision was up to us. 

Today I say that sometimes good enough can be really good, with the Grace of God!

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,



Monday, April 16, 2012

The Other Side!

Like the past few weeks there is so much to do and of course there just isn't enough time to do it all. A paper to write, time to spend with Terry, time to spend with my best friend, and I'm sure you're getting the picture. Rather than feeling a little overwhelmed I'm trying to be a little more patient and planning my time a little better. 

I took care of a few projects around the house and stopped by to see my buddy. We talked for a while and just shared some very good minutes together. I got home and Terry wanted to go out. We stopped at a store and we were separated for a while and then I found her talking with friends. We were there just talking for over an hour, and you now what? It was okay because we needed that time. We got back home and we then thought of going to Mass together at 4. It was great just being with each other, seeing friends, and praising God together. We met up with Fr. Mark after Mass and Terry shared that I have been struggling more this year. His answer was quick..."Good!" ....."If it's too easy and you're not struggling, then I would be concerned!" It wasn't the answer I thought I'd get, but it made perfect sense to me. 

Terry and I had supper together and it was really nice the quiet time, just being with each other. A little later I asked her if she wanted to go out to visit friends. She was getting up early the next day so she passed on the offer. I called my buddy and asked if he was up to receiving company, and stopped by to visit him. 

That evening we sat together drinking sodas on his deck in the back yard. All we did for the rest of the night was talk. We shared how much people think they know us, and yet they rarely see the other side of us. The side that needs to be with each other, just to talk, and listen to each other. Like any great relationship we need that side, and we are better when we have that time together. 

As I try to balance all facets of my life I learned quite a bit about myself this weekend. This journey will continue to be filled with challenges that at times may seem overwhelming, but through it all I need that other side of my life, and I need to make sure I make time for it without feeling guilty.

Bonsoir et Adieu mes Amis,


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Working through my imperfections!

He is Risen Alleluia! Yes it's a little late to post this, but we are still in the Easter Season. Anyways, I'm up early on this gorgeous Saturday morning and who knows what can happen when I get out there!

I've had a very interesting week. I returned to work on Monday after taking Holy Week off and I really felt energized by the experience. Tuesday I had a training meeting in West Lebanon to go to and it is a two hour drive. I left very early because there was a call for snow in the forecast. So much for the snow! I had a very uneventful ride, or so I thought. With that much time there are thoughts and ideas that can circulate in your head. One of them was the title for this posting. 

An inspirational message came to me from listening to the radio about a major league ballplayer who played with one hand. I can't remember his name but I do remember him. They spoke of how he inspired many people through his perseverance despite his physical imperfections. I know at my age I'll never be a major league ballplayer, but I like all of us need to allow the Lord to work through our imperfections in our lives. We need to remember........

"In Christ I can do all things!"

The training meeting went very well and we left early. I was on the road and looking forward to the evenings celebration. We did have a make up class planned, but I decided not to attend because it was the night of the Annual Bowling Banquet for our winter league. It has been tough this winter missing most of the season because of classes, and I really needed to be there gathering with my friends. That evening I received one of the most humbling compliments ever. We had so much fun sitting back, sharing, laughing, teasing each other. One of my teammates said towards the end..."we are better simply by your presence, even when you are just keeping score." It is still overwhelming for me today. 

That evening for me ties in very well with the title of this posting. Despite all the limitations that I and all of us have Christ Jesus will work through those little problems and allow something wonderful to happen when we least expect it. 

So today, put away all your fears, all your insecurities, don't make excuses, and trust that so much can happen when we are in someone's presence!

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Sunday, April 8, 2012


This past week I wanted to take everything in, every little moment. Thanks to our Pastor, Mike and I were very involved with Holy Week. I even spent time with my prayer partner Mike M. bringing in the flowers, setting up the candles, and offering our help in any way possible early Saturday morning.

Today I took my parents to Church, and then we gathered down at the restaurant. We haven't been together since Christmas as a family and it was special being with all of them. We laughed, we shared, we ate, but best of of all we were together. The moment was bittersweet as Terry, and my daughter couldn't be there because of work and distance. Being with everyone for just a few hours doesn't sound like much but because of everyone's lives it just seems to happen.  

Tonight I called my best friend to wish him and his family Happy Easter. We missed each other at Mass today, as he attended the Service at Holy Family. He told me that lately we haven't seen much of each other and that hasn't been a usual occurrence.  

One of the difficulties of this journey has been balancing time with everyone. I remember quite well during a Spiritual Direction meeting that Fr. Mark mentioned this to me. Up until now it really hasn't been an issue but he warned me that it would be. 

I felt torn today because there was so much I wanted to do with everyone that I Love. I wanted to be at the hospital today, and because I haven't seen much of my family I needed to "be" with them. I also so wanted to just "be" with my buddy, but unfortunately that just didn't happen. 

I have Loved every single moment of this journey so far, and I mean everything. The challenges are just a glimpse of what is to come. 

So while we all walk this journey together I feel some comfort knowing that my Brothers out there fully understand these emotions. I guess I didn't have to wait too long for Fr. Mark's words to ring so clearly....."There will be times when you will be torn from all sides, family, friends, studies, and service to the Church!"

I realize now that Fr. Mark was speaking from the heart, and also from experience. 

May God Bless all of our religious leaders for the sacrifices they make each and every day!

Bonsoir et Adieu mes Amis,


The Opposite of fearful is Love!

Last night I was blessed to be involved in the Easter Vigil again. It was such a tremendous evening. The lights were all out and my job was to turn off the lights in the Sacristy and make my way to the ambo to announce what the Easter Vigil would be all about. To get there was a little tricky as when I turned off the lights in the Sacristy I needed my flashlight for a moment to find my way. It's such a spectacular event with only the fire, then the Easter Candle, and then all the individual candles in the Church. 

My final job was to turn on all the lights in the Church when the Easter Candle was near the Sanctuary. With my work all done for the evening I just took everything in. We have a new member to our Community and again it was very meaningful. Fr. Mark earlier that morning was giving me a crash course on Baptism 101 while practicing with our newest convert.

The highlight for me among the many of them, was Fr. Mark's homily. He had a simple message for all of us, again in his usual style. He shared a joke about how we must learn to see with our whole selves, not just with our eyes! He spoke about how the women were amazed, actually fearful when they realized that the rock to the tomb had been moved. He then when on to say that we need not be fearful in our lives despite all that we see around us or throughout the world. We need to see Love and to let the Love of Christ guide us through these troubled waters. 

It's Easter Sunday and my plans are to be with family today. I will take my Mom and Dad to Mass this morning and then we will gather at a family favorite restaurant where my son will be our waiter. Ironic isn't it that my son will actually be showing me what it is to serve at a table with people you Love!

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Friday, April 6, 2012

Direction, Reconciliation, & more Direction!

Wednesday night I left early to sit, think, and pray before receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I was right up front in deep thought and prayer when Fr. Mark my Spiritual director asked "Are you okay?" I guess the intensity of the prayer left him a little concerned. We spoke for several minutes on many topics and soon when he left I realized that we had a mini Spiritual session. I then walked to the back of the Church and got in line with all of us sinners. 

I walked in and met with Fr. Kyle and we talked, I shared , received the Lord's blessing and forgiveness and he also gave me some very sound advice on what has been going on this year. He called the challenges as a period of purification that was necessary to prepare all of us for the Diaconate. He also mentioned one item I want to share. He said when you preach make sure it isn't your story, you must be faithful to the Gospel and always speak the Truth.  He also went on to say that the Deacon's ministry is one of Service and Charity. 

Well it turned out to be a night that I received quite a bit more than I expected. It's awesome how the Lord works in a very mysterious, wonderful, and unexpected ways.

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Plan B!

It's early Sunday morning and I'm still reflecting on the homily that Bishop Peter gave last Saturday morning. He spoke of one particular thought that really hit home to me last night. I as many others try to fix things on my own. I've got two things going against me at times in my life. My business background which keeps me in the mode of thinking that I can repair or mend all things. Yes I know not a very smart idea, but it is a trap that I've fallen into many times in my life. The other problem I face is my stubbornness. Again, not a very good trait in handling personal situations. 

Bishop Peter talked about that we all need a plan and being who we are we believe or try to believe that Plan A, our plan, our way, is the best way. He spoke of St. Joseph and the dilemma he faced with his beloved Mary. His plan was to quietly divorce her, and we all know it wasn't God's plan. In a dream, a new plan, plan B was revealed to him, which he chose to execute. 

The Bishop then surmised that if Plan B was the Lord's plan, it should have been Plan A right from the start. Again, issues that I myself struggle with push me to the point of thinking I can fix anything, and there isn't much I can't do. Yesterday, I was humbly reminded by a personal issue that I don't have all the answers, I can't just fix everything, that I must allow the Lord to lead me and patiently accept His will.

So last night I got down on my knees and did what I should have done from the start. I started a Novena to St. Joseph and asked for him to reach out to his Son and help me through this issue. As we celebrated the feast of St. Joseph last Saturday the Bishop proclaimed...."through Joseph, to Mary, to Jesus!"

So Plan B is now and should have been from the start Plan A!

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis!