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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 ...

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,


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Stand up, now, walk, and live

It seems when you listen, and truly listen, you can even hear the tiny whispers of the Lord. There has been so much going on in my life in the past couple of years and I wouldn't change them for anything. We all will go through many moments that tug at our hearts, and lift up our spirits, ironically they can happen almost simultaneously.

At a funeral Mass that I attended this week I heard one of my favorite songs .........."You are Mine" by David Haas! I love to sing and the emotions were very high that day, and then suddenly I hear and sing the words ...... "Stand up, now, walk, and live...." and then I thought ...... "why do these words strike me so hard?" Yes they are an inspiration for us all when we encounter life's challenges, when we are in need of Christ and he whispers to us, and then I remembered.  We have a new Bishop and he has been to Berlin 6 times since his installation and I thought of his coat of arms and his homily at his installation. 

All I could think of is this ..........  even though the road is tough, despite all life's challenges, we are  all called to arise, stand up, walk, and live. It will never be easy, especially if you're like me, stubborn, and too self reliant. In those moments we need to tune out the distractions and listen to those tiny whispers which will help us get and live as Christ taught us.

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Saturday, August 18, 2012

A morning prayer before work...

My heavenly father, as I enter this work place, I bring your presence with me.
I speak your peace, your grace, your mercy and your perfect order into my work. I acknowledge your power over all that will be done, spoken, thought and decided within these walls. I commit to use them responsibly in your honor. Give me a fresh supply of strength to do my job. Anoint my projects, ideas, and energy, so that even my smallest accomplishment may bring you glory.

Lord, When I am confused, guide me. When I am weary, energize me. When I am burned out, infuse me with the light of the Holy Spirit. May the work that I do and the way I do it bring faith, joy and a smile to all that I come in contact with today. And oh Lord, When I leave this place, give me traveling mercy. Bless my family and home to be in order as I left it. Lord, I thank you for everything you've done, everything you are doing, and everything you are going to do. Lord, I thank you for the gifts you have blessed me with. In the name of Jesus I pray, with much love and thanksgiving.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen

 Taken from the Laudate app available for the Kindle Fire!

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Monday, August 13, 2012

No Mas!

Any one who has followed sports for several years now, has to remember the famous "No Mas" fight of Roberto Duran vs. Sugar Ray Leonard. Amazingly, a fighter known for his toughness signals to the ref that he's done he gives up.  Needless to say he is then roundly mocked by just about everyone for giving up in a tough fight.

Yesterday we read about Elijah who basically is saying the same thing to the Lord, No Mas, I give up! Even though he had seen many glorious works of our Lord, he wanted to give up when the fight was getting really tough.

I reflected in my prayer time and these episodes presented themselves to me, and I wondered how many times I was saying No Mas, and ready to give up the fight.

Last night before going to bed I read the reading from evening prayer which goes like this...
READING 1 Peter 1:3-5
Praised be the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ,
he who in his great mercy
gave us new birth;
a birth unto hope which draws its life
from the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead;
a birth to an imperishable inheritance,
incapable of fading or defilement,
which is kept in heaven for you
who are guarded with God’s power through faith;
a birth to a salvation which stands ready
to be revealed in the last days.

There is cause for rejoicing here. You may for a time have to suffer the distress of many trials; but this is so that your faith, which is more precious than the passing splendor of fire-tried gold, may by its genuineness lead to praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ appears.

 This passage was extremely moving for me and really put life in perspective. I didn't say it would be easy to accept, but it really was a great message of hope. 

We are all being reserved an imperishable inheritance guarded by God that will be revealed to us some day. We are meant for rejoicing, yet we will face trials, many trials. And as gold needs to be fire-tried to be pure, so must we. 

I urge you all to read this passage carefully and pray that you get an epiphany from it!

Bonsoir et Adieu mes Amis,


Friday, August 10, 2012

During the fourth watch of the night,

How long does it take you to realize that you really need help, and that even though the answer is right in front of you, you still have trouble letting go. For those of us who believe that they are in control, myself included, we are often reminded that we really aren't. 

This passage in Scripture is one most people may feel that they know very well (Mt 14:22-26). This week I received a revelation of something new. I can't even count how many times that I have heard or read this passage, but for the first time I read about "the fourth watch of the night!"

So what is this? Well, I found that the Romans divided periods of time into watches, and the fourth one occurred between 3 am and 6 am. 

Again, so what? Well, in my life I can relate waiting almost until the breaking point for me to finally reach out to the Lord's hand. A hand that had been waiting for me for so long to finally grab onto. The Apostles were in trouble for a little over seven hours, as they were trying to resolve the mess they got themselves into, and yet  they still lacked the faith to Trust in the Lord.

Hum, sounds awfully familiar to me! 

Well now that I have read this passage and understand it better, I won't make the same mistake twice ............ right? Wrong! 

I'm going to try to trust a lot more, and hopefully not wait until the fourth watch of the night to grab onto the hand that should be leading me!

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Sunday, August 5, 2012

P Lot Boy!

I'm sure for all but an extremely small minority of you this title at it's face value makes absolutely no sense at all. One of the many jobs that I had in my life was to work at Storyland  in the summer of 1978. I'm getting awfully close to graduating from HS and I needed a job and applied very late to work at Storyland (Glen NH). I applied and incredibly was honored to work for the Morrell family. I put down on my application that I had worked in a kitchen, albeit for only about 5 to 6 months. So, because of that enormous amount of experience I was a Pixie Kitchen Chef! Yeah, doesn't that have a nice ring to it. Anyways, it was a great job that I took lots of pride in, and to this day I still look back with great memories. 

One of the advantages of being a Pixie Kitchen Chef, alright a short order cook, was that I wasn't a parking lot boy, or as they are still called today a P Lot Boy! That job was the lowliest job of them all. I didn't have the greatest job, but I wasn't one of them. Did we pick on them, you bet! Their job was to do butt runs first thing in the morning, and that was to clean the park and the parking lot,and especially the cigarette butts left behind. They also had the great honor of applying bumper tags to all the cars in the lot, so that when you left Storyland as a customer, everyone would know you had been there. The owners were marketing wizards. Of course this was in the day of the big chrome bumpers where the tags could be easily attached. Boy am I glad I never got that job. 

Fast forward to July 26 2012 where our parish will soon be celebrating the Feast of St. Anne and the pilgrimage for vocations. Deacon Andrew our event commander, worked tirelessly to put on such a wonderful event. Several weeks before this blessed event I told Deacon Andrew that I would do anything he wanted me to do. A week before I mentioned to him again the same proclamation.........."anything" and that's when the word came out, ............ "I think I'll have you handle the parking in front of the Church a few hours prior to the Mass, I need someone who can think on his feet!" I said great, honestly I though to myself, parking lot, I'm now a P Lot Boy! 

I shared this with Terry and being the kind and loving wife she is, she shared my ego burst with Deacon Andrew and also Bishop Peter. The Deacon was apologetic, and the Bishop told Terry............"You know the Lord works in mysterious ways!" 

You can learn a lot more from a position of humility, so I decided that I was going to be the best P Lot Boy these pilgrims have ever met or seen. I did my work with pride, and love for our Lord and I was rewarded with many smiles and welcomes. 

I have to give credit to this posting to a very special friend of mine who last night Terry and I shared supper with her and Mike. Elise mentioned that "so....you became a P Lot B!"
I laughed and soon said, that would be a great posting. So thank you Elise and Mike for a truly great evening, that Terry and I will never forget!

So, if at anytime in your life you a relegated to a job like the P Lot Boys, do it with pride, do it with love, but most of all do it for the Lord!

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Friday, August 3, 2012

A Request from Logan!


I am forwarding this appeal from Logan to all my readers. We ask that anyone within their means please donate to Logan's request, read on......................

August 1, 2012
Dr. & Mrs. James Wilton
Dear Jim and Roxanne,
Greetings!   I hope you are doing well and I will always be grateful for your generosity to me at the time of my foot surgery in May 2010.   I was thinking that maybe you or other people that you know might be able to help one of our students, Logan Genaw.  As Daughters of Mary, Mother of Healing Love we consider the healing of families to be our main mission.  We work toward this goal through our ministry at St. Charles Children’s Home and also through a new service which we recently began with the Rochester Public School Department. 
Through this Service, public school students whose behaviors have been so escalated as to impede their own and others’ learning, come here to St. Charles during the school day.  Here we help them to learn new pro-social behaviors and we strengthen their academic skills.  This service began on March 19, 2012 and so far five students have participated.  Early results seem successful overall.  In particular one of our students, Logan Genaw (who just turned ten years old on July 25), made very noticeable advancements.  At the time he came to us he was self-destructive and unable to be maintained in the general education classroom.  Here he made rapid progress both emotionally and academically.  He is a very intelligent boy and I think that his misbehaviors and self-destructiveness were at least partly rooted in his being bored and not sufficiently challenged in the public school setting.  A very providential opportunity has arisen for Logan to attend St. Elizabeth Seton School in Rochester this fall if enough benefactors can be found to pay his tuition (His family is only able to assist minimally with this).
We are writing to you to ask if you or someone you know could make a donation towards Logan’s tuition. We have set up an account at St. Elizabeth Seton School in Rochester, NH for the St. Charles Children’s Home tuition assistance program. If you are able to make a donation please make the check payable to St. Elizabeth Seton School and in the memo line write SCCH TAP (This stands for St. Charles Children’s Home Tuition Assistance Program). You can mail the check here and I will give it to the principal. I am enclosing a list of reasons that Logan wrote for why he hopes to attend Catholic school.  If we succeed in raising enough money for Logan then we would like to apply some of this tuition assistance to one of our residents, Charles, who would also greatly benefit from attending Catholic school.  Any support that you can offer towards this goal will definitely make a healing difference for these boys, as well as their families, and even future generations.  Please be assured of our gratitude and prayers for your contribution to this worthy goal.  Thank you and God bless you.
In the Hearts of Jesus and Mary,
Sister Mary Rose, DMML, M.Ed.
Sister Mary Rose, DMML, M.Ed.
Supervisor of public school support service

 Ten Things why I want to go to St. Elizabeth Seton School
by Logan Genaw

  1. I can't function in public school
  2. Children are too loud in public schools
  3. I don't get challenged enough in public school
  4. I think the teachers will be nice at St. Elizabeth's because everyone looks happy in the picture
  5. I don't get the right kind of attention in public school
  6. There are too many kids around me in public school
  7. I'll be challenged at St. Elizabeth's
  8. I didn't have a lot of friends at my old schools
  9. People will be nicer at St. Elizabeth's
  10. I can learn about God
 Please help me to be able to go to St. Elizabeth's. Thank you very much.

PS please contact Sr. Mary Rose at stcharleshome.org  Rochester New Hampshire.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

When I found your words!

"When I found your words, I devoured them;
they became my joy and the happiness of my heart," Jeremiah 15:16

We have new hours at work, a new employee, and the best benefit of them all is that I get a few more chances to attend Mass in the morning before going to work. I arrived for morning prayers at the usual time, and this also allows me plenty of time to go over the readings for the Mass.  I have grown to understand the wisdom of the Old Testament, and I have also grown to love so much about it.  Today's reading was a prime example of how special it is, and that there is so much to be gathered by spending time with it. The first line really hits the spot. This line really sparks some fire inside of me and describes how much I have grown from my spiritual reading. It has truly become the joy and the happiness of my heart. Fr. Kyle preached heavily on this line today, and I complimented him on it. I also kidded him how he got the better end of the deal, whereas he didn't have to preach about loincloths. I also pointed out to him how this next line also captured my attention to dig further...................................

"You have indeed become for me a treacherous brook,
whose waters do not abide!" Jeremiah 15:18

Needless to say many thoughts came rushing through my head.  I thought about hiking trips and the tough streams I had to cross. You know the ones, rushing waters, slippery rocks that are covered with moss, on a wet dreary day.  I also thought of how in the spring time these tiny brooks, that upon a heavy rainfall look just like a raging river that would be impossible to cross. The definition in the commentary stated that it was a brook or stream of water that was essential for life, and that at times we couldn't rely upon it to sustain us. Jeremiah had a tough time in his ministry and even though he was very eloquent, he wasn't exactly singing the Lord's praises in this one. He was obviously frustrated, like we can all get some times. Tonight, I went a little further and looked at another translation from the NAB, "To me you are like a deceptive brook, waters that cannot be relied on!" What I love about this is the duality of emotions in these passages. First, he falls in love with the Words of the Lord, a later on he lets all his emotions go in telling the Lord how he thinks it is! 

This is our lives in a nutshell, whereas we want to get closer in our relationship with God, and this closeness causes us to let loose at times.  These two lines sum up how my relationship is going. Loving what I'm reading, and at times wondering why I'm facing some of the issues that are going on in my life.  I guess I'll have to keep on reading to gain a little more wisdom!

Bonsoir et Adieu mes Amis,