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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, January 26, 2013

I'll be away...

I will be leaving tomorrow morning for our annual National Sales Meeting with the Sherwin-Williams company! This June I will be starting my 28th year of service with the company! I'm looking forward to seeing old friends, trying to learn something new, and enjoying a very beautiful city! I won't be posting anything until I get back!

See y'all next week!

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Hi Ho!

It's been an incredible week and  it keeps rolling along. I've accomplished a few tasks around the house like changing a faucet, and replacing the overhead microwave. I'm not a very handy man, and when I do something it really surprises me. I've been the kind of person in the past that will say, I can't do that, I don't know how to do that, or I won't do that. As I reflect on this week maybe, the Lord is trying to teach me something through these little chores. I probably need to learn to slow down a bit and try to do something that I might just accomplish if only I tried. I've learned that they take a little more patience, a little more careful planning, using tools that I have that I just kept in storage. Anyways, they are done and the wife is happy! You know happy wife, happy life! A friend of mine told me that phrase. I like it! 

Were about half way done through the Liturgy of the perplexed course. I've really loved reading this lecture and have come away with so much. I would actually love to share one with you....................

"At its deepest level, therefore, the language of sacrifice is the language of self-surrender. Its focus is not the violent taking of life, but the giving of life, the renewing of life at its physical, psychological and spiritual sources. Sacrifice has more to do with birth than death, more to do with a beginning than an ending."

I think we have all heard this phrase also...."give until it hurts, and then keep giving!"

Here's to new beginnings, may it enrich your life also!

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Communal or Private!

We have all just completed the first unit of our course "Liturgy for the perplexed" and something wonderful, and mysterious has been surfacing for me. Actually, it is something that began with me even before this course started. I know I talked about how a family member suggested that some events should be a private affair. 

Ironically, one of our classmates in this course mentioned how in his former parish Baptisms were still performed at Mass.  Interesting, because Terry and I also got into this discussion. 

In this age of the "personal relationship" with God, the word and the thought "private" has crept into the picture. We seemed to have turned Our Faith, into "my faith". There are many prime examples of this going on, such as Baptisms after Mass. I'm not so sure why this one occurs. My guess would be that we may or probably would hear from too many parishioners that Mass is "way too long" because of the Baptism. Regardless, I think we are missing something "marvelous", and communal, as quoted by one of my classmates. 

The discussion then moved on to funerals. Today, we see funerals with "no visiting hours",  " a private ceremony will be held", or "at a later date". 

I think you are getting the picture I'm trying to paint. Have we lost our sense of community, in our attempt to be more private in our lives? Have we become so personalized in our faith that we have forgotten or abandoned our neighbors?

The Sacraments are Liturgies, and liturgies are meant to be a celebration. They are meant to be God's way of unifying us all together as one!

As John the Baptist would say "He must increase, and I must decrease!" 

It needs to be less about only us, and much more about all of us!

Please share your thoughts!

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Embracing our humanity!

While reflecting on some of the thoughts of my fellow students I came across this wonderful article that I wanted to share. I know it dates me but, c'est la vie!

One Voice - On Plato & Boxing: The Art of Living in Two Planes
By Dr. Reggie Kidd

In the "Heroes" episode of M*A*S*H's 10th season, the show's chaplain, Father Mulcahy, sits at the deathbed of one of his life-heroes, a retired boxer named "Gentleman" Joe Cavanaugh. As he comforts the dying boxer, Mulcahy recounts growing up as a scrawny, inner-city kid with big glasses who liked to read Plato. He loved Plato's description of an "ideal plane," which helped him imagine a better life: "rambling fields and trees. Sort of like the suburbs, only in the sky."

One of Mulcahy's challenges was that he was an easy target for the neighborhood bullies. It didn't help that he never fought back—thinking fisticuffs were "not very … Platonic."

Then one night when he was 12 his father took him to see "Gentleman" Joe in a boxing match. "Gentleman" Joe was punching his opponent at will. With the crowd yelling, "Put him away!" Joe had stopped punching and told the ref to stop the fight because the man had been hurt enough.

And I realized for the first time that it was possible to defend myself and still maintain my principles. If Plato had been a boxer, I suspect he'd have fought like you. That was when I made up my mind to keep one foot in the ideal plane and the other foot in the real world. I thought you might like to know that. And I just wanted to thank you.

Uncommon Match
Francis Mulcahy became an effective priest because he embraced his humanity. Now, the M*A*S*H scriptwriters never really allowed Father Mulcahy to have one foot "in the ideal world." But they did show the way his keeping one foot "in the real world" lent power to his ministry: from rescuing orphans to performing orderly duties when the rest of the camp was sick, even to performing an emergency tracheotomy while under fire. All the while, he struggled with how useful his life was. Even with the scriptwriters' muzzle, it always seemed to me, Father Mulcahy's foot in the real world became a pointer to another plane of existence.

I especially loved the line where he states that Fr. Mulcahy became an effective priest because he embraced his humanity. I can't help but think that this would also make us better fathers, mothers, brothers, Christians, if we all embraced our humanity as Christ did!

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Back to School!

It's back to school time for all of us and like last year we are taking a course called "Liturgy for the perplexed!" Doesn't that title just grab your attention? Or rather, doesn't it gave you that "huh" kind of feeling. Well, the best and the worst part of this is that there is no traveling in the winter. The worst is that I'm not sharing my life with my buddy Mike on those road trips. He called me today and it was great to hear from him.

Last year I panicked about doing an online course, getting logged in, and dealing with the unknown. With that out of the way we all begin what should be a great experience. 

Tonight there is an optional online chat that I will participate in, in just a few minutes. 

This is our third course for the third year, the tough one! 

I ask for your prayers and that the Holy Spirit may guide us in our continuing journey of discernment. 

Bonsoir et Adieu mes Amis,


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Do you see Him, did you hear Him, ...........

It's early Saturday morning and I'm trying to get back into some very good habits. For quite some time now I had always put God first and said morning prayers, even on the weekends when I pray alone. The challenges in life seemed to get to me, and complacency began to creep it's ugly head into my life. I made excuses, I began to procrastinate a bit, just like a man falling off his diet. By the way, I did that too! There was nothing terribly bad being done, it's just that I let my life change gradually, and not for the best. I realized this more and more and prayed for help.

It is the weekend and I vowed, like a New Year's resolution to return to form, and bring back order in my life. It's time to get back on track, so prayer and reflection time were first on my agenda. It was good, actually very good! So good that I am sensing His presence close again. Not that He moved away, but it was I! Shades of a previous posting about who moved? 

This past Holy Day as we honor Mary, we hear how she pondered all these things in her heart. This is an example for us to try to understand how Christ is shaping our lives, allowing us to grow and become what He intended us to be.

As I reflect on this Christmas season I will share three beautiful examples of how I saw and heard Our Lord Jesus Christ. 

It's Christmas eve and I volunteered to help Sister Pauline with her ministry of bringing presents to children of men who are in prison. We loaded my car and we were off to visit the family. We had two children to present two huge bags of gifts for. They were given clothes, games, etc. and they were just overjoyed by the gifts. Their smiles were so bright it started me thinking of my grandchild to be. We then took pictures to send to the man in prison to help him also during this time, a beautiful touch that Sister had learned many years ago.  Before we departed we offered our Christmas blessings and then it happened..... I looked into the mother's eyes and I realized that I had just seen Our Lord through this wonderful lady. The love that came pouring out of her eyes was so precious, more precious than gold. I was just given the best Christmas gift ever.   

It's Christmas day and we finally talked our daughter and her fiance into waiting to celebrate Christmas with us until next week. They both live in Portsmouth and we were expecting a large storm.  Terry is upstairs on the computer and I'm watching an old episode of Frasier on Netflix. Suddenly the dogs go running to the door and start barking, and then they are quiet. I thought to myself, that's strange, who in the world is here on Christmas night. Then my daughter and her fiance say "We're here, Merry Christmas!" My daughter has turned into an expert at surprising us at very wonderful moments. I called for Terry and tears came down both of our eyes. We were witnesses of the greatest gift Our Lord has for us, LOVE! Just the thought of this again continues to move me. Once again the Lord continues to give!

It's New Year's eve, and I'm remembering that I still have to call an old friend. I have mentioned in the past how I have tried to reconnect with my days in the Seminary. John was a treasure for me in a very difficult time in my life. He was my guardian angel for me in those days. When I left I put all of those days behind me and thought that I would never look back. Well, obviously the Lord had different plans for me. I reached out to him and we are slowly recapturing some of that life that remains with us both. I picked up the phone and called him again. We spoke for about 40 minutes, which actually felt like 5 or 10 minutes. We shared more thoughts, laughs, hopes, dreams, and great words. He ended it by saying..........."Mitch, thank you so much for calling, you really made my day!" This was my third Christmas present!

This Christmas I saw, I felt, I heard Our Lord in my life. I learned a lesson with my conversation and relationship with John. He is there waiting for all of us to reach out, and when we do..............an abundance of grace and love is waiting for us!

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,