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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 ...

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Reflections of Christmas Week!

I hope and pray that all of you had a very Blessed Christmas day, and my wish is that our hearts maybe open to receive the Lord each and every day. This past week you probably have noticed little to no activity on this blog. The bugs have come back and prevented me from posting anything. Today, Terry cleaned up the computer and so far everything seems to be in a somewhat normal state. 

There were many highlights to the week and still more to come. I called a few friends from out of town to try to touch base with them and wish them the very best. I begin with Fr. John in RI, and as usual we had a great time sharing our joys. He was my best friend in the Seminary and I am so blessed to have recaptured that friendship once more. Our conversation was brief, but very joyful. 

I then called my former high school french teacher who is a Deacon in Maine. Given the day I called (Monday evening), our conversation again was brief but very heartfelt. For some time now I was thinking how much I would be experiencing many firsts. He guided me in realizing that this year, and in the coming months would actually be the lasts of many experiences. This was my last Christmas as a lay person, and the Easter Season would also bring this experience to me once more. The realization of that actually fired me up to serving more at the Altar and really enjoying those final moments.

Early Tuesday morning I went to do some final errands for Terry and decided to pop into the Church and check out the decorations. Last year was awesome, this year they were stunning. Fr. Marc outdid himself once more. I was so moved by what I saw, and then he said..."look behind you!" There was streams of greenery and lights descending from the ceiling forming the look of a canopy. Unfortunately, my words will not do justice to the beauty of the Church. Fr. asked so which Masses will you be serving at? I told him I was Lector at Midnight and would be back at the 9 am Mass. Soon thereafter I sent him a text asking if I could serve at the 4pm Mass, and he said..."come and join the fun!"

On Christmas Eve I joined the sisters to bring the Peace of the Lord to a child who's father is in prison. This was the second year that I participated in this and it again really touched my heart. I firmly intend this to be my continued ministry in the parish or wherever I will be in the future. 

I really enjoyed the times spent serving for the final times and really taking in each and every blessed moment. All I could think of was something I read....."you should serve as if it were your first, your last, or your only opportunity to serve!" Most of all this message needs to be a model of how I live my life as a disciple. 

Christmas Eve Terry, my Son and I spent time with Mom and Dad. I know these precious moments won't last forever and I cherish each and everyone of them.

Christmas morning,Terry and my Mom and Dad would be there. Mom wanted me to get a new alb and it came in on Monday and this was her first opportunity to see it. Terry was the first to see me in it and she really liked it! Mom and Dad both loved the selection. This gift will always remain in my heart and serve as a reminder of my Mom, who shared her faith and nurtured it with the grace of God inside of me.

Last night we gathered with family sharing good food, good conversations, and the joy of all being together.

This weekend the joy of Christmas continues as my daughter, her fiance and my granddaughter will be home. We will be further blessed to share our little baby with our faith family on Sunday Morning. This will be the first time that we take her to our beautiful church and share our joy with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Memere and Pepere are very excited. 

As I continue my vacation, I want to extend my blessings to all of you. Your thoughts, your prayers, your support is truly carrying us all to the blessed moment. Time seems to be flying by for me now, and in some ways I wish it would slow down a bit. 

Joyeux Noel a tous!



Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Chance to Reflect!

A few weeks ago I met with Fr. Marc and asked if I could get an opportunity to offer a reflection some time in the future. Without hesitation he offered me my first shot at the Advent Penance Service. He checked with Fr. Kyle and wanted to know if there were any concerns and there wasn't. He thought I was game for asking, and offered "you might regret it!" In my heart I knew that wouldn't be true. I asked for the chance because I really feel that I need as many opportunities as possible. 

Within a few weeks he sent me the information on what the reading would be. I spent time reflecting, researching, and praying. Something came to me and after more prayer time I was on my way. 

I remember at times that Fr.Marc reminded me that you will eventually have your own style in what you do, and I truly believe he also meant that for preaching. 

I am man who loves a good story and similar to my writing style I like to get people wondering what I'm trying to get at with the story. That is the approach I selected and my time was coming this past Thursday evening.

I was a little nervous, yet there was a peaceful feeling coming over me. 

I never really timed myself, feeling that my critics would eventually tell me once the glow of the first time would be over. 

I received quite a few compliments, and my Mom was my first critic, mentioning that she felt that I spoke a little too fast. 

The next day my buddy called me with glowing reviews and then came the honest critique that I was looking forward." The eye contact was awesome, preparation was good; the story got me going and I was wondering what was the point, and I loved it; you should have paused a little more after the reading; you seemed a little nervous at times and you spoke a little too fast which made it seem like you were anxious to get it over with. I don't think most people noticed all those items except for those who know you best." "Honestly" though he said," I thought you did an awesome job for your first time. I was truly impressed."

So what are my thoughts? After all most people are their own toughest critics. I think my best friend actually nailed it. I felt really good most of the time and there were periods where I felt not as comfortable. So how would I grade it, probably a C+. I feel that's a good grade for the first time and there will be more opportunities. 

Bonsoir et Adieu mes Amis,


Monday, December 9, 2013

Thanksgiving again, a coincidence, and beets!

This weekend we celebrated Thanksgiving for the third time in my family. Honestly, this is the truth. We have often heard "why can't we be in the Christmas Spirit everyday?". Well, why can't we gather more often and give thanks for all the blessings we have received. This weekend my daughter and her family came home for Thanksgiving. It had been almost two months since I last saw them all and it was great. So what was on the menu? Turkey? Not! My wife asked what they wanted and she heard it loud and clear. Salmon Pie! Terry makes an awesome Salmon Pie and she was asked to not make just one but two of them! One for the road! It was so special to have them here and to be with them. The next time we will see them again is after Christmas! Honestly, I can't wait.

Yesterday I was Lector at the 9 am Mass and it was very special. This was only the second time I served as Lector since June and at times you can feel a little nervous with so much time in between. I stayed around to help out after Mass as we no longer have a Sacristan for the Parish. Well the extra time gave me a chance to learn a little bit more about where everything is stored and the little things, like changing the candles.

On my way home I was anxious to see everyone again so I was rushing a bit and noticed a police car at the corner, and I did what everyone does, I slowed down just in case. Well, I'm just about home making the corner and behind me is the police car and the lights are flashing. I thought maybe he found me going a little fast. He asked if I knew why and I said no! Well my inspection was due in September and this is December, not good news. I told him I was sure it was done, but I had no paper work verifying that. He gave me 4 days to get it done and he would forget the ticket.

This morning I got some paperwork ready for Fr. Marc and then headed over to the garage to take care of the problem. I popped in, shared my story about the ticket. He looked in the computer and saw that it was supposed to be done, and it was paid for. Initially I asked him to give me a ride home, but he asked if I didn't mind waiting. I had a great conversation with a good friend. He is a local with a very charismatic personality. We ended up talking about my journey and his life and shared some great conversations. He shared with me that he is no longer a practicing Catholic, believes in God but had issues with the Catholic Church. I said that I prayed that he and God would find each other. It was very open, very warm, and very real. Coincidence, there are none. I'm still shocked how God placed me in an opportunity to minister. Well, the car was ready and passed with flying colors and I was on my way. I also got to hear some great words of wisdom that someday I may use!

Now about those beets! At Mass yesterday morning Fr. Kyle shared that in the previous week he had spoken about his road trips to college and what kept him going was a bag of M&M's peanuts and Dunkin Donuts Coffee! He then shared that this week in his mailbox he received, you guessed it M&M's and DD gift cards. Yesterday he preached about stumps and beets and warned everyone not to send him any this week. At Mass yesterday an usher shared...." I heard you are doing a reflection on Thursday!" Nervously I said yes, and wondered, how did he know? This morning I turned in some paperwork for Fr. Marc to fill out and heard..."I heard you are doing a reflection on Thursday!" Now I'm curious, "who told you?" "Oh, Fr. Kyle shared the information at the 4 pm Mass on Saturday!" Well, I guess the pressure is on! He never once mentioned it at the 9 am Mass. 

Today I'm off and will continue to work on my reflection! I already have something going and I'm praying for more insight. I will do my best as I look forward to this great opportunity. 

By the way, Fr. Kyle will receive a can of beets on Thursday night!

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


The real “war on Christmas”: it’s not what you think

The real “war on Christmas”: it’s not what you think.

Peace to all, just had to share these thought provoking thoughts!

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Trying to survive the drought!

It's been over three years since I was first given the blessing to share my thoughts, my feelings, and what has transpired in my journey to one day be a Permanent Deacon. The days and now the weeks seem to be flying by and yet I've struggled to share even some basic thoughts. I don't want to just repeat myself so I think it's actually been best that this has been a challenge. With each passing week I'm more convinced of this calling. I know in my heart that this is what God has been calling me to be since I was a child. Yes, since I was a child. All that has happened in my life has been another step in my formation. 

So is there anything really new? Actually no! If you call becoming more confident in serving, than the answer is yes. Otherwise, not really! 

This weekend I served for the first time in our twinned parish in Gorham and really loved the experience there. It was very different as I shared that with Fr. Kyle. Holy Family is a very lovely, cozy, country Church. We are literally sitting right on top of them, and so are the faithful. The only thing different from the buildings is the size, but the heart of all the parishioners is huge. I have been so well treated and respected it is actually very humbling. A very dear friend shared her love and best wishes for me, and also reminded me how she is not surprised about this vocation. I've always known this was for you, and you get the total package. I like that! 

I've been a leader all my life and this is not what the vocation is all about. Yes, I know there are times where I will be asked to lead, but this is all about serving. 

In a couple of days Terry and I will be doing our final interview and I'm not nervous at all. I ask that you all continue to pray for all 22 of us and also for the new class that has recently started. 

Tonight I get to do something that I absolutely love, BOWLING! Because of scheduling issues I've missed several weeks, but tonight I'm back for my third straight week. 

So that's it, nothing earth shattering, just another ordinary day!

Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,