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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 ...

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Feast day today


Angels—messengers from God—appear frequently in Scripture, but only Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are named.

Michael appears in Daniel's vision as "the great prince" who defends Israel against its enemies; in the Book of Revelation, he leads God's armies to final victory over the forces of evil. Devotion to Michael is the oldest angelic devotion, rising in the East in the fourth century. The Church in the West began to observe a feast honoring Michael and the angels in the fifth century.

Gabriel also makes an appearance in Daniel's visions, announcing Michael's role in God's plan. His best-known appearance is an encounter with a young Jewish girl named Mary, who consents to bear the Messiah.

Raphael's activity is confined to the Old Testament story of Tobit. There he appears to guide Tobit's son Tobiah through a series of fantastic adventures which lead to a threefold happy ending: Tobiah's marriage to Sarah, the healing of Tobit's blindness and the restoration of the family fortune.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Saturday, September 26, 2015

“Go out and meet others where they really are, not where we think they should be”

“Go out and meet others where they really are, not where we think they should be”

Feast Day today


Saint Cosmas 

Twin brother of Saint Damian. Physician, trained in Syria; the brothers accepted no payment for their services, and their charity brought many to Christ. Reported to have miraculously replaced the ulcerous leg of a man named Justinian with one from a recently deceased man. Arrested during the persecutions of Diocletian, he was tortured, but suffered no injury. Martyr. Many fables grew up about the brothers, connected in part with the ability of their relics to heal.


3rd century, of Arabic descent


tortured and beheaded c.303 in Aegea, Cilicia (modern Ayas, Turkey)


Saint Damian

Twin brother of Saint Cosmas. Physician, trained in Syria; the brothers accepted no payment for their services, and their charity brought many to Christ. Reported to have miraculously replaced the ulcerous leg of a man named Justinian with one from a recently deceased man. Arrested during the persecutions of Diocletian, he was tortured, but suffered no injury. Martyr. Many fables grew up about the brothers, connected in part with the ability of their relics to heal.


3rd century, of Arabic descent


tortured and beheaded c.303 in Aegea, Cilicia (modern Ayas, Turkey)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

I never tire of seeing these words

Tonight I received a text message from a friend building me up, thanking me for everything I do. Sharing with me that he and his buddy can't figure out  how do I do what I do. He said that with all the things that I do in my life, I still find time to help them out. I still can't stop thinking of these words that I look at every single morning of each day.........Encourage each other daily while it is still today (Hebrews 3:13). 

Tonight he shared you rock, ironically I feel the same way about these two gentlemen.

My challenge is to all of you to make these words resonate in your hearts. Don't miss that opportunity to build up that special person, or just a random person in this world who just needs to be encouraged, if but just for that one moment.

Dona Nobis Pacem 

Deacon Mitch

Monday, September 21, 2015

Still rings true

"Any seeker of a higher truth or of God," Thomas Aquinas wrote, "must eventually and inevitably come back to the idea of community."

Sunday, September 20, 2015

And a quote that caught my attention

Tonight CBS 60 minutes is doing a segment on the Pope. Here is the quote...."He ditched his room in the palace for a room which is more Sherwin-Williams than Raphael!"

Dona Nobis Pacem

Deacon Mitch

PS I manage a store for Sherwin-Williams

What do you ask for?

Where do the wars
and where do the conflicts among you come from? 
Is it not from your passions
that make war within your members? 
You covet but do not possess. 
You kill and envy but you cannot obtain;
you fight and wage war. 
You do not possess because you do not ask. 
You ask but do not receive,
because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

From today's second reading from James.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Pope’s quotes: Signs of the times | National Catholic Reporter

Pope’s quotes: Signs of the times | National Catholic Reporter

To one day hear well done good and faithful servant!

Once again today I found a deep inspiration as I am praying the novena to Saint Joseph the Worker for a very special family. This is the prayer....
 "Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of being God's faithful servant. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace to be a faithful servant of God as you were. Help me to share, as you did, the perfect obedience of Jesus, who came not to do His Will, but the Will of His Father; to trust in the Providence of God, knowing that if I do His Will, He will provide for all my needs of soul and body; to be calm in my trials and to leave it to our Lord to free me from them when it pleases Him to do so. And help me to imitate your generosity, for there can be no greater reward here on earth than the joy and honor of being a faithful servant of God."

Dona Nobis Pacem 

Deacon Mitch 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

You were chosen

It was a busy day being a deacon today. I met with a beautiful young family preparing to have a child baptized and first communion for the eldest child. Tonight I met with a very wonderful young man who has much to discern. He has  a a lot of soul-searching to do. We met for about an hour even though it didn't feel like it. Before the meeting I sat and prayed trying to figure out what the Lord wanted me to say to him, and through revelation this is what I shared from the novena to Saint Joseph.....

"You were chosen by the Holy Spirit. He is the mutual Love of the Father and the Son -- the heart of the Holy Trinity. In His wisdom He draws forth all creatures from nothing, guides them to their end in showing them their destiny and giving them the means to reach it. Every vocation and every fulfillment of a vocation proceeds from the Holy Spirit. "

And so goes our lives, we are chosen, we need to allow the Holy Spirit to move us , to fill us with grace,and serve Christ.

Dona Nobis Pacem

Deacon Mitch

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Sharing some great advice

Advice for New Deacons

One of the many blessings I enjoy in my present assignment (St. Michael the Archangel Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Woonsocket, RI)  is that I have three deacons serving with me.  It’s the sign of the health of our parish that we have grown three diaconal vocations within our parish over the last few years (note that one moved and serves elsewhere while one of our serving deacons moved here from elsewhere).  Our deacons are more than liturgical con-celebabrants; each has his own gifts and ministries.  I love supporting them and seeing God’s grace spread through their ministry.

I loved my time as a deacon.  Here I am assisting V. Rev. Alexander Webster serve in Afghanistan (Nativity, 2006).

I loved my time as a deacon. Here I am assisting V. Rev. Alexander Webster in Afghanistan (Nativity, 2006).

Alas, not everyone’s experiences with deacons are so positive and most priests and deacons have a fair share of first and second-hand horror stories about diaconal service gone wrong.

I have talked with many deacons and priests about the diaconate and have attempted to distill their words of wisdom into these two sets of advice for new deacons.  I encourage everyone to add their own advice in the comments section below!

Seven things that allow the deacon to be a blessing:

  • Kenosis; Surrender your life to God (through Christ) and Holy Orthodoxy.  The Word did not consider Himself so good that He wouldn’t empty Himself for our salvation; St. Paul imitated Christ by becoming what people needed so that some might be saved.  It’s not about you – it’s about loving and serving God and His people.  No matter how good your voice and vestments are, its all just noise if you don’t get this part right.
  • Know the Services Cold (but know the ustav/preferred practices of your bishop, priest, and parish, too).  Memorize the services and all its variations; mark all your books so that you’ll do the right thing even when your mind goes blank (it will).  Communicate with your priest before and after the service to make sure you both get and stay on the same page.  Defer to your priest and bishop on the services (and parish life) even when you disagree or your favorite book says something different.
  • Love, Serve, and Support Your Priest.  A big part of your calling is supporting your priest.  Like a good First Sergeant, you should use your expertise to implement his plan for parish life and evangelization.  His approach may be different that yours would be; you can and should give advice, but support him in his decisions and approach … especially in public.  Every priest needs someone he can trust to guard his six.
  • Serve, Serve, Serve, but Always Get a Blessing.  From the time of its establishment, the diaconate has had its own role within the community; later, it developed its own liturgical role.  Continually grow within those roles and live up to your calling.  Your priest should help you with this.  Remember that deacons are not independent operators; every deacon is assigned to serve directly under a specific priest (or bishop).  Stay in regular contact with your priest about what you are doing and how it is going.  Get his blessing for each task.  You do this during the Liturgy; Liturgy is life.
  • Stay Grounded and Balanced.  The demands of kenosis and diaconal service do not abrogate your other responsibilities, including the responsibility to keep yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually grounded.  Make sure that your service is sustainable.  Again, communicate with your priest so that he does not expect too much (or too little) of your time.

Seven warnings to deacons:

  • Don’t embarrass your priest, your bishop, your parish, or the Church.  The most obvious example of this is making mistakes during services, but these are more easily overcome than others.  Social media sets many clergy up for failure – be careful!  When you do make a mistake, be quick to ask for forgiveness and help with damage control.
  • Don’t act like you are still a lay leader of the parish.  Lay leaders often have pet agendas that differ from those of their priest; that is part of parish life.  One of the huge temptations of parish life is factionalism; the deacon must join the priest in being above and moderating factions.  He should never set up his own faction, lobby, or gossip against his priest (even when his priest is messing up).  If you have a problem with your priest, talk to him.  If that doesn’t work, ask for a blessing to talk to your bishop.
  • Don’t set yourself up as a second father within the parish.  You are not going to agree with your priest on everything he does.  You may not like the kind of culture he is fostering.  If you advertise your disagreement or, worse yet, try to encourage a different kind of culture than your priest, you are going to split the parish.  It’s a big temptation and you are sure to find allies who agree with you (or are willing to use you), but it’s a sin.  If you can’t learn to support your priest, ask for a blessing to talk with the bishop; he may be willing to assign you somewhere else.  Should you become a priest, you can consider fostering a different kind of culture and making different decisions, but see “kenosis” above.  The worst example of this behavior is when a deacon manipulates the factions within a parish in hopes of taking the priest’s place.
  • Don’t liturgize off-key.  If the choir or chanters seem to stumble when you are liturgizing, odds are that that you are confusing them by singing off-key.  This isn’t just hard on choirs and chanters, it is distracting to people who are trying to worship and pray.  Just because you have a beautiful bass-proffundo voice doesn’t mean you can just sing whatever notes you want.  When in doubt, stick to the tonic or the fifth.  Similarly, you aren’t at the opera or at karaoke; stay within or close to the style of the choir/parish.
  • Don’t fall victim to vainglory, apathy, or despondency.  You serve at the altar and are a leader of the community and of the Church.  This makes you a huge target for the Evil One and his servants.  Be vigilant, pray, fast, live a life in the Sacraments, tithe, study scripture and the Fathers, keep yourself healthy, and do all those things you advise your priest to do so that he can remain effective in his ministry.

Offered with love and gratitude for all your service.  I look forward to your comments!

– Fr. Anthony Perkins

Thursday, September 10, 2015

On my honor

Tonight I was honored to offer the closing prayer for the Boy Scouts troop court of honor. Before I began the prayer I asked everyone to take note of the 12 points of the Scout Law with Reverent as the final point. I also reminded them that most people remember the last thing of any projects or information and to make sure that there lives reflected a life and service to God. Here's the final prayer that I offered......


Dear Heavenly Father,

Help to keep my honor bright

And teach me that integrity of character

Is my most priceless possession.

Grant that I may do my best today,

And strive to do even better tomorrow.

Teach me that duty is a friend and not an enemy,

And help me face even the most disagreeable task cheerfully.

Give me the faith to understand my purpose and life,

Open my mind to the truth and fill my heart with love.

I am thankful for all the blessings you have bestowed upon my country.

Help me to do my duty to my country and

To know that a good nation must be made from good men.

Help me to remember my obligation to obey the Scout Law,

And give me understanding, so that it is more than mere words.

May I never tire of the joy of helping other people or

Look the Other way when someone is in need.

You have given me the gift of a body, 

Make me wise enough to keep it health,

That I might serve better.

You are the source of all wisdom,

Help me to have an alert mind,

Teach me to think,

And help me to learn discipline.

In all that I do and in every challenge I face,

Help me to know the difference between right and wrong,

And lead me in obedience on a straight path to a worthy goal.

Dona Nobis Pacem

Deacon Mitch


Saturday, September 5, 2015

Prepare America

There is an effect that ihas been going on for quite some time right now. By many it has been aptly named "the Francis Effect". There will be many who will shrug this off as purely emotions, for those who are weak, for those who don't really know. There is a brokenness that exists in this world and a heart that is longing for peace. Recently our holy father reached out to those in America using electronic media. Last night ABC played that telecast, and you're already witnessing people who are being touched by the words our holy father is using, the words of Christ. They are ready, they are open, they are searching to fill that void that only Christ can fill. This weekend I encourage all of you to have your eyes, ears, but most of all your hearts open for those who will fill the seats for the first time or after many times being away. Don't leave it only into the hands of the priest to reach out to these people, it is your job, it is my job, it is everybody's job to make disciples of everyone. Prepare America, prepare Berlin New Hampshire, the Holy Spirit is moving!

Dona Nobis Pacem

Deacon Mitch