Weekend Coffee Share – 10/16/2016

img_0073Over a cup of coffee, I would share with you that my wife and I were in Kennebunkport, ME, the past couple of days.  We, along with her family, were celebrating the marriage of one of her nephews to a beautiful Romanian bride.  The wedding ceremony took place in a Catholic parish church in Kennebunk (a different town).  One the bride’s siblings, a Catholic priest from Romania, concelebrated, at the wedding Mass.

It is in celebrating sacraments, such as Marriage, such as Baptism,  such as the Eucharist; that I always tell people we are witnessing something “awesome!”  The power of God’s love is being manifested before us; and the transformative power of that love.  With eyes of faith, is something to behold.  With a heart that is open, it is something wondrous to experience.

After the wedding came the reception, where a good time was had by all. (Oh yeah!!)

Over a cup of coffee, I would tell you how concerned I am getting over this coming presidential election.  There have some nasty elections in our past; going back to the founding of the Republic.  But amount of anger, the bad blood that is being shown between the two major candidates, and their factions; heightened by the social media.  It makes one fearful that the country may not come back together after a winner is declared.  All one do, I guess, is to get out there, vote, and pray that the Father of Nations will watch over us; and summon the “better angels of our nature,” and bring healing and hope to us all.

Well, the paper cup is empty; I am in a hotel lobby, typing this up on an IPhone.  (I really wish I had better coordinated thumbs for this!). See you next time over a cup of coffee.

Weekend Coffee Share 10/09/2016

deacon coffee mugOver a cup of coffee, I would be telling you about my wife and I attending the 2016 Annual Convocation of Deacons of the Archdiocese of Boston, at the Pastoral Center, in Braintree, MA, yesterday.  There was a very good turnout of deacons, spouses, and men who are in formation for the diaconate.  After some coffee and pastries; the Morning Prayer, we heard a presentation from Deacon Stephen Lape from the Diocese of Albany, NY.  Deacon Lape is also a Licensed Social Worker, and his topic was on Addiction, the types, the addictive substances, and the treatments.  The talk was timely for us, since the Boston area has been going through an opiod addiction crisis.  Some of my brother deacons have been trying to help persons suffering from addiction, and/or their families, through this illness.

After the presentation, we received a report from two of our brother deacons on the results of a survey that was sent out to the Boston Diaconate community on the New Evangelization.  “The New Evangelization “is a term coined by the late Pope St. John Paul II.  The goal in the Archdiocese ofdeacon-convo-2016 Boston is to reach out to those Catholics who may have fallen away from the Church, and invite them back; and to reach out to others who may not be Christians.  This is to be done by having all Catholics realize that we are all called by Christ to become evangelizers; by our words and lives, to show that the Good News of Jesus Christ, still has the power move people’s hearts, and make a difference in their lives.   The goal of the survey was to provide a snapshot for our Cardinal Archbishop, of the work of the diaconate in the Archdiocese, and how it furthers the goals of the New Evangelization.

The survey shows that, as of 10/15/16, there are 166 active Deacons in the Archdiocese.  That a majority of us provide from 5-10 to 10-30 hours of weekly service.  That 52% of us preach on a monthly basis; a majority of us prepare couples to receive the sacrament of marriage; prepare new parents for their child’s baptism, and preside over the celebration of the sacrament; and a majority of us preside over wake services.  The survey also showed a multitude of other social, charitable, and parochial works we are involved in.  There followed small group discussions on how we can further the work of New Evangelization.

By CatholicTV

By CatholicTV

After a celebration of the Eucharist, followed by lunch; we heard a moving talk by Mother Olga of the Sacred Heart.  She is the foundress of an archdiocesan religious community of sisters, “Daughters of Mary of Nazareth” She is a favorite speaker of the Boston Diaconate community, and she did not disappoint.  She is an Iraqi Eastern Rite Catholic nun, who came to this country, in 2001, to finish her education.  She became involved in campus ministry at Boston University.  In 2005, she was received into the Roman Catholic Church, and in 2011, she received permission from Cardinal Sean O’Malley to establish the new religious community.

Mother Olga spoke to us about the need for prayer in our ministries, the need for humility, and the need for faith.  I hope to have more reflections in future posts.

Over a cup of coffee, I would share with you the today’s news that Pope Francis has named 17 individuals to the “scarlet;” cardinals in the Catholic Church.  13 of them are young enough to be electors in future papal conclaves.  Three of them are Americans; Archbishop Cupich of Chicago, Archbishop Tobin CSSR, of Indianapolis, and Bishop Farrell, formerly of Dallas, now Prefect for the newly formed Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life.  With these current and past appointments, Pope Francis is well on his way to leaving his imprint on the Catholic Church, well into the future.

Over a near empty cup of coffee, I would tell you that my wife and I are now visiting her parents and cape-in-the-rainone of her brothers on Cape Cod; and that it is raining cats and dogs, and the wind is blowing very strongly right now.  Ah well.

Well, the cup is empty, and I am now nursing a glass of beer.  I hope to see you next weekend, over a cup of coffee.



Weekend Coffee Share – 09/25/2016

deacon coffee mugOver a cup of coffee, I would apologize for not coming to the counter for a while.  One could say I have been struggling with one huge case of writer’s block.  It is a combination of trying to carve out a period of time to write something online; and not be able to think of anything to write.company-picnic

Anyway, let me share with you that earlier this week I attended my first company cookout earlier this week.  It was on a Tuesday, and the weather could not have been more cooperative.  Tents were set up in the parking lot of our office building.  The food was placed out buffet style.  And there were round tables for us to sit at.  Part of menu was BBQ pulled pork, sausages in a roll, hamburger sliders, very good macaroni and cheese, shrimp, and salads.  It must be sign of my getting older; but there was a time I could hit a buffet table at least twice; that is no longer true.  My wife would say that is a good thing.

One of the goodies the company was giving away, were “selfie” sticks.  Here is my first try with it.selfie

Over a cup of coffee, I would tell you that there was a big event in the Archdiocese of Boston, MA, recently; the coming of a relic, the heart of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina; also padre-pioknown as Padre Pio.  Padre Pio was a Franciscan Capuchin friar, born in 1885, in Italy, and died on September 23, 1968.  He was ordained a priest in 1910.  In 1918, he received the stigmata, after experiencing a powerful vision of the Crucified Christ.  He bore the five wounds of Christ for the rest of his life.  News of this miracle got out to the world, crowds of people gathered to witness it.  Padre Pio would be examined many times by physicians, with conflicting diagnosis’.  The Church would investigate him many times; would forbid him to say Mass or hear confessions for a period of time.  He would eventually be cleared of unorthodox thinking or practices, and returned to his priestly ministry.  He would spend a good deal of his time hearing confessions, offering spiritual council, and celebrating the Eucharist.  He remained at the Capuchin friary at San Giovanni Rotondo for the rest of his life.  He worked at, and successfully caused a hospital to be built near the town.  34 years after his death, he was declared a saint, by Pope St. John Paul II.

We Catholics have a unique relationship with our saints; we believe that they are in heaven with God, that they are praying for us, interceding for us before the Father.  Their lives continue to inspire us, encourage us to live more intensely the Gospel life.  They are very real for us; so when we come before a relic of theirs, we venerate it; knowing we are giving honor to the person, not the object.  And that is what has been happening with heart of Padre Pio; thousands of pilgrims have gathered in churches, in the North End of Boston, in Lowell, and in the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston.  All to venerate the relic, to ask for his intercession, or to thank him for a prayer answered.  It was a powerful demonstration of faith.  It is also a demonstration of the “juice” Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston still has in Rome.  It also does not hurt that he himself is also a Franciscan Capuchin!padre-pio-heart

Over a cup of coffee, I am going to start saying something that will sound like the beginning of a bad joke; “A Catholic priest, a Methodist minister, and a Yale humanist enter a room;” what you get is “The Great Bible Experiment!”  Father Warren Savage, Catholic chaplain at Westfield State and Amherst College; the Rev. Anne Robertson, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Bible Society; and Tom Krattenmaker, of the mbs_logo__0Yale Humanist Community, have been gathering in  New Haven CT, Albany, NY, Providence, RI, and on September 27, 2016, in Boston, to hold a town meeting style discussions on the Bible.  These locations, according to recent surveys, are the least Bible minded cities in America.  The final meeting in Boston, will actually be held at Harvard University; the event will be live streamed.

Well, the cup is empty; and will try to here next week, with another cuppa.

Passionate for the Way of the Lord!

fireThe parish in which I serve as a deacon has been blessed with a strong attendance at our Sunday services.  However, a good number of our congregants are getting on in years; there will come a time when they will no longer be with us.  And I do not see many young people joining us.  This situation is becoming common throughout this country; this is true in Europe.  There has been a call for a “New Evangelization;” but what does that mean?

There is already out there a plethora of programs, “how to” books, DVD’s and CD’s; all offering an approach that is sure to draw new members.  Most are based on experiences of pastors, lay teachers, and other speakers.  And many of them are fine, and may offer a short term solution.  However, no approach will offer long term success, if it does not awaken a passion for God; a passion for the Word and Sacrament; a passion to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ, right here,right now.  To ignite that passion, and more importantly, sustain it; we must open ourselves the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ.  Have a passion for reading and meditating on Scripture frequently, let it speak to us, let it excite us, let it inspire us.  Then, be passionate in prayer, both as an individual, and as part of a worshiping Eucharistic community.  Because, only in Christ, will we experience the great love  of the Father for ea h of us.  Only in Christ, will we find the strength to change our lives.  And through the Holy Spirit, will we receive the grace which set our hearts on fire.

It is then that we will have the passion to go out and “make disciples of all nations.”  However, most of us will not be called to preach with words, but by actions.  Like Francis of Assisi, we must have within us, a passion for healing the sick; giving care to those stressed out by life; welcoming the stranger.  In other words, we must be passionate about giving mercy to a suffering, alienated society.  We may be called in many different and various ways to do this; we may not be very good at it at first, but it only takes small steps, that will grow into bigger steps.

The first followers of Jesus, inflamed by the Holy Spirit, were passionate for living and proclaiming the Good News.  And they drew thousands into the faith.  Let us have the courage to become flame, to become passionate for Christ; and see what miracles we can achieve!


Exultation of the Holy Cross

On August 14th, throughout most the Christian world, churches commemorated the finding of the True Cross.  It was found under the leadership of St. Helen, mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, during her pilgrimage to Jerusalem.  Miracles confirmed it’s authenticity; it’s wood was divided between the Churches in Jerusalem, Rome, and  Constantinople.

Those Romans who had been around during the old Empire, would have shake their heads; seeing a symbol of punishment and death, become a symbol of life and hope.

We all have our own crosses, that we have to bear, that we have to live with.  Jesus Christ calls on us to take up our crosses daily and follow him.  When we open ourselves to his Spirit; we discover that we are not only following him, but he is walking with us.  He is there, helping us bear the burden, helping us, giving us hope.



This post illustrates how stumped I am!  The WP Daily Prompt for yesterday, Sunday, was “Stump;” today is Monday!  I fully intended to write something; God knows there was enough ideas, with it being 9/11 yesterday; the Sunday Scripture readings; the news!  But the thought of struggling with a cranky laptop, or an ancient desktop (we are still using XP!), dampens my enthusiasm.  Right now, I am typing this on an IPhone (Thank God, not a GalaxySE; do not want to lose fingers!), and my thumbs are not trained for this.  Well, right now, back to the real world of work; and hope to do better tonight.  Maybe.

World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

Pope Francis has asked all Catholics, indeed, all peoples, to pray for the care of Creation.  He asks that we first offer praise and thanks to God the Creator for the precious gift of this earth.  Then, we should pray that He sends His Spirit into our hearts, to inspire us to care for this gift He has given us.  Pope Francis composed a prayer that he included in his encyclical “Laudato Si’,” that could provide a good starting point for our reflections.  I am also including below, a prayer, a hymn, by St. Francis of Assisi.  He is joining with all of Creation, in giving praise to God.  May we all do the same this day.

Francis and Brother Sun

Most high, all powerful, all good Lord!
All praise is Yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing.

To You, alone, Most High, do they belong.
No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your name.

Be praised, my Lord, through all Your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and You give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
Of You, Most High, he bears the likeness.

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars;
in the heavens You have made them bright, precious and beautiful.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
and clouds and storms, and all the weather,
through which You give Your creatures sustenance.

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Water;
she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom You brighten the night.
He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.

Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth,
who feeds us and rules us,
and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of You;
through those who endure sickness and trial.

Happy those who endure in peace,
for by You, Most High, they will be crowned.

Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Bodily Death,
from whose embrace no living person can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin!
Happy those she finds doing Your most holy will.
The second death can do no harm to them.

Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks,
and serve Him with great humility.