Weekend Coffee Share – 8/6/2017

Here is a cup of coffee, fresh from the Keurig.  This weekend my wife, Peg, and I are at her parent’s home on Cape Cod.  The trip down was a little wet; but it dried up when we crossed the Cape Cod Canal over the Bourne Bridge.  The weather today was cool and sunny.  

August is the month my wife’s siblings and their families gather for  a get together.  It is a time to re-establish contacts with each other.  

For me, it is also time for a bit of retreat; to catch up on my reading and to enjoy the peace and quiet of the Cape.

Over a cup of coffee, I would share that I am currently reading a book by Krista Tippett, host of the public radio program, “On Being,” entitled “Speaking of Faith;” which was the original name of the program.  In the book, she shares how she came to rediscover the importance of spirituality in human life, and in her life especially.  She shares some of the insights she has received through her interviews with people of all walks of life and faiths.  I hope to share insights I have received in future postings.  

Over a cup of coffee, I would share that I intend to read more books during the rest of this year. I have entered a reading challenge on my Goodreads site for 2017.  I have aimed low, intending to read 8 books between now and the end of the year.  Hopefully, I will have exceeded that goal when New Year’s Eve 2018 comes around.

Over a cup of coffee, I would share that I am still looking for a  new deacon assignment.  It feels different participating in the Mass as a member of the congregation, and not at the altar.  And actually, that is not a bad thing.  Hopefully, by the end of next month, there will be a change in the situation.
Well, the cup is empty and in the dishwasher rack.  Until the next time; blessings and all good.

Weekend Coffee Share – Many Changes

It has been a long time since we shared a cup of joe together.  So let me catch you all up on what’s happening.

The first news is that my wife and I are no longer living in Beverly!  We decided that we needed to find a more affordable apartment; and since my job is in Quincy, in the South Shore, we decided to search there.  Long story short, we found an apartment in Bridgewater, MA; and on July 13th, we moved in.  The commute to work is now much easier, less stressful.

The only downside was that I have to leave the three Beverly Catholic parishes I have been serving at since 2012.  Because of the short window of opportunity, we had to move fast on the process; and I had to give very short notice to our parish administrator and the parishioners themselves.  Leaving those people I have been with close to 5 years was very sad.

Now, I am between assignments; and feeling a bit out of sorts.  For two Sundays now, I have participated in the celebration of the Eucharist in the pews, with the congregation, and not at the altar.  It should not make at difference, and it does not make a difference.  But it still feels strange to me right now.

The process of getting a new assignment is longer than I thought. I have to first check a page listing the parishes seeking a deacon, and if any are within striking distance from where I live.  Arrange an interview with the pastor.  Then, if we are in agreement, ask the Archdiocese to assign me to that particular parish.  So, we will see what happens.

As we drain our cups, I will share with you that I still do not have a working computer; and an IPhone does lend itself to long essays.  But I do intend to post a little more frequently.  I hope.

Well, the cups are in the dish rack; and I wish you God’s blessings and peace.

Weekend Coffee Share – 01/22/2017

deacon coffee mugOver a cup of coffee, I would first apologize to you, then say: “THE N.E. PATRIOTS ARE GOING TO SUPER BOWL!!!”  There; sorry, but I had to get that out of my system!

Now, over a cup of coffee, I would share with you my concerns over the Presidential Inauguration that took place last Friday in Washington D.C.  Never in my life, have I been more worried about the person whom the nation has elected to guide it for the next four years; and there have been some past Presidents, that while I may have fiercely disagreed with them, I respected them. election-2016

Of equal concern to me has been the type of nation that this election has revealed.  Public television recently showed a program, entitled “The Divided State of America.”  We seem to be a country that is more separated, that is more angry, and refuses to speak to another, in a respectful manner.  Even in the American Catholic Church, there is little agreement; a survey of Catholics who voted showed that a majority of white Catholics voted for Trump; a majority of Latino Catholics voted for Clinton.  It is interesting that in today’s Sunday reading from St. Paul’s First Letter to Corinthians had this statement:

For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers and sisters, by Chloe’s people, that there are rivalries among you.  I mean that each of you is saying, ‘I belong to Paul,’ or ‘I belong to Apollos,’ or ‘I belong to Cephas,’ or ‘I belong to Christ.’  Is Christ divided?

Could we change the wording, and have “each of you is saying, ‘I am for Trump,’ or ‘I am for Clinton.’  Is Christ divided?”  We, as a community of believers, need to realize, need to experience that around the altar of the Lord, we are one with Christ; we are all united in the Body of Christ.  This is something we all need to work for.

Over a cup of coffee, I would share with you that the Catholic Church, and many of the Christian churches are in the middle of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.  Acknowledging that we are a divided worldwide community of believers; many people are working to find a path to unity.  We realize that we need prayer, because apart from Christ, not drawing on the power of His grace, we can achieve little.  Before I carry my empty cup to the sink, I leave you with a prayer that was distributed in 2008:

O God, source of perfect unity, pour out your grace upon your Church at prayer.   Heal the divisions and mistrust past years have wrought among your children.  We pray without ceasing for conversion of heart and a deeper faithfulness to the gospel.  We pray for a closer relationship with Christ Jesus who prayed ‘that all may be one.’  Fill us with the desire to unite ourselves to his prayer of unity.  May we live as one, as you are one, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen. 

Weekend Coffee Share – 11/13/16

Over a cup of ice coffee; I would share with you that I was not totally surprised by the electiondeacon coffee mugn of Donald Trump.  It has always been my belief that there was always a chance that he would win.  News analysts have pointed out several factors that contributed to his victory.  First, he spoke to blue-collar workers in those states that make up the”Rust Belt.”  These are those voters who felt left behind during the country’s economic recovery.  They felt ignored by federal government; by the Democratic Party, which originally was their party.  They now see it, and the government as supporting Big Business; and immigrants.  They claim to not recognize the country they live in; and they were mad as heck!  They were looking for anti-political establishment  figure, and found him in Donald Trump.  The irony is that it was these same blue collar workers who helped to elect Bill Clinton to the Presidency.  Reports are out there that he told Hilary’s campaign staff not to ignore the workers in states, like Michigan, but he was ignored.  There were other factors also that contributed to Clinton’s defeat; she just had too much baggage, from her e-mails, to her cozy relationship with the Wall Street establishment; a lot of people just could get excited about her enough to go out and election-2016vote for her.

Now the country waits to see what a Trump Administration means for us, for minorities, for immigrants, and for those workers who have pinned their hopes on him.  There are already sizable protests on both coasts of the country; with people crying out: “Not my president.”  The fact of the matter is that come January, 2017, Donald Trump will legally, constitutionally, be the President of the United States.  We can either accept that fact or be responsible for the ending of the political experiment that is the United States of America.

What is the Catholic Christian response to this situation?  First, to pray; pray that the Holy Spirit will invade the hearts of our political leaders, changing them from hearts full of anger and disrespect for the other side; to hearts geared towards cooperation for the sake of the nation and all its’ people.  That political and social discourse will be with respect for people on the other side of an issue.  That there will be a new commitment to make government work.  We then must also be willing to stand with the poor, the disenfranchised, the immigrant; and where necessary, speak “truth to power;” but in such a way that respects the political process, in a way that promotes civil discussion and cooperation.  I would highly recommend reading an article by Fr. James Martin, SJ, in the Jesuit magazine, “America.”

Well, my mug of iced coffee is empty; and believe it or not, I am about ready to pass out.  So I hope to see you again, over a cup of coffee.

 

 

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.

 

 

Late Weekend Coffee 8/15/16

Over an glass of iced coffee, I would tell you this posting is late because my laptop crashed; the desktop is in an room with no air conditioning, and it has just been too hot!

Over a glass of iced coffee, I would tell you I am concerned about this year in our country.  I do not think I have seen so much vitriol coming from major presidential candidates.  I mean, since the founding of the Republic, there have political campaigns have been over the top in language and made up accusations.  But for the most part, the candidates themselves remained above it.  Now, not so much!  This campaign year has the potential to strain the democratic process of this country.

Over a glass of iced coffee, I would mention that my wife and I spent some time last night walking around a local park here in Beverly, MA.  It is called Lynch Park and it is on the waterfront. It was a chance to enjoy some time outside and try to enjoy some cool sea breezes (not so much)!

Stay cool.