Weekend Coffee Share – 10/22/2017

deacon coffee mugWelcome! Here is a cup of coffee, hot off the Keurig. Today, I want to share experiences from last weekend. Last Saturday, the second Saturday of the month, my Secular Franciscan fraternity holds its monthly meeting. It is held at Saint Anthony’s Shrine, located in downtown Boston, MA. I have been trying to attend this meeting more regularly; so, I was up early in the morning, grabbing a commuter train. I transferred to the subway, and got off at Downtown Crossing, Boston.
I came early into the city; so I would be able to walk around the area before the meeting. It had Downtown Crossing 2017been a while since I had made such a walk about. The biggest change in the neighborhood, is the Millennium Tower. Built in the space where the famous Filene’s Department Store once stood, it is a very, very tall high-rise building. It houses department stores, offices, and condominium apartments. I have not been around Millenium Towerthe entire building, so I was amazed at the changes I saw! One thing that really stood out for me; was the number of coffee shops that are in neighborhood now! I am not talking about an increase in the number of Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks; but places like Caffe Nero. One can imagine the amount of caffeine flowing through the veins of the residents and office workers!
Bromfield Pen ShopOne stop that I had to make was the Bromfield Pen Shop, which is located, where else? On Bromfield Street! It has the largest collection writing instruments, including fountain pens, I have ever seen. And the most expensive collection of pens I have ever seen! I like looking over their pens, and the notebooks and journals they sell also. Sadly, I have only been able to purchase a Pelikano Junior, a very sturdy plastic fountain pen. I purchased a new box of ink cartridges for it, and with a wistful look behind me, left the shop.

St Paul cathedral EpiscopalI continued to walk up Bromfield St., towards Tremont St., which forms one border of the Boston Common.  My intention was to visit the Episcopal St. Paul Cathedral.  The church was established in 1819, as an Episcopalian parish.  In 1912, St. Paul’s was designated as the Cathedral Church of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.  When I worked in the Downtown, I would visit St. Paul’s on a regular basis; I found the quiet interior to be conducive to meditation.  Back then, it still had, what I would call, cubicle seating.  The pews arrangedInterior St Paul and separated by stalls.  I had heard that the cathedral church was going to be renovated, and I wanted to see the result.  When I entered the main church, I was stunned!  Gone were the pews, the memorial plaques on the walls, the altar rail.  It was wide open space, with stackable, plain chairs arranged for some service.  The interior was flooded with natural light, streaming from the skylights above.  And in the center, was a labyrinth.  Music flooded the church, as an organist was playing at the organ in the chancel of the Cathedral.  I still had a very peaceful experience during my time there.
I left the Cathedral and made my way to the Shrine, to attend the 12:00 Noon Mass, with the rest of the fraternity. I had forgotten that this Mass was going to be a special one, because we were St. Anthony Shrine 2017celebrating a Profession. A young man, Bobby Hillis, was going to profess his intention to live the Gospel life, in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi, by following the Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order. For about a year and half, he has been in formation, learning what it means to be a Franciscan; in his personal life; his life in the Church; his life in the world. After the homily, before the Franciscan priest, who was our celebrant, and our fraternity Minister, and the whole Fraternity, he declared:

I, Bobby Hillis, by the grace of God, renew my baptismal promises and consecrate myself to the service of his Kingdom. Therefore, in my secular state I promise to live all the days of my life the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Secular Franciscan Order by observing its rule of life. May the grace of the Holy Spirit, the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and our holy father St. Francis, and the fraternal bonds of community always be my help, so that I may reach the goal of perfect Christian love.
[Ritual of the Secular Franciscan Order, pp. 23 & 24.]

After the Profession Mass, we all gathered in the Shrine’s auditorium for a celebratory luncheon. For anytime a new member is professed, it “is a cause of great joy and hope for all the members of the community and for the whole Church.” (Ritual, p. 24)

SFO Profession 1 102017

SFO Profession 2 2017

 

So that was my trip into downtown Boston; now the coffee cups have to go into the dishwasher rack. Hope to see you again next week.

 

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Weekend Coffee Share – 09/10/2017

deacon coffee mugOver a cup of coffee, I would share with you my sadness over the natural disasters that have afflicted this part of our world.  Three hurricanes tearing apart the Caribbean, Mexico, Texas and Florida.  Mexico then was hit by an earthquake, that caused further destruction and death.

It is sad that it takes disasters like this to bring this country together for a common cause of bringing relief to fellow citizens in desperate need.  Yet, it is also heartwarming to see that concern for oIRMA Hurricanethers, and the efforts being made to get aid to the suffering.   My prayers go out for those who have died; for the mourning loved ones left behind; and for those who survived and are trying to rebuild their lives.

Over a cup of coffee, I would share with you that this posting being on a new computer I have been able to acquire a new computer.  Both the desktop that I have had for almost a decade, and a used laptop I inherited, can no longer accept the anti-virus and system updates.  So when I have been able to post, it has been with my IPhone; and I have learned that I do not have the thumbs for typing, that younger folks have.  So we came into a little extra money, that enabled me to get this My New Computerlittle Dell laptop.  So now I have no excuse not to be a more frequent blogger.

As I fill up the cups with more joe, I would share with you that yesterday, Saturday, I attended another monthly meeting of my Secular Franciscan fraternity, located at St. Anthony Shrine, in Boston.  I may have written that it is becoming important for me to get back to my Franciscan roots; and one way is to being a part of the fraternity again.  This particular meeting was important, since we were having our chapter of elections.  Every three years, the professed St Anthony Shrinemembers gather to elect a minister and council, who will help guide us on our Franciscan journey.  It can be a long process, but it does draws us all closer as a fraternity.  My prayers go out for those who were elected, that the Holy Spirit will give them wisdom, an increase in patience and charity, for the next three years.

New Fraternity Council

Well, the cups are empty, and I started this post way too late.  So, I promise to be more timely, and more frequent.  And I will definitely see you next week over a cup of coffee.  Peace and all good!

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.