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.

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.

   
    
 

#Weekend Coffee Share 07/17/2016

deacon coffee mugOver a late night cup of coffee, I would share with you my sadness with the amount of violence that is in the news lately.  The shootings of two black men by police, under circumstances, that on the surface, appear to require further investigation.  We have the killing of five police officers in Dallas, TX.  Then the terror attack on French citizens in the city of Nice, resulting in 84 deaths, and 202 persons injured.  And now we have the killing of 3 officers in Baton Rouge, LA.  Add these incidents to the others that have occurred this year, both in our nation and in the wider world; and one gets the feeling that darkness is increasing in our world.  And it will, if we allow it; the Christophers, a Christian inspirational group, quotes a proverb: “It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.”  We are called to bring some love, some hope, and some light into our families and our communities.  Be open to the Holy Spirit, let it inspire you, and be open to any opportunity to do some good that may come our way.

Over a cup of coffee, I had planned on sharing a report on Catholic deacons that I saw on PBS’ Religion & Ethics Newsweekly program, but then I read a post written by Deacon Bill Ditewig, in which he pointed out the errors of the report, and made corrections.  Then he issued a challenge to all of us deacons; to be true instruments of peace in this world that is in so much turmoil.

Well, here’s hoping the caffeine does not keep me awake.  See you again over a cup of coffee.

Weekend Coffee Share 07/10/16

deacon coffee mugIf we were having coffee, I would tell you how sadden I have been about the news of the police shootings and killing of two black men, and then the shootings  of 11 police officers in Dallas, TX; resulting in deaths of five officers.  There is an air of unease in the country right now; the black communities distrust and fear their police forces; the police feel threatened by the very people they have sworn to protect and serve.  And there are politicians, who with their rhetoric are fanning the flames.  Communities are becoming divided, hunkering down in their own enclaves, with no interest in dialogue.

It seems ironic that at Catholic Masses celebrated throughout this country, the Gospel proclaimed included these words:

“You shall love the Lord, your God,

with all your heart,

with all your being,

with all your strength,

and with all your mind,

and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10: 25-24)

The Gospel call is to see all people as our neighbors, to respect and to love them.  And to talk with each other, and find common ground to reduce the stresses that threaten to tear this republic apart; whose 240th anniversary we have just celebrated.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my wife and I joined my siblings, and a cousin and his family at a cabin in Maine, which my aunt owns.  It is on Lake Sokokis, in Limerick ME.  It was too cool for swimming, but we did have a wonderful cookout.

If we were having coffee, I would share with my experience of leading a Sacrament of Baptism catechesis class for new parents who wish to have their infants baptized, and become part of the Catholic Church.  I had five couples in attendance; one couple brought their newborn with them.  The child slept through the class.  I try to help these parents realize that the baptism of their children is not just an encounter with the love of God for the children; but also a special opportunity for them to encounter God, through the Holy Spirit.  I tell them that when the priest will ask what they are asking of the Church, and they reply: “Baptism”; they and their child’s lives will be forever changed.  The baby will experience a rebirth through the baptismal waters; they will have committed themselves to bring the child in the faith.  And not just though placing the child in religious education classes; but by the example of their struggle to live the faith.

Well, my coffee mug is empty; it is almost midnight, and I have a long week to look forward to.  See you all next time over a cup of coffee.

 

 

Weekend Coffee Share – o6/19/2016

deacon coffee mugIf we were sharing a cup of coffee, I would tell you that my wife and I are on Cape Cod this weekend.  We are visiting her parents, and celebrating Father’s Day.  The weather is beautiful; cool sea breezes, blue skies and bright sunlight.  It is a nice break, a nice change of scenery for a bit.  And it is a little respite from the feelings that I still have concerning the tragedy in Orlando, FL  My in-laws do not have their TV on much, so I have been out of touch with the world.  It is a nice break, but only a temporary one.  We still have to reflect on, pray over, and act on the events of that terrible night.

Over a cup of coffee, I would tell you that since last we met, I, as a deacon, baptized two little girls into the Catholic Christian faith.  One was a relative newborn, the other was a toddler.  I preached a short homily, telling the assembled families and friends that we were about to witness something awesome!  The power of the Holy Spirit was going to be at work before us.  Through the waters of Baptism, they were brought into the Mystical Body of Christ.  And their lives will be forever changed.  And the lives of their parents are forever changed, for they have made a commitment to the Church to bring their children up in the Faith.  I tell them that fulfilling that promise means something more than just seeing to it that their child goes to religious education classes.  It means that they must show how the Faith is lived, by the example of their own lives; both the struggles and the joys.  They are in my prayers.

ACMNPOver a cup of coffee, I would tell that many years ago, when I was a young seminarian, I spent a couple of summers in an ecumenical program, called A Christian Ministry in the National Parks.  They recruited seminary and college students from all Christian denominations; to go out to various national parks, and lead Sunday worship services for park visitors and employees.  We seminarians were called Student Ministers.  Those of us who were Catholic, would either assist a visiting priest at Mass, or lead a Service of the Word.  I had my first experiences of preaching before people back then. Some of usalso organized Bible study groups, or organized choral singing groups.  We earned our keep by working for the park concessionaires; I found myself working in some kitchens in Yellowstone National Park.  Recently I signed up to become a ACMNP Prayer Partner for someone who will be going to a park in Alaska.  Daily, I remember this young man in my prayers; praying for his safety, and success in his ministry.

Well, the coffee cup is empty, I wish you all wellness and blessings, and hope to see you again over a hot cuppa joe.

 

 

On Retreat – Weekend Coffee Share

Campion Retreat Center 2

Campion Retreat Center

If we were having a cup of coffee, I would tell you that last weekend I was at a retreat for Permanent Deacons of the Archdiocese of Boston.  It was held at the Campion Retreat Center in Weston, MA.  The Center is managed by the Society of Jesus, better known at the Jesuits.  It is also where their retirement home is located.  Our retreat master was a Xaverian Brother by the name of Paul Feeney.  When many of us were in formation, he taught the Old Testament class.  For this retreat, he looked at the lives and spiritualities of Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton; two American Catholics, whose names were mentioned by Pope Francis during his address to the joint session of Congress.  Dorothy Day, a Catholic social activist, was a co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement.  She practiced every day, the Corporal Works of Mercy, feeding the hungry,

79px-Dorothy_Day_1916

Dorothy Day

comforting those in distress, clothing the naked.  But there was more to it than that, she and her followers strove to change society, to make it a place where it “was easy for people to be good.”  Thomas Merton was a Trappist monk, who wrote a spiritual biography in the 1940’s, that continues inspire people.  He was a prolific writer, and a mystic; combining the two, he produced writings that helped guide many into a deeper spiritual life.  He also wrote on matters of peace and justice, that gave support and spiritual sustenance to many Catholic activists, the late Father Daniel Berrigan, SJ, being one of them.

If we were having a cup of coffee, I would tell you that I had planned on writing about this

Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton

sooner.  I packed the old laptop and brought it with me.  Only to find out that Center does not have WiFi available for retreatants.  Just as well, the weekend was suppose to a time of quiet and reflection, a time of sacred reading and prayer.  And I tried to take advantage of the opportunity handed me.  And it was a spiritually refreshing weekend.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that while I was waiting at the main entrance to be picked up, a horse came galloping by, followed by a dismounted horsewoman, and some bicyclists.  There was a horse show going on down the road; I guess this big fellah had other ideas.  Fortunately, they caught him before he could be struck by a car, or run over a retired Jesuit, out for his morning constitutional.

If we were having a cup of coffee, I would tell that no matter how great a spiritual experience of a retreat may have been, life is waiting for you when you leave.  I have a book entitled “After the Ecstasy, the Laundry.”  For me, it should read, “After the Ecstasy, Monday morning, the commute, the cubicle!”  The challenge of any retreat experience, is to strive to make what you learn, what you experience, a part of your daily life.  That is something I am still struggling with.

Well, the coffee mug is empty, maybe tomorrow I will bring another steaming mug over.  We will see.

#Weekendcoffeeshare First Timer

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this is the first time I am writing a post for this.  I would also share with that this is first post I have written in over a month!  There was a time that I was posting at least monthly.  That I really got into the Blogging U. courses.  That I now am having a hard time coming up with anything to write about; to share an opinion about, or have the energy to sit myself at the keyboard.  That there was a time that I had high hopes for my blog, but now I wonder if all the reading, the posting was worth it.

If we were having coffee, I would let you know that I am an ordained Deacon in the Roman Catholic Church.  I would tell you that last Sunday, I baptized three beautiful little babies (Two boys, and a girl), and welcomed them into the Church, into the Body of Christ.  How I invited the parents, the godparents, and guests to open their hearts to the miracle that was happening before them; and be aware of the love of God they were witnessing.

If we were having coffee, I would tell that I need to get through this writer’s block soon, because next weekend, I am officiating at a wedding.  I will be preaching a homily, and I need to write it this week.  I will tell that I turning to the Holy Spirit, and asking her to blow hard and breakdown the roadblocks I have in my head and soul.

As I drain my coffee mug, I would tell you that I am typing this on one of the computers in the parish office.  I have a desktop at home and an inherited laptop; both have had long service, and are kinda cranky in their old age.  Anyway, I have go back to the church soon, to prepare for the next celebration of Mass.

I hope to be here next weekend, with another cup of coffee.