Weekend Coffee Share -10/23/2016

deacon coffee mugOver a cup of decaf (ugh!) coffee, I will let you know that I have some worries over this upcoming Election Day, and it’s aftermath.  Donald Trump’s statement at a rally that he will accept the election results as legitimate, only if he wins; really concerns me.  Now, he has tried to tone that statement down; saying he is only keeping possible legal challenges open; but his followers are already convinced the election process is rigged.  And there is a very angry electorate out there, on both sides.  And we have seen how easy it is for protests to get violent.

Our national elections, with its smooth transfer of power, has been an inspiration to the rest of the world.  And many experts, Democratic and Republican, have spoken out about how hard it is to actually rig a national election.  There is no central control, but each state has its own election organizers and governing boards.  It is hoped that some of these facts filter through to the Trump followers.

This may be, on many fronts, the most challenging election the nation has faced, since the time of Lincoln.  But what gives me hope; what keeps me on a more or less even keel, is this phrase from a psalm I remember: “Why are you downcast, my soul? Why groan within me?  Trust in God, I will praise him still; my Savior and my God.”  Whether things go well, or go bad, I trust that God will be with me: with all of us.  And with his help, as one nation, we will see things through.

The cup is empty, I am ready for bed.  See you all next week, 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.

 

 

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.