January, 2020

Greetings to all and I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you a Healthy, Happy and Holy New Year! 

     Many people over the years, since I’ve been a Deacon, have asked me, why do we suffer at times?” Why does God allow it? Am I being punished? Does suffering have a purpose? The Bible acknowledges and explores these tough questions with honesty—and with a variety of perspectives. Reflecting on some of these Biblically rooted ideas can help us better understand and accept suffering as a place of God’s presence rather than an obstacle to our relationship with Him. There are five Biblical perspectives on suffering. Let’s explore the first two for this week.

     #1: Suffering is a natural consequence of sin. Although this may not be our favorite biblical takeaway, sometimes we bring suffering upon ourselves. We don’t need to look any further than Genesis 3—the fateful choice of Adam and Eve—for a clear example. That freely made decision to disobey God’s one prohibition led to all kinds of consequences: expulsion from the Garden of Eden, toiling for food, hostility between the sexes, pain in childbirth, fear of snakes, and more. the lesson is painful but practical: Choices have consequences, and bad choices cause us pain. Here’s another way of saying it: Sin doesn’t hurt God, it hurts us.

     #2: Suffering can teach and strengthen us. There is an Old Testament passage that reads: “My child, when you come to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for testing… Accept whatever befalls you, and in times of humiliation be patient. For gold is tested in the fire, and those found acceptable, in the furnace of humiliation. (Sirach 2:1,4-5) These words can be an interpretive lens for us. Challenges and pain are not just things that happened to us, rather, they are things that are shaping us, strengthening us, and molding us. While it’s true that suffering can at times crush us entirely, it is also true that suffering can gift us with new perspectives or a steely resolve. Think for a moment of Jonah in the belly of the fish or Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Ponder these two until next week and we will continue our perspectives on Suffering.

God Bless you and have a great week!

Deacon George +

November 17th, 2019

In November, or anytime, when we talk of the holy souls in Purgatory, we could say that they aren’t wholly holy. they’re more….holey holy. Here’s how the glossary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church defines Purgatory: “A state of final purification after death and before entrance into Heaven for those who died in God’s friendship, but were only imperfectly purified, a final cleansing of human imperfection before one is able to enter the joy of Heaven”.

God has given us the power and privilege to help deliver the holy souls from Purgatory. God’s justice demands expiation of sins, and He places in your hands the means of assisting the holy souls. 

Jesus tells St. Faustina: “They are making retribution to my justice. It is in your power to bring them relief” (Diary of St. Faustina, 1226). These souls no longer can help themselves. They rely on us. Heaven encourages them, we deliver them!

“They” can be our loved ones or those who have no one to pray for them.

Surprisingly, the most abandoned souls are our priests and consecrated religious. We tend to “canonize” them immediately after their death. We stop praying for them too soon. We own these souls our gratitude. Pray for the nun who taught us. For the priest who baptized us or gave us our First Holy Communion. For the bishop who confirmed us. Remember, the Mass is the most effective means to help the holy souls in Purgatory. It’s the highest form of worship, the highest act of prayer. It’s the source and summit of our faith.

God Bless you and have a great week!

Deacon George +

November 3rd, 2019

My how the year is flying! It seems like we just celebrated Easter. Anyway in the month of November, we especially remember the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Why should we pray for the souls in Purgatory? We pray for them just as we’re called to pray for those still living on earth. And we pray for them because we’re part of the Communion of Saints.

The Communion of Saints is made up of the faithful on earth, the souls in Heaven, and the souls in Purgatory (in traditional terms: the Church Militant, The Church Triumphant, and the Church suffering).

Those of us who aren’t in Heaven need to pray and rely on the prayers of others, often heavily. Those who have entered Heaven–whether now canonized by the Church or not—are doing great! Yes, they can and do pray for us on earth and the souls in Purgatory, but for members of the Church Triumphant, eternal life couldn’t be better. 

In its wisdom and through its liturgical calendar, the church offers us three important annual reminders that the souls in Heaven are Saints and the souls in Purgatory need our prayers. These reminders are All Saints’ Day on 1 Nov., All Souls’ Day on 2 Nov., and traditionally, the entire month of November, which is dedicated to the Holy Souls. 

What this means is that you know some souls are in Heaven and some souls are in Purgatory. You can pray to loved ones and others who are in Heaven, asking for their intercession and for a little help here! But what you may not realize is that you can do the same with the souls in Purgatory. They can, and do, pray for those of us here on earth. They can, and do, want and need your prayers for themselves, too. So don’t forget to pray for your loved ones and friends who may desperately need our prayers.

God Bless you and have a great and holy week!

Deacon George +

October 6th, 2019

Each year during the month of October, we recommit ourselves to the establishment of a culture of Life and to do all we can in prayer (especially the Rosary), in word and in action to protect and defend the lives of all, especially the most vulnerable among us.

We begin always with prayer, at daily Mass (if we can attend), in our own private prayers. May I offer you the following to help you in your fervent plea for life and your desire to protect and defend the innocent baby in the womb, the person near to death and everyone in between.

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, Lord and Maker of all that is good, fill our hearts with joy before the wonders of Your creation. Open our eyes to the presence of Your beloved Son Jesus in all those we encounter and especially in the weakest and most vulnerable among us.

   Where we see life threatened at its beginning or at its end or by poverty and deprivation, inspire us with love and mercy so that, empowered by Your Holy Spirit, we may work together to defend human dignity. Help us to build a culture of life: a culture in which each and every person is loved and valued as our child, from conception to natural death, and in every circumstance of life.

Bless us as we turn to You, that our prayer will be fruitful in protecting the vulnerable babies who are carried here in the womb. We pray for their mommies and daddies that they will recognize the great miracle that has happened in their lives and be given the support they need to bring that child into the world that You have given us. We ask all of this in the Name and in the power of Jesus, Our Redeemer and Lord of Life, forever and ever. Amen.

God Bless you and have a great and holy week!

Deacon George +

September 22nd, 2019

With the day of “Eucharistic Adoration” coming up on Sunday 29 September, we should visit again just what Eucharistic Adoration means. It’s a practice of adoring the Blessed Sacrament exposed in a monstrance. Although Christ is honored in the Blessed Sacrament during Mass, it is important for Catholics to spend some quiet time in Eucharistic Adoration outside of Mass. It is a time to read Scripture or pray privately in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. 

From his ordination to the final days of his papacy, Pope St. John Paul II delivered homilies and wrote encyclicals stressing the benefits of Eucharistic Adoration. He encouraged parishes to establish times in which the faithful could come to church just to adore the Eucharist. “The Church and the world have great need of Eucharistic Adoration”, He wrote. “Jesus waits for us in this sacrament of love. Let us be generous with our time in going to meet Him in adoration and contemplation full of faith”. 

St. Teresa of Calcutta agreed. She stated, “Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration with exposition needs a great push.”

People ask me: ‘What will convert America and save the world?’ My answer is prayer. What we need is for every parish to come before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament in holy hours of prayer.

There you have it in a nut shell. See you on the 29th and don’t forget to sign up for your Holy Hour.

God Bless and have a great week!

Deacon George +

September 1st, 2019

“Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament”: The devotion begins with the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. A Priest or a Deacon removes the Sacred Host from the tabernacle and places it on the altar for Adoration. The purpose of Adoration is to highlight the presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist. When a consecrated Host is placed in the Monstrance, (a sacred vessel used for the exposition and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament), it is said to be a solemn exposition. Adoration ceremonies traditionally include Scripture readings, hymns, prayers, and time for silent adoration.

  St. Alphonsus Liguori said, “Of all devotions, that of adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the greatest after the Sacraments, the one dearest to God and the one most helpful to us.” Things we should do during Eucharistic Adoration: Pray the Psalms or the Liturgy of the Hours, recite the “Jesus Prayer”. Say “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner,” repeatedly as you quiet your heart and mind. Also mediate using Scripture. Choose a passage from the Bible. Read the words and ask God to let the passage speak to you. Pay special attention to anything that strikes you and ask God what He wishes for you to draw from that passage. You may also read the life of a Saint and pray with him or her. Examples are Therese of Lisieux (the Little Flower), Catherine of Siena, Francis of Assisi, Thomas Aquinas, Peter Julian Eymard, Dorothy Day, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, are to name just a few. Most of all pour out your heart to Christ and adore Him. Speak to Jesus, aware that you are in His presence, and tell Him all that comes to your mind. Listen for His response. Pray the prayer that St. Francis instructed his brothers to pray whenever they were before the Blessed Sacrament: “I adore you, O Christ, present here and in all the churches of the world, for by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world.”

God Bless and have a great week!

Deacon George +

August 25th, 2019

“We have come to do him homage.” Those words spoken by the Magi from the East as they searched for the Infant Jesus, resound through the centuries to be echoed in the heart of every person who makes a visit to the Blessed Sacrament. The presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is as real today as the Infant Jesus was to the Wise Men who sought Him by following a star rising in the East. As Pope John Paul II affirms in his encyclical on relationship of the Eucharist to the Church,”…the gaze of the Church is constantly turned to her Lord, present in the Sacrament of the Altar, in which she discovers the full manifestation of His boundless love.” 

  So what is “Eucharistic Adoration”? Eucharistic adoration is the act of worshiping God as He is present in the consecrated Eucharist. Since the Last Supper, when Jesus broke the bread and distributed the wine, saying, “This is my Body” and “This is my Blood,” Catholics have believed that the bread and wine are no longer merely baked wheat and fermented grape juice, but the actual living presence of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. Spending time before the Blessed Sacrament, in prayer and devotion, is exactly the same as spending time before the living God.

  Adoration occurs whenever someone kneels or sits in front of a tabernacle that contains the Blessed Sacrament, genuflects toward a tabernacle, bows before receiving the Blessed Sacrament at Mass, or, in a more focused way, when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed for Adoration. 

Next week we will discuss the “Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament”.

God Bless and have a great week!

Deacon George +

August 11th, 2019

Every day there are people who are widowed, separated or divorced, lose a job, or discover that they have a serious illness. We surround people with friendship, calls, flowers and cards at the time of crisis or loss. However, after some time passes, we might forget that loneliness and hurt linger. I know many people are “flying with one wing” and are still feeling the pain of past tragedy months and even years later. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind while learning to fly with one wing:

 “Substitute a new way for an old way”. Things are no longer the same. You must learn to replace old ways of thinking, doing and acting with new ways.

     “Forgive”. Every loss brings feelings of anger, guilt, regrets and remorse. The way to let go is to forgive yourself and anyone who has hurt you.

     “Toughen up a bit”. Life is not always smooth, clear sailing. When hard times come, get tough. Self-pity saps your strength and courage. 

     “Face your own worst enemy”. Avoid the “Why me?” syndrome. If you don’t, you will become your own worst enemy, suffocating in self-pity.

     “Concentrate on what you have”. Remember that few situations in life take everything away from you. Even after a great disaster, something is left. Take what remains, thank God for it and ask God to Bless it and expand it.

     “Look for joy”. Look for reasons to laugh, sing and be joyful. Come before the Lord in prayer and smile at Him. He will give you true happiness!

     You can fly with one wing if you make the remaining wing strong enough to keep you flying steadily. Keep believing in God and yourself even if you feel completely crushed. Our Blessed Lord promised us: “I am with you always, until the end…” And He is!

God Bless you and have a good week!

Deacon George +

July 28th, 2019

 Going back in my old files from my Seminary Days of long ago, I found an interesting piece written by an unknown author. I think it bears sharing. Satan called a worldwide convention. In his opening address to his evil angels, He said, “We can’t keep the Christians from going to church. We can’t keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the faith. We can’t even keep them from conservative values. But we can do something else. We can keep them from forming an intimate, abiding experience in Christ. If they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken.” 

     “So let them go to church, let them have their conservative lifestyles, but steal their time, so they can’t gain that experience with Christ. This is what I want you angels to do. Distract them from gaining hold of their Savior and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day! How shall we do this? shouted his angels. Keep them busy in the non-essentials of life and invent un-numbered schemes to occupy their minds, he answered. Temp them to spend, spend, then borrow, borrow, borrow. Convince the wives to go to work and the husbands to work 6 or 7 days a week, 10-12 hours a day, so they can afford their lifestyles. Keep them from spending time with their children. As their family fragments, soon their homes will offer no escape from the pressures of work. Over stimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still small voice. Entice them to play the radio or cassette player whenever they drive, to keep the TV going constantly in their homes. And see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays music constantly. This will jam their minds and break that union with Christ.”

     “Fill their coffee tables with magazines and newspapers. Pound their minds with the news 24 hours a day. Invade their driving moments with billboards. Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, sweepstakes, mail order catalogs and every kind of newsletter and promotional offering, free product, services and false hopes. Even in their recreation, let them be excessive. Have them return from their recreation exhausted, disquieted and unprepared for the coming week.”

     “Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, concerts and movies instead. And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences and unsettled emotions. Let them be involved in soul-winning. But crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from Christ. Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family for the good of the cause.”

     It was quite a convention in the end. And the evil angels went eagerly to their assignments causing Christians everywhere to get busy, busy, busy and rush here and there. Has the devil been successful at his scheme? You be the judge. 

God Bless and have a terrific week!

Deacon George +

June 21st, 2019

“Silently, we struggle”

  Recently, as I do on a weekly basis and more than once, I visit my Family’s grave site at Sacred Heart. As I rounded the corner in the cemetery, I saw a car parked on the tree side of the road near my family’s plot. It was my hope that it was someone I knew–but I was wrong.

  As I pulled up, I saw a young woman on the tree edge with her back to me. I got out of my car and headed in the direction of the woman. She turned towards me and that’s when I noticed it. Tears were streaming down her face and her shoulders were bowed from sobbing. She began to walk towards me and I stopped. I looked at her and gave a quick “Hello”. She looked at me, eyes red from crying and said “Hi”. She was hurting and in pain. With a steady voice I said, “I know how tough this is. I struggle every time I visit my Great-Grand-Daughter. “I am sorry for your loss”. She paused, looked down and then raised a gaze at me. A slight smile parted her lips and she calmly said, “Thank you.” She walked to her car and sat there for about five minutes before she pulled away. 

  I am quite sure she would meet people the rest of the day who would never realize the difficult moments she had earlier at the grave of a loved one. I ask that you take a moment to consider that we all carry burdens that may be invisible to others. It can be loneliness, loss, depression or many other causes. In your prayers, please remember this young woman and all those who struggle silently. What a heavy challenge that is to so many.

God Bless you and have a great week!

Deacon George +

June 16th, 2019

Wow, where has the year gone? Holy Week and Easter and now Pentecost is behind us. We now enter a time in the Church called “Ordinary Time”. Although every day has its special moments, the Catholic Church designates two periods each year as Ordinary Time. The first starts on the feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, usually celebrated in early January, and ends on the day before Ash Wednesday. The second period of Ordinary Time begins on the Monday after Pentecost Sunday, the last day of the Easter Season, and ends on the Saturday before the first Sunday of Advent, in late November or early December. It is called Ordinary Time because the weeks are ordered, or numbered.

Ordinary Time is a time for us to grow in faith as we reflect on Christ’s life, miracles, and teachings in the light of the Resurrection. The Church uses “green” during most of Ordinary Time. Green is a reminder of spring and new life, and thus is a sign of hope and growth.

Lastly but not least, to all our Fathers out there, have a Happy and Holy Father’s Day!

God Bless you,

Deacon George +

May 26th, 2019

On behalf of Brenda and all the Family and myself, thank you all so much for your cards, flowers, and Masses and your prayers for our very much beloved and missed Mackenzie. We will never forget what a wonderful gift God had given us, even for only a few short years. She gave her Great-Grand-Father and Mother such happiness and laughter. I thank God for that and His promise of seeing her again in Heaven. We thank all of you for your charity and prayers in our grief.

Deacon George and Brenda Garber

May 12th, 2019

First of all, I want to congratulate all the Girls and Boys who received their First Holy Communion on Sunday, 28 April 2019! I am so sorry I could not attend, but you all are and were in my prayers. This close and personal union with Jesus is the most important of all the Sacraments. Receive Him often.

May is for Mothers! I love May. The temperature is getting warmer, the flowers are blooming and the grass is beginning to get green. During May, new life emerges from the cold months before. It is time to open the windows of your soul and let the fresh air in! Another reason that I love May is because it is the month of May, the Mother of God. How comforting it is for us so many to pray the Rosary and think of the example that Mary is for all of us. She said yes to God’s will and demonstrated the love and devotion a mother has for a child as she stood at the foot of the Cross and watched her Son suffer and die. 

Many Saints over the past have told us there is nothing quite like the love of a mother for a child. A Child can stray, sin, even turn their back on their mother, yet most times the mother just yearns for their child to be happy. While Mary did not have to be concerned about those types of transgressions, she certainly felt great sadness as her son was whipped and paraded through the streets carrying a cross. She never wavered or turned away from her Son as so many yelled to crucify Him. She loved Him with all her heart as only a mother can do. 

As we grow from children into adults, it is sometimes easy to forget the sacrifices our own mothers made for us. We sometimes think that our achievements were solely ours alone. Yet, in the background, our mothers stood by us. May is the month of Mary, but it is also when we celebrate Mother’s Day. I extend my gratitude and appreciation to all mothers and for the important role they play in today’s world. God Bless and Happy Mother’s Day!                   

Deacon George+

May 5th, 2019

Hello Church Family and Happy Easter Season! Remember Easter doesn’t end on Easter Sunday, it’s just the beginning of the Octave of Easter and the Easter Season. The Octave of Easter are the eight days of Easter from Easter Sunday until the Second Sunday of Easter and the Easter Season concludes with Pentecost, 50 days following Easter Sunday.

Many people are confused with the word “Octave”. The seven days following a feast with the feast day itself included is an Octave.  Prior to the Second Vatican Council octaves were numerous in the Latin Rite. A commemoration was offered at Mass and in the Divine Office each day of the octave, and precedence given over any other feast. Octaves now observed in the Universal Church are those of Christmas and Easter.

Today we celebrate The Second Sunday Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday. Divine Mercy is the love of God beyond what humankind deserves. Mercy, then, is God’s continued love of humans although they have sinned against Him. His loving arms are always open to us and He is waiting for us to return that love to Him and come home.

Hope everyone had a joy filled Easter and Brenda and I thank all of you for all the cards and gifts you sent us. 

God Bless you and have a great week!

Deacon George +

April 21st, 2019

Happy and Holy Easter Everyone!!! It has been said that we might better celebrate the season from Easter and beyond is by remembering Lazarus. If we read the Gospel carefully, we notice that there are two men named Lazarus. So which one? Well, both, actually.

In Luke 16:9-31, we have the parable of Lazarus the beggar and the rich man. While the rich man “dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day,” Lazarus lay at his gate, covered with sores; Longing to catch a few scraps that fell from the table. Through our Lenten fasting, we learn how to empathize with the ones left outside and allow our lives to be transformed so that the teaching of Jesus might take root in us and our hearts might be softened, unlike the rich man.

The other Lazarus in the Gospel—the brother of Martha and Mary, who lived in Bethany—is the man Jesus raised from the dead, after four days in the tomb. In the 11th Chapter of the Gospel of St. John, we see that this miraculous event took place not long before Jesus’ own Passion, Death, and Resurrection. Without a doubt, our bodies will die, but our faith in this same Jesus, give us the hope of Resurrection to Eternal Life.

 So, in these holy days, look to Lazarus in your respect for the dignity and worth of every person you meet. And celebrate the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ as the real confirmation of your own eternal value in God’s eyes! 

Happy Easter and Blessings!

Deacon George +

April 14th, 2019

Why do we call “Good Friday” good? Because Good Friday honors the day on which Christ died on the Cross, it is especially somber. Church bells do not ring, and statues and other adornments in the church are covered. The hours between Noon and 3 o’clock  are passed quietly with special reverence in remembrance of the hours when Christ hung on the Cross. No Masses are said on Good Friday, but Holy Communion, consecrated on Holy Thursday, may be distributed during the Good Friday Liturgy. Fasting is required on Good Friday for Catholics between 18 and 59 who are in good health. 

Holy Saturday, the day before Easter, is a time to reflect upon Christ’s suffering and death on the Cross. No Masses are said until the evening, and only the sacraments of Penance and Anointing of the Sick can be administered. Communion may be given to sick and the dying.

On the evening of Holy Saturday, the Easter Vigil is celebrated, beginning with lighting of a bonfire outside the church. A new Paschal candle, which symbolizes the light of Christ and is used throughout the Easter Season, is lit from this fire, and the celebrant and the faithful process into the church. Nine readings are provided for the Mass: seven from the Old Testament and two from the New. The faithful renew their baptismal promises, and new members are welcomed into the Church through Baptism. Some may also receive Confirmation. 

So even though most of us were infants when Baptized, and of course don’t remember promises made then on our behalf, we get to renew those same promises ourselves every Easter Vigil. May each of you have a Holy and Happy Easter.

God Bless you!

Deacon George +

April 7th, 2019

When many Catholics are asked, “Just what is your Sacred Triduum”? Many of us look in wonder and maybe some never heard of “The Sacred Triduum”. The Holiest Days of the Church year are called the Triduum, meaning “three days”, which extends from the evening of Holy Thursday to the evening of Easter Sunday. Let’s start this week with Holy Thursday, it is celebrated on the Thursday evening before Easter, commemorates the Last Supper, the event at which Christ instituted the Sacraments of Holy Eucharist and Holy Orders. 

Holy Thursday is also known as Maundy Thursday. The word Maundy comes from the Latin word mandatum, which means “mandate”. It was on Holy Thursday that Christ gave His followers the mandate “Love one another, even as I have loved you” (John 13:34-35).

Every Mass is a reenactment of the Last Supper, the final meal that Jesus celebrated with His Apostles. Holy Thursday, however, honors the Last Supper in a special way. Often churches invite members of the parish to have their feet washed by the priest. This is done because Christ washed the feet of the Apostles as an example of humility and service to others. 

Christ is known as the “Suffering Servant”. And by washing His Apostles feet, He shows us just how much humility is loved by Him. He, God The Son, didn’t have to do this, but chose too as example to us, because He loves us so much that the next day gave up His life for all of us. 

Until next week have a good finish– as Lent is ending soon and don’t forget to go to Confession.

God Bless,

Deacon George +

March 31st, 2019

Why we kneel at Mass: During Mass and at other times of prayer, Catholics kneel to show reverence and humility before God. In Ephesians 3:14, St. Paul says, “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father.”

When we kneel to pray privately, we are following the example Jesus set on the night before His Crucifixion. The Gospel of St. Luke states that after asking the Apostles to keep watch with Him, Christ “withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed” (Luke 22:41).

The practice of kneeling during Mass has undergone many changes. Customs vary among countries. In 1969, for example, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops decided that Catholics in the United States should kneel during the entire Eucharistic Prayer. In 1980, the Sacred Congregation for Sacraments and Divine Worship decreed that local authorities (Bishops) could decide whether Catholics should kneel or stand to receive Holy Communion.

Whether one kneels or stands, a reverent attitude should be maintained for prayer always. Also today, the Fourth Sunday in Lent, is known as “Laetare Sunday”. Laetare, a Latin word, means to rejoice, and marks our half-way point through the Season of Lent. We rejoice, because we are so close to the Easter Sunday Celebration. Today the Priest and Deacon wear a Rose colored vestment in the celebration of Holy Mass.

Enjoy your Sunday, Rejoice and God Bless,

Deacon George +

March 24th, 2019

Over the years a lot of my friends and acquaintances have asked me why Catholics genuflect and kneel at our services? I explained this way: To genuflect is to make a reverent acknowledgement by bending the right knee to the ground. Before entering a pew, when leaving a pew, or when passing in the front of the tabernacle, Catholics genuflect toward the tabernacle to show respect and reverence for Christ’s presence in the Blessed Sacrament. We must remember as Catholics, the “real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament and not a symbol or a remembrance of some kind regarding Christ, but that He is real and present as He Himself promised. The Blessed Sacrament is of course a Sacrament. Like all sacraments, it is a “sign of Christ”. But unlike the other sacraments, the Eucharist is not only an action of Christ, but also really contains Christ personally. 

At the last Supper, Christ instituted the Eucharist as the ceremony under which His sacrifice of the next day on Calvary was to be continued through the centuries. Our Mass is the continuation of this ceremony, with prayers added by the Church, but is a Sacrament, not merely an empty ceremony, it really contains what the ceremony signifies—the sacrifice of Christ Himself. This is why it is so necessary to genuflect to show reverence to Christ our King. Next week we will continue on the subject of kneeling at our celebration of the Holy Mass.

Have a great week and God Bless you,

Deacon George +

March 17th, 2019

Well another Lent has begun. Are we ready to make some small changes in our lives, to better follow that narrow road Jesus talks about in the Gospels? As Lent begins we again have a chance, to take some time to inspect our lives to see what we may need to do, to get closer to God and His Son. Our parishes give us plenty of opportunity for prayer throughout the 40 days of Lent. We’ve started this past week with the Stations of the Cross. What a wonderful opportunity to walk with Jesus on His “Way of the Cross.” And Adoration, which I call a “one on one conversation” with Our Blessed Lord. The Rosary is available every Thursday at Sacred Heart. And also, all the Masses that are available on the weekend at both our parishes and Confession as well. There is no reason to feel our parishes are not here for us and also willing to give us Spiritual direction if we ask for it. 

Remember, Jesus is always seeking us out, always calling us by name, but many times the concerns and comforts of our life block His voice from reaching our ears, much like Zacchaeus in the Gospels, whose short stature prevented him from seeing Jesus through the crowd of people always following Jesus. But something wonderful happens. Jesus calls him by name. His life changes and he sees things and people differently through his encounter with Our Blessed Lord.

Have a great Lent and God Bless you,

Deacon George +

March 10th, 2019

Down through the Ages Divine Apparitions have brought us three Scapulars:

The Brown Scapular: On, 16 July 1251, St. Simon Stock, superior general of he Carmelite Order, reported that he had a vision in which the Blessed Mother gave him a Brown Scapular to wear. Some Brown Scapulars worn today have images of St. Simon Stock and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Some bear Mary’s promise: “Whosoever dies wearing this scapular shall not suffer eternal fire.”

The Green Scapular: In the early 1840’s, Sister Justine Bisqueyburu, a member of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, reported that she had visions of Mary holding a scapular. The scapular described by Sister Justine became know as the Green Scapular or the badge of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It consisted of a small rectangle of green cloth hanging from a green string. On each side was an image of Our Lady, and on the other, her Immaculate Heart, with the inscription “Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us, now and at the hour of our death.”

The Red Scapular: In 1846, Sister Appoline Andriveau, a Sister of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, sent word to Pope Pius IX that Jesus had appeared to her many times and showed her a scapular. The Pope believed in the apparitions and appointed the Lazarist Order of priests to encourage wearing of the scapular, named the Red Scapular of the Passion of Christ. One side of it showed Jesus on the Cross and the words “Holy Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, save us”, the other side shows the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the words “Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, protect us.” Christ promised St. Appoline an increase of faith, hope, and charity to those who wear the scapular and meditate on His Passion. 

Now as the Season of Lent has begun, let’s break out our old Scapulars and start wearing them. If not purchase one made of cloth or of metal and begin receiving the promises made of Our Lord and Our Lady.

God Bless and have a great Lent this year!

Deacon George +

March 3th, 2019

Perhaps we all remember when attending Catholic grade school, the good Sisters telling us about the spiritual benefits of wearing “The Scapular”. It all started on 16 July 1251, when St. Simon Stock, superior general of the Carmelite Order, reported that he had a vision in which the Blessed Mother gave him a Brown Scapular to wear. 

First, a little history on scapulars. They are patterned after work aprons worn by monks circa 550AD. To protect their clothing while working, monks would wear a large piece of fabric, folded in half and with a hole cut in the center so that it could be slipped over the head. Each monastic order had its own colors and symbols. During the Middle Ages, members of the laity sometimes were granted permission to be buried wearing the scapular of the monastic order with which they had become associated. Over the years, smaller scapulars replaced the original apron-sized ones. Wearing a scapular reminds Catholics to live their Faith.

Today’s Scapulars are now usually made of two pieces of 2-by-1 and a half inch woolen fabric attached by two strings. The strings are placed over the shoulders so that one piece of fabric hangs against the chest and the other hangs against the back.

Until 1910, all scapulars were made of cloth. On 16 December 1910, Pope Pius X allowed metal scapulars to replace cloth ones but only if one part had an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the other had an image of Mary.

Next week we will discuss all three Scapulars (Brown, Green, and Red) in some detail.

Until then have a great week and God Bless you!

Deacon George

February 24th, 2019

“The Miraculous Medal”: Among the most popular and recognizable of religious articles is the Miraculous Medal. In 1830, 24 year old Catherine Laboure, a member of the Sisters of Charity, had a vision of the Blessed Mother. Catherine reported that Mary showed her a design and said, “Have a medal made after this model. Great blessings will come to those who wear the medal and say often the words that are on it.” It took 2 years to gain approval to produce the medals. Originally called the Immaculate Conception Medal, the name was changed 7 years later, when many miracles and acts of goodwill were associated with it.

The front of the Miraculous Medal has a picture of Mary with her foot on a serpent. That image represents triumph over evil. Mary’s hands send down rays of blessings. The words, “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee” are printed around the image. The back of the medal has a cross, the letter M (representing Mary) and images of the Heart of Jesus and the Heart of Mary, pierced by a sword in memory of her Son’s Crucifixion. There are 12 stars around the images, representing the 12 Apostles.

Some antique dealers advertise that they are selling a Miraculous Medal that was made in 1830 or a rosary with an embedded Miraculous Medal that was made in 1830. That, however, cannot be true. The first Miraculous Medals were not made until 1832, and they were not used as the center medals of rosaries until after 1880. Every Miraculous Medal, no matter when it was made, bears the date 1830, the year in which Mary appeared to Catherine Laboure.

The Miraculous Medal is of course very popular today. It is found all over the world from babies to young adults and the elderly. All wear them or carry them with great humility and prayerful respect to the Holy Mother of God. 

God Bless you and have a great week!

Deacon George +

February 17th, 2019

Many times my “Non-Catholic” friends have asked me down through the years, “Why do you Catholics wear medals around your necks”? I often explain in the following way. Medals carried or worn for devotion have a long history in our Church. Christians in the early church struck medals to remember particular saints or stories from the life of Christ. One example from the second century found in the catacombs bears the portraits of Sts. Peter and Paul.

In the Middle Ages, the use of medals largely waned in popularity. By the 12th. century, the practice of casting tokens in metal grew up around pilgrimage sites, with the medals serving as souvenirs and reminders of devotion. The popularity of medals began to grow during the Renaissance but did not reach widespread use until the post-Reformation period. The practice of striking papal jubilee medals began as early as 1475, which helped popularize the idea, as the special medals made their way all around the world. 

Many Catholics and some non-Catholics today wear medals. It is practice to have your medals blessed by a Priest or Deacon and then it becomes a Sacramental object to be respected. Sacramental objects can help draw grace through our prayers to Our Blessed Mother, and the saints. Next week we will discuss the most popular medal, “The Miraculous Medal of Our Lady”.

God Bless and have a terrific week!

Deacon George +

February 10th, 2019

Have you ever been asked by a family member or a close friend, “Will you please light a candle for me?” I am sure you have as I have been too. This practice has been used by our faithful for hundreds of years. Why? Because Christians have used candles to recall Christ’s words: “I am the light of the world, he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life”(John 8:12). Churches and outdoor shrines often have candles that the faithful can light as they pray. Catholics praying at home may place candles before religious pictures or statues to create a reverent atmosphere.

Candles attached to religious pictures or statues may be called vigil or votive lights. The term vigil comes from the Latin word “vigilia”, which means “watching” or “waiting”. When a Catholic lights a vigil candle, he or she is praying and waiting for news such as a friend’s recovery from an illness or the birth of a child. Votive candles are lit when praying for a special favor, such as God’s blessing on a new business or academic success. They may also be lit for the soul of a deceased person. The candles are meant only to inspire prayer and hold no power of their own. One little candle can lighten a room. Our prayers can make a difference in someone’s life and even our own.

God Bless and have a great week!

Deacon George +

February 3rd, 2019

Think for a moment, what is the first thing you normally do when entering Church? You reach for the “Holy Water Font”, and then you bless yourself. Often wonder what is this “Holy Water” and where does it come from? Holy Water is a Sacramental blessed by a Priest or Deacon, invoking God’s Blessing on all who use it. Blessed water is a symbol of spiritual cleansing, and its use is advised in moments of physical danger and against temptations from spiritual — enemies. It is common practice to dip one’s fingers in holy water and reverently make the Sign of the Cross as one enters a Catholic Church, and it is recommended for use in the home. Holy water is used in all blessings. There are besides ordinary holy water, Baptismal holy water, used with Chrism in the conferring of public baptism, and Easter water specially blessed for use during the Paschal time.

“Holy Water Fonts” are popular in Catholic homes down through the ages. We use Holy Water to remind us of our Baptisms when we became Children of God. St. Charles Borromeo, a civil as well as a canon lawyer, issued guidelines for the construction of holy water fonts when he became bishop of Milan in 1563. “It shall be of marble or of solid stone, neither porous not with cracks. It shall be upon a handsomely wrought column and shall not be placed outside of the church but within it and, in so far as possible, to the right of those who enter.” Most however, have not been made according to St. Charles’s instructions, but are used as a guideline. Holy Water fonts for the home range from elaborate ornamental creations of precious materials to plastic fonts and homemade devices. It is a good and pious act to put one in your home, as the devil hates Holy Water where ever it may be.

Holy Water is available in every Catholic Church. God Bless and have a great week!

Deacon George +

January 27th, 2019

In conclusion of our study of the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, these are all charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbors in their spiritual and bodily necessities. Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently. The corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead. Among all these, giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity, it is also a work of justice pleasing to God.

“He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none, and he who has food must do likewise. But give for alms those things which are within and behold everything is clean for you. If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled, without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit?”(Lk 3:11, Lk 11:41, Jas 2;15, 1 Jn 3:17). Faith and Good Works goes hand in hand and we will be judged by what we did or did not do. Amen.

Beginning next week we will examine some sacramental objects we sometimes take for granted.

God Bless and have a good week!

Deacon George +

January 20th, 2019

“Comfort the afflicted” is one Spiritual Work of Mercy which can also be applied by visiting the Sick and also the Imprisoned, which we covered a few weeks ago. These works of mercy draw attention to caring for members of our communities who are not visibly present, who might be forgotten. Just being there gives these people comfort. Being lonely is proven to shorten life. They need support and our special care for them and their needs.

This also involves another Spiritual Work of Mercy, forgive offenses and bear wrongs patiently. “How often should I forgive?” When we are secure in God’s unconditional love for us, when we are secure in our status as beloved, it is easier to let go of hurt and bear wrongs. We still feel the pain of hurt, and the bruise left by the wrong committed against us will take time to fade, yet knowing who we are and whose we are frees us from the chains of seeking retribution and enlarges our own heart to allow love, compassion, forgiveness, and mercy to take up our space.

Are there wrongs that you have been unable to forgive? Are you ready to have a change of heart? How does your parish community give witness to God’s forgiveness? Remember holding a grudge against someone hurts us much more than it does other person.

God Bless and have a great week!

Deacon George +

January 13th, 2019

Our third “Spiritual Work of Mercy” for this week is: “Admonish sinners”. “For as you judge, so will you be judged.”(Matthew 7:2).

Christ is our model for admonishing sinners. Throughout the Gospels, He reminds people how to follow the path of righteousness and “go and sin no more.” At the same time, Jesus warns religious leaders about putting heavy burdens on others while not lifting a finger to help (see Luke 11:46). So when we think about admonishing sinners, we need to keep in mind the way Jesus confronted sin and dealt with sinners—frequently employing parables and questions to engage people, with gentleness and conviction rather than finger wagging, with great credibility, and from the authenticity of an integrated life.

Who helps you to spot the plank in your own eye? I think most married people can say their own spouse helps them to spot the plank in our own eyes! I can attest to that having been married for almost 50 years! I love my wife dearly, but she sure can get the message through to me. God Bless her. Also how does your life call others to the way of Christ?

This is a tough question for us to be honest with ourselves. Are we kind and considerate? Do we appreciate others even though they are not directly involved with our lives–namely respect? Everyone deserves respect and Jesus teaches us this in many Gospel passages. Remember the “Golden Rule” it’s a perfect way to imitate Christ and then they will follow.

God Bless you and have a terrific week!

Deacon George +

January 6th, 2019

First of all I want to wish everyone a Happy, Healthy and Holy New Year for 2019!  Now to continue our study of the “Spiritual Works of Mercy”.

“Instruct the Ignorant”: “One does not live by bread alone.”(Matthew 4:4). They say education is often the key that unlocks the prison cell of poverty, whether we talk about mastering reading, writing, and math skills, or about our faith. Spiritual poverty is soul-crushing because it diminishes the religious imagination, which is necessary for living in our Christian hope. Can you just imagine doing your job without sufficient training for doing it?

We would be so lost and probably confused with all that is needed to know and understand. That’s how our Faith is.  We need to know as much as we can about Our Savior and His Church. There was a popular song back in the 60″s called “To know him is to love him”. How true that song is. We need to know the Lord and know Him well and introduce Him to the people in our own world.

In what ways do you instruct others? Our parishes offer many opportunities such as volunteering as a catechist or RCIA sponsor. If teaching is not you personal calling, how might you still support educational efforts in your parish or community? Think about these answers and you fill in the blanks.

Have a great week and God Bless,

Deacon George +

December 30th, 2018

I would like to thank everyone for the thoughtful Christmas gifts and cards Brenda & I received. We hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and we wish for you and your families a healthful and blessed New Year!  Deacon’s Desk will resume next week, until then.

Have a great week!

God Bless,

Deacon George +

December 23rd, 2018

For the next several weeks we will be exploring the “Spiritual Works of Mercy”. There are eight of them. We will begin with the First: “Counsel the doubtful”. “The saying is hard, who can accept it?” (John 6:60). Some people might feel that there is no room for questioning, for turning over a thorny issue of faith, so they walk away. Yet, a mature Christian is one who has wrestled with doubt, who has questioned, and emerged with deeply planted, well-rooted faith as a result. To show mercy is to create space and time to wrestle together but also to reassure and provide advice from our own experience: to lend an ear and to offer insight and care. The most powerful counsel any Christian can give is to bear witness to the joy of the Gospel by sharing God’s presence and workings in one’s life.

Who helped you with your questions of faith? How can you be present to others who need counsel? I know my own faith was watered and fed by my education in Catholic Grade and High School by the good Sisters of Mercy! Not all today have had this privilege, so we need to be there for them and with patience and prayer, and our example, they will come see the goodness of the Lord.

Have a great week and don’t forget to make a good Confession before Christmas Day!

God Bless,

Deacon George +

December 16th, 2018

Our last “Corporal Work of Mercy” for this week is: “Bury the Dead”. Bury the dead, pray for the living and the dead.

“This is how we are to pray.” (Matthew 6:9) The Church teaches us that dying is to be born to eternal life. Meditating on this teaching might help us feel more comfortable with being with those who mourn and with attending a funeral service. Our presence at a funeral signals our care and acknowledges and honors the innate dignity of the person who died. Praying the Litany of the Saints reminds us that the Communion of Saints includes all the living and the departed faithful.

What are some ways you might support your parish’s efforts in caring for families in grief? The first big one that comes to my mind is to attend the funeral Mass of the person who died from your parish. Just being there is enough to give support to the family. Our actions speak louder than our words although words can comfort and are important, but don’t worry if you are lost for words- being there as said earlier- are important to the family. You can also take a baked dish or any kind of food to the family after a funeral. Again it tells them you do care about their grief and mourning. A kind Mass card sent is also a wonderful help to the family knowing their beloved are being prayed for with the greatest prayer of all the “Holy Sacrifice of the Mass”.

God Bless and have a terrific week!

Deacon George +

December 9th, 2018

This week we look at the Fifth and Sixth Corporal Works of Mercy: “visit the sick and the imprisoned”. “For I was…ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me”(Matthew 25:35). These works of mercy draw attention to caring for members of our communities who are not visibly present who might be otherwise forgotten. Perhaps the most needed gift in our time and this Christmas Season is being present to others. Curing might be beyond our ability, but offering companionship is not. Let’s listen and respond to the cry of the sick, the imprisoned, and the afflicted: “Do not forget us!”

What can we do? Find out what your Parish or Diocese does for the sick, the imprisoned, and the afflicted? How can you be part of those efforts? Perhaps take it upon yourself to visit the sick or maybe someone in prison your family knows of and the afflicted and lonely too. Taking or even baking something this time of year would make a sick or lonely person smile and be so thankful for your time and effort.

God Bless you and have a great week!

Deacon George +

December 2nd, 2018

Our fourth Corporal Work of Mercy for this week is: “Shelter the homeless”.  “There was no room for them in the Inn”.

Images of people displaced by war, persecution, or a confluence of hardships fill the media. We need not look further than our inner cities, to encounter the homeless. When we are tempted to judge them, let us remember that judgment belongs to God. Our role is to make God’s love present in the world through our words and deeds. Pope Francis reminds us that “the rule of life for Jesus’ disciples must place mercy at the center”.

What can we do? Learn about ways your parish or diocese is addressing homelessness. Perhaps volunteer at a shelter and get to know the people and their stories. Support programs, like Habitat for Humanity, that build affordable housing for people such as these. Above all pray for them and their families.

Remember Jesus’ words, “if you do it to the least of these, you do it to me”.

God Bless you and have a terrific week!

Deacon George +

November 25th, 2018

Our Third Corporal Work of Mercy is “Clothe the naked”. “I was…naked and you clothed me.” (Matthew 25:36)

Our closets are overflowing, we rent storage units to keep more of the stuff we’ve acquired. Some estimates state that most of us use only about 20 percent of the clothes in our closet. Much of our clothing is created in developing countries. The textile industry in these countries employs mostly children and women who often work long hours under difficult circumstances.

What can we do? We can care for our clothes so they may last longer. We can teach our children basic mending skills, how to sew back a button, sew together a seam, or adjust a hem. We can also support the local charitable store by donating clothing in good condition or by shopping there and don’t forget business attire.

We can also notice in our own neighborhoods the less fortunate families around us, and help by giving them our own children’s clothes which they have grown out of or have no use of. Jesus has said, “When you do it to the least of these you have done it to Me.”

Hope you all have had a wonderful Thanksgiving and God Bless you!

Deacon George +

November 18th, 2018

Our Second Corporal Work of Mercy for this week is “Give drink to the Thirsty”.

Bible verse for thought and study, “The Woman at the Well” (John 4:4-26) Water that is suitable for human consumption is a precious commodity. According to a World Health Organization and UNICEF report, 663 million people in the world do not have access to clean water, and more than 300 million people in Africa live in a water scarce environment. Women and children spend 125 million hours each day collecting water. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations states that 70 percent of water resources are used for agriculture, irrigation, and food production.

So, what can we do? We can be mindful or our own water consumption. We can support organizations, like water with Blessings, who equip, empower, and entrust mothers as agents of clean water in their own communities.

We can also advocate for safekeeping forests, wetlands, and grasslands–nature’s water filters— so our water sources may remain healthy and clean. Remember what Jesus has said in the Holy Scriptures, “If you give a cup of water to a Brother or Sister in my name, you have given it to Me.”

God Bless and have a great and Holy week!

Deacon George +

November 11th, 2018

The first Corporal work of Mercy is “Feed the Hungry”. For many people around the globe, hunger is an ever-present reality of life. We do not have to travel to Asia, Africa, or South America to find people who do not know from where the next meal will come. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 2014 members of 6.9 million households in the United States did not have adequate food at times.

What can we do?

#1. Make it a priority to not waste food, portion out smaller serving and be creative in using leftovers.

#2. Get involved locally by donating to or volunteering at the local food bank or soup kitchen. I personally know people in our parishes who actually do this by donating their time.

#3. Support charitable organizations that work toward alleviating hunger by both directly supplying food and helping the poor gain tools, skills, and resources to be able to produce their own food.

Also in your quiet time pick up the Bible and read 1 Kings 17:9-16, regarding the widow of Zarephath in obeying God’s command to feed the hungry. Bear in mind the “Corporal Works of Mercy” are based on Christ’s prediction of the Last Judgment (Matthew 5:3-10).

God Bless and have a wonderful week!

Deacon George +

November 4th, 2018

In the “Year of Mercy”, Pope Francis invited us “to become a more effective sign of the Father’s action in our lives”.

One way to respond to that invitation is to practice the “Works of Mercy”. The Holy Father reminds us, “We are called to show mercy because mercy has first been shown to us”. Indeed, the source of mercy is God. Traditionally, Catholic teaching has categorized the works of mercy as “corporal”, those addressing physical and material needs, and “Spiritual”, those focusing on the spiritual and emotional needs of our neighbors. In day-to-day life, there isn’t such a well-defined separation between corporal and spiritual works of mercy, surely the kindness that prompts us to offer a drink to the thirsty touches the other emotionally and spiritual as well. At the same time, comforting the afflicted might actually require us to take care of some physical or material need of our neighbor.

Beginning next week we will explore each “Corporal Work of Mercy” on a weekly basis (there are 7 of them) and how to go about performing them for the good or our neighbor. Then we shall wrap our series on the “Spiritual Works of Mercy”.

Until then have a good week and God Bless you!

Deacon George +

October 28th, 2018

Question #10: Are your beliefs found in the Bible?

All Catholic beliefs can be found in the Bible in some form, whether plainly or by an indirect indication. It is not necessary for everything to be absolutely clear in Scripture alone, because that is not a teaching of Scripture itself.

Scripture also points to an authoritative Church and Tradition, as St. Paul says in his Second Letter to the Thessalonians: “Stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter”

(2 Thess 2:15)—see also 1Cor 11:2, 2Tim 1:13-14, 2:2). When the first Christians had a significant disagreement, they didn’t simply open their Bibles (which didn’t exist at that point) to decide who was right, they held a council, which made binding decrees (Acts 15:1-29). The very books of the Bible had to be determined by the Church, and that didn’t happen until the late fourth century.

Therefore, Sacred Tradition and authority were necessary for us to even have a Bible today! As you can see the Catholic Church founded by Jesus Christ himself, is built on Tradition and Sacred Scripture unlike the Churches of the past 500 years. I hope these past 10 weeks of “Questions we Catholics are most often asked”, had helped you greatly in explaining your Catholic Faith to individuals seeking the truth.

God Bless you and have a good week!

Deacon George +

October 21st, 2018

Question #9: Why do you obey your Pope?

We Catholics believe that Jesus commissioned St. Peter as the first leader of the Church. Matthew’s Gospel has the most direct biblical indication of the papacy: “And I tell you, you are Peter (meaning literally “Rock”), and on this rock I will build my Church…I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 16:18-19). Based on this statement of Jesus himself, Peter is clearly portrayed in the New Testament as the leader of the disciples. A Pope can make in-fallible, binding pronouncements under certain conditions. Infallibility doesn’t mean that absolutely everything a pope says is free from error. All Christians believe that God protected Holy Scripture from error by means of inspiration, even though sinful, fallible men wrote it. We Catholics also believe that God the Holy Spirit protects His Church and its head from error (Jn 14:16) by means of infallibility, even though sinful, imperfect men are involved in it.

The Pope is the title of the visible head of the Catholic Church. He is called Pope (Greek pappas, a child’s word for father) because his authority is supreme and because it is to be exercised in a paternal way, after the example of Christ.

Have super week and God Bless,

Deacon George +

October 14th, 2018

Question #8: Why do you call your priest “Father”?

“And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in Heaven” (Mt.23:9). In this passage, Jesus is teaching that God the Father alone is ultimately the source of all authority. But He is not speaking absolutely, because if so, that would eliminate even biological fathers, the title “Church Fathers”, the founding fathers of a country or organization, and so on. Jesus himself uses the term “father” in Matthew (15:4-5,19:5,19, 29,21:31), John (8:56) and several other places. In the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, Jesus actually presents the Rich Man as using the address “Father Abraham” twice (Lk.16:24,30–see also Acts 7:2, Rom 4:12, Jas. 2:21). St. Paul also uses the term when he writes, “I became your father in Christ Jesus through the Gospel” (1 Cor. $:15—see also 1 Cor. 4:14-16), and refers to “our forefather Isaac”(Rom 9:10).

So referring to your priest as “Father” by no means goes against the Bible. The priest is of course is a spiritual father and represents Christ here on earth and especially at the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Another answer I like to use is “Why then do you refer to your own father as “father”? Gets their attention fast.

Have a great week and God Bless,

Deacon George +

October 7th, 2018

Question #7: Why do you pray for the dead?

The Bible clearly teaches the rightness of prayers for the dead in 2 Maccabees (12:40, 42, 44-45): “Then under the tunic of every one of the dead they found sacred tokens of the idols of Jamnia, which the Law forbids Jews to wear.

And it became clear to all that this was why these men had fallen…And they turned to prayer, beseeching that the sin which had been committed might be wholly blotted out…for if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead…He made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.” St. Paul teaches this in a similar way, “Otherwise, what do people mean baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf?” (1 Cor. 15:29). This indicates prayer and fasting for the dead. The word “Baptism” often symbolically refers to penances (Mk.10:38-39, Lk.3:16,12:50).

The apostle Paul also appears to be praying for a dead person. Onesiphorus, in 2 Tim. (1:16-18).

The practice of praying for the dead is rooted first in Christian belief in the everlasting life promised in Jesus’ teachings and in the fact that God the Father raised him from the dead. After death we yet continue a personal existence and that personal existence is our immortal souls. Indeed it is “Holy and wholesome to pray for the dead” as Maccabees tells us.

Have a great week and God Bless,

Deacon George +

September 30th, 2018

Question #6: Why do you pray to idols (statues)?

No Catholic who knows anything about the Catholic Faith has ever worshiped a statue as in pagan idolatry. If we cherish the memory of mere political heroes with statues and that of war heroes with monuments, then there can be no objection to honoring Saints and righteous men and women: “Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor” (1Peter 2:17—see also Romans 12:10, Heb: 12:22-23). Statues are simply a visual reminder of great saints and heroes of the faith (Heb.11), who are more alive than we are (2Cor. 3:18), as is evident by their praying:

“O Sovereign Lord…how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?”

(Rev.6:10–see also Ps. 35:17). The Saints in Heaven were never intended by God to be cut off from the Body of Christ on Earth. They are involved in intercession, just as the saints on Earth are, and they are described as “so great a cloud of Witnesses” (Heb.12:1).

Statues are wonderful reminders of those who have gone before us, who died in faith and help us to concentrate on our prayers and good thoughts through Christ Our Lord.

Have a wonderful week and God Bless each one of you!

Deacon George +

September 23rd, 2018

Questions we Catholics are asked:

Question #5:  Why do you confess your sins to a Priest?

Jesus gave His disciples–and by extension, priests—the power not only to “loose” (that is, forgive in God’s name), but also to “bind” (that is impose penance):

“Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Mt. 18:18—see also Mt. 16:19). “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven, if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (Jn. 20:23).

The priest serves as the representative of God and His mercy. Confession gives new courage, confidence, and a fresh start. One learns humility by this practice, receives additional grace in order to avoid sin, and attains a certainty of forgiveness that is superior to mere feelings.

Confession is also indicated in Matthew (3:5-6), Acts (19:18), and 1 John (1-9)

We should go the Confession once a week or at least once a month. St. Pope John Paul II went every day. When there are no mortal sins to confess, it is sufficient to confess any previous sins from one’s past life or any present venial sins of which a person has been guilty, in order to obtain absolution and the grace of the sacrament of penance.

God Bless you and have a great week!

Deacon George +

September 16, 2018

Questions we Catholics are asked:

Question # 4: Why do you worship Mary?

We Catholics do not worship Mary. We “venerate” Her because she is the Mother of God the Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Veneration is completely different from the adoration of God. It is the honoring of a person, not the worship of Almighty God, our Creator. Catholics believe that Mary is the highest of God’s creatures because of her exalted role. But of course, like any other human being, she had to be saved by the mercy of God.

She herself said, “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:47).

We believe that God saved Mary by preserving her from the stain of original sin, at the very moment of her Conception. (The Immaculate Conception). The very fact that God took on flesh and became man (Jn.1:1,14) indicates that He wished to involve human beings in His plan of salvation for mankind. Mary was a key person for this purpose, so this is why we Catholics honor her so highly.

God Bless and have a great week,

Deacon George +

September 9, 2018

Questions we Catholics are asked:

Question #3: Why do we worship

A “consecrated host or wafer or altar bread at a Catholic Mass is the true Body and Blood of Christ, not merely bread, therefore, Catholics are worshiping Jesus, not a “wafer”. In the Gospel of John (6:51-56), Jesus states repeatedly that “he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” (6:54). He is speaking literally, and He is so firm that many followers object and leave Him (6:52,60,66). St. Paul agrees with this interpretation and writes that those taking Communion “in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord” (1 Cor 11:27—see also 1 Cor 10:16). We don’t sin against someone’s “body and blood” by destroying a photograph (which is a mere symbol) of the person. Moreover, in the Last Supper passages (Mt.26:26-28, Mk. 14:22-24, Lk.22:19-20), nothing suggests a metaphorical or symbolic interpretation. The Last Supper was the Jewish feast of Passover. This involved a sacrificial lamb, and Jesus referred to His imminent suffering (Lk. 22-15,16, 18,21-22).John the Baptist had already called Him the “Lamb of God”(John 1:29).

We, as Catholics, believe that this is the true Body and Blood of Christ consecrated by the Priest at Holy Mass, simply because, Jesus said so and promised us He would be with us until the end of time. At the end of time we will be in eternity with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Time will be exhausted as God sees fit, for the Father is the only one who knows when the end will come. We need to be prepared as our end of time will come at death. Christ leaves us food for the Journey and that Food is the Holy Eucharist and His Eucharist gives us eternal life. Have a good week and God Bless,

Deacon George +

September 2nd, 2018

Questions we Catholics are asked:

Question #2: If you died tonight, would you go to Heaven? We Catholics have an assurance of Salvation if we are faithful and keep God’s Commandments (1 John 2:3). If we die in that state, we are assured of Heaven. But to enter Heaven, one must be perfectly Holy, because “nothing unclean shall enter it” (Rev. 21:27—see also Is. 4,4:, Mal. 3:2-4). The cleansing and purifying of the effects of sin is what Catholics call Purgatory. This is clearly indicated in St. Paul’s writings: “Each man’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done…If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only through fire” (1 Cor 3:13, 15, emphasis added).

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body”(2 Cor. 5:10, emphasis added).

So to enter Heaven one must be clean. No stain of sin or the effects of sin on the Soul. “Be perfect as my Heavenly Father is perfect”. But we are human also, and need the Sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist, to keep clean.

When we meet Christ at death, He will not ask us what our sins are, but he will ask, “What have you done for me?”

The Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy are the key to answering Christ’s questions (“feed the hungry, cloth the naked, bury the dead, etc.)

Have a great week and God Bless you!

Deacon George +

August 24th, 2018

We Catholics are often asked tough questions about our Catholic Faith and its relationship to the Bible. Here are the ten most-asked questions, and the answers that should help you satisfy both your questions and yourself.

Here we begin question #1: Are you saved? Catholics can be as sure as anyone else that they are in God’s good graces. The Apostle John states that “you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13–see also John 5:24). But this “assurance” has to be understood in light of John’s other teachings in the same book: “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments” (1 John 5″3, emphasis added—see also 1 John 2:3-6). “We know that any one born of God does not sin” (1 John 5:18, emphasis added. “He who loves God should love his brother also” (1 John 4:21, emphasis added). “He who commits sin is of the devil” (1 John 3:8, emphasis added—see also 1 Cor 6:9), Likewise, St. Paul does not regard salvation as a one-time event, but as a goal to be sought after, one that can be lost: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12—see also 1 Cor 9:27, 10:12, Gal 5:1,4; Phil 3:11-14; 1 Tim 4:1, 5:15).

We are saved by Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, all of us. We are washed by our Baptism and nourished by Christ’s Eucharist. We are saved but can lose salvation by sin. We must be alert and follow the Commandments, all 10 of them, as Jesus told the “Rich young Man in the Gospel”. We are not saved just by saying “I believe”. We need to live the Christian life everyday of our lives.

Over the next 9 weeks we will cover the questions most often asked of us Catholics. Grab your Bibles and dust them off, learn and be ready.

Have a great week and God love you,

Deacon George +

August 12th, 2018

Reasons for going to Mass #10: We need to experience something bigger than ourselves. When we go to Mass, we share in the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. When we offer our ordinary lives to God through Jesus, we enter into God’s great plan for the world. We are strengthened by the Eucharist and send out into the world to bring the Gospel message to all people. The Mass gives meaning and purpose to our lives. It gives us a sense of destiny and offers the kind of peace that the world cannot give. It helps us develop a sense of wonder and awe. It helps us to see that there is something bigger than ourselves.

The Mass is the greatest “Prayer” that Christ, God Himself, has given us. The Gift of Gifts and Eternal Life is offered to us through the Son of God. “Greater love hath no man”.

Tips for parents of teens: We don’t want to forget our young people for they are the future Church. Talk to your teens about the Holy Mass. If your teen loves to go to Mass, use this opportunity for faith sharing that strengthens your teen’s relationship with you and with God.

If your teen is indifferent or doesn’t like going to Mass, explain that there are some things in life that we do because they are good for us—whether we feel like doing those things or not. It is about giving ourselves to God. It is about discovering what purpose God has for our lives The best way to help your teen is by the witness of your own faith. If they see that the Mass gives meaning to your life, they will begin to search for that meaning in their own lives.

This is my last article on “Ten Good Reasons for going to Mass.” Next week I will explore with you “The Top Ten Questions Catholics are asked”. Until then God Bless you and have a terrific week!

Deacon George +

August 5th, 2018

Reasons for going to Mass #9: We need ritual in our lives. Mass is a ritual, which means that through the repetition of prayers, movements, and the changing of bread and wine into the Body and blood of Christ, we are formed, disciplined, and consoled. The “sameness” of the Mass carries us along the spiritual journey—even when we don’t “feel” like praying. The “sameness” of the ritual allows us to be transformed on a soul level, even if we are unaware of what is happening.

Also taking Children to Mass: According to Canon Law, by age seven, children should be attending Mass every Sunday. Here are some simple strategies for making Mass more pleasant with children:

  • Decide ahead of time what Mass to attend.
  • Set out everyone’s clothes so getting ready is not a hassle.
  • Bring along a picture book about the Mass.
  • Make sure everyone has something to put into the collection basket.
  • Sit in front so children can see.
  • Bring children into the Communion line even if they are too young to receive.
  • Praise children for good behavior.
  • Celebrate good behavior by doing something special after Mass.

Getting young people involved paves the way for when they are adults— they will remember attending and have very good and pleasant memories.

God Bless you and have a good week!

Deacon George +

July 29th, 2018

Reasons for going to Mass #8: We need to acknowledge that we make mistakes. At every Mass, we have the opportunity to review the past week. We admit that we have sinned in thought, in word, in deed, in what we have done and what we have failed to do. We seek forgiveness, and we are assured that God still loves and cares for us. Before we receive Holy Communion, we admit that we are not worthy and ask God to heal us. Going to Mass helps us to strengthen our commitment to live good and moral lives.

Also Mass is a lot more than entertainment which it isn’t anyway, it’s prayer. When entertainment is the model for church worship services, the leaders try to induce particular feelings in the audience. The Mass, however, is just the opposite. It is a ritual in which people bring their own feelings and incorporate them into the liturgy. That’s why it is possible for two people to attend Mass, one grieving a death and the other celebrating a birth, yet both feel connected.

The whole point is to go beyond feelings into authentic prayer, which is the offering of oneself to God in Jesus Christ.

So keep coming to Mass every week and bring that friend who stopped coming for whatever reason or reasons.

Have a great week and God Bless you!

Deacon George +

July 22nd, 2018

Reasons for going To Mass: Reason #7:  We need to stand up for what we believe.  Being a follower of Jesus is counter-cultural in today’s fast paced world.  At every Mass, we have the opportunity to stand up and proclaim what we believe publicly.   We admit that we believe in God, in His Most Holy Son, Jesus, in the Holy Spirit, in the Catholic Church, in the communion of Saints, in the forgiveness of sins, and in life after death.   It is a very powerful statement of allegiance and opportunity to recommit ourselves at every Mass.   We profess this every Sunday just after the Homily and it’s called “The Profession of Faith”.

And remember, Jesus called all the twelve publicly in broad day light.  He did nothing in dark alleys, where no one could be seen following Him.  He called sinners as well as the just to follow Him.  The Mass is a celebration of the Life, Death and Resurrection of our precious Lord.  The Mass is more than entertainment.  It is the highest form of Prayer and Thanksgiving, which Christ Himself gave us on the night before He died.

Have a great and Blessed week!

Deacon George +

July 15th, 2018

Reasons for going to Mass #6: People need our prayers. We can pray for other people anytime, but when we pray for others during Holy Mass, we pray in a special way. It doesn’t matter if the other people are separated from us by distance or by even death. The Mass brings us together in the Body of Christ, and we become the communion of Saints. It is part of the cosmic dimension of the Mass that unites Heaven and earth by reaching across time and space.

We also need to get involved. One of the best ways to get more out of the Mass is to volunteer for one of the liturgical, music, or hospitality ministries. Even if just one family member is involved, that person represents the whole family in the celebration of the Mass. Don’t be shy if you haven’t introduced yourself to your Pastor or Deacon yet, make it a point to say hello after Mass. Father or Deacon will appreciate meeting you and the members of your family, and you will feel a closer connection to your parish.

So above all worship God and pray for other people and become involved in your parish. We all need each other and what a wonderful way to share your faith with others and keep your parish strong and vibrant.

Don’t forget to share the “Good News”  this week either by your words or actions. Until next week have a good and Holy week!

God Bless,

Deacon George +

July 8th, 2018

Reasons for going to Mass #5: We need to talk to God . When we go to Mass, we speak to God through our singing (yes singing), our communal responses and prayers, and our personal prayers from the depths of our very hearts.

During the Mass, we have the opportunity to ask God for what we need, promise God that we will do what He wants us to do, and thank God for the many blessings He has bestowed upon us.

The Mass also gives you the opportunity to : Seek forgiveness for your sins, Learn how God’s Word impacts your life in the Homily, Offer yourself to the Lord, Experience the miracle of bread and wine changing into the Body and Blood of Christ, Reach out to others with the Peace of Christ, Admit that you are not worthy, and then come forward publicly to receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ, Receive a special blessing, Be commissioned to go out  and make the world a better place.

All of the above are what is waiting for you and the many others who forget it’s Sunday, and why God created Sunday for all human beings and not just a special few. People tend to forget God and His promises when things are going well and their way. Remind them it won’t always go their “way”. Seek God now for the strength for the journey.

Have a great week!

God Bless,

Deacon George +

July 1st, 2018

Reason #4 for going to Mass: God has a special message for us. When we listen to the Readings, the Homily, and the Prayers of the Mass, God speaks directly to us in a special way. We should come away from each Mass with at least one inspiration that will impact our lives in some way. We just have to pay attention and be open to what Our Blessed Lord is trying to tell us. The Mass gives us many opportunities to look within ourselves and be honest with ourselves.

Have I been the follower of Christ that I should be, or am I a Sunday only type of follower. During the week do I care about others or just about myself and my own personal satisfaction? Do I really care about others and their problems? Do I try my best to help others to the extent of my resources and ability? A true Christian is not selfish and egotistic. A true Christian loves and builds up the Church and others around them. None of us are perfect, but we are to strive to be prefect as Our Heavenly Father is perfect!

Until next week have a good and Holy week!

God Bless,

Deacon George +

June 24th, 2018
Reasons for going to Mass: Reason #3

We need to be part of a community. When we come together at Mass to pray and worship God, we fulfill a deep need inside of us to be in communion with other people. The other parishioners—even if we don’t know all of them— give us support, affirmation, and encouragement in our attempt to live the Gospel message. They help us to see that we are not alone. They remind us that we are all part of the Body of Christ.

What if you changed your attitude about going to Mass? What if you began to think of Mass as the time in the day when you can connect with God and with other people in a special way? What if you concentrated on the things you like about your parish instead of what you don’t like? What if you made Mass a priority every Sunday and Holy Day?

The effects of these kinds of positive, attitudes may surprise you. Research studies show that people who go to church every week are: Less likely to suffer from depression. Less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol. More likely to have a solid sense of right and wrong. More likely to live a longer and a happier life!

Go for the gusto in life. Go to Church!

Until next week, have a good and Holy week and share the “Good News” with all you come in contact— with either in the Word or action.

God Bless you!

Deacon George +

June 17th, 2018
Reasons for going to Mass: Reason #2:

At the Mass Jesus gives us the gift of Himself. When we go to Mass, we are doing what Jesus commanded His followers to do. It is a command to love and to be loved by God. Jesus offers Himself to us in the Word of God proclaimed by the Deacon or Priest that we hear, and in His Real Presence, offered to us in the Blessed Sacrament at Communion.

Even though you know that going to Mass is a good thing, you can talk yourself out of going by focusing on the negatives. At first, you may feel a little guilty, but eventually, you can justify your decision by convincing yourself that you are too busy, too tired, too bored, or too frustrated. When that happens, you miss the great gift that God gives to us in the Holy Eucharist.

Until next week, have a good and holy week and share the “Good News” with all you come in contact with.

God Bless you!

Deacon George +

June 10th, 2017

Whether you’re eight years old or in your eighties, at some point in your life, you’ve probably struggled with the question, “Why do we have to go to Mass?” There are a wide variety of reasons people have and here are just a few:

You just may not feel like going at times. You may not like the music or the homilies in your parish. You may think Mass is boring. You may feel as if the parish is not welcoming. You may try to convince yourself that you can pray just as well outdoors or in the comfort of your own home.

Over the next 9 weeks we will explore “Ten Good Reasons to go to Mass”.  Here is the first one:

God asks us to make one day holy. God asks us to set aside one day to refocus physically, mentally, and spiritually. We live in a secular world. Going to Mass helps us to see everything from a different perspective. We begin to see in the depths of our being that God is in charge. We can let go of our own agenda because we know that God will inspire us, guide us, and strengthen us for the week ahead.

Until next week have a wonderful week and

God Bless,

Deacon George +

November 19th, 2017

A prayer of reflection after Thanksgiving Day: Gracious God, we humbly thank you for all your gifts so freely bestowed on us, for life and health and safety, for freedom to work and leisure to rest, and for all that is beautiful in creation and in human life. But, above all we thank you for our Savior, Jesus Christ, for His Death and Resurrection, for the gift of your Spirit, and for the hope of glory. Fill our hearts with joy and peace in believing. Amen

Yes, we have much to be thankful for, in this great Country we live in. Our Fore-Fathers founded this County under the watchful eye of God the Creator, where –we live in freedom and the pursuit of happiness and as one Nation under God. We are a Christian Nation even though some ignore it. As Christians we march on —-wearing the armor of God as St. Paul tells us, and we never give up the good fight.

Have a great week and God Bless,

Deacon George +

November 12th, 2017

Purgatory Part III: What are the best ways we can help the holy souls in purgatory?

The best ways to help the souls in purgatory are what I call the “Four Pillars”: The Mass, the Rosary, and the Way of the Cross, and Eucharistic Adoration”. Of the four, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the highest act of worship, the highest form or prayer, and the most efficacious means to help the souls in purgatory. Ask yourself, who do you wish you could have done more for? Who hurt you? Who helped you spiritually or financially? Have a Mass offered for them.

And Our Lady is the most powerful intercessor for the souls in purgatory! She is interceding and offering our prayers to God unceasingly. St. Bernardine of Siena said, “Through her prayers and application of her own merits, the Virgin has the power of freeing souls, especially her devotees, from purgatory”.

The Angels also console the holy souls. They inspire friends and relatives to offer a Mass and practice good deeds for a speedy delivery from purgatory. The Angels inform the holy souls who is assisting them and who is in need of help.

People have asked me regarding the soul of a person who committed suicide.

I answered, “First, it’s critical not to assume the soul of the one who committed suicide is lost. It’s important to have Masses said for the person in question, and pray for the delivery of their souls to everlasting peace through Our Savior.

Don’t let this November go without praying for the Holy Souls in Purgatory and pray for them every day of the year! When they get to Heaven, they too, will pray for all of us.

God Bless you and have a great week!

Deacon George +

October 15th, 2017

One hundred years ago in October, the Miracle of the sun occurred, Father Robert Fox, a renowned expert on Fatima, explains: As foretold months in advance, the Lady arrived precisely at noon on the 13th of October. At once, the clouds dissipated, and the heavy rain that had been falling continuously since the previous night stopped. Lucia cried out, “Silence! Our Lady is coming!” From that moment, the three children were aware of nothing but the apparition.

Lucia asked the Lady, “What do you want of me?”  “I want to tell you that a chapel is to be here in my honor….I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue always to pray the Rosary every day. The war is going to end.” (World War I)

Brighter than the sun, the Mother of God opened her hands to reflect them on the sun.

Then the light from her entire body projected on the sun as she ascended. The little shepherds then beheld, near the sun, the promised visions.  They first saw St. Joseph and the Child Jesus each bless the world with the Sign of the Cross. Nearby was Our Lady, robed in white with a blue mantle. This vision vanished, replaced by a vision of Our Lord and Our Lady of Sorrows. Then Our Lord blessed the world again, only this time as a man. In the next vision, the Lady appeared as Our Lady of Mount Carmel, holding the brown scapular down to the world which indicated that she still desired people to wear it as a sign of consecration to her Immaculate Heart. The people stood pallid with fear, searching the sky as the sun began to make quick, incredible movements in defiance of all cosmic laws. Avelino de Aledda, a reporter for the anticlerical O Seculo, wrote: “The sun looked like a plaque of dull silver, and it was possible to look at it without the least discomfort. It neither burned nor blinded the eyes….At that moment a great shout went up, and one could hear the spectators nearest at hand shouting: “A miracle! A miracle! A marvel! A marvel! As the sun spun and emanated all shades of colors, it descended abruptly three times as if it would crash into the people. Then, upon ascending back to it place, it re-descended three times during a 10-minute period. Anticipating the end of the world, some prayed aloud for forgiveness of their sins. Others exclaimed, “O Jesus! We are all going to die!…Our Lady, help us!”

So what is relevant for us today one hundred years later since this October apparition? The answer is clear. Clothed with the sun at Fatima, Our Lady symbolizes the Church and its Mother calling us to faith, love, and grace.  The Holy Family appearing during the Miracle of the Sun represents a call for families to be holy.  And the appearance of Our Lady of Mount Carmel holding the scapular signifies a summons for each of us to live our consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

What is the main relevance of all the messages of Fatima? Families and individuals must become holy. This must be done as Mary leads all of us to Eucharistic reparation, in living our consecration to her Heart.

God Bless and have a great week!

Deacon George +

October 8th, 2017

It’s hard to believe, but it’s October already and the leaves are falling and giving off their beautiful colors!  We do live in such a beautiful Valley with such grand nature all around us.  October means the “Month of the Holy Rosary”.  We need to prepare now for Advent and the Birth of Our Blessed Lord.  That means praying the Rosary every day and making a good Confession, especially if we hadn’t in awhile.  And speaking of the Sacrament of Confession, back in April of this year, Pope Francis said that each of us carries some kind of “tomb” inside our hearts, whether from sin or suffering, and we can either stay bogged down in misery, focusing only on ourselves, or allow Jesus to come into that place and heal it.

Much of the unhappiness in our lives, Pope Francis insisted, flows from what is within our minds and hearts, “because each of us has a small tomb, some area that is a little bit dead inside the heart, a wound, an injury suffered or done, a bitterness that does not let up, that returns, a sin that you cannot overcome”.  No one gets through life without carrying at least one such interior—“tomb”.  It is a great comfort and encouragement to hear the Holy Father speak in so understanding a way of this universal experience.

So pray the Rosary every day this “Month of the Holy Rosary” to our Blessed Lady, and ask her to help us open up that “tomb”, that has been bothering us for so long a time, and ask Jesus to heal us through the mercy of His great “Sacrament of Confession”.

God Bless and have a great week!
Deacon George +

September 10th, 2017

Our blessed Mother’s Birthday was just this past Friday, September 8th and with October just around the corner, which is the Month of the Holy Rosary, I could not forget the importance of the rosary, the prayer Our Holy Mother introduced herself, to Saint Dominic.  An important prayer it is, as it ranks third after the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours.  It is said to be “A Creative Prayer of Love.”

In his Apostolic letter “On the Most Holy Rosary,” St. Pope John Paul II writes: “With the rosary, the Christians people sit at the school of Mary and are led to contemplate… the depths of (Christ’s) love.”  Unfortunately, a complaint people have about praying the rosary is the monotony they experience in repeating the same prayers many times.

Venerable Bishop Fulton Sheen tells of a woman who expressed her disfavor of becoming a Catholic because, in prayer, we say the same words over and over, and she believed anyone who is so repetitive isn’t sincere.

Bishop Sheen asked her who was with her.  Her fiancé, she replied.  When asked if her fiancé love her, she answered “yes.”  The Bishop asked when was the last time he professed his love?  She replied, “about an hour ago!”  When pressed to recall if he had previously told her, she said he tells her daily.  Bishop Sheen the delivered his point:  “Don’t believe him.  He is repeating his words, he is not sincere.”

Love spoken from the heart is never monotonous.

In saying the rosary, at each decade we focus briefly on an event in Jesus’ life that speaks to us of his love for us.  And we are moved to say through Mary: “I love you, Jesus!”  Be creative, for we aren’t limited to meditating on the mysteries.  Choose five parables, miracles, or sayings of Jesus to help achieve the purpose of the rosary, which is to help us experience the love of Christ through His Mother Mary.

So the next time you may be challenged with those same words, remember Bishop Sheen’s response to this woman.

God Bless you and have a great week,

Deacon George +

September 3rd, 2017

With our Women’s Conference coming up soon, and all the retreats available to us, I came across this article written a long time ago, by a well known writer on religion and spirituality in the early 1900’s.  Her name was Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941) and wanted to share it with all of you:

  “A first retreatant lately told me, that when she confessed to her husband what she intended to do, he took his pipe from his mouth and said earnestly, “Go, my dear.  Go by all means!  You’re just about due for a spot of re-birth.”

Most of us are bitterly conscious of the extent in which we are at the mercy of our surroundings, which grow ever more and more insistent in their pressure, their demands on our attention and time, less and less suggestive of reality, of God.  Our prayers become more and more like supernatural shopping lists, less and less like the conversation between one friend and another which is the ideal of Thomas “a Kempis. So we have reached this stage, nothing is going to save us but a spot of re-birth!    It sometimes happens that one goes to see a cathedral which is famous for the splendor of its glass, only to discover that, seen from outside the windows give no hint whatever of that which awaits us within.  They all look alike, dull, thick, grubby.   From this point of view we already realize that they are ancient, important, the proper objects of reverence and study.  But we cannot conceive that solemn colored mystery, that richness of beauty and meaning which is poured through them upon those who are inside the shrine.    Then we open the door and go inside.  We leave the outer world and enter the inner world, and at once we are surrounded by a radiance, a beauty, that lies beyond the fringe of speech.  The universal Light of God in which we live and move, and which in its reality always escapes us, pours through windows, bathes us in an inconceivable color and splendor, and shows us the things of which we never dreamed before.  In the same way, the deep mysteries of the Being of God and the all of the soul cannot be seen by us, until they have passed through a human medium, a human life.  Nor can that life, and all that is means as a revelation of God’s eternal truth and beauty, be realized by us from the outside.    It is only within the place of prayer, recollection, worship, and love, the place where the altar is, where sacrifice is made, that we can cleanse our vision, overcome our self-interested bias, and fully and truly receive the revelation of Reality, which is made to us in Christ.”   No matter a man or a women, one should in their lifetime go on a retreat and attend a religious conference, to discover with God’s help, who they really are and how they can change their very own lives for the better.  Have a Great Week,  

Deacon George + 

August 27th, 2017

After giving my Homily on the Feast of the Assumption, not long ago, it came upon me a question, asked of me some time ago from a woman, who had recently lost her husband.  She had been married to this man for over 50 years and longed to be reunited with him one day.  Her question was—“Will we know each other in Heaven?  First of all I offered her my sorrow for her loss.  And then proceeded to answer her,  “You most certainly will know each other in Heaven, and in a far more perfect and intimate way.”  There is a tendency to read too much into Jesus’ words that in heaven people neither marry nor are given in marriage.  The first meaning of Jesus’ words is that we cannot merely compare Heaven to earthly realities.  Heaven is richer.  Secondly, sexual intimacy will no longer have purpose, and we will live more like the Angels. But marital love is perfected in Heaven, not disregarded.  Thus your knowledge, love and intimacy with your husband and family members will be deeper, richer and stronger in Heaven, not less.  Yes, we will meet again by the grace of our Redeemer, when this life is finished.  God Bless each one of you and have a great week.

Deacon George +