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 +