This past weekend, I had the privilege of attending the Diaconate ordination for our local diocese. Ten men were ordained – 5 on their way to priesthood, 5 to remain “Permanent Deacons.” This is my favorite Diocesan event of the year – and this will make six years in a row Nissa and I have attended. If you haven’t been to an ordination, you must go at least once. It is very much like a wedding, and as Nissa likes to say – this time all the eyes are on the guys. There is something about a mass attended by multiple bishops, and scores and scores of Priests and Deacons. For me, it reminds my of my own Ordination – which tends to fade away as a memory over the course of the year as I go about my day to day bustling. Witnessing the Litany of the Saints again, with hundreds of people praying over the men as they lay prostrate, completely submissive to the Holy Spirit, brings me back to my own ordination in that moment of complete peace. Hearing the vows again that I took, reminds me of my own obligation to pray and work for the people of God. I leave each time totally reinvigorated and ready to serve His people.
And this year, I had the privilege of serving with my good friend Rich Menard at his Mass of Thanksgiving. Rich and Diane and their kids are good friends of ours from our Charlton home. We attended the same church and served together in many of the church ministries together. Both of us are young as far as Deacons go, Rich now being, I think, the youngest Deacon in the Diocese. He has told me that our family was an inspiration for his, and just being seeing him makes me want to live up to that high standard. He and his family are truly worthy of this honor and will make a wonderful witness to the faith.
And as if the day couldn’t get any better, our good friend, and Joséphine’s Godfather, Deacon Bill Hays also served at the Mass. This was Bill’s last mass in our Diocese (at least as an assigned Deacon) as he leaves for Cape Cod to spend more time with his wife, (and Jo’s Godmother) Jean.
Well. I promised I would begin blogging when my beautiful bride started again. She did. So here I am. This will be at least my third attempt at regular blogging. In my first attempt, I spent weeks setting up my own blog – A Fathers Day with dreams of inspiring other Fathers to lead a faith-filled life. Then made maybe two posts, then nothing… for months as my Diaconate Formation took over every spare minute I had. I tried again here on this blog. Looking back, its been more than a year since I tried the second time. Then, it was renovating our new home that took every spare minute. Much has changed since then and I wont try to list it all here. Hopefully, this attempt will be more fruitful and all will be revealed. For now, suffice it to say that our family life is busy, the farm is in high gear, my diaconate ministry continues to be challenging, and somewhere in there I fit in a full time job consulting for a large government contractor. Any one or all of these could begin to take up the little spare time I now have. I long for all this to come together as a single integrated lifestyle where work, ministry and family are all one and the same. But until God blesses me with that gift – I will continue to do my best to follow his calling. As they say, his plan for me is much better than anything I can imagine for myself.
I’ve been working diligently to get the new farmhouse ready for the family to move in. This week I put on my plasterers hat (not as easy as I hoped). We decided to reuse the barn board that was on this wall and plaster it instead, and re-purpose the board for another project (more on that latter).
After spending two long evenings after work plastering, I planned to arrive early Friday afternoon to finish it off. BUT, the lovely spring day, and a quick trip to the field to gather the fence posts left last year turned into a two hour venture through the fields. After pulling the fence posts out, I saw a white “thing” on the ground that I thought I’d pick up.
Turns out, it was the end part of an irrigation pipe left by a previous tenant. It goes underground running toward the irrigation pond. Couldn’t figure out if it runs all the way to the pond or if it is just an end partially buried. A quick look around and I find some more treasures…
What looks like a drilled well…
… and what I think is a drain pipe. All of which I think was part of what must have been a pretty massive irrigation system (well there is 15 acres of nursery trees). I spent a while looking around for more, and trying to determine where the other end of this massive pipe might be, without success. Hopefully, we will sort out what all of this is, and see if it can provide some service to the farm once again.
While on my adventure, I couldn’t resist snapping these photos of the landscape looking up at the farmhouse from the lower field. I hadn’t been in this spot since we took our first official walk through the farm TWO YEARS AGO (time does fly – and certainly isn’t waiting for me).
And with a little zoom capability on my smart phone – a picture of the farm house from a perspective we don’t get very often…
So… didn’t finish plastering the wall on this afternoon… but so pleased to be able to enjoy the distraction of the adventure on this sunny afternoon. One of what I hope is many, many more in the years to come.
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Mt 3:17) The end of the Gospel passage on the Baptism of the Lord by St Matthew, in which the Holy Spirit and God himself announce the arrival of our Savior to the world. And as I hear these words and look upon our eight children, I cannot help by feel the pride I have in each of them, each different and special in their own way. To me, each one of them is God himself in my life. And I think of all the events in each of their lives where that feeling of pride that only a parent can feel.
And yet, as I hear those simple words, I know that I have not done what I need to let each of them know well pleased I am of them. How easy it is to let life get in the way. To let the hectic rush of living cloud the daily inspiration they each bring to me. To let the emotions of an uncleaned room, or chores left unfinished, or just an interuption of what at the moment felt like something more important leads to just the opposite feedback. Perhaps a sharp word or a look of irritation – each taking away from what I should be saying, the message I should be giving.
With God’s help then, I will endeavor to keep those words in my thoughts each day as I look upon the great gifts God has bestowed in each one and remember – This is my beloved Child, with whom I am well pleased – and make sure each one knows it.
As we approach Christmas this year, the family is abuzz with work on hand made gifts for brothers, sisters and parents. It always puts a smile on my face, as I feel there is nothing better to give than something that comes straight from the heart. I look back with fondness of my favorite gifts. Over my dresser is the cross-stitched picture of the bald eagle my oldest daughter Catherine made me for Christmas many years ago. Next to it a picture of William raking leaves in a hand painted and decorated frame. Over my desk, a cork board covered in felt with hand made push pins made by the kids.
And my absolute favorite – hanging in the closet – a black T-shirt with a paint handprint of all my dear Children. I love to wear it on my business trips away from home when I am alone in a hotel room. It keeps them all close to my heart. None of these cost much to make, but each was made with love for me and were made using their individual gifts from God. I love each one and look forward to looking under the Christmas tree to find out what I get to add to my collection this year.