Deacon's Corner


Published in the St. Mary's Church Bulletin 

Week Of April 23, 2017- 

   The most sacred and profound words spoken by the Deacon during Mass are "by the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity". The words are spoken inaudibly as drops of water are poured into the wine of the chalice before being handed to the priest for consecration into the Sacred Blood of Christ. This simple act and prayer is considered a "synthesis of the whole Mass, of the whole Catholic faith, and of all salvation history".

Today we celebrate the feast of Divine Mercy whose image is seen in the pouring out from the heart of the Risen Christ this same blood and water as mercy upon the earth. When we partake in Communion with Christ at Mass we are to carry this same merciful Love out into the world and thus "truly share in the divinity of Christ".
~Deacon Dennis Donahue


Published in the St. Mary's Church Bulletin 

Week Of April 16, 2017- 

   I recently spent 11 days touring Ireland with a focus on the religious and political history which are fully intertwined. 1400 years ago Ireland became a Catholic monastic center credited with saving western civilization during the Dark Ages. 500 years later the arrival of the Anglo-Normans started a 750 year history of turbulence with Britain who eventually subjugated the Irish people and tried to eradicate their identity. Where it not for their deep roots in Catholicism the Irish people would surely have been lost to history. The Easter Rising of 1916 would turn that history around as a small group of rebels fought unsuccessfully during Easter week against the occupy British Army. The brutal response in the execution of 14 rebel leaders would lead to Irish Independence and the eventual undoing of the British Empire. It was in the laying down of one's life and trusting in God that saved Ireland after centuries of repression. Yet the Sunday Mass attendance today in Ireland is similar to ours. What suffering could not achieve prosperity has undone in less than 50 years.
~Deacon Dennis Donahue



Published in the St. Mary's Church Bulletin 

Week Of April 9, 2017- 

   Today we experience the finicky shifts in human behavior when we are moved by the emotions of the crowd without having the deep commitment of unseen faith. Moved by the rock star image given to Christ by those who have heard the miracle stories but have not understood the message the crowd gives the equivalent of a full ticker tape parade as Jesus arrives in Jerusalem. Five days later the same crowd will gather again to chant crucify him.

Faith is a gift of God which is ours simply for the asking. Deep faith is then formed by our focusing on our faith development with the continued grace of God and fellowship of others on the faith journey. If you have taken the time this Lent to grow in your faith I cannot recommend highly enough the benefits of now walking with Jesus through the three day liturgy of the Triduum by attending Thursday's Mass of the Lord's Supper, Friday Passion of the Lord and the Easter Vigil on Saturday. I promise this can be a capstone for your efforts in Lent and a way to reduce a finickyness.
~Deacon Dennis Donahue



Published in the St. Mary's Church Bulletin 

Week Of April 2, 2017- 

   What will it take for you to develop an unshakeable belief in Christ? One that is not affected by the tragedies of life like the untimely and unexpected death of a close loved one. It would seem that it is just at these times that the only thing we have to hang on to is that belief and our personal relationship with Christ. This was certainly true for Martha and Mary in today's Gospel reading concerning the death of their brother Lazarus. But even they, who have come to deeply trust in Jesus, still require His reassurance to overcome bouts of unbelief. Let us continue to build our beleif through Lenten prayer, study, fasting and stewardship all while asking God for the Grace to overcome our unbelief.
~Deacon Dennis Donahue



Published in the St. Mary's Church Bulletin 

Week Of March 26, 2017- 

   Lent is about coming into a deeper relationship with God the Father through Jesus the Son. The lessons Jesus uses to teach us to achieve this outcome is twofold: trust and obedience. Last week's story of the outcast woman at Jesus’s well; this week's story of the man born blind; and next week's story of grieving sisters all show how real people, in difficult life situations can find true peace when they let go (trust) and let God (obedience). As you can see in these three stories when we put our troubles in God's hands, God generally puts the solution back into our hands. The solution looks far different then we could ever anticipated. That is where trust and blind obedience allows not only our cure but witness for others to also place their trust in God.
~Deacon Dennis Donahue



Published in the St. Mary's Church Bulletin 

Week Of March 19, 2017- 

   The meditation given before the readings in our missalette this Sunday offers great insight today and for the coming two Sunday Gospels reflecting on gradual or incremental transformation of our hearts to Christ. Today we hear the story of a woman, a double outcast, who Jesus willingly crosses ritual impurity norms to bring back to God. Additionally, he breaks cultural norms by entering into conversation alone with her while she bears great risk. Through their series of verbal exchanges she is not only brought to a full realization of and full relationship with Christ but she becomes a powerful New Evangelizer and again respected member of the community. What a powerful story us to meditate on as we look to fulfill our role in the New Evangelization.
~Deacon Dennis Donahue



Published in the St. Mary's Church Bulletin 

Week Of March 12, 2017- 

   In today's Gospel, Jesus invites 3 of his 12 disciples to journey up the mountain with him to experience Christ in a new way. Take time later today and over the coming week to imagine that Jesus invites a fourth disciple, YOU, to accompany him and place yourself fully within this powerful Gospel story. Using this Imaginative Ignatian prayer method you will insert not only your mind but your heart into the scene. You no longer simply think about but now experience Jesus; hearing not only the words spoken in Scripture but other words that could have transpired.

Give yourself at least 20 minutes of undistracted quiet time to do this. Place yourself first in God's presence offering gratitude for the blessings in your life. Then read the Gospel passage slowly 2 or 3 times so you are familiar with the main details. Now insert yourself into the beginning of the story imagining the small details your senses pick up that are not given in the Scriptures. You may take on a particular role, ask questions of those with you as you move through the scenes while considering viscerally how you respond to the events transpiring before your very eyes while focusing your gaze on Jesus. You can return to this prayer multiply times this week in this same manner if it brings cheerfulness and satisfaction to you soul.
~Deacon Dennis Donahue



Published in the St. Mary's Church Bulletin 

Week Of March 5, 2017- 

   After spending 7 Sundays moving progressively forward through the beginning of Jesus ministry life, as told in the Gospel of Matthew, we are now drawn back to consider how Jesus prepared himself for that life. For forty days he takes himself out of daily distractions and put himself in a place of silence to better know and resolve to fulfill his role in the Father's Plan. Prayer and fasting are the tools he utilizes now to train his human nature to take on future hardship and to clean the "ear of the heart". As Jesus human nature is brought under greater control the Evil One takes notice and uses the human inclination towards pleasure and power as temptations. Jesus defense, Pope Francis recently noted was to avoid dialogue with the "father of lies" and to answer temptation with the Word of God as found in the Scriptures. It behooves each one of us as we begin our Lenten Journey to heed this way of responding and spend time daily with the scriptures so we can effective answer temptation as we progress toward God's Will for our lives.
~Deacon Dennis Donahue



Published in the St. Mary's Church Bulletin 

Week Of Feb. 26th, 2017- 

   We have sat in on Jesus intensive review session on
true discipleship for five Sundays now. Our practical examination on the subject will begin this Wednesday and last for 40 days. There was so much information given in this review and even more if we take the time to read the entire Sermon on the Mount. So how does one distill it down into simple vision and mission statements to guide their journey through Lent? I think Jesus offers us the vision statement in today's Gospel: "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness". The mission statement can then be drawn from the Beatitudes: "Hunger and thirst" and be "persecuted for... righteousness" for yours "is the Kingdom of God". God's Will is to create heaven on earth through us and righteousness is doing the Will of God. It is that simple and that difficult. Each night in Lent simply ask yourself how well you carried out the mission that day and what you do different tomorrow to better align with the vision. I wish you a Blessed Lent!
~Deacon Dennis Donahue



Published in the St. Mary's Church Bulletin 

Week Of Feb. 19th, 2017- 

   Jesus again pushes us in today's Gospel to go the extra
mile. With only ten days between now and Lent we should be asking ourselves at this time what more can I do to grow closer in my relationship to God this Lent. A good place to begin would be to honestly consider what behaviors now hold you back from drawing closer to God. Maybe it is poor time management, overindulgence in some aspect of life or possibly a compulsive habit. Choosing to simply reduce the behavior in Lent is generally ineffective in the long term. What is required is the simultaneous addition of an adaptive strength. Your can explore a list of possible strengths to build on by taking a free 15 minute online
Values in Action Survey of Character Strengths @ www.viacharacter.org

Doing this in addition to enhancing your discernment, as explained last week, should offer not only an excellent Lenten experience but more importantly a more purposeful and meaningful life thereafter.
~Deacon Dennis Donahue



Published in the St. Mary's Church Bulletin 

Week Of Feb. 12th, 2017- 

   Today Jesus calls us to a higher righteousness beyond
the simple following of the law. We heard Jesus over the last two Sundays tell us what this righteousness looks like through the Beatitudes and the call to radiate (light) and permeate (salt) the Good News knowing full well that we will endure rejection from others. To understand our individual role in God's plan we must individually discern God's will for our lives and make it intentional and dynamic. Luckily we have a easy book to guide us in realizing the 4 step discernment process (described in last week's Deacon's Corner) through growth in four activities. Matthew Kelly's Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic lines up perfectly with our discernment. Prayer allows us to be more attentive. Study allows us to be more intelligent. Stewardship allows us to be more responsive. evangelization allows us to be more responsible. Five years ago we distributed 500 copies of this book in the parish. Find your copy and look to focus your Lenten Spiritual Discipline on growing these signs in your life.
~Deacon Dennis Donahue