Deacon's Corner


Published in the St. Mary's Church Bulletin 

Week Of May 28, 2017- 

   Today we hear the first sections of Jesus Final Prayer (Jn 17:1-26) which closes out the Last Discourse at the Last Supper. The Cathechism of the Catholic Church (paragraph 2758) states that this prayer "sums up the whole economy of creation and salvation. The self giving of Jesus and the disciples fragile nature are given are lifted up in glory and love to the Father as the disciples listen to Jesus pray for them.

If you buy my thesis last week in this Corner that we have been in Jesus experiential learning lab, followed by His classroom education and most recently his course review on Missionary Discipleship over these past eleven month, then consider this prayer our commencement address.

Take time this week to imagine in prayer your attendance at this commence as you read the whole 26 verses of John 17. Read and ponder also the six paragraphs in the CCC describing this prayer (2746-2751). Finally prepare your heart this week to receive your diploma from the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.
~Deacon Dennis Donahue


Published in the St. Mary's Church Bulletin 

Week Of May 21, 2017- 

   In recent homilies I have spoken of the need to connect the dots between Sunday Gospel readings to see the full picture and meaning. The image that connecting the dots of the last 11 months, beginning with the teaching Journey to Jerusalem in Luke, can now be seen as the image of the true Missionary Disciple.

At Christmas we were drawn to the light of Christ and then the lessons of the earlier Journey were reemphasized in Matthew's Sermon on the Mount which drew us to the mind of Christ. Lent then drew us to prepare a place for the Heart of Christ so we could receive His Light at Easter. The last and most important piece then draws us to internalize that Light as the Soul of Christ in ourselves.

We hear the distillation of our initial Journey in the Last Discourse of John's Gospel the past two Sunday's which draws the Spirit of Christ to inflame the desire of our souls. If the connecting of the dots has happened the past 11 months the image on the paper is a double meaning optical illusion in which the face we see on the image is both the Face of Christ's Mercy and our own face as true missionary disciples.
~Deacon Dennis Donahue



Published in the St. Mary's Church Bulletin 

Week Of May 14, 2017- 

   During the Eastertide our first reading on Sunday has been taken from the Acts of the Apostles; a history of the early church written by St. Luke in continuation of his Gospel. Today Acts describes the creation of the diaconate with the selection and ordination of the first seven deacons to fulfill the unmet needs of the early church community. Those selected, while filled as disciples with the Spirit, had the hands of the Apostles laid upon them to dedicate and mark them to this newly ordained ministry and provide additional grace through by the Spirit.

The process and purpose for becoming a permanent deacon is the same today but not as quick. Having discerned the call to serve in a deeper way a man between 30 and 55 years of age can go through a extensive evaluation process and if accepted by the Bishop enter a trial period. Then a three year formation program is started for those who complete the aspirancy. After three years of formation a decisional retreat is made and then ordination occurs if the candidate, their spouse (if married) and the Bishop all agree. If you feel called in even the smallest way to explore the vocation of deacon in the church give me a call and I would be pleased to meet and discuss this with you.
~Deacon Dennis Donahue



Published in the St. Mary's Church Bulletin 

Week Of May 7, 2017- 

   Next weekend we celebrate two Mother's Days. On Sunday, we recognize our birth mothers and on Saturday we celebrate our Spiritual Mother, Mary. Saturday will have the greater significance for me because Mary the Mother of God in a real way became my mother 50 years ago, when I was 10 years old and my birth mother died. My mother prepared me for this unexpected and ill timed event of her dying by having shared with me her devotion and trust in Our Mother. In a similar way Jesus prepared humanity for his dying my giving us Mary as Our Mother from the Cross. Just as Mary has come through for me as Mother in my personal life she has come through for humanity in a very visible way 100 years ago in Fatima. Spend time next Saturday with Mary and be wise like my mother by sharing Our Mother with those you love to prepare them to go to Mary for assistance when the unexpected events of life occur.
~Deacon Dennis Donahue



Published in the St. Mary's Church Bulletin 

Week Of April 30, 2017- 

   Today's Gospel and our First Reading from
Acts are both written by St. Luke and describe for us in great detail the disciples confusion on the Day of the Resurrection and subsequent unwavering strength in faith through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. The 50 days between Easter and Pentecost resemble an accelerated version of the natural process of grief recovery outlined in Rando's Six Process ending with reinvestment. This acceleration is seen no faster then on the Road to Emmaus as a result of Jesus revealing his indwelling by opening these disciples eyes to the heart through community, Scripture study and the Eucharist. These disciples who Journeyed to Jerusalem with Jesus teaching them for months along the way are moved to walk away from Jerusalem when Jesus' physical presence is taken away. They now journey back with "hearts burning" as they have come to see that Jesus is now fully present within them. This is our spiritual journey as well which we should actively process through during this Eastertide.
~Deacon Dennis Donahue



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