Volume IV Number 1                        back                                         January 2018   

Day of Recollection
Very Reverend Joseph Mele
Dr. Michael Therrien
9:30 AM - 3:45 PM
Saturday, February 17, 2018
St. Bartholomew, Wilmore
The Day of Recollection  will 
conclude with the celebration of Mass

Chrism Mass
Monday, March 26, 2018
11:00 AM 
Arrival time is 10:00 AM
Cathedral, Altoona

Parish Mission
Guest Speaker - Thomas Smith
April 22, 23 & 24, 2018
More information to follow

Annual Diaconate Retreat
Fr. Bernard Ezaki, Retreat Master
June 3-7, 2018
Antiochian Village, Bolivar
Retreat begins Sunday with  registration at 
3:30 PM and concludes Thursday following the 10:00 AM closing Mass
Museum of the Bible
Washington, DC
Through innovative and immersive exhibits, this museum is designed to attract more than just believers.

Zelda Caldwall / Aleteia.org

At its opening, the new Museum of the Bible delivered on its promise to create a museum that would present the Bible in an engaging way to all kinds of people.

Conveniently located two blocks from the National Mall, the new $500 million museum is poised to attract visitors to the city, no matter their denomination or whether they are believers or not.

Using innovative technology and multi-media exhibits that would be at home at the latest Disney theme park, the museum immerses the visitor in the story of the Bible, engaging the senses and the intellect.

Spanning six floors of the stunningly renovated Washington Design Center warehouse, in the southwestern quadrant of the capital, the exhibits are primed to appeal to vistors at different stages of their faith journey.  Read more
To learn more visit  www.museumofthebible.org

Great News

Tom Smith returns to the 
Altoona-Johnstown Diocese  for a 3-night mission April 22, 23, & 24, 2018.  
Save the dates! More information to follow!





01       Tom Papinchak

05       Lisa Roth

08       Dee Schuette

12       Linda Rys

29       Michael Russo

31       Beth O'Dowd



01       Joanna Duman

05       Joe Dalla Valle

07       Dee Zernick

08       Dave Lapinski

09       Karen Underhill

25       Shirley Boldin

26       Mike Ondik



02       Rosemary Concannon

04       Phil Gibson

08       Andrea Beavers

09       Colette Orlandi

15       Susan Cronin

18       Laszlo Ivantis

20       Janine Anna

25       Diane Lapinski





Frank & Dee Schutte



Jack & Colette Orlandi



Jerry & Lori Nevling



Chip & Connie Young



Tony & Lisa Wagner



What's the difference between meditation and contemplation?

Philip Koaloaki / Aleteia

Both reveal a distinct way of praying to God.
Among  the many different expressions of prayer in the Christian tradition are meditation and contemplation.

At first it may se em like these terms describe the same thing, but in closer examination they revealdistinct ways of praying to God.

The  Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes mediation as:

"a prayerful q uest engaging thought, imagination, emotion, and desire.  Its goal is to make our own in faith the subject considered, by confronting it with the reality of our life"           
                                                       (CCC 2723)

In meditation the "mind seeks to understand the why and how of the christian life, in order to adhere and respond to what the Lord is asking".                            (CCC 2705)

Contemplation, on the other, hand is (in the words of St. Teresa of Avila) 

"nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know love us.

The Book Shelf

by Perry J. Cahall

by Robert Spitzer, SJ

by Robert Spitzer SJ

Lenten Reading List

We Preach Christ Crucified  (Liturgical Press)
by Michael Connors, CSC

by Brant Pitre

by Raymond E. Brown

by A. G. Sertillanges

by Cardinal Basil Hume

by Brant Pitre

by Archbishop Alban Goodier, SJ

by Michael L. Russo

by Romano Guardini

by James Martin, SJ

by Edward Sri

by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

"Here I Am, Lord"
The Little-Known Story 
Behind  A Catholic Hit
by Colleen Dulle

"I the Lord of sea and sky..."

So begins one of the most popular-and most divisive-pieces of modern 
liturgical music.

Dan Schutte's "Here I Am, Lord," consistently  scores  highly in surveys of Catholics' and Christians' favorite hymns. An informal Twitter  survey of America readers' opinions on the song brought a variety of responses, all of them strong.

Already with the first line, a flurry of critics complain, "Don't make me sing the part of God!" Some even take issue with my calling the song "music." Yet it evokes in others a wave of nostalgia and comfort.
Read more

Used with permission: America Magazine

Save the date note pinned on the bulletin board

Saturday, February 17, 2018
Lenten Day of Recollection
St. Bartholomew Parish, Wilmore
9:30 AM - 3:45 PM
All Deacons, Candidates, and their wives are invited 
Day of Recollection will conclude 
with the celebration of Mass

"Ministry Grounded and 
Focused on Christ"
Directed by 
Very Reverend Joseph Mele, V.E., Ph.D.
Dr. Michael Therrien

Our Lenten day of Recollection will focus on putting things in the right order to have a relationship with Jesus so our identity as a servant is properly grounded and defined for us in our diaconal ministry.  The Very Reverend Joseph Mele, V.E. Ph.D. and Dr. Michael Therrien from the Diocese of Pittsburgh, will discuss the dangers of ministry that is consumed by mission and then forgets all about Jesus.  They will also discuss the importance of balance and humility in ministry.  The goal of the Day of Recollection is to help us understand that in putting the relationship with Christ first, we derive our sense of identity.  From this relationship with Christ we are then able to better discern our mission and stay grounded in prayer while accomplishing the work of God.

All Deacons, Candidates, and their wives are invited to attend.  

Registration forms and the day's schedule will be sent to each deacon.  Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Father Mele  currently serves as the Episcopal Vicar for Leadership Development and Evangelization, head of the Secretariat for Leadership Development and Evangelization, and director of the Department for Post-Ordination Formation for the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Michael Therrien  is the President of the Institute for Pastoral Leadership and the Director of Evangelization for the Diocese of Pittsburgh.  He also serves as a professor of  Fundamental Moral Theology of the Augustine Institute.

  Stop Preaching About Your Vacation And Move On From 'Selfie Sermons'
By Kenneth G. Davis

Have more sermons become selfies? Are you hearing more homilies composed of anecdotes about the preacher himself and an increasingly familiar cast of his friends and family?

This is unfortunate. Predictable vignettes from the preacher's childhood or extraneous accounts of his vacations reveal unnecessary details about the speaker rather than clues concerning Scripture.

This method of preaching seems so habitual that many homilists appear to be on autopilot. Perhaps the presumption is that chronicling his life is the only way to relate personally to the congregation. However, personal stories are not always necessary, and when they are presented as mere reflex, they can be quite uninteresting. 

The alternative to a selfie sermon is not a dry or impersonal address. The liturgy itself requires self-disclosure. The weight given to the saint of the day, references to the sacramentary and the metaphorical use of liturgical symbols all offer options that reveal the personality, theology and pastoral priorities of the preacher, who chooses among them with balance and proportion.

A conscious and consistent style reveals a great deal about the homilist without the need to refer to personal details. Jesus used examples familiar to his listeners, such as lost sheep and seed sown, though he was neither shepherd nor farmer. Like parables, this approach may demand more thoughtfulness from the preacher, and more attentiveness from the assembly, than the linear approach of automatically preaching every homily through a three-step default-homilist's story, then God's story, then assembly's story.

The U.S. Catholic bishops' " Preaching the Mystery of the Faith"  reminds us that "Jesus was not an abstract preacher." However, Jesus was concrete and personal without becoming obvious, overstated or self-absorbed. When Jesus did speak of himself, it was usually in reference to the Father. Hence, the bishops twice warn against "useless digressions which risk drawing greater attention to the preacher than to the heart of the Gospel message."

Used with permission: America Magazine
5 Helpful tips from a 6th-century monk on preparing a meal....

In the 6th century, St. Benedict of Norcia was a revolutionary abbot. He established countless monasteries under a common rule that brought much needed order to the monastic life. 

The rule covered all aspects of life, including meals.
In his Rule, Benedict made specific regulations for meals in community that helped nourish both the soul and body. Here are five of those practical rules that can be applied in various circumstances.

1. Cook a few different types of food, giving options for everyone to eat
We think it sufficient for the daily meal, whether at the sixth or the ninth hour, that there be at all the tables two dishes of cooked food because of the weaknesses of different persons; so that he who perhaps cannot eat of the one may make his meal of the other. Therefore, let two cooked dishes suffice for the brethren; and if there is any fruit or fresh vegetables, let a third dish be added. 
2. Everyone should take turns in the kitchen
All the brethren, except those who are hindered by sickness or by some occupation of great moment, shall serve each other by turns, so that no one be excused from duty in the kitchen, for thereby a very great reward is obtained.
3 . Moderation is to be observed in the food (and drink) prepared
[E]xcess [is to] be avoided above all things, that no monk be ever guilty of [consuming too much]; for nothing is more unworthy of any Christian than gluttony.

Although we read that wine is by no means a drink for monks, yet, since in our days the monks cannot be convinced of this, let us at least agree to this, that we do not drink to satiety, but sparingly.
4. Avoid eating alone as much as possible
Brethren who go out on any business and expect to return to the monastery on the same day should not presume to take any food while outside the monastery.
5. Treat dinner guests as Christ himself, even breaking a personal fast to accommodate a guest
Let all guests arriving at the monastery be received as Christ Himself, for He will one day say, "I was a stranger and you took Me in." And let due honor be paid to all, especially, however, to those who are of the household of the faith - and to strangers.   The superior may break the fast on account of a guest.

Used with permission 
Pope Francis greets permanent deacons 
during the Year of Mercy

Pope Writes Preface for Diaconate Book
(Source:  Vatican Radio)

Pope Francis has written the preface to a new book that contains his various pronouncements on the vocation to the diaconate which he says is "primarily realized in the service of the poor.

The book by the Reverend Enzo Petrolino, a deacon from the diocese of Reggio Calabria-Bova in Italy, brings together the Pope's statements about the permanent diaconate from his time as archbishop of Buenos Aires with his most recent ones as Bishop of Rome.   Read more 

Continuing Education for Deacons
by Jim Alt

The following article is taken from the
 December 2017 issue of NDICE News
 (National Diaconate Institute for Continuing Education) www.ndic.net

Prior to ordination, every diocese has a formation program that varies in length and content, depending on the policy for that particular diocese.  This policy is set to meet the basic requirements for ordination of every deacon to be ordained in the United States.  

While formation programs have improved tremendously over the years since the first U.S. deacon was ordained in 1968, to a lesser degree, the post-ordination continuing education programs in many cases have not kept pace.  As in any profession, it is essential that ordained deacons also continue their diaconate ministry education.

"Deacons, as professionals in ministry, need to update themselves constantly with practical education and spiritual development to insure adequacy in their ministry.  Not only does continuing education have a further, collateral benefit of fostering self-confidence in the deacon, it moreover demonstrates to the Church the deacon serves that he is professionally accountable.  This is a program based upon self-motivation and self direction."
(opening paragraph of the Chicago Policy for Ministerial Development of Deacons)

The National Diaconte Institue for Continuing Education (NDICE)  enters the picture by providing the opportunity for deacons to receive 20 Continuing Education Units at their annual summer conference each year.

NDIC is the longest-continuous national continuing education organization for deacons in the United States.  Next year will mark the 44th year of this Conf erence.

To read this article in its entirety and to learn more about the upcoming annual conference, please click here.

What would you do if you were at Calvary near Jesus crucified?
Ary Waldir Ramos Diaz / Aleteia

In his reflection on the Eucharist during today's general audience in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis insisted again that Mass is a sacred celebration, not a show, and he invited the faithful to re-live the Paschal mystery of Jesus.

He invited his listeners to reflect on going to Mass and on their relationship to Christ: "If during Mass, we are going to Calvary-let's use our imagination-and we know that that man [on the cross] is Jesus, would we allow ourselves to chat, to take photos, and to make a bit of a show?"

"No! Because that's Jesus! We would surely be in silence, in tears, and also full of joy because we are saved."

The pope preached about the sacrament in which the Church commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus' life with His disciples, when He handed Himself over as a voluntary sacrifice of love for the salvation of the world.   Read more

At Convocation, Deacons Encouraged to 
Love and Serve as Jesus Did
By Mark Zimmermann , Catholic Standard Editor

As they ha ve since the beginning of the  Church, deacons today play a vital role in providing Christ-like s ervice at parishes and in a variety of ministries, Cardinal Donald Wuerl said at a recent P ermanent Deacon Convocation held at  St. Joseph Parish in Largo.

"The very d efinition of diaconal minist ry is service," Washingto n's archbishop said as he celebrated a Mass to open 
the Nov. 4 convocation. "... The Catechism of the Catholic Chur ch says the deacon is  configured to Christ th e servant." What a beautiful image and way to see our ministry.   Read more
Office of the Permanent Diaconate
925 S. Logan Blvd.
Hollidaysburg, PA  16648
(814) 693-9870
 Deacon Michael L. Russo                                                                                                                     Joan M. Noonan               
 Director of the Office of the Permanent Diaconate                                                             Office of the Diaconate
  michael.russo@atlanticbb.net                                                                                     jnoonan@dioceseaj.org