Category Archives: Ministry

Flash Prayer? YES!

The first use of the phrase “Flash Crowd” was coined by John Pettit of in 1996 and built on concepts from Larry


Copyright Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities

Niven, Sci-Fi writer, who in his 1970 writings proposed that large, spontaneous crowds could disrupt transportation, etc. Of course, this truly precedes the Internet as we know it, where “Flash Crowds” are creating in a matter of minutes by tweets, FB posts, etc.

A great deal has changed since then, and the “internet of all things” has become the transport mechanism for bringing people from around the globe for shared purposes. And tomorrow is just one of those “shared purposes”:

Yes, tomorrow, people world wide will pray to Saint Marianne Cope. “our” saint, a woman who devoted her life to those with leprosy in the Pacific. Please join us tomorrow in prayer.

A special thanks to Danielle Cummings, Chancellor/Director of Communications, Diocese of Syracuse for the this information celebrating the Feast of Saint Marianne Cope.


Demystifying the Deacon

As a “new” clerical office, the Diaconate will confound the laity for years to come. And while deacons can look back with much pride to our “call to service” in Acts 6, many parishioners look to the law of the Church when searching for explanations about the role of deacons… what they can and can’t do.


Canon 764 on “deacons and preaching”

The Deacons’ Place Forum recently shared a helpful link about the deacon’s role according to Canon Law. The link to What Can (and Can’t ) a Deacon Do? is from the Canon Law Made Easy blog, written by Cathy Caridi, J.C.I. an American canon lawyer who practices law and teaches in Rome.

You might find this helpful in discussions with those still unfamiliar with our Diakonos… our call to charity among God’s people. In the end, only our humble example of service will truly tell the story.

What Can (and Can’t ) a Deacon Do?:

Joyfully Proclaiming the Cross of Jesus Christ

Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano

Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano

In the run-up to this year’s Clergy Convocation at the Edgewood Resort and Conference Center in Alexandria Bay, NY, I was considering the title of Bishop Caggiano’s presentation: “We Are Called to Joyfully Proclaim the Cross of Jesus Christ”. Recalling an encounter with another presentation on the Cross at the Oblate Seminary and College in San Antonio, TX, I was moved by Richard Rohr’s insightful lecture on the contradiction of the Cross and left to wondering if another presentation on the Cross of Christ Jesus was indeed something I needed. How wrong I was!

In his opening remarks on Monday evening, September 15, 2014, this remarkably insightful Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut challenged the nearly 150 priests and deacons in attendance to refocus, look beneath the surface at the roots of our faith, consider the Holy Scriptures and to ask the hard questions. In the end, he said, “Everything that we do, everything we are as clergy rises and falls at the Cross of Jesus Christ.”

Providing ample time for dialogue as well as thoughtful reflection, Bishop Caggiano presented concise, insightful and actionable comments on our call “to be covered by the dust of the rabbi’s sandals… called by sure grace… sure and uncertain love, to receive the gift of joy“.

With the Bishop’s permission, I have attached a 2-page pdf with my notes of his presentation. They are in no way complete or authoritative, and they miss the richness of his address punctuated by personal anecdotes and meaningful side notes from Mother Theresa, Pope Francis and others.

My hope is that in some small way, our fellow laborers in the vineyard will have cause to reconsider our mission, as Bishop Caggiano framed it, and to embrace the Cross, seeing in Jesus Christ’s extended arms an embrace for all humanity in unconditional love, and from his crown of thorns to the pierced feet an unbroken line between God and man uniting heaven and earth… reestablishing the kingdom.

Convocation Notes:  2014 Syrdio Convocation Notes

Photo Credit:  Dc. Tim McNerney

I have called you friends…

Five men… a single calling: to serve God and His church through “tasks of practical charity”.  And so we welcome these five men who have answered that call — “welcome, brothers!”


“I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.”

Robert Burke, Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Syracuse
Dare Dutter, Holy Cross, DeWitt
Paul Lehmann, St. Mary, Hamilton
David Losito, St. Margaret, Mattydale
Mark Shiner, Newman Center at Colgate Univ, Hamilton

In our prayers…

As men of faith, we unite in prayer each day:  Morning, Evening & Night to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, the sacred prayer of the church.  Especially at those times we remember those who are in need:  for healing, guidance, courage in the face of life’s challenges, and of course, those departed and no longer with us.

We believe that our prayers are both heard… and acted upon by our gracious and loving God.  Yet we know that often the answer to the prayer requests may be answered in ways that we neither expect, nor necessarily understand.  Truly, our prayers are in God’s hands!

Join us in adding your requests to our daily prayers:  our deacons will receive your Prayer Request and pray on your behalf for the next 30 days. It’s very easy to make a request… it will take you but a moment.  Then it’s in our helping hands and His.  Here’s the link:

God Bless!

“The herald to which they have been called…”

During his recent homily in Glasgow,  the Holy Father addressed the bishops with these words:

Have a care also for your deacons, whose ministry of service is associated in a particular way with that of the order of bishops. Be a father and a guide in holiness for them, encouraging them to grow in knowledge and wisdom in carrying out the mission of herald to which they have been called.

Words of encouragement and guidance from Pope Benedict… confirmation of our call to vocation and ministry!

Stirring the Flame of Faith

2 Timothy 1:1-3, 6-12

For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel with the strength that comes from God.”

At first glance at the words above from St. Paul to Timothy, it was if St. Paul were speaking direct to my heart at a time that I needed it the most. The words are a reminder that 8 years ago I experienced the “imposition of laying on of hands” from a wonderful Bishop who admonished me to always trust in God. And now, I was being again admonished…that in my Diaconal Ministry, God expects me to boldly bear witness to Him with the spirit of empowerment…that my armor is a spirit of love and self-control. In my Diaconal Ministry, I am called to be a living testimony to Christ and must bear any hardship for the Gospel…because the indelible seal of the Holy Spirit will provide me all the strength necessary. Yes, these words spoke direct to me personally…and it is my hope that my brother Deacons and all Ordained Ministers embrace these words and accept, as I have, the admonishment in a spirit of love and dedication to ministry.

My friends in Christ, whether Ordained or Laypersons, regardless of our faith tradition or Christian affiliation, today’s Scripture is a reminder that each of us has been given a gift from God that must be “stirred into flame.” As people of faith, we are lovingly admonished by Jesus that He has empowered us to love and live with self-control…to boldly proclaim the Gospel, accepting both the hardships of service and strength provided by the Holy Spirit.

Today, will you join with me in stirring the flame of our faith…and to proclaim with courage that hope, joy, and peace is attainable only through accepting the love offered by Jesus Christ? GRH