1 – 2 -3… IGNITE!

What better event to launch the use of our new Syracuse Deacons Community @deaconspeaking Twitter Team account than to share our diocesan Catholic Men’s Conference, IGNITE!  There was so much to share at this year’s event that coincided with the Solemnity of The Annunciation.

T-Shirt_Logo TweetThe excitement among the nearly 1,000 men gathered was worthy of sharing. This ninth year is based on a perfect formula for success:

Spiritual Graces – Mass, Reconciliation & Adoration

Catholic Challenges – 3 Very Dynamic and Different Speakers throughout the day

Community – Ample breaks, plentiful lunch, solid vendor support with plenty of space to mix and meet others with shared interests.

Six tweets during the day captured many of the conference highlights. And now, other deacons in the Diocese of Syracuse are joining the Twitter Team to ramp up our evangelization efforts.

If you’d like to follow us, here’s the info:


Celebrating the Lenten Season

Rite of Election TweetLent is always a time for reflection on the year past. More than Advent, which begins the new church year and embraces preparation for the Incarnate God, Lent challenges us to prepare for the Salvific God, the Paschal Lamb, the Risen Christ.

With its acts of fasting, charity and prayer, Lent is a time for spiritual “exercise”… yet, it’s also a time to reflect on how we celebrate those who have made the decision to embrace the faith. I found this year’s Rite of Election at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception to be an awesome celebration of all that Lent prepares us for. Standing by so many Catechumens from throughout our diocese confirmed for me that we, as Catholic Christians, have much to celebrate!

As we continue our Lenten journey towards Holy Week and Easter, let us celebrate the a season that provides such tangible rites as these that connect us to the earliest Christian Church!

“Lord, teach us how to pray.”


In my prison ministry, I work with mentally handicapped men who have gotten into serious trouble with the law but can’t be in the penal system. Working on the meaning of words in the most basic of prayers can be a true challenge.

Enter the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence. At this year’s Ignite Men’s Conference in Syracuse, they displayed a simple, interactive board to help teach children the “difficult” words in Our Lord’s Prayer.

If you look closely, I’ve turned over the wooden tile for “trespass”. The flip side says ” sin”. Whow!


Thank you Daughters of St. Mary of Providence for showing me a technique that will certainly work with the men in my prison ministry.

No regrets!

Looking back over the week:  a time of great rides, spirited campfires, carousels, ice cream, faith building and even an evening visit from world famous circumnavigator, cyclist Jack Kelleher.


Bob Cuffney & Jack Kelleher at Campfire


Yet another flat to fix!


Carousel Ride at West Endicott Park

Heading home

This morning we’re all packing our gear, folding up our tents and preparing for the ride home. Mass at 10:00, followed by a bit of pedaling, the requisite ice cream stop and finale at Our Lady of Good Counsel. More to come later…


Breaking up… is easy to do

When faced with a daunting 62.5 mi. “Metric Century”… yes, that’s 100 kilometers, only 5 cyclists opted for this “Challenge Ride”. However, the remaining group enjoyed a 17 mi. “Adventure Tour”, complete with 2 carousels and the Italian Museum in Endicott,  NY.


The Adventure Tour Group in Endicott

The Challenge Tour group took a break at Ross Park Zoo, in Binghamton, NY. The “boys” are hamming it up at the handicapped ramp sign, while they


enjoy some high-energy “gorp mix” held over from this morning’s leg of the ride.

What’s up with Pluto?

Seems like an odd question for a Youth Bike Tour! However, tonight we’re on a school bus traveling to the Kopernic Observatory & Science Center to find the answer and to enjoy a “celestial campfire” illuminated by millions of stars.


Kopernic Observatory & Science Center

This year’s tour has been packed with lots of “extras” like this evening’s. Thanks to the thoughtful preplanning of a dedicated group of volunteers, we’re redefining what a cycling tour can be:  building a youth faith community, providing the physical challenge of cycling, serving the communities in which we live and sharing special moments like this… opening up the wonder and awe of God’s creation.