Saturday, June 25, 2016

Father Denny: Fisher Of Men

When a person that everybody loved has died,  this phrase is often uttered.

"Why does God always take the good ones?"

Last week, one of the "good ones" was taken.

My first memory of him was in high school.  I can't remember if we ever met.  I only knew him as the moderator and advisor to my older brother's senior class.  

Fast forward 11 years and he would be the only face I'd recognize in the sea of 50+ family members of my friend Bill as he introduced me on Christmas Eve while on our second date.  

I had known that Mr. Denny had become Father Denny, O.S.A. during those years in between.  And soon Father Denny would become Uncle John to me when Bill and I married.

Our encounters were typically at family weddings, baptisms, funerals, special masses, and Christmas Eve.  Oh, the gift of having a priest in the family!  You could listen to him speak and never tire of it.  He spoke the gospel with great fervor, embellished his stories (just a tiny bit) and celebrated a beautiful mass.  Anyone who met him could see, feel, and hear the joy he had in his vocation.

So, why does God take the "good ones?"  This week as his family stood in line for 2 viewings, one mass for his parishioners, and one funeral mass, receiving well over 1000 people, the answer was clear.

He was a Fisher of Men.  

His life exemplified Jesus' words in Matthew 4:19.  Throughout Fr. Denny's life, he encountered many, many people and touched them in deep and meaningful ways.  In fact, a Facebook page was set up in his name--first as a support for him when he became sick with cancer--and now as a support for all who knew him.  It has become a way to share the wealth of love for the man he was. 

And the man he was, was a follower of Christ.  A devoted Catholic who brought the love of Jesus to all he met while he was alive and continues to do in death.  His encounters will have a ripple effect for years and years to come.

Father Denny had a custom at the conclusion of each baptism he celebrated.  He would flash that famous smile and say to the baby, "Welcome Aboard!"  It always made me smile.

My hope is that one day I will see him again at the gates of Heaven and hear him say one more time,

Welcome Aboard!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Spring Catch-Up: Part 6

It's Matthew's turn.

Matt grew and matured by leaps and bounds this year.  I think I owe it all to his amazing teacher.  I was recalling last summer how he cried when he learned he had Mrs. R.  It was all because he heard she has a tradition in her class of putting on a puppet show and he did NOT want to take part in that!

But lo and behold, the day of the puppet show came and he aced it.  No nerves.  No anxiety.  It was adorable hearing him from underneath the table saying things such as, "Don't be ridukulos" and "Master Elephant, You must face yo foe." in the most adorable kid-talk ever!!

He also played Spring soccer.  It was nice because it was laid back and it consisted of one practice and one game each week.

Two milestones were finally reached:

1. First lost tooth

2. Learning to ride a bike.

He takes great pride in his hair and looks in the mirror and takes selfies to make sure it looks perfect.

He has a beautiful heart.  Check out this cuteness I came across on Tommy's birthday.

 A close-up of the bottom right hand corner:

He makes us all laugh.

He's a great kid who we all love very much.  He is the perfect caboose to our family train.

For previous posts:

Me, Billy, Mary, TommyAnn.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Spring Catch Up: Part 5


I think Ann may have been the busiest child this Spring.

Her birthday started off the season.  She turned 11 in March.

Morning donuts

Because it's a bummer to have your birthday midweek during the school year,  Ann's BFF and family came over to celebrate and sing Happy Birthday to make it more special. 

Ann participated in the new Digital Marketing Club at school.  Here she learned how to film, edit, and post videos for the school.  They showcased their work one night at a school fair.

Now onto Ann's music career:

She continues with piano lessons and clarinet and recently picked up playing the cello, too.  She played clarinet at the All City Band concert where 5th graders from around the district play together.  Here she is with her instrumental teacher who teaches her both clarinet and cello.

We love Mr. Morrow!
Mr. Morrow happens to be married to Mrs. Morrow--our kids' piano teacher. 

These two are such a blessing to our family.

Ann was also chosen to represent her school in the PMEA concert.  This stands for Pennsylvania Music Educators Association and their mission is "to advance comprehensive and innovative music education for all teachers and students through quality teaching, rigorous learning, and meaningful music engagement."
In this specific concert Ann played with 5th and 6th graders from around our area and we were blown away by the talent of these young students. ( videotaping was prohibited )

She also played for her elementary school in their band and orchestra concert.

The 5th graders were also invited to play at the middle school band/orchestra concert to give them a taste of what it will be like next year.  Here she is with Tommy afterwards.

One big event Ann participated in this Spring was the 5th grade running club.  They met each Friday afternoon for about 8 weeks and trained for a 5k.  The race was in April and it was a beautiful day in a beautiful setting.  The best part was the proud look of accomplishment from Ann and all the girls at the end.

from left- Seasoned runner, new runner, wanna-be runner

She is now finished at her elementary school.  There were many end-of-year activities to mark the occasion, one being the 5th grade show.  Ann is pictured here with the biggest smile on her face.  She saw her Dad in the audience, not expecting him to be there because he had been out of the country all week.  It was the cutest thing!

You ROCKED 5th grade Ann. 

Oh, and she cut her hair.  What a cutie.

Great work this Spring Ann.  We are so proud of you and love you so much.

For previous Spring Catch Ups, click each name.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Spring Catch Up: Part 4

Today it's Tommy's turn!

Our little trumpeter!  I have become a groupie for Tommy's middle school Jazz Band.  This group is so fun to listen to.  The jazz ensemble is a band whose members are selected through auditions.  Their busiest time is the spring.  He participated in 5 Jazz competitions.  This picture was taken after his section won for Best Brass performance. 

 One proud moment for me was when they came to our elementary school and played for the 4th and 5th graders.  Since I work there I got to sneak a peek.  (Tommy is hidden and can't be seen in this video)

Tommy also participates in Marching/Concert band.  There was one parade and one concert this Spring.

In May he went on the Band and Orchestra trip.  This year they visited West Point, had a couple of competitions in Massachusetts, and a fun day at Six Flags.  Here he is with his roommates where he looks a little too happy to be leaving his mother for 2 days, in my opinion.

He had a big birthday in April. 
No, he's not a teenager yet, but he's 12 and that means he gets to ride in the front seat of the car.  Big stuff.

Morning donuts

Let's take a closer look at that cake, shall we?

You're probably wondering what the heck is going on there.  Tommy requested a cake with no icing. I figured that idea wouldn't go over so well with the rest of the gang (myself included) so I left icing off part of it.  That yellow icing is supposed to be a trumpet.  If you squint your eyes and use your imagination you can see it.

Moving on....

Nerf gun-of course

Tommy is also an altar server and takes piano lessons, although under duress for both.

He is our wild child.  When I go outside to look for him, I look up because he is most definitely climbing something.  He tortures his little brother with love, and if he could, he would eat Doritos day and night.

He's a great kid.

Love you Tom-Bomb! 

For previous Spring Catch-ups click:
Part 1- Me
Part 2-Billy
Part 3-Mary

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Spring Catch-Up: Part 3

This spring catch up is taking me so long to post it's heading into summer!

Anywho... To see Part 1, click here and to see part 2, click here.

Now we're up to Mary.

Sweet child that she is.  I tell you....sometimes it feels like I only have 4 children because she is so darn easy and basically parents herself.  Sometimes she even parents ME when I'm having a meltdown of sorts.

She is one busy bee all the time.  Spring means Track--everyday after school.  She had a great season and PR'd almost every race! 

Tommy and Mary after Celtic Parade

She still takes piano lessons and continues with both band (flute) and orchestra (violin).  These are actual classes in her schedule, but it also means before school rehearsals as well.  There was a band concert, an orchestra concert, a Celtic parade, and she most recently played at the high school's graduation ceremony.

Mary had a birthday last month and turned 15!

Morning donuts (Billy was sick and still in bed)
She went to a band and orchestra award ceremony that night.  Here she is with her fellow freshman.

Mary-middle row 4th from left.
She spends a lot of time making different craft projects, too.  Here she is with a no-sew donut pillow she made.

She's a great young lady and I love her so.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Spring Catch-Up- Part 2

For Part 1 of my posts for catching up on all things Spring, click here.

Part 2 is all about young William. 

Hold onto your hats, but Billy turned 16 last month.  Yes. You read that right.  16!!

Soccer is his sport of choice these days, hence this cake.

recipe here

Big stuff was in store for Billy this spring. He waited patiently for years and his parents finally let him get a smart phone.  I am completely against this hand-held Satanic device for teens but alas, we succumbed. 

That same week, Villanova won the NCAA Championship. 
To say he was happy is an understatement.  This is how he looked when he went to school the next day. 

Billy also got a job!!

Rita's Water Ice
He likes working there very much.

Along with all of that, he was my aide in our CCD class, played soccer for the township, continues to altar serve, serves on our parish Liturgy Committee, participates in the parish senior high youth group, and is an awesome role model and best pal to his younger brother Matthew.

Oh, and he was a referee for the elementary school's fundraiser with the Harlem Wizards.  So fun!

That's a wrap on our oldest!   Stay tuned for more Spring happenings.