2017 Guatemala orphanage fire

Orphanage Fire Memorial

The memorial on the night day we were in the city photos.

The tragedy is the poor care for the orphan and the effects of social injustice have a cascading effect. Even righteous protest can be disastrous. It is wise to keep our eyes on Jesus and our behaviors in the Beatitudes.

Background: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_Guatemala_orphanage_fire

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

Happy New Year 2023!

A Reply to a Priest friend.

My recap.

Merry Christmas, holy Father!

I pray for Benedict XVI and his peaceful journey. I read everything he ever wrote so plain speaking and genuine his faith. Sad the Curia exhausted him their intrigue and power.

Pope Francis equally worn down but the advantage is his street-bishop smarts kept him from being overwhelmed. I think the pasta and pastries at the Vatican did more harm than these.

Pastor Quesnel leaves us in a few weeks. The administrator to come will have little interest in my eclectic spiritually. Such is life. If St Thomas More hadn’t seceded from the faith through schism, I would be happy to finish my service in the shadows of Dcn George Collins and Bill Cresswell, whom you would have loved.

As it is I insisted to accompany Fr Quesnel to Guatemala this Monday for the Three Kings Mission, ten days. Since coming to Sacred Heart I have protected him from harm, why would I stop now. Once he is boarded USA bound, I told him I will pray Simeon’s praise.

Oddly enough I am doing substitute service to the Altar at Miracle House tomorrow. I pray for the Mom’s and babies. It’s distracting to pray through the fog of power and politics. The women understand my prayers and reflection. The men want to interrogate for republican orthodoxy. Happily a newly ordained Priest is the presider so the Lord in his cosmic humor places him in my care if for a moment.

I feel so blessed to be near holy men.

I am still working your must read list from 2011. It’s comprehensive.

2023. Camino de Santiago via France. If I were to enter monastic life it would be as a perpetual pilgrim. Passing through every place of diaspora bringing Christ’s blessing. One tunic, one cloak, and a pair of sandals. GPS, too. My angel antenna is bent.

Every good wish and blessings,

Dcn Gerry

Diaspora Earth

Greetings on this the Feast of The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
Readings: Sir 3:2-6, 12-14; Ps 128:1-2, 3, 4-5; Mt 2:13-15, 19-23
Notes: Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is lucid, conscious and stable but his condition remains serious, the Vatican said Thursday… at age 95 the retired Pope is entering his final days, his final journey home.

The Holy Family had to flee to Egypt to save Jesus’ life. On their return they had to divert to Galilee for Judea was unsafe for them. The course of our lives is filled with the unexpected and the dangerous.

But the Lord is always guiding: (three times the angel helped Joseph decide what to do)

  • the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream to flee (refugee).
  • the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt to return.
  • and because he had been warned in a dream (to divert), he departed for the region of Galilee (internally-displaced).

Today about 68 million people are in forced migration.
Refugees, migrants, and internally-displaced persons all make up these numbers.

Source: https://www.concernusa.org/story/forced-migration-causes/

  • Secure national borders are rational.
  • Impenetrable national borders are a grave moral disorder especially when it is caused by dysfunctional governing.
  • International aid to nation-states that struggle with food, employment and political insecurity is a priority response.

List of Popes: https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2013/feb/13/popes-full-list#table

The world has changed so very much. Yet the fatherly care of the popes continues in the line of Saint Peter, the Apostolic Succession. Who was Pope when you were born? I have lived under the fatherly care of these popes:

  • Francis I
  • Benedict XVI
  • John Paul II
  • John Paul I
  • Paul VI
  • John XXIII
  • Pius XII

Formative Guidance (in my life)

Paul VI

And what is more, the Church has the firm conviction that all temporal liberation, all political liberation- even if it endeavors to find its justification in such or such a page of the Old or New Testament, even if it claims for its ideological postulates and its norms of action theological data and conclusions, even if it pretends to be today’s theology- carries within itself the germ of its own negation and fails to reach the ideal that it proposes for itself whenever its profound motives are not those of justice in charity, whenever its zeal lacks a truly spiritual dimension and whenever its final goal is not salvation and happiness in God.

-Paul VI. 1975.

(11) Man has the right to live. He has the right to bodily integrity and to the means necessary for the proper development of life, particularly food, clothing, shelter, medical care, rest, and, finally, the necessary social services. In consequence, he has the right to be looked after in the event of illhealth; disability stemming from his work; widowhood; old age; enforced unemployment; or whenever through no fault of his own he is deprived of the means of livelihood.

—John XXIII.Pacem In Terris. 1963.

Pius XII

It is not too much, We are sure, to expect that in the process of restriction, Christian charity and the sense of human solidarity existing between all men, children of the one eternal God and Father, will not be forgotten. Immigration can help in solving one of Europe’s saddest human problems, – a problem which is being aggravated inhumanely by the enforced transfer of helpless, innocent populations.

PIUS XII. 1946.

First reading
God sets a father in honor over his children; a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons. Whoever honors his father atones for sins, and preserves himself from them. When he prays, he is heard; he stores up riches who reveres his mother.

Responsorial Psalm
Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.

Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways! For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork; blessed shall you be, and favored.

Alleluia Verse
Let the peace of Christ control your hearts; let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.

Gospel Portion
And because he had been warned in a dream, he departed for the region of Galilee. He went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth,

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Rachel weeps

Greetings on this the Feast of the Holy Innocents, martyrs
Readings: 1 Jn 1:5—2:2; PS 124:2-3, 4-5, 7cd-8; Mt 2:13-18
Notes: Jesus Christ the righteous one. Perfect righteousness.

Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.



First reading
Beloved: This is the message that we have heard from Jesus Christ and proclaim to you:

  • God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all.
  • The Blood of his Son, Jesus, cleanses us from all sin.
  • We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one.
  • We have fellowship with one another.
  • Forgive [ness of] our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing.
  • Expiation for our sins.

Responsorial Psalm
Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler’s snare.

Alleluia Verse
We praise you, O God, we acclaim you as Lord; the white-robed army of martyrs praise you.

Gospel Portion
“Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.”

When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi.

Jeremiah the prophet:

A voice was heard in Ramah,
    sobbing and loud lamentation;
Rachel weeping for her children,
    and she would not be consoled,
    since they were no more.

Abortion is about the powerful not the woman and not her child.

Come learn the meaning of this mystery.

The LORD has created a new thing upon the earth: woman encompasses man (Jer 31:22).

Listen to Rachel.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

To turn the hearts

Greetings on this the Friday of the Fourth Week of Advent
Readings: Mal 3:1-4, 23-24; PS 25:4-5ab, 8-9, 10 and 14; Lk 1:57-66
Notes: John the Baptist, Elijah, has come. His mission continues each generation.

John, like Mary, always points us to Jesus and the Father.

He has other specific goals as well. John has come and continues his mission. Remember, John never married. John never had children. But he understood and was motivated by the turning of hearts.

To turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers (Mal 3:24).

Recently, aiding a family with their gift giving, it was a joy to watch them in joy wrapping their carefully picked selections for gifts for their children. These gifts are outward signs of an inward turn, to the heart and wellbeing of the children. And children for their parents.

  • Turn hearts to love.
  • Be introduced to the Horn of Salvation.
  • Know, accept, and turn for and toward the forgiveness of sin.

Inseparable things.

Elizabeth, righteous, names John in harmony with the vison of the Angel Gabriel to her husband Zechariah.

Twin tasks of John:

  1. Prepare the way of Jesus as the Horn of Salvation.
  2. Prepare his people by knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of sin.

Three Songs of Advent: https://gerrypalermo.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/threesongsofadvent.pdf

John. John the Baptist.

First reading
Thus says the Lord GOD: Lo, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me.

Lo, I will send you Elijah, the prophet, Before the day of the LORD comes, the great and terrible day, To turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.

Responsorial Psalm
Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.

All the paths of the LORD are kindness and constancy toward those who keep his covenant and his decrees. The friendship of the LORD is with those who fear him, and his covenant, for their instruction.

Alleluia Verse
O King of all nations and keystone of the Church; come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!

Gospel Portion
When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son.

When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said in reply, “No. He will be called John.”

So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called. He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,” and all were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God.

The Canticle of Zechariah (tomorrow).

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

The Ancient Prayer

Greetings on this Thursday of the Fourth Week of Advent
Readings: 1 Sm 1:24-28; 1 Samuel 2:1, 4-5, 6-7, 8abcd; Lk 1:46-56
Notes: The stories of Adam and Eve, Hagar and Ishmael, Sari and Abraham, Manoah and Samson, Hannah and Samuel present to us a recurring theme of the Lord’s intercession for the wellbeing of women and through them the wellbeing of all peoples.

In her bitterness she prayed to the LORD, weeping freely (1 Sam 1:10).
For the LORD has heeded your affliction (Gen 16:11).

Adam again had intercourse with his wife, and she gave birth to a son whom she called Seth. “God has granted me another offspring in place of Abel,” she said, “because Cain killed him.” To Seth, in turn, a son was born, and he named him Enosh. At that time people began to invoke the LORD by name (Gen 4:25-26).

Is it any wonder then the Lord God decided to hear the deepest prayers of humanity from of ancient times to bring a Son who will set them free through a woman, righteous and sinless?

At that time people began to invoke the LORD by name (Gen 4:26b).

First reading
Hannah Presents Samuel to the Lord.

Hannah, his mother, approached Eli and said: “Pardon, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood near you here, praying to the LORD. I prayed for this child, and the LORD granted my request. Now I, in turn, give him to the LORD; as long as he lives, he shall be dedicated to the LORD.” She left Samuel there.

Hannah’s Song (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/1samuel/2?1) is the basis for the responsorial.

And Hannah prayed.

  • Manoah was supportive (Samson).
  • Elkanah was supportive (Samuel).


Responsorial (from Samuel)
My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.

Alleluia Verse
O King of all nations and keystone of the Church: come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!

Gospel Portion
The Canticle of Mary.

We pray the canticle of Mary every evening.

See in particular the O Antiphones the seven days before Christmas: https://deacongerrypalermo.blog/2021/12/17/o-antiphons-2021/

December 22
O King of all nations and keystone of the Church: come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!

Reflection: We are dust and to dust we shall return. But not just dust. Breath. Rûaħ. You, O God, have made this dust with your own breath. Save your breath so closely knitted and integrated within us as Emmanuel is knitted within Mary.

My Soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord….

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Open wide your arms

Photo by Marina M on Pexels.com

Greetings on this the Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Advent
Readings: SG 2:8-14; PS 33:2-3, 11-12, 20-21; LK 1:39-45
Notes: All week we contemplate righteous men and woman at the Advent of the Lord (full 4th week Advent).

At the Homily this past Sunday, I asked this question:

Q: How do you receive a hug?
A: You have to open your arms wide.

Emmanuel comes to you a baby. Open wide your arms to receive him!

Mary, the proto-deacon, faithful exemplar, Mother of God, her first act is to act in charity!

  • Righteous Mary, dispenser of divine charity. For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
  • Righteous woman Elizabeth, gratitude and humility in her hour of need.


The biblical Greek word for service. As such it applies to all manner of ministry (official) or assistance (unofficial) that a person may perform or render either to the Church in general or to some private individual.

From: https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/dictionary/index.cfm?id=33072

First reading
“O my dove in the clefts of the rock, in the secret recesses of the cliff, Let me see you, let me hear your voice, For your voice is sweet, and you are lovely.”

Responsorial Psalm
Exult, you just, in the Lord! Sing to him a new song.

Alleluia Verse
O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law: come to save us, Lord our God!

Gospel Portion
Set-up: And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren.

Today’s gospel portion:
Mary set out in those days and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.

Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

Service, humility and gratitude.

Open wide your arms to receive the baby Jesus!

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry


Greetings on this the Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Advent
Readings: Is 7:10-14; PS 24:1-2, 3-4ab, 5-6; Lk 1:26-38
Notes: How often we design our own solutions without the divine aid.

Ask! The Lord answers in ways beyond our imagination! (Continuing the contemplation of righteousness in action).

  • Manoah asked.
  • Zechariah asked.
  • Ahaz wouldn’t ask.
  • Joseph didn’t get a chance to ask AFAWCT.
  • Mary asked.

Talk with the Lord for he has planned marvelous things!

Therefore, the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace (Isa 9:5).

First reading
The LORD spoke to Ahaz: Ask for a sign from the Lord, your God; let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky!

Responsorial Psalm
Let the Lord enter; he is the king of glory.

Alleluia Verse
O Key of David, opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom: come and free the prisoners of darkness!

Gospel Portion
The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”

Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end.

But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?”

And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.


Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

A righteous man

Greetings on this the Fourth Sunday of Advent
Readings: Is 7:10-14; Ps 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6; Rom 1:1-7; Mt 1:18-24
Notes: The 4th Sunday of Advent has arrived and the length of the 4th week of Advent is highly variable.

Depending on the day of the week Christmas day falls, the 4th week of Advent can be only hours long or a full week in length. This year it is a full week.

In addition to this variability of calendar is the cycles of readings. We have the Cycle A readings. The Birth of Jesus, Gospel of Matthew, the Vision of Joseph.

We have an entire week to contemplate Joseph and his encounter with the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said:

Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.

Joseph himself has his own feast day, March 19th (days before the Solemnity of the Annunciation).

Our first reading has us contemplating another Divine-Human encounter, Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz with the Sign of Emmanuel. Through the week, those who act rightly with the Lord:

  • Zechariah.
  • Mary.
  • Mary-Elizabeth-John.
  • Mary-Magnificat.
  • Elizabeth-John.
  • Zachariah-John.
  • Year A The Birth of Jesus.
  • Year B Announcement of the Birth of Jesus.
  • Year C Mary Visits Elizabeth.

First reading
Unrighteous Decision

But Ahaz answered, “I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!”

Tempt the LORD: Ahaz prefers to depend upon the might of Assyria rather than the might of God (NABRE commentary). How many in the Church make the deals that Ahaz makes?

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign; the young woman, pregnant and about to bear a son, shall name him Emmanuel.

For the Christian the incarnation is the ultimate expression of God’s willingness to “be with us (NABRE commentary).

Responsorial Psalm
Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory.

Second reading
Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised previously through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, the gospel about his Son, descended from David according to the flesh, but established as Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness through resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Alleluia Verse
The virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel.

Gospel Portion
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.

Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.

Divine-human encounter.
Righteous decision.

When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.

Be a righteous man or woman:

  1. Listen to the Lord when he speaks.
  2. Receive the message and contemplate the meaning (harmony, peace, mission, right a wrong).
  3. Act rightly.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Assemble and listen, listen to your father

Jesus, Mary and Joseph

Greetings on this the Saturday of the Third Week of Advent
Readings: Gn 49:2, 8-10; PS 72:1-2, 3-4ab, 7-8, 17; Mt 1:1-17
Notes: I was explaining to someone yesterday that sacred Scripture is storytelling at its finest.

I don’t mean fictional storytelling or the telling of lies (a common slang definition).
It is the art of the Oral Tradition to tell the story again and again then brought to paper in the Written Tradition.

In many cases, the stories are refined literary genius communicating great and powerful truth.
In other cases, it is the memory of our Ancestors, those who came before us.

This past week of Re-joy the church gave you example Sir 48:1-4, 9-11, Praise of the Ancients.
Soon we’ll re-encounter the entire book of Exodus!

But today we listen to a different story.

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham (Matthew).
From Abraham, the Father of Nations, to Jesus.

This genealogy doesn’t contain everyone.
The purpose is to treat it as an Index or Table of Contents to the stories and personalities of the Ancients.
Their stories.
Their communities.
The storytelling is never perfect in fact but perfect in spirit and intention.

Their children, of which comes Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.

First reading
Jacob called his sons and said to them: “Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob, listen to Israel, your father.

Responsorial Psalm
Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.

Alleluia Verse
O Wisdom of our God Most High, guiding creation with power and love: come to teach us the path of knowledge!

Gospel Portion
Tell your story to your children.
Of grandparents, great-grands and as much as can be remembered.

Tell again the story of the Birth of Jesus.

Jesus’ family is your family too.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry