Off-the-Grid is a place where people from all around northern Nevada – and beyond –  respond to questions posed by the Reno Catholic Project team; a spot where the “regular (or irregular!) Catholic” can take part in a conversation with people who consider life and faith as a part of the same reality and be heardWe can’t wait to hear what you have to say!


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Why do catholics pray to the Saints?


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What a great question, “When should a person pray?” and the answer for me is the following!

**YESTERDAY, we should have prayed to thank the Lord for everything we have and ARE today.

**TODAY we should pray for everything we now enjoy and for the anticipation of a blessed and happy tomorrow.

**TOMORROW we should pray for all that awaits us still in the future.

In short–the best answer to the question is: “In gratitude for this precious time we have spent yesterday, today, and tomorrow–anytime and all the time is the best time to pray.”



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“So many stories—but one in particular where “I found God  in my everyday life.”  Many years ago, I had finished teaching a dance class at my studio. It was dark and I awaited my husband’s arrival to pick me up and close the studio. All the students had left with the exception of one new male student who lingered behind.  I knew it was suspicious and I felt very intimidated…and the moment was surreal!   Thank GOD my husband came exactly when he did. To this day, I know that it was GOD (through my husband) who protected me from this situation—the male student never returned to class!





OffthegridWe invite you to leave your thoughts in the comment box below.  What’s on your mind?



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LentWe invite you to leave your thoughts in the comment box below.  What’s on your mind?


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I connect my work with my prayer life. I chose Benedict as my Confirmation name partly because I wanted to model my life according to the Benedictine motto “Ora et labora”. I also pray daily to St. Joseph, the patron of workers, to help me align my profession to my vocation as a husband and father. And of course, I make sure to dedicate one day to the Lord and rest. Not only is this a way to remind myself of my dependence upon God in my work (Jn 15: 5); but rest allows us to break the routines of life that can inhibit our creativity.

James Rizza

“The commitment to our work begins with the respect we develop by living it daily as a sacred work–offering it to God for the care of family society.  How can we make work one of the many ways to serve God through our creativity, and thus serve his Creation?

Since I would’ve never imagined myself doing the work I have been doing for the past 4 years (Director of Religious Education, Parish Secretary, Receptionist, Website), I can only believe that God put me “in His way” for a purpose!  Previously, my only purpose in “work life” was that of being a good dancer, teacher, and choreographer; then came Marriage and family—the best “work life” ever for me!  Now, I feel that I continue to serve God even more “close-up” by being able to facilitate for His people their needs for Pastor, Word, and Sacraments.  Even on my most stressful days—IT IS AN HONOR!


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I would say that the WELL-BEING of my two wonderful daughters is what I worry about most frequently.  I am and have always been a “worry wart”—and as much as I try not to be, I still worry. The daughters say to me (lovingly), “Mom, you worry too much…we are fine..we are careful, etc. etc.  How do you even leave the house?” The best way (and usually only way that I can deal with my ‘my worries’) is by praying and asking the Lord to keep them safe…please! please! please! On then do I get a certain sense of relief in knowing that He—our Almighty God—is keeping His watchful eyes on them.



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Ethnic pic

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What can you do as a family this week to show your gratitude for these blessings?

 family pic

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This past Father’s Day weekend (as well as the Mother’s Day weekend in May) was particularly difficult for my husband and I because we felt very “far away” from our daughters who live approximately 500 miles away…and a 9hr. drive. Of course, we communicate daily via phone & text messaging… but that is just not the same as a physical hug or one-on-one conversation, etc. So, feeling down makes it difficult at times to realize God’s continuous blessings to our family and even His master plan at work!

This week then –like every week– we can only strive to make every texted message or phoned word count (and be grateful for this instant technology) while we look forward to and cherish the times we are actually together!  God truly has kept us “close” and we are very grateful!

Yvonne Zaskoda


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What is the significance of the Holy Thursday foot washing rite?

Washing of the feet

The Lord Jesus washed the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper as a sign of the new commandment that Christians should love one another: “Such as my love has been for you, so must your love be for each other. This is how all will know you for my disciples: by your love for one another” (see John 13, 34-35). For centuries the Church has imitated the Lord through the ritual enactment of the new commandment of Jesus Christ in the washing of feet on Holy Thursday.

Letty Anguiano

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Remember the saying: “Actions speak louder than words.”    Lent is a time when we can recommit our lives to living God’s  Word rather than just talking about it.


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I believe that all three Lenten observances are most admirable; however, keeping more in touch with the Lord through extra prayer is what I shall try to accomplish.  While there—I guess it wouldn’t hurt to ask God for a bit more willpower when it  comes to food, especially treats, in lieu of the fact that so many people around the world are starving and crave just a piece of bread.  Likewise,  it would be a good thing for ALL of us to fill up our Rice Bowls during this season with spare change to assist those who are really poor and in need!

Yvonne Zaskoda

qUESTWe invite you to leave your thoughts in the comment box below.  What’s on your mind?


“Definitely, the most satisfying and rewarding gift my husband and I gave this Christmas was our PRESENCE at our daughters’ homes in Los Angeles—and, certainly, the pleasure was ours!Plus, we were able to share Christmas Eve  Midnight Mass with them (and their non-Catholic boyfriends) at Our Lady Queen of Angels in Newport Beach.

Yvonne Zaskoda

The way things went this Christmas season TIME seems to have been the most important gift that I gave. A friend had a lot of trouble getting around and I offered my car and some cooking skills!  Heart and hands!


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Rehearsal is always the avenue to a good performance; therefore, I might liken Advent—this special time of preparation for Jesus’ arrival into the world—as my “rehearsal” for what I might say to Jesus at the moment I meet Him.

On my knees, I would say, “I’m finally glad to meet you, Lord.  I pray that my life and efforts have helped me to be worthy of this glorious occasion and, hopefully, a place at your side (at least very nearby) in heaven.”

Yvonne Zaskoda

Thank you, Lord of the Universe, for all the gifts you always offer me. Thank you for all I receive: for the water that washes me, for the clothes I wear, for the … bread that sustains me. For my dwelling and my parents, for my sisters and brothers, and for my friends. For the knowledge gained from striving, and for the toils of each day. For the good mornings that have dawned upon me, for the light that shines upon me, and for the handshakes that link me to others. For the time you have allotted me, for the life you have offered me, and for the blessings of each new day. Thanks you for being with me, Lord, for listening to me, and for taking me seriously. Thank you even for receiving today’s thank you. Thank you, Lord, thank you very much. Amen.

My Family, My Faith, My job, My House, My Friends, My Health, My Country, The Election Is Over! I have too many things to list and I am thankful for that too!

Anna Hill

Thank you Father God in heaven for your Grace and Mercy

Thank God for his loving Son Jesus who wants to know us and wants to know me

Thank God for the Holy Spirit who guides us and guides me in all truths.

For my immediate family and distant relatives

For the Catholic Church and my extended family in Christ

For the ministries God has called me to serve with passion alongside with my brothers and sisters in Christ

For the United States of America

For my girlfriend

Eugene Gasataya

Life, Faith, Family, Friends, Parish Community, Pastoral Center Leaders, Creation in General, Laughter.

Terry Domitrovich

1. My health.  2.  My wonderful husband of 27 years.  3.  My three beautiful daughters.  4. My five grandchildren.   5. My brothers and sisters.   6.  Having had the opportunity of my having my mother, Luscia Maria Chavez for 29 years.   7.  My co-workers, who make coming to work an alright thing.   8.  My work/job.


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My husband has never been a man of an abundance of words. But I recall a part of a rather long conversation in which he did most of the talking, and he said, “I have tried to imagine what my life would be like if you weren’t in it and what I saw was a life of sameness, just one day following another; a life with no waves, just smooth sailing; predictable and boring. I don’t want that sort of life anymore. What I want is for you to marry me…because a life with you in it, WILL NEVER BE BORING!!!  After 41 plus years, he can still honestly say, It has never been boring. Lol

If there seems to be one constant in Life; it is Change. It is continuous; from conception until we are well over the threshold of death, and who knows if it will even end then. To choose “One Change In My Life” which most affected me would be the difficulty, because to me, “change” and “life” are synonymous.

Whether we are conscious of it or unaware, change is the pattern, the very fabric of our lives.  We spend a lot of our time trying, to fight it, to predict it, to control it, being overwhelmed by it, to bring order to it, measure it, being paralyzed by it, trying to channel and guide it, stifle it, force our will on it, get ahead of it, grab hold of it to slow it down, run from it, hide from it, ignore its happening, worry over it, stress over it, deny it, yearn to go back to before it…
But it is what it is.

Day becomes Night, Spring becomes Summer, Fall becomes Winter. Advent becomes Christmas, becomes Epiphany, becomes Ordinary time, become Lent, becomes Easter, becomes Pentecost, becomes Ordinary Time, becomes Advent… Sometimes there is comfort in the changing of the cycles of life, but each one, each time it comes around, there is change, differences that distinguish this one, from the ones that came before, growth…never will be the same ever again…more growth, aging, maturing, climbing, falling, climbing again…remembering, clinging to, caressing with tears for what was, fear of what will be…acceptance, blame, yearning, struggle, ease and contentment, accomplishments, failures, mourning, jubilation and triumph, shame, betrayal, and guilt, unforgiveness, forgiveness,

But despite our best efforts; the reality is we live on a planet made up of Tectonic plates that are shifting, sliding, lifting, shuttering, changing and yet, we live as if we are on safe, firm, known stable ground, and are stunned; in shock when the earthquakes, torrential rains, deaths, loss of our jobs, loss of our purpose, sudden accidents damage, maim, cripple, serious illness or abuse ripple the ground  of our lives, or our loved ones, or the stranger we happen upon in the ditch beside the road, or the cure is far more damaging than the disease, …

Everything we have been spending our time doing, investing our energy in, that was so important just moments before, Stops! No longer important. No longer a priority.  We live in the moment.  Are consumed by the pain of it, the numbness of it, the largeness of it and how small and insignificant we really are, how vulnerable, how wounded, how weak, how needy, how alone…wondering how life can go on after this, how we can ever recover from this, or if we even want to… we discover as well, each time the earth shakes, the surprise of our strength, our courage, our growth, if we go through it alone, or with others, our ability to receive help and give it, our selflessness and the gratitude of the selflessness of others.
We follow the pattern of change/ birth, life, passion, death, conversion, and resurrection as it repeats throughout our life, some times in the little things which are really the big things; sometimes in the big things in which we find our littleness.,
Throughout, we have, Emmanuel (God with us), and whether we feel desolately alone or acutely aware of His Presence,
It is What it is.

And whether we want them to, or not, the seasons of our lives will continue their changing and night will become day, and day, night…ever changing; never the same…

Once when I felt like I had been ran over by a Mack truck, and I felt at the same time I was drowning in a mud bog, while the flood of change was raging rapidly and constantly over my wounded body, heart and soul, I raised my weary head slightly looking up to God and asked the question, “Is there nothing stable, secure, unchanging?” and the little, simple prayer, I had learned as a small child came to me, “Glory Be to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.”

In that moment, I was at Peace, for my God is unchanging!!!!
And Always Here.
The Blessing in all things is, Blessed Be God Forever!!!!!
The Grace of that Peace is always Present, I have only to remember it to bring it into My presence.
Then no matter what,


“Regarding my Faith and the Church—I am simply an enthusiastic believer!  Because I am a choreographer of dance, I often visualize the Church

(in particular, the tradition and celebration of the Eucharist) as the most brilliantly choreographed dance I can imagine.  And, no matter where it

is performed, it is a repetition of that same splendid dance.  For me, then, Faith is all the steps and movements performed to create all that is the Church.”


This is a hard question.  Living in todays world it is very hard to be Christ like.  Watching tv, listening to the radio, and just going about your everyday duties.  My biggest failure is my brain.  I can’t be a Christ like person looking at people and judging their clothes, or the way they talk (foul language), or wanting what they have.  In Mass Father says to go out and spread the word, another big failure.  If it’s the right time, right place. i’m all over it, but every day, not.  Try like the dickens, but the mind is willing, the flesh is weak.  Hope to do better tomorrow.

Beth Cichowlaz

Whenever I meet a family who has been away from the church for awhile, I am graced to see the face of Christ in their stories.  Regardless of culture, family structure, sacramental need, or economic status, they all seek one thing: to be received as fellow travellers on The Way.  It is such a privilege to serve them, to love them, to invite them into an encounter with the Living God who already possesses their soul, they just may not realize it yet.


When I give change to a person begging or offer a ride to some one who will wait hours for the bus or have to walk miles. I offer water or sodas to people who look like they may it.  At the cemetery we get alot of ‘strange’ disenfranchized people looking for spiritual guiadance (Sr. Ofelia) or help with directions, when I learn their situation I think of how can i help?  I have even given people half my lunch, packs of cigarrettes, bus money.  This may not make me Christ-like but as one human to another I still remember kindnesses done for me in the past.    Sophia

P.S. The words of Mother Theresa; if we can not do great things, do small things with great love.

As a Catholic elementary school principal, I asked students and teachers to give “Little Way” awards, encouraging them to acknowledge the little ways that they could thank people for Christ-like behavior or commitment.   St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower, often wrote about the “Little Way” to Christ.  Most of the students wrote “Little Way” awards to their friends for sharing or being nice.  Teachers wrote “Little Way” awards for students for doing well on tests or homework.  One girl in fifth grade who was and is especially committed to our Catholic faith, thanked God for all that he had done for the school by providing for us and loving us, always.  This profound understanding of God’s love for us was, for me, the epitome of a Christ-like person.


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I contemplated this question while I was on vacation.  There have been so many times that people said things that gave me new life or a new start.  But, while walking by myself on the beach, it occurred to me that sometimes, it is silence that allows me to reflect and renew.  Listening to the sound of waves, wind, trickling water, a bird chirping, or even total stillness and quiet can give me a new perspective without the complication of words.  It allows me to listen and refresh my attitude and outlook.


In the late 60’s when I was leaving the comfort and security of home to pursue my career, a very special friend and teacher/mentor handed ma a note with the following words:

“(my nickname), remember, never look left or right, look ahead. Think of God and the beauty of your deepest wishes—live them, regardless of what work you are doing now, tomorrow, or next year…”

To this day, I cherish the note with his words which led me to “many new starts”—even ones I would have never imagined for myself!  Best of all, one of these “new starts” led me to my husband and girls.  God works in mysterious ways!

Yvonne Zaskoda

Know what you want and learn how to ask for it.

Sophia at OMOS

I absolve you from your sins.  In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  (Amen.)  Go in peace.


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As always, I could be more patient.  It is one of the hardest areas for me to be a good example.  I just want to experience everything there is to see, do, feel, hear, taste…God granted me the wisdom to learn patience but I am woefully lacking in the execution.  It is the one prayer that is prayed every single day.

I guess I have my moments where I find a tremendous amount of patience, such as:  a teen in crisis, a family that is experiencing a loss due to death, someone who is really irritated with where they think the church’s teachings interfere with their life, but please do not get inside my car with me!

Each day, I work towards being a more patient and therefore, loving person.  Maybe the world would like to follow me?


Karen Smeath

I run my dogs in the desert every morning and in doing so they run about 5 miles and I walk about 1 mile.  During this time I say my prayers in peace and quite, and just talk to God like any other person.  About my problems, worries, kids, the world. Just talk.  Then, in closing, I say, “Thy will by done.”  And let it go.  It keeps me going and focused for the day.

God’s love be with you,

Beth Cichowlaz, OLPH

It’s amazing how good it feels to recognize and celebrate “absolutely nothing in particular” during these everyday, in-between and ordinary moments. Just like the season of “Ordinary Time”—which really is an extraordinary time of many events in Jesus’ life—it is just not too difficult for me to find God all around me in the extraordinary abundance of Tahoe’s beautiful nature.  Somehow, it becomes clearer to me in this “quiet time” that God is giving me the opportunity to “catch my breath,” recharge and relax, address and fix my troubles—and with hope, include Him in all that I see, do, and feel.


We, as Christians, are blessed with the opportunity to reenact every year, the fulfillment of what God promised through the prophets.  If we begin with the understanding that God was present in the world in many ways, except human,  in the life of the people of the old testament, it makes it easier to see that God kept trying to reveal what the people needed to do in order to come back to him in heaven.

Because the people kept turning away from what God revealed, he decided to come down amongst us as a human and show us the way.  God told the prophets what to look for in his coming into the world and the reason was to fully reveal (revelations), in its completeness, all of the things we needed to do to gain eternal happiness.

Here’s the key to those revelations. “Come Follow me”.    If you follow me, I will explain to you all I instructed in the old testament.    If you follow me, I will teach you how to love me and to love your neighbors. If you follow me, I will show you how to live the commandments through my own actions of daily life. If you follow me, I will reveal to you all you need, not only in this life, but also to follow me to the way of the cross. If you follow me, I will teach you how to die to this world, so that through my own resurrection you too will rise after your death. Jesus told us that these things are my fathers’ remaining revelations, and there will be no more after my last apostle dies from this world. He told us that we have been told all the things we need in order to come back to Him.

How do I find God and live in his presence in the ordinary times?

In my life I have a short and sweet answer.  I try to follow Jesus in all things I do. 

Ordinary time is the life of Jesus (God made man). When I rise in the morning I give praise to God for my rest. I petition Him to guide me through the day and let me encounter others who have a need of some kind. I represent Him in sharing compliments of others I meet, letting them know I recognize nice things about them (a new hairdo, a new outfit, their smile, their kindness to others and so on), or maybe even a recognition of a sadness in a person allowing me the opportunity to be a good listener. There may also be an opportunity to offer my time to help in ordinary chores of daily life.  Do good deeds for others. Share the life of Jesus with others so that they too will come to know Him. At the end of my day, I give thanks to God for allowing me the opportunities to be like Jesus.  I find God in others.

Ordinary Time is living the stories about Jesus and His life here on earth.  Each year when we read scripture and listen to daily readings we come to know more and more about the love of Jesus and why He came to earth.  He loves us! He wants us to follow Him home.

Deacon Dan

Sometimes I think the easiest times to find God are in the “festivals, feasts and solemnities” that we celebrate every year liturgically.  I find my greatest challenge during the “ordinary” time.  But what is a challenge?  For me, it a time to challenge my ideas of faith.  What am I not doing?  What would I like to do?  What do I need to do?  I find it difficult to change my habits during the celebration times because I get caught up in the traditions that I have experienced year after year.  It is in the “breathable” ordinary time that I can reassess  my faith life, look at the everyday gifts God has given me and make this time a little less “ordinary”!

Karen Smeath

In answer to your question, “ Finding God in ordinary time “.. I saw him in this mornings sunrise, and sadly in the death of a thorny olive tree that toppled in my garden, after last weeks wind. I cried, as I thought of the same kind of branch thorns being pushed into Jesus’, flesh at his crucifixion. The neighbor across the street, who came to help me clip and drag the branches away, wept with me. In the gentle wind that cooled us as we labored. The interrupting phone call from my son. The quail at the feeder. My gosh Letty, I was surrounded by God, in every moment of this “ordinary” day. I know you meant Liturgical time… but my spirit took me elsewhere.

Sincerely, Jane Montalbano, DRE

I find it difficult to live in God’s presence at any time, not just in ordinary time.  I’m not sure I hear Him or am receiving the right signals from Him.  This has always been my greatest difficulty.  But I endeavor to go on, praying I’ll hear Him or find Him in something.

Blessings+ Terry Sheldon

Just off the top of my head…
First, Incarnation gave us the gift of God made man walking with us. Through Resurrection our time has been sanctified.  I believe that since the Resurrection we have no ordinary time. Time has been irrevocably glorified and every minute is filled with God made man: Incarnation.
It is given to us to share the gifts we have in the redeemed time with which we have been blessed. All of us share in this time-within-time.  It seems to me that if we make Incarnation/Resurrection present to our consciousness through prayer everything is transformed and all the things Deacon Dan mentioned that seem so ordinary to us bear the imprint of Incarnation/Resurrection.

Take care, Letty.
God bless you and your family

Barbara Hinsvark

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We invite you to leave your thoughts in the comment box below.  What’s on your mind?

Wow, this one could depend on the day…your state of mind at the time…etc. but here goes.

In my long career as a professional dancer, I’ve developed an incredible amount of discipline—which is not a bad thing or quality. But, sometimes it can hinder me in just letting go and enjoying the moment because it doesn’t “fit-in” with what I’ve trained myself to do… or what “needs” to be done. So, in answer to the question, I believe that letting myself do a “conversion experience” in this area is a good idea.  I think the Lord would “root” for me, too, since there is so much beauty in His world to enjoy.


Patience!  I do not exercise patience most of the time!  I cannot wait to find out the end of a book.  I cannot wait to get my destination instead of enjoying the journey.  I have a very difficult time praying (it takes too long!) and waiting for God to reveal himself to me.  It is the one trait of which I am the most hard on myself.  I guess I am lucky that God has chosen to answer my prayer and give me many opportunities to learn how to control it!


That’s a “no brainer’ for me.  I have always struggled with impatience.  I don’t know how many times I may have hurt someone or prevented them form accomplishing something on their own because of my lack of patience.  I have fought this all my life.  I think of all the times people have been patient with me for my lacking and I thank God that I have these people in my life and their example.


Trust in God and trust that there is a God.



We invite you to leave your thoughts in the comment box below.  What’s on your mind?As  a priest who trust in our baptismal gifts, I view our parishioners and myself as a community of equals with different responsibilities.  Together, but in diverse ways, we are all called to actually be a living example of God’s Divine love and to help unravel that mystery of God’s unconditional love.  We complement each other according to our unique gifts and talents.   We treat and deal with each other as co-disciples recognizing that deep in the hearts of everyone, we all desire a better world,united, reconciled and healed.  We strengthen each other because we agree on our task and mission and do it as best we can admitting our failures and being grateful for our victories.


The more the people support, reinforce, and praise us, it seems the more I am made stronger in my ministry.  Imagine if you never heard any kind of feed back from people on how and what you’re doing.  You would begin to wonder.  At least in the Parishes I have been involved in the good people of the Church always offer their support in word and in deed, and that continues to strengthen my commitment to the Church and her people.

Fr. Mike Mahone

In answer to the questions “How the community strengthens my call” I found several things come to my mind.

First, is the hunger in the parishioners for faith enrichment. The constant petition for information and answers to how to live a Catholic Faith. More understanding about rituals and about the Church’s stand on moral and social issues of our modern world. These lead to opportunities to get together in scripture study, apologetic discussion groups, topics provided by the Why Catholic? adult faith formations given to us through RENEW International. Leading Catholics to understanding their Catholic faith through use of the Catechism book. Encouraging all to listen to the Word during liturgy and seek commentaries that help to more fully enjoy Homilies. These are all ways the community helps to answer my call.

Second, is through establishing opportunities for parishioners and friends to participate in actions of helping our neighbors. Participation in programs of Outreach, going past the outer doors of the parish and feeding the hungry; providing clothes to the needy; always looking for ways to help others in need. Sometimes in simply visiting the homebound and elderly care centers. Taking communion to them. These are all ways the community helps to answer my call.

Third, is through simple acts of kindness. Knowing that someone needs help and making time to repair a door, fix a garbage disposal, a ride to the doctor, taking someone shopping; watching a child while the parent gets some rest time and so on. These are all ways the community helps to answer my call.

The community is the Pool of opportunities, I simply have to make the time to answer those calls.

Deacon Dan McHugh

Well, often, one feels like the Church community doesn’t really care—they just want things to get done and, of course, always in “ the same way it has always been done.” On the other hand, many times the community can make you aware of situations and/or things that need improvement or just need to be done. They  offer suggestions and give you feedback—some positive, some biased and negative but, oh well, that’s human nature. Needless to say, though, it is very welcoming when the community supports you and even offers to help—especially when you are so overwhelmed– and it is those moments that can strengthen my  resolve to get it done!

Our Lady of Tahoe


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