Christ the Savior by Deacon David Miller
Pictured here is an icon of Christ the Savior that somehow through the grace of God came from my very hands (and the help of Sister Rosaire!). This is the story of my brush with God, how I came to paint an image of Jesus and how the process deepened my relationship with our Lord.
After Mass one weekend Gerogette Belobrajdic, a parishioner of Holy Sepulcher Parish, asked me to bless some icons that she had brought with her. I love icons and after blessing them I complimented her on their beauty and asked where she had purchased them so that I might get one for myself. She informed me that she had painted them herself at an icon class she had taken with Sister Rosaire Kopczenski at the Sisters of St. Francis in Millvale, just outside of Pittsburgh.
Published as a column in the Holy Sepulcher Bulletin for July 27, 2014
Just like last week, today’s gospel includes three parables about the kingdom of heaven. But today’s parables differ because each of them are told from the viewpoint of individuals who recognize that they have found or collected something that is worth far more than they could have ever imagined or hoped for. So they will spend the time, cost, and effort necessary to secure it for themselves.
The Journey Home set with Karen and host Marcus Grodi
The Journey Home is a program on the Catholic network EWTN that each week features a guest who tells their journey of faith into the Catholic Church. This coming Monday, July 28 at 8 pm ET I will be appearing on the show to tell my story of entering the Catholic Church after growing up a Protestant Lutheran. The story involves a rosary, a robbery, and a number of important people, most of whom I forget to mention, and just about everyone I actually do mention, I forget to mention by name (including my wife Karen!).
Dianne Machesney is the chair of the St. Teresa of Avila Parish (Pittsburgh, PA) Pro-Life Committee and about 12 years ago she started doing a monthly newsletter of pro-life issues for the parish bulletin. The newsletter has expanded to include other Catholic parishes and non-Catholic churches to educate and keep life issues on people’s radar.
If you would like to subscribe to the newsletter for yourself, your parish, or your church you can contact Dianne at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are the most recent editions in PDF Format:
Published as a column in the Holy Sepulcher Bulletin for July 20, 2014
We all have ideas of what heaven is going to be like for us one day. An avid reader might picture heaven to be a library or bookstore with every available title. A golfer might picture heaven as endless rounds of golf on perfectly manicured fairways and greens. Someone who likes to travel or someone who spends a great deal of their life working probably pictures heaven as an endless vacation resting on a sunny beach or hiking, biking, or camping among gorgeous mountains or other beautiful scenery. Certainly each one of us looks forward to meeting our Lord, getting reacquainted with our loved ones, and spending eternity without pain, suffering, illness, or loss at the banquet of heaven. We each have thoughts about heaven and our visions reflect a hope that we are one day going to spend eternity enjoying ourselves in a most wonderful place.
Published as a column in the Holy Sepulcher Bulletin for July 13, 2014
Anyone that has ever tried to get grass to grow on a bare spot in their lawn knows how difficult and what a time consuming process this can be. You have to make sure that before you plant any seed that the area is well prepared. You have to rake to remove rocks and loosen the soil to the proper depth and put extra nutrients into the ground with compost or fertilizer. After scattering seed over the area you must keep the area moist by watering it at least once a day for a couple of weeks, keep the area clear of foot traffic and birds, and remove any weeds that sprout up that will take moisture and nutrients from the seedlings. You have to nurture the grass for it to grow properly. It is a lot of work, but your results depend on how much work you are willing to put into it.
Published as a column in the Holy Sepulcher Bulletin for July 6, 2014
We are now well within the summer vacation season, our time to get away from our busy lives and simply relax. But Jesus says in today’s gospel:
Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.
Today’s gospel is a reminder for us that we truly rest only when we rest in our Lord. So whether we are heading out to a city, park, or beach for a quick weekend getaway or a two-week dream vacation, when we get away from it all, we should not include our faith and our Sunday obligation among the things we are getting away from.
Preached at Holy Sepulcher Parish on June 21 and 22 on the Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ at the 6:00PM (Vigil), 8:00AM, and 10:30AM Masses
On this important feast I thought that we should reflect on the question, “Why the Eucharist?” First, there are many ways that our Lord could be made present for us at Mass. For example, the Eucharist could be a simple religious ceremony where we are symbolically anointed with oil, sprinkled with dirt and ashes, or covered with the aroma of incense. Yet why does Christ come to us in a Eucharistic meal? Next, because this is a meal there are almost an unlimited number of different foods and beverages that our Lord could make himself present for us, everything from simple water to Father John’s famous pasta and sauce. So why does Jesus give us his body and blood in the form of bread and wine? Finally, we all have a number of ways that we can have an encounter with our Lord: in prayer, in the gospel (the word made flesh), in confession, and so on. But why does Christ give us the gift of his very self in the Eucharist? Today on this feast of Corpus Christi we reflect on our intimate encounter with the divine, with our Lord Jesus Christ, in the most holy Eucharist.
Preached at Holy Sepulcher Parish on May 24 and 25 on the 6th Sunday of Easter Cycle A at the 6:00PM (Vigil), 8:00AM, and 10:30AM Masses
A little girl came up to the priest as he was greeting parishioners after Mass, and said, “This week during religion class we learned that God is bigger than anything. Is that true?” inquired the little girl. “Yes, that’s true,” answered the priest, happy that the faith formation program seemed to be doing its job. “God is certainly bigger than anything.” “Well for being so big, he sure is hard to find,” she said. “I’ve looked all over the place and I can’t find him.” “You don’t have to look for God,” replied the priest. “He is inside of you.” “I never thought to look there,” she admitted. “But if God is inside of me and God is bigger than anything, then I better get bigger to make more room for him. How can I do that?” The priest laughed. “You make more room for God by growing spiritually. If you want to grow physically, you eat your vegetables.” The little girl thought about it for a moment and said, “Well if God is bigger than anything he sure must like eating vegetables!”
Preached at Holy Sepulcher Parish on April 12 and 13 on Passion Sunday Cycle A at the 6:00PM (Vigil), 8:00AM, and 10:30AM Masses
Recently I was greeting people in the narthex one Friday night after Stations of the Cross when a woman approached me who seemed so very happy, much happier than the average Catholic who is relieved that Stations are over and the weekend can now begin. You could say she was almost joyful. She said that she had never been to Stations of the Cross before, but she had heard about them and wanted to experience them to see what they were all about. I thanked her for coming and asked her how she liked them. “Very nice,” she said. “The Passion of our Lord came alive for me and I was touched by how it was applied to my life.” Then she asked if she could keep the booklet that she still held in her hands. I thought the booklet would be a reminder of how she was touched and moved by the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of our Lord, so I let her keep it. Besides I am absolutely certain that in this situation Pope Francis would want her to have it.
Preached at Holy Sepulcher Parish on March 22 and 23 on the 3rd Sunday in Lent Cycle A at the 6:00PM (Vigil), 8:00AM, and 10:30AM Masses
As we listen to this gospel today it may seem too long. We live in a world of instant messages and instant gratification; a world of sound bites and 140-character tweets. In fact if Pope Francis tweeted today’s gospel it would take him about 40 tweets to do so. We’re just so busy and our lives have so much going on in them that we have little time or patience for things that take time. We may be thinking, “Just get to the point already. It’s been a long day. I have stuff to do.”
Preached at St. Catherine of Sweden Parish on March 19, 2014 on the Feast of St. Joseph at the 7:00PM Mass
I should probably say to everyone here tonight, “Merry Christmas!” After the winter that we have had this year it certainly still seems appropriate. Today’s gospel reading also makes it seem like Christmas because it takes us back to the Nativity story of our Lord Jesus Christ. But it’s not Christmas, it’s Lent. We can tell because there is no joy and so many people are sad. During Lent many of us punish ourselves by giving up things that make us happy and that can certainly make us sad. I love lots of sugar, especially in my tea, and one year I gave it up for Lent and I was miserable. Lent seemed like it was forty weeks long that year! I couldn’t wait for Lent to be over. I’ll never do that again! Also during Lent we do serious religious things like participating in the Stations of the Cross or attending Mass on Wednesday nights, things we normally don’t do the rest of the year, when we could be at home relaxing watching Survivor, American Idol, or Duck Dynasty.
Here are a few reflections that I have on the film Son of God having seen the movie at the theater this week. This is not a review of any sort, we know the story and how it ends after all, and obviously if we are Christians it is a movie that we should see, if more than anything so that Hollywood makes more movies about faith and the Bible, but I thought that I would write just a few of the themes that struck me as I watched the film, such as God, love, joy, prayer, forgiveness, Mass, and Gospel.
Preached at Holy Sepulcher Parish on February 15 and 16 on the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A at the 4:00PM (Vigil), 8:00AM, and 10:30AM Masses
If you have read George Orwell’s futuristic novel 1984, you know that in the story he warns about the dangers of government and technology, or more accurately the dangers of government using technology. It is considered one of the most depressing novels ever written. I know firsthand because it was required reading in high school, way back in 1984. But even if you have not read the novel, you most certainly heard about Big Brother, the all-knowing government entity in the story who monitors the private lives of its citizens with constant audio and video surveillance. The idea of a Big Brother watching over us as described in the novel seemed far-fetched in 1984, but not today. Technology has improved to the point that much of our lives are indeed monitored and tracked by cellphones, computers, satellites, and video cameras. These things certainly make our lives easier, safer, and more productive, but all the information gathered can be used be used against us, just as it is used against the citizens in the novel 1984. It can make us feel concerned about our privacy.
Preached at Transfiguration Parish on February 9 for the 100th Anniversary of Transfiguration Parish Celebration of World Marriage Day on the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A at the 10:00AM Mass
Good morning! I am Deacon David Miller from Holy Sepulcher Parish on Route 8 south of Butler. I was ordained in June of last year. I would like to thank Father Jim for allowing me the opportunity to serve Mass with him today and for giving me one of my most truly pressure-filled moments: preaching about marriage to my wife Karen and my in-laws, Tom and Edith Jenkins.
Preached at Holy Sepulcher Parish on January 25 and 26, 2013 for the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A at the 4:00PM (Vigil), 8:00AM, 10:30AM, and 5:30PM Masses
Hello! Or I should probably say, “Hello?” because today’s gospel is about answering a call and that is how you used to answer a call. You said “hello” in the form of a question because before cellphones and caller ID, you had no idea who was calling. Answering the phone used to be a gamble. It could be anyone: friends or relatives, telemarketers, Publishers Clearinghouse, Father John, the Pope, a prankster pretending to be the Pope. How different that is from how it is for us today.
Preached at Holy Sepulcher Parish on December 28 and 29, 2013 for the Feast of the Holy Family in Ordinary Time Cycle A at the 4:00PM (Vigil), 8:00AM and 10:30AM Masses
I hope that everyone had a blessed Christmas. My Facebook friends had special Christmases as well. I saw pictures of happy and smiling families, some even in matching outfits; delicious meals and refreshing drinks; homes that were all clean and festively decorated, with beautiful Christmas trees with lovely packages under them. But Facebook is probably not an accurate portrayal of our family Christmas, because we post only the pictures we want others to see, not all the times when “real life” is happening, when things aren’t going according to our expectations.
Published as a message in the Holy Sepulcher Bulletin for December 22, 2013
Holy Sepulcher Christmas
I would like to wish all of you a most blessed Christmas!
Receive the gift of our Lord and Savior with praise and thanksgiving. Mary your hearts be warmed by His love, may your days be brightened by his light, and may your lives reflect the joy of His gospel.
May the Lord bless you and grant you His peace, both now and throughout the coming year!
Preached at Holy Sepulcher Parish on November 23 and 24, 2013 for the Feast of Christ the King in Ordinary Time Cycle C at the 6:00PM (Vigil), 8:00AM and 10:30AM Masses
Today is a big day in the Church. First, it is the feast of Christ the King, when the Church proclaims Jesus as the King of the Universe, with dominion and authority over all peoples and nations. Second, the feast of Christ the King marks the last day of the Year of Faith that Pope Benedict XVI, now Pope Emeritus Benedict, instituted so that we could grow in our faith and deepen our relationship with Christ. Lastly, the feast of Christ the King marks the end of the current Church year as next week we will celebrate the First Sunday of Advent, the start of a new Church year, as we begin our preparations for the coming of the Lord.
Preached at Holy Sepulcher Parish on October 26 and 27, 2013 for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C at the 6:00PM (Vigil), 8:00AM and 5:30PM Masses
I bought a pressure washer recently. I wanted one so that I could clean my deck and siding. It works great, but I haven’t really used it yet except to clean a bird bath and some garden gnomes, despite having it for a month or so. Who knew there were some many makes and models to choose from: gas or electric; cold or hot water; residential, commercial, or industrial. Luckily I found a website that compared the prices and the pluses and minuses of all the available features of hundreds of different pressure washers so that I could buy the right one. Continue reading
Published as a column in the Holy Sepulcher Bulletin for October 20, 2013
Today’s readings focus on two important keys for our spiritual life: Scripture and prayer. Sacred Scripture is important because it gives “wisdom for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ” and helps us to be “competent, equipped for every good work” as Paul tells Timothy in the second reading. Prayer is so important that Jesus teaches the disciples in today’s gospel about “the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.” But how can we find time to obtain wisdom and deepen our faith through Scripture or pray without becoming weary in our already busy lives? The answer is something that we are probably already doing – multitasking!
Published as a column in the Holy Sepulcher Bulletin for October 13, 2013
Thanksgiving is coming up soon! It is November 28 this year, just over a month away. How are your preparations coming along? For Canadians Thanksgiving is the second Monday in October, Monday of this week, so their preparations should be just about completed. For practicing Jews Thanksgiving is not a day, but a week-long festival called Sukkot (pronounced Sue Coat, also known as the Festival of Tabernacles) whose date moves much like Easter does for Christians, and is held sometime between September and October. It ended on September 25 this year, so they have already cleaned up and finished for the year. Today’s gospel reminds us that Thanksgiving should not be a holiday or festival that lasts just a day or a week. Today’s gospel calls us to regular Thanksgiving.
Published as a column in the Holy Sepulcher Bulletin for October 6, 2013
Often during Sunday homilies priests and deacons do not cover the Old Testament readings in any detail, if at all, because the gospel is the most important reading and so it gets most, if not all, of the attention. So I thought I would devote some time in the bulletin this week with an Old Testament reading that I believe speaks very well to us in 2013. In today’s first reading we hear from Habakkuk (rhymes with “have a look”), a prophet who was upset about what was happening in the world around him. Today’s reading, as in much of the short book of Habakkuk, we hear the prophet complaining very directly to God: Continue reading
Preached at Holy Sepulcher Parish on August 17 and 18, 2013 for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C at the 6:00PM (Vigil), 8:00AM and 10:30AM Masses
Christ in Majesty at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC
When you visit the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. you cannot help but notice the mosaic behind the altar. It is made up of about 3 million tiles, covers 3,600 square feet, and the top of it is 15 stories above you. It is called Christ in Majesty and at one time it was the largest mosaic of Jesus in the world. But the size is not what gets your attention, what gets your attention is that Jesus is portrayed differently than how we normally see him. Christ sits on the Throne of Judgment draped in a red garment that exposes the bulging muscles in his arm and chest, a flaming halo surrounds his blond hair, and his blues eyes seem to pierce right through you, into your very soul, as he sternly gazes at you. Continue reading
Published as an insert to in the Holy Sepulcher Bulletin for August 4, 2013
My vanity plate
1. Tell us a little about yourself…where did you grow up?
I was born in Butler and I lived one block from the hospital my entire childhood with my father, mother, and two younger sisters. I was baptized and confirmed Lutheran. I attended public school and graduated from Butler High School. Continue reading
Preached at Holy Sepulcher Parish on July 6 and 7, 2013 for the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C at the 6:00PM (Vigil), 8:00AM and 10:30AM Masses, my first Masses at Holy Sepulcher Parish
Holy Sepulcher Parish sanctuary
Often when you get a deacon, you also get a deacon’s wife. It’s kind of like one of those buy one get one free deals at the grocery store. When you have a vocation to be a deacon, your calling comes through your wife and your marriage, but my vocation would not have even possible without my wife Karen. She helped me study, edited my papers, coordinated my schedule, did whatever was needed to make sure I was ready…everything. She is still helping me. You get to hear the homily once, but she has heard it so many times this week she knows it better than I do. Continue reading
Written July 1, 2013, the day of my assignment to Holy Sepulcher Parish and subsequently published on the parish website
Hello! I am David Miller, your new deacon at Holy Sepulcher! I have officially been your deacon for about a minute now, but I thought that I would take this opportunity just to say, “Hello!”
My wife Karen and I are parishioners at St. Catherine of Sweden, but we live in Gibsonia very close to Routes 8 and 910 and so your parish is very much convenient for us. In fact time wise I think we are closer to Holy Sepulcher. We recently visited the parish and got the grand tour with Father John. This past weekend we attended Mass at 6PM on Saturday just to get a feel for how liturgy happens at the parish. The parish seems very vibrant, very welcoming, and very much growing. We are truly blessed that I have been assigned to your parish and to be able to work with Father John and the staff.
My wife Karen and I look forward to meeting all of you very soon!
Know that all of you are in our prayers!
Deacon David Miller
Preached at St. Catherine of Sweden Parish on June 30, 2013 for the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C at the 11:00AM and 6:00PM Masses, my last Masses before my new assignment at Holy Sepulcher Parish
With my wife Karen after Mass at St. Catherine of Sweden
How many of you know who Nik Wallenda is? Nik was the star of the most watched show on cable last week, the Discovery Channel special Skywire Live. For those of you that did not see it, a quick synopsis: Nik journeyed from one side of the Grand Canyon to the other on live TV, not by the traditional two days and twenty miles of down and back up, but by crossing the 1,500 feet gorge by walking a quarter mile across a two-and-a-half inch cable, without any safety equipment, no tether, no nets, nothing! It was just him in a shirt, a pair of jeans (an odd choice if you ask me), some wire-walking shoes (his mother made), a very large pole for balance, and a camera on his head that recorded his footsteps on the wire and the river below. I was so nervous I could not even sit down: my heart was pounding, I was sweating, and my legs were shaking. But I must admit that I was completely fascinated by the show and Nik’s journey across the Grand Canyon. Continue reading
Preached at St. Catherine of Sweden Parish on June 16, 2013 for the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C at the 11:00AM Mass, the Celebration Mass of my ordination to the diaconate.
After the Celebration Mass at St. Catherine of Sweden in front of the Life of Jesus stained glass window.
I recently went shopping for a new car, in small part because I wanted to get myself a special gift for ordination, but mostly because my old car was falling apart. After all what parish wants to have a deacon whose car is going to break down all of the time, unless of course you can walk from your home to the parish. I am not that close to Holy Sepulcher parish. Continue reading
Welcome to Deacon DSM!
I am Deacon David S. Miller and I was ordained for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh on June 15, 2013 and I am assigned to the St. Kilian, Seven Fields and Holy Sepulcher Parish, Glade Mills/Butler, PA grouping.
The latest edition of the Pro-Life Newsletters for August 2019 is now available. Click here for the Pro-Life newsletter page.
The video of my appearance on The Journey Home on EWTN is available on YouTube. Click here to view it.