Due to popular request, we are bringing back our daily sermons to be published here:
✠ The Bishop’s Corner ✠
Ah, what a rush! All November and even through December, Winter usually waits demurely in the wings here in the Ohio Valley. It is content only to nip us playfully, like a cat in the lap. But this year everything is in a rush. Winter pushes its way in, bringing with it Christmassy thoughts, robbing the old Catholic feast of Martinmas or Thanksgiving (its American incarnation) of any staying power.
Merchants must be delighted at the wintry weather which pushes people toward Christmas thoughts and shopping (as though the ads did not). But it troubles travelers going to and from the feast, these fierce storms. If travelers were in a hurry, they had to wait, perhaps long hours last week, due to the weather. Someone is always called to patience.
But travelers seem to be the only ones waiting. The world of commerce has revved it up a notch, trying to sell Christmas shopping on Thanksgiving Day – an offence against common sense, which is its own punishment.
Well, even the calendar this year rushes us Catholics, telling us to hurry along from leftover turkey feasting to a new church year today: not Christmas yet, but Advent, its preparation. So we put on purple, and resolve on some penance and prayer, and light the first candle of our wreath, the only Christmas greenery we will admit to our homes for the moment.
What else can we do? May I recommend a good dose of Vitamin C against the Winter rush? Chill, Check out, and Consider.
Chill: settle down, sit still, take a breath in prayer and quiet the noisy voices of needs, real and imagined, that drive the season. Pray!
Check out: leave this world in spirit, settle your accounts with God (examination of conscience and a good confession) and depart from the troubled, noisy place you used to stay. Head on out to Bethlehem. It will take you awhile, since one only goes on foot or camel or donkey. There’s no fast way to get there, though fasting does fuel your way!
Consider: with yourself, God and His eternal truths, God and His plan for you; you and your plans and God…that should slow you down, and keep you busy!
I pray as well that we will all check out of the current culture, its gross commercialism, its doctrine and demands, as well as of the Conciliar Church, its non-Catholic ways which confuse so many, or at least take up time better given to eternal truths.
These are my Advent greetings and good wishes. Now, on to my news. Last weekend Fr. McGuire gave a recollection in Chillicothe to prepare three candidates for confirmation. On Sunday I made my first visit to our cozy new St. Clare Chapel, nestled in the family home. This is “the wave of the future,” I think, for serving our remnant Catholics, small groups “selected out of grace” throughout the world. At 25 souls or so, this is one of our larger congregations. It was a pleasure to see the faithful, and their dear children, again.
Fr. McGuire is in Milwaukee today, having done a wedding yesterday. Fr. Lehtoranta baptized little Aidan Soli last Sunday. The Kingdom grows! We may outgrow those living rooms after all.
Fr. McKenna, who returned to us only last Monday, his bad cold still in tow, is up at St. Clare today, beginning a new catechetical series of sermons for the faithful. Pace Bergoglio, but the greatest problem the Church faces today is not unemployment of the young, or loneliness of the old, but ignorance of the Catholic Faith on the part of young and old. This study should employ our time and allay the loneliness of our quiet hours.
May “Our Lady of the Catechism” who appeared in our own country (Champion, Wisconsin, in 1859) inspire you to study your faith, and to teach it to others, first in your own family. A good Advent resolution!
We are not only working on Nigeria at the moment, but also North Dakota. If you know of any true Catholics thereabouts, have them contact us. We have a mission in Grand Forks, but would like to serve other souls as well.
Yesterday, St. Andrew’s Day, I marked my 20th anniversary as a Catholic bishop with a High Mass of Thanksgiving. Bishop Pivarunas’ kind call to consecration so many years ago has made possible the ordination of 14 priests, as well as “countless” Confirmations (I never counted them all, probably several thousand) as well as the consecration of altar stones, Greek corporals, and the Holy Oils for priests throughout the world. Deo Gratias. Thank you for the continued support of your prayers. I’m revving up my miter and crozier for a busy season.
I thank Fr. Cekada for his good sermon last Sunday, as well as for his pioneering “tweets” on Twitter, and informative e-mails for the apostolate. True Restoration’s Stephen Heiner and company have taken TradCircle in hand, and quite revived it. Check out this social site for Catholics, especially the young.
We’re caught up with our calendar orders in the office, early for a change, thanks to Jim. This year’s offering is especially beautiful. We may actually run out. Get yours now!
Do you have an unknown craft talent or two you could share? Help us make our Christmas Craft Sale on December 15th a success. Crafty Jim has made a beautiful miniature children’s or home altar, which we’re selling on eBay this month as a fundraiser. Every little bit helps to spread the light of the Faith, as well as to keep the home fires burning (well, the light and heat bill paid, actually). Thank you for your sacrificial support, especially these Winter months.
I put out the last of last Winter’s bird seed (remember the long tale of the Christmas delivery?) in my feeder recently, but no takers so far. The birds perch on the dead tree next to the feeder, but fly away unfed. I guess this is where “bird brain” comes from. But let us not think ourselves so superior. How many souls are so close to Sacraments and sanctifying grace, but fly away unfed?
God bless you and Mary favor you for a truly blessed Advent. See you on First Friday? Let’s watch and pray the long Advent night away, till dawns the day of Christ Our Lord.
– Bishop Dolan
PS: Advent calls all of us to spread the Kingdom of God, each in his own way, but always in God’s way, which can be quite unexpected.
The other day I had a call from Fr. Pio Espina in Argentina. They have a large Confirmation scheduled for December 8th, but Bishop Morello has been seriously ill in the hospital. Bishop Pivarunas, who often visits them, has another engagement, so they flipped through their bishop rolodex and called me. I last visited them in 2008 for the ordination of Fr. Palma.
I leave on Thursday and return Tuesday next. It is a long journey of some 24 hours. Please keep me in your prayers.
PPS: I am grateful this “Thanksgiving Sunday” for the beautifully sunny if chilly weather for Thanksgiving, and the excellent attendance at Mass. Fr. Cekada was done in, however, by some bad oyster dressing, and so his holiday left something to be desired. I hope yours went well!