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Advent III

Bishop’s Corner
A window in our winter weather opened Wednesday, and the sun shone brightly for our Blessed Lady’s Immaculate Conception. I was even able to sit in some sunny windless corner of my garden to pray my Office that afternoon, and most of you were able to make it for Mass. The sunlight sung Mass at nine was beautifully quiet and calm, the kind of Mass I spoke of as “silent” last Sunday. Our thanks go to our excellent school choir (who also helped with First Vespers) and quietly competent servers. I was happy that our Sunday choristers got a break, and could hear Mass with their families. I am grateful, however, to those who could not. Joan Lotarski was still on duty for she directs both choirs, and Mark filled in as the other bishop’s chaplain. The Lotarskis recently celebrated their Silver Anniversary with a Solemn Mass, and we thank God for their presence with us, and all they do.

Despite last Sunday’s fresh snow, our attendance was very good, and our congregation even grew by one. Dale Moore, who helps out at church several days a week, was finally received into the Church, confirmed and given First Holy Communion. I say “finally” for this fine family man has been a regular at Mass for years, far more faithful than many a Catholic! Welcome home, Dale!

Fr. Cekada misplaced his wallet last Sunday, and on Monday woefully announced that St. Anthony wasn’t coming through for him. Well, that wouldn’t do, so I asked the children to search the walk, and multiply Hail Marys in honor of the saint of Padua. (To be on the safe side, I had Katie pray to St. Joseph, and promised the Poor Souls a Mass if they’d help.) Who could resist such a united force? The wallet turned up on a bookshelf. The Poor Souls will have their Mass, and thanks be to St. Joseph and to St. Anthony.

St. Anthony and his dear poor at last have their “Bread Box.” Please read over the instruction for use I’m publishing in the bulletin, and be generous, especially at this blessed season. I’m grateful to Steve for making it.

We will this Wednesday be blessed with another “Other Christ,” a priest forever. Fr. German Fleiss, of Buenos Aires, Argentina, will be ordained by Bishop Sanborn. Frs. Cekada, McGuire and Larrabee, as well as MC John Lotarski, will be assisting His Excellency for the Pontifical Mass at most Holy Trinity Seminary. Two priests in one year! God is good. Let us thank Him, and commend gratefully all of our priests to His care, these priests who have dedicated their entire lives to our care, our immortal souls.

Fr. Hecquard sends me little news bulletins occasionally, and stays busy helping Fr. Roger in Rennes, France. Fr. Roger recently visited Fr. Trytek in Poland, as well as some elderly religious order priests and young seminarians interested in our position (as so many priests and laity increasingly are). Fr. Valery Kudriavtsev as well reports an increase of interest of late at his otherwise lonely post at Lugansk, Ukraine. Fr. Mardones says things have quieted down considerably in Juarez, Mexico, after the arrest of some leading narcoassassins. Fr. Federico Palma was ordained four years ago on December 8th in Argentina, and wrote recently from his post at Our Lady of the Sun in Phoenix, where he is slowly rebuilding the congregation at that most impressive church complex. Father is assisted by some of the Sisters of St. Thomas Aquinas, who sew vestments and staff a little school. Pray for religious, too, for vocations, and for apostolic work around the globe.

Just on the holy day, Fr. Larrabee drove over three hours to see an elderly couple in Albany, Kentucky, who had not been to Mass in twenty years. Fr. Cekada spoke with a young mother in South Texas that day, who called about the Church and what to do, so far from a true priest or holy Mass. Fr. McGuire offered Mass at the new St. Clare in Chillicothe, and baptized a nephew that day, before returning to “home base” for Vespers and confessions. Fr. McGuire helped us here last Sunday morning, and then drove three hours to say Mass in southern Illinois, at St. Isidore’s Mission in Saybrook, the first he founded as a young priest. Father returned here Monday afternoon to work with the boys for the Knights of the Sacred Heart, and resume his teaching schedule in the school. Fr. Ercoli, meanwhile, is spending several weeks each month in Milwaukee at St. Hugh. The men there are finishing and sound-proofing the vestibule cum cry room and baptistery, in anticipation of a winter surge in baby attendance, and blessed baptisms.

Our painters have returned, and are painting the arches, as well as the ceiling. The dark blue evokes the night sky and makes, I hope, the other colors bright but solemn enough for church, toning down a bit the “tangerine sunrise” (as I call it) which has warmed up our walls.

Thanks for your cooperation today for the Christmas Cookie and Craft sale. Keep up your Advent abstinences, though. Let’s make every day of this year’s blessedly long Advent count, to prepare our hearts for Christ. Remember your Novenas. May Mary Immaculate bless the Church, our church, our country, and you!

– Bishop Dolan