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Advent IV

Bishop’s Corner
For a “weather week” this has been a busy one, beginning with another excellent Advent Sunday. All three so far have been snowy, yet gratifying in their attendance and spirit. Some came early last week to avoid the afternoon snow. Our Christmas Craft and Cookie Sale (get in on it, still today!) did very well, as did even our Vesper service, thank you for asking.“ Always just enough,” could be a Gertrudian motto.

The extreme cold clears and cheers, doesn’t it? These bright days are full of energy and good spirits. Don Naegle (first graduate of our St. Gertrude Academy, way back when) and his crew did a great job painting the church. The quiet, cold days were providential for the painting project which caused a minimum of disturbance to our ever busy schedule, and leaves our church bright and fresh in its warm colors.

In the meantime, our choirs have been singing away. The school choir sang an outstanding program for St. Lucy’s Day and the Sunday choir is faithfully practicing for Christmas Midnight Mass, as is traditional. They have learned a new setting of the Mass Ordinary for Our Lord’s Birth, which they will present along with carols, classic and new.

The Church has a new priest, Deo Gratias! Two of our fine Masters of Ceremony, Fr. Cekada (another hidden talent!) and John Lotarski mastered the complex pontifical ordination rites, providing able assistance to Fr. McGuire and Fr. Larrabee as sacred ministers. Fr. Ercoli was Bishop Sanborn’s Assistant Priest at the ceremony in a chilly Florida. Thanks to Bishop Sanborn for his seminary and to generous young men who give their life for Christ and souls.

Fr. German Fleiss will be with us for Epiphany, and will celebrate the Solemn Mass on January 7, (followed by the Epiphany Appreciation Dinner). The new priest will be available to give first blessings throughout the weekend.

Thanks to all who helped this weekend for the serious church cleaning following its repainting. Next, it will be time to decorate the church for Christmas. Advent this year is as long as Advent can be, and we are grateful for the extra time which avoids a rush (or should!) as well as for the lingering of this lovely and poetic time of longing and prayer in preparation for Christ’s Coming.

May Our Lady prepare His way into your home and heart!

I send a blessing there.
–Bishop Dolan

~P.S. Just after I wrote these lines on Thursday, I received a call from Hospice {one could not praise their gentle, considerate charity enough!} that Fred Hauserman was dying. Richard Zbilicki drove me to Eastgate, and I arrived just in time for Last Rites, which properly are Absolution and the prayers for the dying, Fred having already received his Extreme Unction and Viaticum. I checked him first for a scapular, which he had obviously worn for many years. After a few minutes of prayer, his breathing slowed, then stopped, just about as I was praying about Enoch and Elias being delivered from the common death of this world.

At 102 Fred was our oldest parishioner, (and one of our first, going back to the days of the Montgomery Businessman’s club, along with his wife, Matilda) always devout and interested in his parish which he faithfully supported. We will miss him, his presence and his prayer. May he rest in peace. (His family will not bring his body to Church [too far, too much trouble!] so we will sing his Requiem and Absolution, after his Rosary, on Monday. Could you be his family again, as you were for Ed Sayre?)