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Lent IV – Laetare

Bishop’s Corner
It’s usually customary to rejoice on Mid-Lent Sunday because Lent is half over, and Easter approaches. However, slackers that we are, we should rejoice that we still have half a Lent, most of this month of April, to be serious about afflicting ourselves (rather than others) and drawing ourselves and others closer to Christ and His Church. So, rejoice this Rose Sunday.

Last week we had a lovely Lenten Sunday, sunny and just on the cusp of warm again. I noted with joy the good attendance for our high school and adult classes in particular, and thank all of our devoted teachers. Persevere! Thank you also for your steady Sunday offerings of late, which let us pay the bills.

About a dozen or so from church heard Michael Haydn’s Requiem at the beautiful St. Francis DeSales church in Madisonville: beautiful music in a beautiful setting. We enjoyed touring the church afterwards, its marble altars and monumental stations.

Speaking of stations…I have an edifying story for you. There is an older couple, not from St. Gertrude, who usually attend each year. The man once told someone that his church doesn’t offer them, so he comes here for the Way of the Cross. He is welcome. He participates enthusiastically, and his good strong voice resounds in the church to God’s praise. I wish our own people had some of his devotion.

But devotion does indeed thrive in our midst, even though Lenten stations are mostly overlooked. Our recent Lady Day and Children’s Recollection Day are proof of the edifying piety of many, adults and children.

March 25th, the Annunciation, was marked with about seven hours of observance, divided between two shifts. Our school children, aided by some of the faithful, sung Mass and Vespers, and adored, in turn, the Blessed Sacrament solemnly exposed. The school day ended with a pro-life Holy Hour and Benediction. The boys sacrificed their fencing, the girls their archery, and all of the children took their part in prayer.

The second shift came just after five o’clock for another Rosary, Mass, and Lenten Holy Hour with Stations and final Benediction. (Tucked inside was the Lenten Meal, an exercise of charity on several counts.)

Our Children’s Day of Recollection drew fifty-some young people all the way through high school age, and from all over the tri-state area. Many of the parents participated in Mass or Stations as well. Fr. McGuire and Fr. Larrabee both spoke, and a beautiful booklet and holy card was given to each child, as well as some nourishment for the body, a good hot lunch. I thank Mark Lotarski and our school staff especially for all they did for all of our children.

Well, after some hard, cold, damp days, March has left us as it entered, gently and lamb-like, and a good month of St. Joseph it was. Pray to him still for a faithful conclusion of your Lent. Let us follow the Lamb of God even unto Calvary.

-Bishop Dolan