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Advent II

Click the image above for a slideshow from the ordination of Rev. Vili Lehtoranta to the Holy Priesthood

Bishop’s Corner
Thanksgiving is always a quiet day for us at church, but morning Mass was bright with fervent gratitude for the many blessings of the year. Mary Immaculate’s shrine glowed golden midst mums and pumpkins, and amber lights. St. John of the Cross hosted this year’s celebration, and reminded us not to forget to thank Our Lord for hidden crosses, seeming losses and the like, all of which serve the divine design.

After the main Mass offered by Fr. McGuire, Joshua Gunsher and the servers helped set up everything for a Requiem with Absolution in the side chapel, which he proceeded to serve. This quiet, prayerful service was for the soul of Larry Adams. In his devout generosity he remembered us, and we will not forget him now that he is gone, and unable to pray for himself. November is over, but let us remember to pray always for the Poor Souls.

The last of the beautiful Fall flowers were taken away by many helping hands after Mass on the last day of the church’s year, Saturday the 26th, in preparation for the purple and penance of Advent. Did you remember the Advent wreath, and even more your own resolutions and sacrifices? The church was beautiful in its penitential array last Sunday. It should be an image of your soul, shriven with a good confession, sheared of sin and arrayed with holy Advent desires.

During the past days Fr. McGuire spent a good amount of time with us in Fr. Larrabee’s absence. Fr. McGuire is back to Milwaukee and the missions now for ten days, and Fr. Larrabee has returned from his eventful week in Nigeria. The faithful there wrote how consoled and grateful they were for the sacraments and the Holy Sacrifice, brought to them by the sacrifices of this new missionary. Thank you for your prayers for his trip.

Right after the Ordination, Fr. Cekada was able to get away to St. Hugh for their patronal feast that following Sunday. High Mass was followed by a dinner, and the faithful were so happy to see their founding pastor again, and he them. His duties here as organist and schola director, to name only two, do not usually permit him to travel much in the year, except to the seminary. You’re also hearing from him again in the Building Fund Letters. Let him hear back from you!

Fr. Cekada leaves this afternoon for a short teaching week at the Seminary, but will be back for the Holy Day. December 8th also marks the tenth ordination anniversary of Fr. Joseph Selway, and appropriate celebrations are planned at the Brooksville, Florida chapel where he is pastor and directs the school. Fr. Selway also visits the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Thomas Aquinas at Our Lady of the Sun Shrine, in Phoenix, Arizona, once a month. The sisters there conduct a small school, as well as train future sisters. Fr. Federico Palma, who also was ordained on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, is the local pastor, and is slowly building up the congregation at the church Fr. LeBlanc founded.

Although winter looked in our window on St. Andrew’s Eve with some wet snow, I hope this will be another long Autumn, which lasts through some of December at least. I hate to see our finest season, Fall, pack up and depart. The grounds are at their most beautiful, all calm and green, and the knock out roses keep on fighting. Every evening the red roses over the grotto shine like vigil lights in the night illumination, a lasting offering to Mary Immaculate.

Offer Our Lady your homage for the holy day this week, a happy excuse for all of us to “get in” an extra Mass for Advent. I hope you’ll also be able to get in some Christmas baking or craft work to make our Christmas Craft sale next Sunday a success. We all know in these prolonged Recession days how every little bit helps.

Thank you for your interest and generosity and prayers for so many things Gertrudian of late. Thank you for your greetings and further prayers for my own 18th anniversary of Episcopal Consecration this past Wednesday. The school children sang a beautiful Mass, with a touching pure “Ecce Sacerdos Magnus.” Come and hear them some time.

God bless you, and Mary Immaculate lead you these Advent days to her Son, the Ancient of Days who is about to be born anew for us.

-Bishop Dolan