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The Holy Family

Bishop’s Corner
The Germans would say “eine wunderbare Weihnachten” a wonderful Christmas. Whether we speak of weather, or the ceremonies, or the peace of this wondrous season, we have such reason to thank Our Lord, Who is “wonderful in His works.”

Yes, the weather has been wonderful! Autumn lingered until the New Year. Pansies prospered and showed their colors on Christmas, and those little red flowers by the Church door blossomed for the Circumcision, reminding us of the first drops of the Precious Blood shed that day. Sunlight filled the church.

Then, “eight days being accomplished,” Vespers sung and the last Mass read, the cold came, chaste and discreet, with a dusting of a midnight snow. Neighbors to the north and south were hammered; winter only tapped at West Chester’s door. The days that followed offered us true January cold and sun, but without the extremes we usually feel. Deo Gratias.

We are now in “Little Christmas,” or Epiphany, the greatest feast of the season, and can only wonder with gratitude at how peacefully everything passed, with great participation and enthusiasm. Our New Year’s attendance matched the Masses of Christmas, a good sign that there was no let up after “the holiday.” I was especially impressed to see some six or eight young couples, at the evening Mass on New Year. I did not recognize them, but they knew what to do. I presume they came from Pius V or Pius X, young people out the night before partying, who did not want to miss their Sunday obligation, even if it meant “going to Gertrude’s” as they used to say. These young people were obviously trained well by their parents and priests. One couple did leave at Communion, but even that probably indicated that someone had taught them these principal parts of the Mass.

We have many visitors every Sunday, some regular and some first timers. Always be sure to smile and greet Christ in them, and try to make them feel at home. Some of our old faithful who have been away are returning now. Let us greet them warmly and leave it at that.

One of the great things about “Gertrude’s” is the perpetual Christmas, with so many Christ’s Masses all week long. This struck me again with Fr. Lehtoranta’s stay with us and his daily Mass. So many holy Masses! Last Wednesday there were five offered on our altars. At the same time, our fathers come and go, and bring Bethlehem with them far and wide.

Fr. Lehtoranta and Mr. Bede Okechukwu Nkamuke went to visit Fr. Martin in Chicago with the Bischels last week, the youngest priest we know honoring the oldest. Fr. Martin remains active, and sent out an excellent newsletter on the Pius XII changes and a sermon about Duns Scotus for Christmas. He hurt his leg before Christmas, but never missed his daily Mass, including the three for Christmas. Fr. Larrabee, barely returned from the almond groves of California, is serving Milwaukee today, and Fr. McGuire has taken to the road to attend his little missions across the midwest, each one counting from one to twenty souls.

Enjoy the Christmas season. Leave the tree up, if you can, or certainly the stable. Let the delicious mysteries of this sweet season soak into your soul, and enflame your family with holy love. Have a blessed Holy Family feast, and don’t forget the Epiphany Home Blessing for your Sunday family activity.

I send a blessing home with you in Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
–Bishop Dolan