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Lent II

Bishop’s Corner
It had to happen sooner or later, and it did, right here in River City: Drive-through Ashes for Ash Wednesday! Some Protestant lady minister of the Methodist persuasion was scheduled to be distributing ashes in her church parking lot. Other Protestants offered the formerly Catholic sacramental on sidewalks, near subway stops, or at bus terminals.

It seems ashes were the “in” thing this year. The world and its fashions! Go figure. Actually, ashes stand for the passing of this world and its passing fancies. For years non-Catholics rejected sacramentals as superstitious, but now seem to have discovered them since the era of “Ecumenical sharing.” May they one day discover the Faith which gives them meaning, and goes far beyond fashion.

Spring seems to be with us, give or take a March day or two. Our brethren in Europe, including Ukraine, had a bitterly cold winter, and are yearning for relief. We barely had winter at all. So much for “global” warming!

The first crocus blossomed last Sunday, nestled in some leaves outside Fr. Cekada’s office. It may be too early for your soul’s Spring to spring to life and flower, but be patient. God sends the rain, His grace, and shelters us from the winds of this world, keeping us warm in some little corner with His love. You will flower in time. The secret is to stay put. Persevere in your Lenten program. Pray every day. Do the penance you promised. Wait on the Lord.

Our first Lenten Friday was well attended, as I hope they all will be. We all need a little silence, a little sitting still, a little prayer. Lent with its demands and devotions provides you with a perfect place, your own “desert place” or mountain top to be with Our Lord. This should begin with your quiet reading and prayer each morning, and extend to some extra visits to church. Out of this quiet comes rest for the soul, and then spiritual stretching and growth.

Our schoolboys are chanting Vespers with us at noon now, after the school Mass, so beautifully sung. It is truly a pause that refreshes, a Lenten practice that brings many graces. Have you found one that works for you?

Fr. McKenna enjoyed his first “Gertrudian Sunday” with us as a priest. We thank him for bestowing his first priestly blessing on so many. We had a nice group for the morning reception in his honor. Father has started visiting the sick, and has even volunteered to cook a Lenten meal for us. Looks like he’s a keeper!

Fr. Cekada was teaching at the seminary last week, and now will be supervising studies for Fr. McKenna’s final semester. Father Cekada and Philothea Press report an encouraging uptick in sales for his Work of Human Hands. His latest video was about the shocking changes in the prayers of the New Mass. These easy to listen to videos are a great introduction to the whole question for those who are just coming into it. Spread the Faith!

May St. Joseph bless and prosper your month of March. Come back this afternoon for the first of our March Movies, a severely beautiful portrayal of rural Catholic life in the Italy of a century ago. Come to Vespers like a Christian!

May St. Joseph share his strong tender love for Jesus and Mary with you.
–Bishop Dolan