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Lent IV – Laetare

Save these dates for the St. Gertrude the Great Girls’ Camp!
Girls ages 5 – 16+ are welcome to join us on July 11th, 12th and 13th for three days of fun and spiritual activities. We will be joined by three Sisters of St. Thomas Aquinas for days filled with camp favorites such as archery, scrapbooking and of course, the popular Ice Cream Social. We’ll also have our second “annual” canoe trip (age appropriate), overnight camping and bonfire again. New activities for this summer include origami, cake decorating, making a personalized Rosary and some surprises! Come join the fun! The cost of this camp is funded by the generous donations of our sponsors.

Bishop’s Corner
Last Thursday’s sweet Spring rain gave us a break from the warm sunny days and hastened nature’s greening in time for St. Patrick. That morning’s thunder and lightning reminded me of Wednesday’s Mass Lesson with its dramatic scene of the giving of the commandments on Mt. Sinai. Thus was marked, in the midst of such summery weather, Midlent Day, whose celebration comes today, Laetare Sunday, sandwiched between St. Patrick and St. Joseph. Only if you’ve been fasting is some way or another, and praying and giving, do these rejoicing days lift your spirit even as they relieve the flesh a bit, encouraging us for the last half of Lent. Generosity, my soul!

This year then we have three feasts in a row, St. Patrick, Laetare Sunday, and St. Joseph on the morrow. The very act of celebrating them is Catholic of course, as well as comforting. Let us keep these days, though, with an eye on the saints, and never forgetting our Easter goal.

You’re invited to more of the movie this afternoon, and St. Joseph’s First Vespers. Come tomorrow for his Solemn Mass, and stay for lunch. (Funny, isn’t it, how we do more eating during Let at St. Gertrude than at any other season?) See to it that the poor eat too by giving something to St. Joseph, leaving non-perishables at his altar in Helfta Hall. (Thank you to the Maidens of the Immaculate Heart for a fine job.)

Next Sunday we’re offering the Afternoon (you could easily make a day of it, if you’d like) of Recollection some of you requested. Sign up today for the lunch ($6.00) if you’d like, but do plan to spend a little quiet time with us before your Lent runs away. The day is most fitting, March 25th, the most sacred date on the calendar: Creation, Incarnation, Redemption.

Forty-some (a fitting number for Lent) children had their day last Wednesday. Our new priest not only spoke to them, confessed them, provided everything else in church, but also entertained them in the sunny parking lot afterwards with some St. John Bosco-like juggling.

Everybody’s been a little–or a lot–sick with cold or ’flu symptoms, coughs and fatigue. God sends these penances to perfect our own at Lent. How edifying it is to see so many soldiering on despite. Some, of course, had to stay home, but this, too, is a Lenten sacrifice for devout souls.

Attendance was understandably a little off last Sunday morning, but we broke the sacred forty, numbering closer to fifty, as we “made the steps” at Mt. Adams on a perfect sunny Spring afternoon. Some had never visited this Cincinnati landmark and others remembered this tradition from the Good Fridays of their long-ago youth. It’s good to maintain those customs and pass them on to the next generation. It’s wonderful to be united in prayer with our fellow Gertrudians, strengthening the bond of charity by piety.

I wish you a blessed last half of your Lent. These days most of all we are grateful for our Church, unchanged, one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic; and our church, offering so much to so many year after year, St. Gertrude the Great, an island of spirituality and stability in spite of everything.

We’re glad you’re with us. May God and good St. Joseph bless you with perseverance!
–Bishop Dolan