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Lent I

Restoration Radio: St. Valentine’s Day

The modern world tells us that all we need is “luv.” In the glow of the modern Hallmark holiday that is simply “Valentine’s Day” sans “Saint,” we reflect on the actual saint and the actual feast of the Day. Our guest, Bishop Daniel Dolan, also discusses some of the particular challenges both singles and married couples face in our modern world.

Listen here.

This school year we will be publishing daily sermons from the previous week:

Feb. 11, 2013: Our Lady of Lourdes by Fr. Lehtoranta
Feb. 12, 2013: The Seven Holy Founders by Fr. Lehtoranta
Feb. 13, 2013: Ash Wednesday: The Little Way of Offering Sacrifices by Bp. Dolan
Feb. 14, 2013: St. Valentine by Bp. Dolan
Feb. 15, 2013: The Alms of Charity by Bp. Dolan

✠ The Bishop’s Corner ✠
This past week was full of surprises. Returning from my pleasant 10-day Septuagesimatide visit to Milwaukee, I passed through Chicago’s airport. There I learned my Cincinnati flight would be late (and later, and later). No surprise there. Fr. McGuire spent all of Ash Wednesday waiting at the Columbus airport. But really he was waiting on God’s Will, which is a very Teresian concept, and the very best kind of penance, we agreed, according to the Little Way.

Well, I was contemplating my fate last Sunday at O’Hare, standing in the midst of a mob of young Communist Chinese tourists, when I noticed a priest approaching. He was wearing the old style plain band collar that I used to wear until I got tired of being taken for a Lutheran. I greeted him, and then did a double take. “I know you!” I said. Sure enough, it was Fr. Joseph Greenwell, returning from his Sunday mission in Chicago.

Well, then ensued a veritable adventure, during which Fr. Greenwell was St. Raphael (“Heaven’s travel agent”) to my Tobias. Nothing would do but that he arranged to get me as well on the next American flight, since Delta would be who knows how late. He took charge of my heavy suitcase, walked me over to American, and ended up with my boarding pass, and vice-versa. Other angels intervened at that point, as we had only a little time until the scheduled departure, and the whole T.S.A. “security theatre” ahead of us. We made it with time to spare. The Chicago machines are more modest, Fr. Greenwell says, than the Cincinnati.

Father, who was most respectful and friendly throughout, offered me an ice tea at the gate, and we had a nice visit, catching up on mutual friends and faithful from years past, especially the sick. I must say I was most touched by Fr. Greenwell’s kindness. He did allow as to how, in the light of the Sunday epistle (St. Paul on charity), one could do no other. A good lesson for us all.

I was also edified to learn how hard Fr. Jenkins and Fr. Greenwell work, traveling a heavy mission circuit each weekend, as we all did years ago. They still do, offering two or three Masses each Sunday. Then there are only the two of them during the week to take care of their large church and school, Immaculate Conception in Norwood. Again, I was very edified. Let us keep them, and all of their far-flung faithful, in our prayers.

The next surprise came with Monday morning’s coffee: Ratzinger’s resignation or retirement, announced in Latin at the Vatican. One’s always happy to see a little movement over there, hoping and praying that more eyes eventually will be opened, the eclipse of the Church ended, and a true pope restored to us.

Monday, Our Lady of Lourdes, was also Fr. McKenna’s first ordination anniversary. After a beautiful Solemn High Mass we all went out to Bravo for lunch (a rare treat anymore – we had a gift certificate) to celebrate this happy event, as well as Mardi Gras a day early. Everyone, including our French guest Fr. Hecquard, had a good time. We joked about catching up on our Italian cuisine, just in case one of us were elected! Well, the papers do say Dolan is a papabile….

Wednesday’s snow was a big surprise. Even the cats were taken in, as bird duty (mating season? Well….according to the St. Valentine’s legend, and Chaucer, yes) called them outside. Then it started to snow. Another surprise was how many made it even to our school Solemn High Mass in late morning. We also had a good attendance for evening Mass, when the blowing snow had ceased, and the sun reappeared.

The snow made me think of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, who prayed for snow on her vestition day, when Carmelite postulants are dressed as a bride in white. How happy she was to see herself matching nature, all sparkling white. We were less happy, I suppose, but the Little Way teaches us to smile and say “yes” to God, Who decides these things. Therein our path to peace, and one day to Paradise. Have a good first full week of Lent. We’re starting an early morning Mass at 7:00 AM on Tuesdays, and offering two “Recollections” this week, Friday evening and Saturday morning; two Stations of the Cross, Wednesday afternoon and Friday evening, and daily Masses, not to speak of….Vespers! “On est gaté” the French would say.

Surprise yourself and come to something!

May St. Thérèse inspire you with a childlike spirit of adventure and generosity!

I send a blessing in the Holy Child Jesus and the Holy Face of Jesus,

–Bishop Dolan

PS: Oh, I had a dream the other week that Lenten Sunday Vespers were packed. Those filing in explained that “well, it’s Lent!” I was so surprised I woke up. I know it’s a dream, but must MLK be the only one with a dream?