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Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday 2013
Palm Sunday 2013

School children sing at the St. Patrick’s day party.

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

Mar. 14, 2013: Thursday in the 4th Week of Lent by Bp. Dolan
Mar. 15, 2013: Friday in the 4th Week of Lent by Bp. Dolan
Mar. 19, 2013: St. Joseph by Fr. Lehtoranta
Mar. 20, 2013: Wednesday in Passion Week by Bp. Dolan
Mar. 21, 2013: May Our Sacrifice be Acceptable by Bp. Dolan

✠ The Bishop’s Corner ✠
You might well wonder, as an active Gertrudian, how you can have such a good time during Lent, and still be keeping it well. This is a characteristic of our Lents at St. Gertrude the Great, it is true, but I think that this Lent it stands out more so in the light of the Little Flower, her joyful self-giving to God.

While only a relatively small group know very much of all that St. Gertrude has to offer, I would like to think that everyone who comes simply for Sunday Mass still tastes something of the joyful devotion of these days of spiritual refreshment and recollection leading to Holy Week and Easter.

St. Patrick’s Day was perfection itself. We couldn’t have fitted any more people in Helfta Hall, nor stretched the spaghetti any further. The school Spring program combined a polished and very professional presentation (the costumes, decorations and keepsake booklet, and many other fine details) with an engaging innocence as the children recited, sang and danced their way into our hearts for St. Patrick’s Day. Thank you to everyone who thought of everything and worked so hard to bring it to us. I thank our school principal and teachers and parents, as well as the entire O’Donnell family for their fine special recipe spaghetti. Oh, and wasn’t the “O Danny Boy” fine, and weren’t the girls grand in their little Irish dance?

But St. Joseph was not to be neglected. After a busy Monday which saw a fine funeral for Bob Duff, a devoted parishioner (and everybody here participates wholeheartedly in the Requiem Mass and ceremonies) we were back at it for Tuesday and St. Joseph.

The altars glowed with gold and flowers over the Passiontide purple as Fr. Hecquard sang his first Solemn High Mass here after his ordination almost three years ago. As with Holy Week and anything else worthwhile, many preparations and much practice time come first. After the Mass, we all (and a good crowd it was) processed together to the St. Joseph’s Table in the Hall, for the traditional blessing of the bread in his honor, always hot cross buns provided by one of the very faithful faithful, our choir director Joan Lotarski.

Afterwards, pizza and salad made for a satisfying lunch for all. The day concluded with Vespers of St. Joseph, the psalms alternated between clergy and children, and finally Benediction. This is the ideal Catholic and liturgical observance of a feast day: Solemn Mass and a meal “family style,” and finally Vespers. Just a few times a year we manage it, and it is wonderful to do so. This Catholic observance gives everyone a taste of the old days, and the true family ways. I love these days dearly.

St. Thérèse herself grew up this way. Even as a little child she went to High Mass, and cried to be taken to Vespers with the others.

Lent is simply a more intense, less distracted living of the Catholic life. Our penances should make it possible, and help produce lasting fruit. This is the Holy Week I wish for you all. May the joy of your Lent linger throughout Eastertide, and its lasting fruits abide.

– Bishop Dolan

PS: After all of the ceremonies of St. Joseph’s Day, two of the Fathers worked preparing converts in the evening, and Fr. Cekada with the choir. The work never stops. The fields are white for the harvest.

Fr. McKenna has departed to St. Hugh to conduct Holy Week there. He is a little nervous as it is his first time. We will miss him because he is our cook. Still, some of the ladies of the parish are taking good care of us for Holy Week and Easter.

For the first time in a number of years, no seminarians or visiting priests will be with us for Holy Week. Bishop Sanborn will be conducting a full Holy Week at his beautiful new seminary “chapel” (a church, really), and blessing the Holy Oils with his priests and seminarians. Fr. Saavedra in Detroit is also offering a full Holy Week, complete with Tenebrae. What would Holy Week be without it? Plan to be with us, as another generation, raised the Catholic way, lifts their voice in beautiful song.

PPS: In a fitting gesture, it was the priests who carried in our old altar (now restored) to the sanctuary. Jim Soli is working on the gradines which will complete this project.