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Pentecost XV

Blessing of First Fruits on the Feast of Our Lady’s Assumption
✠ The Bishop’s Corner ✠
This week’s Bishop’s Corner comes to you as an “in-flight edition.” I am on my way back on Thursday morning from Tampa, having assisted at †Kathleen Sanborn’s funeral on Wednesday. Fr. Cekada served as MC, I gave the eulogy, Fr. Desposito was deacon and seminarian Mr. Philip Eldracher from Michigan, subdeacon, and Fr. Selway, Assistant Priest. Fr. Thomas Zapp came from California, and Fr. Dennis McMahon drove all the way from New York, a two-day trip.

We all knew and appreciated Bishop Sanborn’s mother over many years as a strong Catholic, as well as a kind and gracious woman ever busy helping priests and seminarians; sewing vestments (over 60) and albs, and making her famous desserts for the seminary. May God grant her good soul eternal rest.

The Pontifical High Mass was the first funeral in Bishop Sanborn’s newly opened seminary chapel, a very beautiful church. A good group of servers from Fr. Selway’s school assisted as acolytes, and his Sisters of St. Thomas Aquinas sang the Requiem beautifully, including the haunting Charpentier Stabat Mater. It rained so hard in Florida the night of Mrs. Sanborn’s death that many roads were closed, making it very difficult for Bishop Sanborn to get to his mother. The rains rendered Florida unusually green. One would think Ireland at times, or Argentina. The sun is much hotter in Florida, it seems, but the humidity is about the same. Still, the blue skies and bright sunshine are very pleasant.

Hot, hazy, humid Summer has finally caught up with us in Cincinnati, slowly browning lawns. Let us pray for temperate rains, and a good Autumn.

You never know what the week will bring. Mrs. Sanborn had died suddenly on Friday night, August 23rd. The sad but happy duty of charity in attending her funeral permitted a good visit with our Florida fathers, visiting clergy, seminarians, and faithful. His Excellency is expecting several new seminarians when the school year starts September 15th. Two of our Nigerian seminarians spent the summer studying philosophy, thus advancing their studies towards the priesthood.

Our own school is geared to start on the Wednesday after Labor Day as is traditional, with the sung Votive Mass of the Holy Ghost. Sunday School starts next Sunday with a little procession to the Grotto at 10:30 AM, the blessing of seedlings in Our Lady’s honor, and then the customary cake for the Blessed Virgin Mary’s birthday party. All are welcome as we honor “Maria Bambina.”

The ranks of our First Friday Guard of Honor grow thinner each month. If we are to keep up this so beneficial devotion, I will have to ask you men to make the sacrifice of coming and watching “one hour in prayer,” as have so many before you for the past 30-plus years. This solemn prayer before the Blessed Sacrament has been not only the source of many graces, but our very survival more than once, when our enemies would have destroyed us.

As it is, God’s grace reconciles enemies and sends the continued blessing of growth and stability to this vineyard of the remnant Church in our day. Fr. McGuire is driving out to Iowa and Illinois this weekend on mission work. After the justly celebrated Simpson Labor Day party, Fr. McKenna takes his turn in the missions, heading off to North Dakota for Mass and a Baptism. Even Fr. Cekada is on the road this weekend (after just returning home), having one last action packed visit to Milwaukee before the school year starts, with its regular Florida seminary teaching trips.

Fr. Lehtoranta had an excellent visit to New Mexico and Milwaukee, and just this past week he and Rev. Mr. Nkamuke drove to southern Kentucky for Mass for an isolated family. Our deacon is sedulously studying the Mass rubrics and practicing “the art of arts” at the altar in preparation for his ordination day come November.

Our season starts next Sunday. Already the choir is having its first practice on Wednesday. The Church Picnic is in two weeks. Daily school Mass resumes at 11:20 AM.

At the same time, another war, or even World War, looms in ancient biblical Syria. What can we do? We could pray. We have weapons, unwrapped, unused, but far more powerful than those of the war makers. “Give peace in our time, O Lord.” Come on First Friday night, and First Saturday morning, to pray with us for peace. Honor Mary’s Immaculate Heart for peace.

May good St. Joseph bless and protect us all, and render our labor fruitful.

– Bishop Dolan