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Gaudete Sunday

Daily Sermons
Due to popular request, we are bringing back our daily sermons to be published here:

December 9 – Fr. Lehtoranta – St. John the Baptist
December 10 – Fr. Lehtoranta – St. Melchiades
December 11 – Fr. Lehtoranta – St. Damasus
December 12 – Bp. Dolan – Our Lady of Guadalupe
December 13 – Bp. Dolan – St. Lucy

zelusdomustuae
✠ The Bishop’s Corner ✠
It was wonderful returning on Tuesday morning to Cincinnati’s wintry white from Cordoba, Argentina’s stormy Summer. After an eventful trip, the beauty and silence of the snow, all shiny in the sun, was quite restorative. We almost didn’t make it as the plane’s deicer wasn’t working, and the pilot threatened to take us to Indianapolis. But prayers were working. It was, after all, the feast day of Our Lady of Loretto, the very patroness of air travel, as I reminded Her. She heard me, and we landed in River City, only a little late. Jim Kolenich was waiting for me (God bless him and all of our volunteer drivers), and the roads were pretty good as we returned.

I had only two and a half hours on Friday morning to clear customs in Buenos Aires and make it in a taxi across the city during rush hour to the regional airport for my connecting flight, and all the while to avoid rioting Argentineans. But all went very well. I certainly felt the power of prayer. Thank you for yours. I was invoking everybody I could think of. This is quite effective in a pinch, but you never know who gets the credit, except the good God, who gives us so many efficacious intercessors. I was invoking especially “Our Lady of the Ls:” Lourdes (for the Immaculate Conception), Lujan (Argentina’s patroness) and Loretto, for air travel. Nor did I invoke in vain. An almost tangible, and quite unusual peace accompanied me that morning. Prayer works. Try it.

Fr. McGuire had a gruesome ordeal due to weather last weekend, and spent a day and a half waiting in the Houston airport, and running to try to get on different escape flights. Father finally returned here at 9:00 PM on Monday. He even saw Bishop Pivarunas from afar in Houston, but couldn’t greet him as he was rushing to a gate. His Excellency must have been going to Guadalajara, Mexico, for an ordination. I wonder how he made out.

It was Bishop Pivarunas’ previous commitment which occasioned my sudden decision to go all the way to Argentina, a ten-hour flight from Atlanta, and a total trip of about 24 hours. I was glad I did. It was wonderful to see the Espina brothers (Fr. Julian and Fr. Pio), their family and faithful again, and to help the priests a little in their apostolate. Fr. Pio was ordained by Bishop Sanborn ten years ago in June. I also met a new priest from the south, the very zealous and well trained Fr. Ariel Damin, who has established a religious congregation of De Montfort missionaries, and has a little seminary. A very edifying Capuchin Father, Fray Pio, assists the Fathers Espina in their apostolate, and lives in a little stone hermitage at some distance from them. He is the last Argentinean of a group founded by the celebrated Fr. Eugene in France, a collaborator of Archbishop Lefebvre.

The last time I visited Cordoba was for the ordination of Fr. Palma, also on December 8th, seven years ago. In the afternoon, there was a terrible rainstorm and flooding, and one poor man nearby died. We had the same storm this time, sans the flooding or death, but with several inches of welcome rain in two hours, which ended the drought they had suffered for many months. They probably think of me as “el obispo de las tormentas” (the bishop of the rainstorms), which I seem to bring with me.

The electricity would cut off from time to time during this storm, leaving us without light, microphone or fans in the humid heat. They set up a generator by the chapel, but I have learned up here not to rely on them, as they tend to fail in the hour of need. An edifying warning to us!

Still, all went well, quite peacefully and well organized. Meanwhile unbeknownst to me, there were riots and looting and police strikes in neighboring Cordoba, just an hour away. I think this may have cut down a bit on Sunday attendance. But you would never know it as the Fathers Espina sang a sweet First Communion hymn, with an oft-repeated refrain “por la primera vez (for the first time).” The only fighting was with the photographer, who tangled with the clergy, poor man, as he angled in too close to get more pictures. But he, too, has to make a living in a land with 25 percent inflation.

Back in Cincinnati last weekend, our beautiful wintry weather (“ice and snow, bless the Lord”) certainly had its price. We had to give up our All Night Adoration, and many of you missed Mass for First Friday, or Saturday. There often is bad weather for December 8th. I remember an Immaculate Conception snowstorm one of our first Decembers here in West Chester, and the car crawling back to Sharonville after evening Mass for the handful that made it. I remember Keith Monnin telling me he made it too late for Mass due to the snow, but sat in the cloister and made his devotions anyway.

Fr. Cekada did make it to the seminary, albeit through the dreaded “Disneyworld port” of Orlando. Fr. McKenna is going about his rounds in the frozen north (-15º) with cheerful fidelity. Fr. Lehtoranta, who along with the cats held the fort here, was happy to see another priest when Fr. McGuire finally returned from Louisiana. (Caravaggio seemed happy to see me, but it could have been that he was hungry.)

I pray we’re joyfully (it’s Gaudete Sunday) making up for last weekend in fervent prayer to Our Lady Immaculate and Her Divine Son, in generous offerings (remember your envelopes) and in an enthusiastic Christmas Craft and Bake Sale. Thank you for your support.

I want to thank our office elf and resident wood worker, Jim Soli, for the fine miniature altar which brought the church $380 on eBay. The Internet has brought in many calendar and book orders this Autumn, and it’s been a happy struggle to keep up with them.

This week Katie and her helpers will start transforming the church for Christmas. We would welcome your help too. But remember that only you can clean and decorate your heart for Jesus Christ come Christmas. Don’t let that be the only corner of your life left cold, dark and dirty come December 25th. How He longs to come to you! Let Him in. Hook up the generator, and turn on the lights. You’ll see the dirt, but you have time to run the vacuum. Get out the ornaments, and make your soul as sweet a stable for the Savior as once St. Joseph did at Bethlehem.

Happy Mid-Advent Sunday. Rejoice, Our Lord is near!
– Bishop Dolan