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Lent II

Daily Sermons
March 10 – Fr. Lehtoranta – Angels Give Testimony of Faith and Works
March 11 – Fr. Lehtoranta – Keep Church as the House of Prayer
March 12 – Fr. Lehtoranta – St. Peter of Luxemburg
March 13 – Fr. Lehtoranta – The Might of Prayer
March 14 – Fr. Lehtoranta – Thou Art Made Whole, Sin No More

✠ The Bishop’s Corner ✠
Last week saw a turbulent battle between Winter and Spring. The latter will ultimately rout its adversary, of course, and green and growth come upon the land, though not perhaps in time for St. Patrick’s Day. All of this is a perfect parable for Lent. If you feel the tug of the world, the storm of temptation, or just weariness after only a week of this 40-day combat, do not be discouraged, do not give in. The Holy Ghost has driven you into the desert for struggle, but He also offers a glimpse of Thabor, a time of transfiguration and spiritual refreshment.

Thank God for Lent, for times of temptation as well as for the rest afforded by an occasional oasis. Find your rest, your refreshment, in the shade of the tabernacle. “Lord, it is good for us to be here.” Come, this Lent, let us adore!

Last Sunday saw fine weather and the happy culmination of Lent’s opening exercises. Attendance was good throughout, although First Friday suffered a bit from Ash Wednesday’s excellent showing. Fr. Cekada always says “you’ll get them once extra during the week, only once.” In any case, the seminary scooped him up Sunday afternoon, so Vespers attendance was down to five from its customary six. This posed a problem, because Fr. Cekada is our choir for this Sunday afternoon service which quietly – very quietly – proclaims that the whole of the Lord’s Day belongs to the Lord. So many of the pious give so much at our church all week long and through most of the weekend, that I am sure the good Lord does not begrudge them their rest, but still there remains that one final Divine Service which is a thanksgiving for the rest. What to do?

I write because of the remarkable result. Fr. Lehtoranta, Guy Miller and I were able to sing all the way through our solemn Sunday Vespers (and remember, I can’t really sing at all) with John Seyfried ringing bells, opening doors, and generally ushering the congregation – Darlene. Darlene, whose birthday it was, is remarkably malleable when it comes to being ushered. The results weren’t too bad, but we won’t be competing with the choir anytime soon. Indeed, I emerged from the experience with a sore throat (that’s a lot of singing!) and a renewed respect for Fr. Cekada and the real choir. Still, I thought we made a good three-man team in the sanctuary.

No Vespers this afternoon, in case you were wondering. And no, we are not starting St. Patrick’s Day early. I’m in Baja California, giving Confirmation, and Fr. Lehtoranta is in somewhat less tropical Chillicothe for Mass and a catechism class.

But tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day, and I wish you a happy one. The young Fathers are celebrating a Solemn Mass with the schoolchildren to honor one of Heaven’s greatest missionary saints, whose patronage is invoked on every continent and whose patrimony enriches us still. The Lenten fast is customarily dispensed on this day.

Now, church opportunities abound this week, but surely good St. Joseph should not be deprived of his honor. We dedicate our annual Lenten Children’s Day of Recollection to him, along with the Solemn Mass, and St. Joseph’s Table and lunch. If you’re only going once “extra” this week, this would be your day. Those who attend the Mass may consider themselves dispensed from the fast. If you’re coming, please remember the poor and bring a non-perishable to place on the St. Joseph Table for them. Oh, don’t forget the blessed hot cross buns. There’s one for you that day.

But most of all, remember our children surrounded by secularism and exposed to every modern religion replacement. Let them have a day, just a day, with God and St. Joseph and their faith. Meanwhile, I’ll be in the jungles of Vera Cruz state in the little pueblo of Dos Rios. It’s been two years since I’ve confirmed there. Fr. Hernan wanted to have the Confirmations on St. Joseph’s Day, as it is a fiesta and the workers would be able to come in from the cane fields to attend. If all goes well, I get to go home Thursday. Thank you for your prayers.

Our week winds down with the Friday evening of recollection, and 7:30 Stations of the Cross. I’m sure there will be someone left to attend, as we honor the Holy Shroud of Our Lord, and do the Holy Face Stations of the Cross. See you then!

I wish each of you a truly blessed St. Patrick’s and St. Joseph’s Day, and an excellent continuation of your Lent, wherever you spend it. May God go with you:

’Tis good, Lord, to be here!
Yet we may not remain;
But since Thou bid us leave the mount
Come with us to the plain.

– Bishop Dolan