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Easter IV

Daily Sermons
May 9 – Bp. Dolan – Patron Saint of Friends
May 13 – Fr. Lehtoranta – St. Robert Bellarmine and The Hard Way
May 14 – Fr. Lehtoranta – St. Pachomius, Blessing of His Family
May 15 – Fr. Lehtoranta – The Heroic Girl, St. Denysa
May 16 – Fr. Lehtoranta – St. Ubaldus, Great in Meekness

✠ The Bishop’s Corner ✠

I write this Bishop’s Corner a bit early, due to my visit this weekend to Tijuana, Mexico. The last extraordinary effort on the part of our Fatima faithful remains ahead – our first Rosary Procession for Peace on the 13th. But if our family here follows through with customary generosity, I know that it too will be a resounding success.

Let me tell you the tale of the last fortnight. The third Wednesday after Easter is St. Joseph’s Paschal feast as patron and protector of the Church, and kept for a full eight days. We began with a Solemn High Mass, nicely sung by the school choir, and a number of the faithful making it to Mass. St. Michael’s Easter feast fell next…glorious days of May! Meanwhile we’re all doing our daily devotions for May, which means here singing the Latin Litany of Loretto for Our Lady. We were praying, too, for †Pat Harpen, and planning his funeral.

Friday saw Marlys’ faithful band at church for the last minute work for the morrow’s Mothers Day sale, oodles and oodles of cute crafts sold to help cover the camp costs this Summer. Saturday dawned dark and…rainy. I prayed and prayed, but as with the Armada, it looked as though Our Lord had His own plans concerning the weather.

God bless all of you ladies and young ladies (and some lads, as well) who braved the sodden skies to man the tables. Fr. Cekada visited both locations to encourage the troops. It was sunny at six when our wet warriors trudged back to Helfta Hall with the unsold items, setting up for a modest Sunday sale here, tired but never discouraged. We were singing our Vespers and gave thanks for it all. An informal report has it that about $700 was raised…in the rain! Deo Gratias.

Some of these same soggy “sales assistants” also sang, brightly and beautifully for Sunday’s splendid May Crowning Mass, reprising Stehle’s Missa Salve Regina from Easter. It grew dark after the 7:30, and rained at the beginning of the High Mass. The church was packed as in the good old days, but humid too. Still we served and sang for St. Joseph and Our Blessed Mother, and prayed the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Not wanting to be undone a second day of this rainy May, we had a plan A and a plan B, and even a C in store for the May Crowning. But the good Lord heard the prayers poured forth since Saturday. As we processed from the church, the sun slid out the damp clouds and shone upon us, as we sang the dear old hymns and marched in Mary’s honor, led by the little ones of our Queen’s Court. The closing May Crowning had its moments (it often does), but Our Lady received her rosy crown and deigned to receive us her children, as well, as we renewed our consecration. It was a touching ceremony.

Another duty of devotion and charity remained for Monday, Pat Harpen’s funeral. Already on Sunday evening our men were preparing the vestibule and sanctuary for the wake and the Requiem. More workers, mostly the same, returned to church in the morning for the funeral and to prepare Helfta Hall and serve a fine funeral luncheon. The large Harpen family – Pat had 12 siblings – were impressed with the warm welcome they found here and the family-like atmosphere of our faithful. This is one of our greatest Gertrudian resources which when shared with others never diminishes and only increases.

Pat died poor in this world’s goods, but a rich man in virtue, having shared his heavenly inheritance with us all in little quiet ways, as was his way. His funeral was a fine affair, “a rich man’s funeral” with a full church and all of the considerable solemnity we could offer here at St. Gertrude.

I was especially struck with the Rosary recited for our Rosarian before his Requiem Mass. What a Rosary! Many of you were here and joined with the family to make a thunderous wall of prayer which must have resounded in Heaven’s halls and caused some favorable comments. Usually our Rosaries are painful affairs, with some too slow and some too fast, and most too loud, with the rest murmuring meekly in the din. Not so this Rosary! I will never forget its resounding harmony nor Pat and his quiet example of prayerful virtue all of these years. May he rest in peace.

Fr. Cekada and Charles Simpson usually start their Saturday activities after Mass and Our Lady’s antiphon with schola practice for the Sunday chant. But last Saturday they combined this with an unusual visit to the sick. H. O. Hinton has been a faithful choir and schola member for years, but is now paralyzed and living in a rehab facility, making slow progress. He’s no longer able to join the schola for practice, so the schola went to him. Fr. Cekada even enlarged the photocopied chant for H.O. so he could follow, and follow he did. This must be one of the most creative “sick calls” ever, and it too took its proud place during last week’s “St. Gertrude family days.”

But these are quiet days of May now for most, with the regular work of family and church routine, and time perhaps for some rest and gardening. But don’t forget St. Rita of Cascia, one of our sanctuary saints, on Thursday, nor Our Lady Help of Christians, our principal image of Our Lady, on Saturday.

Next weekend we already have the official start of Summer (what happened to Spring?) with Memorial Day. Some of you will be away; others will perhaps come to pray with us for our Spring All Souls Day, coinciding with the first of our Rogation Day Processions. Then Thursday the 29th already, Our Lord goes away in glory to the Father so that He may send us His Spirit, the Holy Ghost.

May the “Holy Family of Heaven,” the adorable Trinity, bless the earthly families and individuals who compose our so devoted church family. We could not do it without you. “Jesus, Mary, Joseph!” “Sacred Heart of Jesus, protect our families.”

Pray for me south of the border today, and for Fr. Cekada heading to the seminary, and Fr. McKenna going from Milwaukee to Minnesota to North Dakota, and Fr. McGuire in Louisiana, and Fr. Lehtoranta holding the fort here. Somebody come back to Benediction and May Devotions today at 5:15 so Fr. Lehtoranta and the Court of Heaven won’t feel so lonely. Don’t worry, for this afternoon only, it’s a Vespers Free Zone!

God bless our family at St. Gertrude the Great!
– Bishop Dolan

PS: Finally, we had a fine first Fatima Rosary Procession for Peace on Tuesday evening, under fair skies over fairly clean sidewalks, with about 40 souls in attendance, including one visitor.