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Dedication of St. Savior’s Basilicia – Pentecost XXII

Our Saints, 2014:



Daily Sermons
November 3 – Fr. Lehtoranta – Show Him Your Hands
November 4 – Fr. Nkamuke – St. Charles Borromeo
November 5 – Bp. Dolan – The Relics of the Saints
November 6 – Fr. Nkamuke – Anniversary of Priesthood
November 7 – Fr. McGuire – To Heaven by the Skin of Their Teeth

✠ The Bishop’s Corner ✠

A bitter foretaste of Winter cold accompanied our time change, making for a dark and chilly Sunday morning, but not for long. Soon the warm November sun came out, and then the little saints came marching in, followed by three men in gold, Sacred Ministers of the most high God. Solemn Mass for All Saints Sunday was sung, a fine sermon preached, and then we processed back to Helfta Hall to see and hear our saints. How warm, how bright, how glowing with God’s good light was last Sunday.

It never occurred to me, so international is the Catholic Church and our church, that the three priests on the altar were all of them foreigners, until someone pointed out the edification of it in a complimentary email. After all, isn’t St Paul all the time pointing out to us at the vespers of apostles that we are “no longer wayfarers and foreigners, but family members of God”? What a glorious family is ours as Catholics, whether we be found fighting in West Chester, Ohio or Nigeria or Austria or Finland; suffering in Purgatory (and some souls are said to do their time on earth, in churches even) or glorying in Heaven.

The saints are truly a glorious bunch, aren’t they? International, transcending time or place, and yet so close to us. But how charming it is to see our little ones, dressed up in their innocence as saints, and to hear their stories, to strive to remember their names. One mother confided how much she has learned about the saints just from the All Saints observance. It must be the same for our children. May they grow up remembering, and never forget.

I must mention the charming little skits from Sunday, as well as the wealth of detail, Gertrudian in its quiet accuracy. St Anthony’s tonsure, by wig or hair cut, St Margaret’s captive dragon on a chain, St Elizabeth casually producing bread rolls for potentially hungry bystanders, the flames for the Elizabethan martyrs…… All well done, and very well done.

Despite the Saturday’s Holy Day, and a full Sunday morning again at church, an impressive number of you made it back to succor the Souls in Purgatory by Monday’s many Masses and indulgences. You came, it is true, in discreet small groups, so as not to draw attention to a third consecutive day at church, which must violate some law or other. But from 6 AM until Purgatory’s polls closed at 7 PM, you came to vote for the release of the holy souls in a thin but steady stream. This is the only voting that matters. All the rest is vanity and silliness and theater, badly staged theater. We are meant to be so drawn into its world of make believe (St Joseph Cupertino calls the troubles of this life the war of children with pop guns) as to forget death and judgment and Heaven and Hell.

But let us not forget those who fought in all of history’s wasted wars, and lost their lives in these vain strivings. Remember our veterans come Tuesday, won’t you? Come for 11/11/11 and pray for the veterans, and all the victims of all our wars. Let us at least not forget, so that our children may remember, and the Poor Souls be delivered.

After the last Mass of All Souls Day, I was delighted to receive a bag of freshly baked Soul Cakes for Monday’s supper. These nicely spiced cookies are the medieval origin of trick or treating. Once young people went door to door promising to pray for the household’s dead, and were rewarded with a Soul Cake. How Catholic it all is, our culture. We need only scrape off the secular and pagan excrescence to feel at home all year long. Vivat Sancta Mater Ecclesia!

Speaking of church, our own church’s eleventh anniversary of dedication comes next Sunday, along with our patroness, St Gertrude the Great. I invite you to the Pontifical Mass, followed by an anniversary luncheon with an interesting Mexican theme, and honoring some feast day visitors from neighboring Mexico. You know that St Gertrude is the patroness of New Mexico and all of the new world.

Caravaggio bagged a suspicious mourning dove the other evening, perhaps left over from Monday’s Requiems. It was a classic cat fight, with many feathers flying. He even had some in his whiskers, giving him a very guilty look. But he dragged the carcass around to my door, and generously gave it up. He is a model of devoted detachment.

Our work continues to restore our bulletin, and we have not given up hope, even in these so busy days of Autumn. Thank you for bearing with us, as well as for your fidelity in attendance and generous giving.

Thank God most of all for our precious Catholic Faith which makes us to be simply Catholic, which is enough. Keep the Faith!
—Bishop Dolan