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Pentecost XXIII – St. Gertrude

Our Saints, 2014:

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Daily Sermons
November 10 – Fr. Lehtoranta – The Story: Our Lady’s Child
November 11 – Bp. Dolan – St. Martin of Tours
November 12 – Fr. McKenna – St. Martin I
November 13 – Fr. Nkamuke – Pain of Loss in Purgatory
November 14 – Bp. Dolan – St. Josaphat
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zelusdomustuae
✠ The Bishop’s Corner ✠
This week we were trembling in anticipation of the dreaded “winter vortex”—not! Winter weather may visit a little early this November, but we were anticipating with joy and genuine gratitude St Gertrude’s Day, and already the eleventh anniversary of the dedication of our new church. Women were prominent in this work, as they often are in life. There are the ladies and young ladies of the choir, offering such rich praise in song for God’s glory. The Luncheon Ladies deserve a very warm “Muchas gracias” for the festive Mexican meal they prepared for today celebration, good protection against Canadian weather and wandering ice floes. The devout ladies of the sacristy are joined by one of our expert floral artists in decorating the altar. Truly, we have many to thank—I’m sure there are some men in there too—for such a blessed feast day of St Gertrude the Great.

If raccoons evinced gratitude (I doubt they do, they’re the eat and run type) they would be grateful for a warm and cozy dwelling place at St Gertrude. At least I think it is raccoons, who have moved into the wall in the choir corner. They first announced their arrival with truly demonic screeches and thuds during the Consecration of my last All Souls Day Mass. The odd bird or other beast who comes in out of the cold would be a welcome change. I guess you could say this is just one more way we Gertrudians are becoming Franciscans, welcoming all of God’s little creatures. Caravaggio is not so sure about this development, however. He’s been by to investigate the situation but is sticking with mourning doves himself.

Due to the lay of the calendar, we seem to have an extra week, this one, between St Gertrude and Thanksgiving, a welcome little breather for most in what has been a very busy Autumn at our Church. Already, however, some ladies were thinking ahead, and are organizing an early Christmas Craft Sale for the last Sunday of the month, November 30. It seems many people do their Christmas shopping early anymore. Do you have anything you could make, or contribute? We would be ever so grateful for your participation in this traditional, and very important, fundraiser.

Meanwhile, the McFathers are loading up the car this week with clergy and vestments for St Hugh’s first 40 Hours ever in celebration of their 25th anniversary of dedication, which actually took place July 18, 1989. Fr. Berry kindly came in from Denver to make for a Solemn Mass with Fr. Cekada and myself. A Solemn Requiem followed the next morning for Fr. Hugh Wish, founding pastor. God has richly blessed this church over the years, not in numbers but in numberless virtues in the maintenance of the uncompromised Catholic Faith. Rarely have so few done so much for the Faith and for souls, and for so long. God richly reward them as they keep the Solemnity of their patron saint next Sunday, and give their thanks the Catholic way, through the Holy Eucharist, offered solemnly and adored. God bless the young fathers who are serving and guiding this congregation now in its second 25 years.

Our Fr. Bede Nkamuke returns to Nigeria December 2, and has happily had a number of invitations before he goes to his new priestly apostolate. Last Sunday Fr. Oscar Saavedra, one of our former assistant priests and teachers here, now pastor of Queen of Martyrs in Detroit, invited Father to visit his flock, and offer Mass.

This past week we enjoyed a visit here, his second, with a second “Fr Arnold”, Padre Arnoldo Villegas of Tijuana, Mexico. I hope our hospitality was warm, but I’m afraid our weather was cold! Still, it is such a pleasure to visit with an otherwise isolated brother priest, and such a fine one, and to introduce him to some of our own here. Father in turn has invited me to visit his mission in Mexicali, near the Arizona border. They say it is unusually hot there most of the year, so I must come in Winter, probably February.

Gerard Keaveney, (new name, same old Gerry) writes from wintry Idaho to say how much he is enjoying life out there in God’s country as a minor seminary economics professor and basketball coach. Les Pomerville played for the 11.30 last Sunday, but faces yet another surgery for potential cancer. Prayers please. Richard Zbilicki is now our church secretary, and Theresa Simpson is bravely doing our parish bulletin. This is her second, and she’s doing a fine job. We welcome them both, and thank them for their dedicated assistance.

Of late our priests have been fittingly marking their ordination anniversary by offering a Solemn High Mass. We can do this now, because we have enough priests. Deo gratias. But this year I am celebrating the Solemn Mass for St Gertrude, assisted by two of the fathers whose anniversary we are also celebrating today: Fr McGuire observes his 9th, and Fr Lehtoranta his 3rd. Congratulations to these fine priests, so much a part of our life now at St Gertrude the Great. Keep all of our priests in your good prayers, and do not forget those who have faded away from sight, or perhaps even forgotten the precious gift and awesome responsibility of their priesthood.

On an ecumenical note, the Mormons, who make their twelve year old boys priests and send them out as elders in their teens or so, now have made it official: their founder, Joseph Smith, had “about” forty wives, including married women and a fourteen year old girl. Enough to give the Episcopalians a run for their money, as Henry VIII only had six. Luther broke his priestly vows to marry a nun, and gave an annulment or two himself. This is the distinguished group Francis wants us to join with his new quickie Catholic divorce, an even faster annulment procedure (tens, hundreds of thousands now), and Communion for everyone anyway. We’ll stay Catholics, thank you very much.

Thank you very much, dear faithful on this anniversary day, and let us all thank God and St Gertrude the Great very much indeed. May the blessings of this day go home with you, and stay all year round.

—Bishop Dolan