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St. Gertrude the Great Altar
The Christmas Decorations, which were taken down after this Candlemas Mass, stand in stark contrast to the purple of Septuagesima.

Daily Sermons
February 2 – Bp. Dolan – The Candle in Candlemas
February 3 – Fr. Lehtoranta – St. Blaise and Intercession of the Saints
February 4 – Fr. Lehtoranta – St. Andrew Corsini and the Wolf
February 5 – Fr. Lehtoranta – St. Francis de Sales and Little Lamb of God
February 6 – Bp. Dolan – To Touch the Hearts of Sinners

✠ The Bishop’s Corner ✠
I think Senex and the local groundhog family (which certainly has its ups and downs in the course of a season) prudently hibernated through Monday’s Candlemas feast. Had they emerged, they would perhaps have seen their shadow, for the sun came and went all day. So too with our weather this week. We had a bit of everything from charming snow and bitter cold to irrepressible Spring, scheduled for today again. It was nice to have a bit of snow’s magic one more time, followed by wonderful winter sun on Thursday, but warm weather will soon be with us.

Those who were with us for Candlemas certainly had a wonderful feast. The groundhogs don’t know what they’re missing. The beautiful Candle Mass drew a record crowd, and accolades from the little ones. “This is a great party,” enthused one little tyke, clutching his burning candle at Mass. I’m sure the holy Child, Whose Presentation it was for His forty days, would agree!

The other party was just wonderful, all in blue and white for the Blessed Mother, with themed place mats featuring a hidden groundhog, and a scrumptious line up of homemade soups to sample. I’m glad I didn’t try to compete, as each year the soups from you all get better and better! Many thanks to all who made it “a great party” whether in church with holy candles in hand, or in the hall sated with savory soups.

Silence seems to have returned to the sacred precincts so I am “guardedly optimistic” as politicians say, that the varmints have been routed (squirrels and raccoons, not politicians) and the walls now will ring only with divine praise. God bless Fr. Cekada who manages both choir and schola as well as providing beautiful organ music and encouragement to our two budding church organists. He’s just posted something on www.sggresources.org about a wonderful opportunity to replace our aging organ with a more recent model, and at such a good price! Oh, and God bless our faithful choir members who came two evenings last week, one of them in the slippery snow storm. And, finally, all who came, especially on First Friday, to help “put Christmas away” for another year.

Fr. Valerii is now safely established in Western Ukraine, away from the Russian invasion in his hometown. Fr. Nkamuke reports rumors of further incursions of Moslem murderers, the Boko Haram, in his country, and asks for prayers. So do the few Catholics left in the Philippines, hoping to organize something. I seem to be writing to people throughout the world these days, and Fr. Cekada does too. All to gain souls for Christ, away from the diabolical clutches of the new religion. No wonder we are so busy with every form of the apostolate.

Fr. McKenna is back in Minnesota, after being snowed in there last weekend until Tuesday. He makes his northern rounds this week, and I make mine next weekend, to northern Mexico, Tijuana and Mexicali, some of whose faithful visited us in November for our St. Gertrude Day celebration, and were surprised at the end by a beautiful snowfall, a real rarity in those parts.

Today’s purple vestments, poking out at us with the left over poinsettias on the altar, remind us that Lent draws nigh. This year’s Lent is dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi, our great saint of the Blessed Sacrament, reverence, and the priesthood, and so much more. Ask him to help you plan out a good Lent. Not too much, of course, but with much love. Our other St. Francis, DeSales, would certainly agree. This year he had his Solemn Mass on his Octave Day, as we were away on retreat for the feast.

Do you have any questions you would like answered in a sermon sometime? Let me know. I’ll try to organize a Q&A Box for the vestibule, and maybe some Sunday Q&A sessions in Helfta Hall.

May the Blessed Trinity, to whom we dedicate short February each year, bless you with a wonderful one as we all begin to plan and keep the best of seasons, Holy Lent!

—Bishop Dolan