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Lent IV

Daily Sermons
March 9 – Fr. Lehtoranta – A Ferocious Lion and the Lamb of God
March 10 – Bp. Dolan – Math Mass
March 11 – Bp. Dolan – Wash Your Hands
March 12 – Bp. Dolan – Drive Out the Devil
March 13 – Bp. Dolan – Give Me a Drink

✠ The Bishop’s Corner ✠
I can’t remember when Spring has been so welcome as this year, and Winter’s passing so little regretted. What a mercy when Spring emerged out of the morning mists last Wednesday. I write this on Mid-Lent Day, which marks the halfway point already of our spiritual Spring, whose celebration rejoices us today with its rose vestments anticipating Easter joys, the new organ pealing forth withal.

The celebration continues this week for St. Patrick and St. Joseph, with the fast dispensed or lessened, Solemn Mass and other beloved traditions for these feasts, and some really beautiful music, as we had last Sunday. The chant was sublime, and the girls’ voices soared, leaving even the excellent new organ behind. Don’t you be left behind for St. Patrick or St. Joseph. Bring some food for the poor, “St. Joseph’s Table,” on Thursday and assist at the Mass and blessing of the Bread afterwards, Hot Cross Buns for all. Next Sunday, however, plunges us into deepest mourning with all the purple of Passiontide. Such is the way of Lent, which leads us swiftly now to Holy Week and Easter. But blessed are they who go to Easter by the Way of the Cross, and from Mass to Mass.

Last week’s fine Spring Weather reminded me of a March morning, the 10th I think, when we had our first funeral at St. Gertrude the Great, some thirty five years ago. I flew in from New York on Delta, my first time with them, as they were just developing the Cincinnati market they are now slowly leaving. The deceased had kept his Catholic faith, and wanted to be buried with the old Mass. I remember that a fallen away priest who was working as a church organist was brought in to sing the Mass, and told me he would have sung the whole Absolution had he known I wanted it, but that priests usually preferred everything done as quickly as possible. The family gave us a beautiful large missal which we still use today, especially in Lent.

Last Sunday’s mild weather pre-intoned Winter’s end, and I thought everybody would make it to Mass for the first time in a month, but some stragglers forgot the time change, or else were perhaps beguiled by the early Spring sun, and still didn’t come. Nevertheless, we had a pretty good attendance, and many of you conscientiously made up missed collections.

The young lady who did such a beautiful job on St. Francis has also repainted Our Lady’s robe for the Pietá, beautifully colored and shadowed. She and her mother have also undertaken the restoration of the punctured painting of the Sermon on the Mount, a major work, which is coming along nicely. Imagine artwork vandalized right at church! But imagine too, talented and devoted souls who can restore what carelessness or worse have hurt.

Well this is a symbol of Lent, isn’t it? Mother Church and Our Blessed Mother bring us to the divine Artisan and Physician of souls, Who slowly heals us over Lent’s long weeks, restoring the beauty and even innocence which seemed lost. The goodness of God!

Let us rejoice today by anticipation of Easter, but also of eternity, the good things God has prepared for them that love Him. But never forget that even gentle St. Francis reminds us “woe to whose who do not die in penance, for they shall be children of the devil…and go into everlasting fire.” Take Lent seriously, lest you be taken unawares.

This makes for deep and enduring joy.


—Bishop Dolan