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Easter Sunday

The Gloria Returns!

Here is just the organ piece (Marsh Fanfare) from the video above, minus the bells.

After Good Friday Mass of the Presanctified

Good Friday Tenebrae, during the Canticle of Zachary, just before the final light is hidden

Less the 24 Hours Later at the Bishop’s Blessing at the end of Holy Saturday Mass

Clouds of incense fill the air, as the bishop chants the preface on Easter Sunday.

Bp. Dolan’s 2015 Lenten Retreat on The Joy of St. Francis


Daily Sermons
March 30 – Fr. McKenna – Giving to God
March 31 – Bp. Dolan – Meek Like a Lamb, Strong Like a Lion
April 2 – Bp. Dolan – Maundy Thursday
April 3 – Bp. Dolan – The Death of St. Francis
April 4 – Bp. Dolan – St. Francis’ Canticle of the Sun

✠ The Bishop’s Corner ✠
Easter, like Spring, means starting over, with all things fresh, renewed, reborn in Christ. This is the blessing I wish for all of you this Easter Day. Your Lent may indeed have been little, but I wish you a lot of joy this day. Christian joy, joy verging on blossoming forth to become a Fruit of the Holy Ghost, is always and only grafted on the tree of the Cross. “My Father is the farmer,” Our Lord says, so God sees to the working out of real joy in every life, as He did in St. Francis, as He waits patiently through so many tries in us. Blessed Easter. This does not mean so much that Lent is over as that we now start over again for the next forty days.

A special blessing be upon those who blessed all of us with their time and talents and perhaps even tears at times to make our Franciscan Lent so very rich, our Holy Week and Easter so beautiful, as we learned again with the Poor Man of Assisi that our primary penance must be care for the sacred place where God is actually present among us in the church, in the Blessed Sacrament. We have always tried to live this message at our church, even before the joyful Reformer of Assisi came to preach it to us last year. May we live it year round. Thank you for helping us do so.

A word on our Lent of 2015 would not be out of place as we begin our forty days of Easter. It was a hard one, this Lent, as God sent the penance of the weather, making our Lenten church duties all the more difficult. Attendance was dismal. Many did not or could not come. Some simply stayed away week after week. Thank God most of those on whom we depend for all we do, mostly managed to make it. God reward your extra penances. God be praised for webcasting, which permitted our shut-in, and otherwise deprived faithful throughout the world still to assist at Mass with us in sight as well as in spirit, the way St. Clare did one Christmas when confined to bed. The Franciscan foundress of the Second Order would be the patroness of webcasting.

Our Lenten Days all went very well: the Day of Recollection (fifteen souls, but I expected no more as we unwrapped St. Francis together) the Altar Boy Day, the Children’s Day of Recollection which drew upwards of fifty youth. Of course the daily Mass attendance was disappointing as a rule, but with one splendid exception: St. Joseph’s Day! How you came out to honor him! What a nice surprise that sunny chill Thursday morning! What a beautiful homage in the midst of our March for this Eucharistic saint of poverty, the very model for St. Francis one might say. This year all the action took place in the day. In summary, the days have it.

But still I could not give up the nights, although most of you have. Sometimes somebody comes to a 5 PM Mass. The Lenten Friday evenings are almost abandoned. The Stations never once drew even a modest crowd. Sad. The dead are gone, the devout grow older and can’t come, and no one takes their place anymore, although the memory of their example reproaches us.

Still, I can’t imagine what else we would do on a Friday evening of Lent if not what we have always done, so we will soldier on, knowing that this care for Christ in His Church is indeed the preeminent penance, and that year round, although it is so joyful a one that we can barely contain ourselves, nor could we stay away. Talk about secrets!

Fr. Lehtoranta is kindly caring for St. Hugh this Holy Week in Milwaukee, and will be visiting in Arkansas for Easter Week, stopping in to see the two Franciscan Servants in St. Joe whom I mentioned to you a while ago. The McFathers assisted here this year, and we are grateful for their presence. The cats keep watch all night long in Holy Week, edifying us by their night vigils, content to rest as they may during the day.

God bless the men of the Guard of Honor, who watched at the Altar of Repose on Holy Thursday night. We would be happy to have their ladies join them in adoration, as well as to recruit new men for this apostolate. I only kid about the cats protecting us by patrolling our perimeters (but don’t tell Caravaggio!) However, the Guard of Honor actually does protect us, and always has. Like Sampson’s hair, it is a secret of our strength. Our enemies have never managed it. Few friends have matched it. Even though we’re not big on nights anymore, let us never abandon it, lest we lose our chief defense, the source too of so many other blessings, unseen, silent, like the night.

We were blessed with another ordination during Lent. Many of us know fellow Midwesterner Philip Eldracher of Michigan. On Sitientes Saturday he took the decisive step of the Subdiaconate at Most Holy Trinity Seminary, and is now the Reverend Mister. Diaconate comes in June, and the priesthood the June following. Follow him not on Facebook but in your faith book of prayers, the old fashioned way.

March went out as a lamb last Tuesday, a little rambunctious with the wind, but a lamb for the sunshine. March has been a lion of a month, often lying in wait for its prey. It is gone now at last, with all of Lent. May April see us attentive to the new life Lent loaned us as we start over this Eastertide.

Blessed Easter to you, to family and friends, to your Easter table and week. Surrexit Dominus vere!

—Bishop Dolan