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St. John, Apostle

St Gertrude’s, Before Midnight Mass

Daily Sermons
December 16 – Fr. Lehtoranta – Isaias, The Prophet and Herald of Jesus
December 17 – Fr. Lehtoranta – St. Olympias and Our Bishops and Priests
December 18 – Fr. Lehtoranta – Mary, Help of All Those Who Grieve
December 21 – Fr. Lehtoranta – Poverty and Humility Lead to Heaven
December 25 – Bp. Dolan – True God of True God

✠ The Bishop’s Corner ✠
I write this Sunday note on the Tuesday before Christmas, feast of our first American saint, Frances Xavier Cabrini. We survived the Winter Solstice, which seems to have brought us Summer instead, like a confused St. Nick. I remember one very warm Christmas back in Sharonville before Global Warming had been infallibly defined. Someone tried to come to Midnight Mass in shorts. Vigilant ushers saved the day. We are grateful for the good weather which makes it ever so much easier to be about our business—and God’s—these busy Christmas days. We are grateful for ushers, too!

I thank God in advance—as Fr. Solanus would do—for a wonderful Christmas, and each of you for the gifts you bring the Baby God for His birthday. Some of you, like generous grandparents, have loaded up the tree with many offerings, others of you perhaps gave only your presence and a prayer. All are thanksworthy before God. May Our Lady reward you.

But what a wonderful and warming scene last Monday rewarded me! So many workers at the St. Thomas High Mass and Christmas Novena, a pizza lunch, and then the great work of transforming our church into a palace fit for our Infant King. Many hands make light work, and yesterday’s children, now pretty grown up, confidently undertook their customary jobs. Fr. Cekada and Joan Lotarski were serenely conducting the Christmas choir rehearsal in the midst of the whirlwind of work and chatter, and sounded every bit as professional as if music were being piped in.

Meanwhile in the sacristy, we were in a panic for a lost alb top for Midnight Mass. I suggested to Katie that we switch—not tops but saints. You pray to St. Anthony, I said, and I’ll pray to St. Joseph. That will get their attention! It did. Almost at that instant the missing vestment surfaced.

Darlene is recuperating over the holidays at Steve Weigand’s, but will need a place to go in early January. Fr. McKenna’s back went out in Milwaukee last Sunday. Fr. Lehtoranta is covering Christmas for us at St. Hugh, where this has become a custom. They call him “the Christmas priest,” and not only for this. This is his favorite time of the year, and he participates wholeheartedly in all the Christmas spirit, with cards and gifts and good cheer. The F sharp on our organ has been coaxed back in time for Midnight Mass. Caravaggio and Puccini think it’s Spring, and are wondering what happened to the baby bunnies. Brendan has both turned 19 and purchased his first car, even as he maintains a careful watch for reindeer—er, raccoons, on the roof.

Bishop Sanborn, who works hard enough all school year, is sacrificing his Christmas vacation for the good of souls. He is offering Mass in London (“Bergoglio-free” he says) having left on Christmas day itself to make the connection. Early tomorrow he goes to Paris, and then on to Budapest for meetings, conferences, Confirmations, and more. God bless him. Pray for your clergy.

A quiet Sunday here in West Chester, no doubt. Only serious folk need return to church two days later! Consecrate the New Year with us to God this First Friday with Holy Mass: 7:30, 9:00 and 11:30 AM. No evening Mass or All Night Adoration due to the holiday.

“May your holidays be bright,” as they say. May your holy days be brighter!

Jesus fill you with His holy light.

-Bishop Dolan