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Lent IV – Laetare

Our Lady of Fatima, on a crisp Sunday morning before Mass

Daily Sermons
March 20 – Fr. Lehtoranta – St. Joseph, Image of God the Father
March 21 – Fr. Lehtoranta – How to Forgive the Offenses
March 22 – Fr. Lehtoranta – Honour Thy Father and Mother
March 23 – Fr. Lehtoranta – I Will Be Thy Death, O Death
March 24 – Bp. Dolan – 5+5=5 Wounds

✠ The Bishop’s Corner ✠
We had hail again last Monday, St. Joseph’s Day, right at 8 o’clock. My first thought was that the devil didn’t read the bulletin. We had hail for the 7 AM Mass on Ash Wednesday, but there was no 8 AM scheduled. We did have an 11:20 High Mass, and it was a fine Mass indeed for a good St. Joseph. Afterwards we processed down the All Saints Hall to Helfta and the Hot Cross Buns, waiting to be blessed. St. Joseph provides for us. We also collected a little food for the poor. Thank you.

Sunny and cold was our March day on Thursday, as it should be. We were awash with angels. Two days in a row at Vespers and Mass, there were angels. First of all comes great Gabriel, Daniel the prophet in tow, for his office which announces the next day’s Annunciation. Yesterday was the day of the Incarnation of God’s Son in Mary’s virginal womb. Even though it’s Lent, we keep this great Advent feast on March 25, for the Church loves to count her days and months in the Liturgy. Only nine months to go until Christmas!

But it is Easter we’re counting down now. Last Thursday was mid-Lent, and today is our Laetare as we put everything in pink over the purple in sheer joy that the Day of Days, Our Lord’s Resurrection, draws near. What those who don’t “do” Lent will do, I don’t know. How will they ever rejoice? Maybe get some chocolate bunnies, or get started on the peeps.

I’m very proud again this year of our school boys who stay in church during Lent after High Mass to chant Vespers with us, thus sacrificing a good part of their lunch time. They’re picking up the Latin nicely, as well as the habit of praise, which is so important. Incidentally they’re all excellent fencers, classically trained champions.

Saturday week I was just giving out the fifth antiphon for Vespers when an immense, rumbling roar filled the church, quite a bit louder than the earthquake I once experienced in Mexico. You would have thought great Gabriel had come a week early. Fr. Lehtoranta soldiered on, I faltered slightly in the psalmody, and Fr. McGuire prudently left choir to check things out. He was not seen again, and I feared a great chasm had opened and swallowed him up, but we prayed on. The only external sign was the opening of a trap door in the ceiling of the Baptistery. I saw it on Sunday morning.

We had another such fearsome noise at Christmas Matins. Fr. Cekada says it’s the church settling. Several more floor tiles in the sanctuary broke, and it also gave us a distracting scare. Curious how all of this settling occurs during the Divine Office. Probably because the Church’s official prayer is so powerful, it settles all of her affairs, even if opening hatches or breaking a few tiles in the process.

We really did have a beautiful Mass for St. Pat-rick’s Day. Here’s how one correspondent described it:

“I attended the St. Patrick’s Day Mass on Friday and, I have to tell you, it was one of the most beautiful that I’ve ever been a part of. The look of it, with the gold and green reflecting against the candlelight, and the liturgy—there was something different about it. It seemed more melodic. Or maybe it was watching our young priests together; it seemed as though I was watching three princes. And what a treat, to have Fr. Cekada on the organ, and you at your kneeler.”

Aren’t you sorry you missed it?

Many people, throughout the world, would miss Mass entirely any more if it were not for our webcast. We now average about three hundred viewers at any given time. Wow! Most Sundays we have as many, if not more, virtual congregants as actual. Many of the latter, I think, miss Mass many Sundays because they don’t miss it. Sad. But see what one devout lady from Calgary, Canada has to say:

“For many months, I have listened to these SGG sermons, Fr. Lehtoranta, Bishop Dolan, Fr. Cekada, and they have blessed me each time. Please accept this ‘alms’ of thanksgiving and I want to pay for one year subscription. Thank God for your wonderful mission, and revealing your ‘alter Christus’ to my soul!”

We welcome all praying with us by webcast, and pray for them at the altar. We invite them to help sup-port our work by sending in an offering on a regular basis, perhaps using the convenient PayPal. But the traditional check works well too. God reward you, dear faithful friends from afar.

This is another big weekend at St. Gertrude. Yesterday we had our Altar Boys’ Day, and today Sister Sunday. Be sure to go back to Helfta Hall for some breakfast and pick up a raffle ticket on the way. Unfortunately there won’t be camera coverage for the event. (Where’s Big Brother when you need him?) But you’re always welcome to send the Sisters a donation by mail.

Our penultimate Lenten Friday closes the month of March this week. First Saturday opens April with its own special schedule. You’d be a fool to miss it. Or Sunday Mass.

I put you all in Mary’s Heart for safekeeping.

—Bishop Dolan