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Lent V – Passion Sunday

The altar, as decorated for Laetare Sunday.

The altar, as on Passion Sunday

Daily Sermons
March 27 – Bp. Dolan – What We Do in Church & School
March 28 – Fr. Lehtoranta – And Our Lord was Pacified
March 29 – Fr. McGuire- Two Blind Men
March 30 – Fr. Lehtoranta – Who is Your Best Friend?
March 31 – Bp. Dolan – A Family Story

✠ The Bishop’s Corner ✠
We enter the saddest of seasons, Passiontide, with great joy today. We go forward with the cross which is veiled in purple, but “shines with a mystic glow,” we sing at Vespers. Nature, meanwhile, anticipating the Resurrection, has cast off its winter shroud, and is all abloom for spring. One week from now the donkey comes and we accompany Our Lord in triumph to Jerusalem. Anticipation builds.

The golden gate of Holy Week beckons. We’re planning and preparing. You should too. Give it some thought and prayer. Clear your calendar as you are able for the holiest days of the year.

Last weekend was a memorable one. We had an excellent turnout of servers, family and Sisters’ Day workers for the well sung Annunciation Mass. Such a holy day, March 25. The Altar Boy Day passed quickly with spiritual talks, practices, and practical points. There was pizza too, some teaching games and prizes, and plenty of time for questions and discussions. A precise and professional bunch, our servers. We’re proud of them.

Meanwhile, the Sisters and their helpers were transforming Helfta Hall, and preparing a delicious breakfast for the morrow. Laetare Sunday dawned heavy and humid, but there was no keeping down the high spirits of this day of rejoicing. The hall was crowded with participants, generously eyeing the offerings and having some breakfast too. The silent auction is a popular feature. Young Paddy Omlor won the pot, or his split of it. Dima sold a lot of tickets. The Sisters made out like bandits, as much as nuns could. Everyone went home tired but happy, I think.

The morning was intense with many activities, including a beautiful betrothal ceremony. Much watch watching for me as I greeted a new family, had a little breakfast, and got back to church for Stations and sermon. We were all saddened by the news of the sudden death of Mary Rose Peter. She and Jim Peter were old timers from the early years, faithfully coming over from Indiana. Fr. Lehtoranta went over to say some prayers with the family, and returned just in time for his scheduled trip to St. Clare Chapel. Brendan was his trusty chauffeur, so Father could rest a little. As you see (and it’s only a part), Sundays are pretty intense around here. But it is Our Lord’s Day, and we want to give—and receive—just as much as we can.

Did you happen to hear the High Mass last Sunday? It was especially beautiful, as befits the occasion. Fr. Cekada tweeted out the Asperges, a very rich piece beautifully rendered. We are so blessed to have so many talented choirs at St. Gertrude! Join one today. I noted with satisfaction that the little ones are making great progress in the school choir for the daily High Mass.

The High Mass is the original and full form of the Holy Sacrifice. The Low Mass is a shortened, simplified form due to necessity. But the High Mass remains the ideal, the heart of our worshiping day. Once there were tens of thousands, more, throughout the Church, even daily Solemn Masses. Today, of valid and licit Sung Masses, only a handful. We at St. Gertrude are so privileged to be able to give to God this glory, the very best we can manage each day. Thus we maintain not only the light of the Faith, also its melody.

A Turkish lady from Lafayette, Louisiana visited us once. She wrote to me last week asking for prayers for her persecuted people in the Middle East, and their conversion. The Alawite are seen by many as Moslems, but she maintains they were originally “Hidden Christians,” like those who outwardly conformed to Buddhism in Japan, while keeping a secret version of the Faith. The Alawites have a Christian calendar, Our Lady, some saints, and even a very secret form of “Mass.” The ISIS monsters single them out for the most outrageous atrocities. She sent pictures I could not bear to look at. Please pray for their protection and conversion.

Now is also a good time to pray for fervor for the lukewarm, regularity for the hit and miss, return of the Fallen Away, and the conversion of our dear ones. Graces abound. Make use of them. Do a “First Saturday” today. Come to First Friday on the feast of the Seven Sorrows. (Remember, though, no All Night Adoration until Holy Thursday night.) Grace abounds these days. Get some and share it.

Last call for Stations until Good Friday! Today, Wednesday and First Friday. Ditto for the Lenten Friday of Recollection. God reward our cooks this season. I only wish we had more hungry souls.

Jesus feed you with the Bread of Life!

—Bishop Dolan