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Pentecost XIII

Daily Sermons
August 1 – Fr. Lehtoranta – St. Peter and Rhoda
August 4 – Fr. Lehtoranta – St. Dominic, The Preacher of God’s Love
August 15 – Bp. Dolan – 3 Days – Kidnapping, Patience, The Mother of God
September 1 – Fr. Lehtoranta – May Our Hearts by Like the Sacred Heart
September 2 – Fr. Lehtoranta – St. Stephen of Hungary and Mary-Like Humility
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✠ Note from Father ✠

Dear Faithful,

With His Excellency, Bishop Dolan, and Fr. Cekada still away, we younger clergy continue to hold down the fort here at St. Gertrude’s and part of that job comes with filling in for the little spot in the bulletin that gives you all a little bit of an update of what is going on in the world of your clergy (and the cats, of course).

Well, we start off with those most famous of felines. They seemed to be pretty quick to figure out that when the door to their normal stop for food over at the rectory is closed, they should come on down to Convento San Marco to find a nice meal, a little scratch behind the ear, and a warm spot to lie and nap.

As for the human element of our church, I enjoyed reading Fr. McGuire’s note from last week and seeing all the news from the sick calls that he faithfully covers. Seeing his note gave me the idea that I should give you a little update from the missions. I figure everybody knows I am frequently on the road attending to various Mass locations; however they often don’t realize what happens in those places…so I will explain a little.

This last mission trip didn’t start off according to plan. I had a Saturday morning flight from Cincinnati to Chicago, IL and then another flight from Chicago to Fargo, ND. However, my first flight was delayed by three hours, thus causing me to miss my connection. There was only one more flight I could get on to Fargo, which wouldn’t get me into that city until late at night. So, being resourceful, I flew to Minneapolis, MN and drove to Grand Forks, ND. It was a five hour drive, but I arrived at least two to three hours earlier than I would have if I got on the later flight.

Our mission in Grand Forks is held in my apartment, with the common space being converted into a little chapel with a handsome wood altar, made by hand by one of the faithful parishioners in Milwaukee. At Mass, it is always a good little crowd of fervent young people, many of whom have started families, thus providing us with a crew of little ones. To give you an idea of how young the people are in this mission; when Fr. McGuire goes to Grand Forks, he is the oldest person there. We also hope to be adding to our numbers soon in Grand Forks. I was contacted recently by a man in Winnipeg, Manitoba who is interested in coming down. He said that he is married with children, as well, so it could be a very positive addition.

From Grand Forks, I drove to northwestern North Dakota to say Mass in the very small town of Powers Lake. This town is small and truly in the middle of nowhere; however, the Traditional Catholic history in the little town is prolific, as it was the home of Fr. Frederick Nelson, where he hosted his radio programs and Mary Hours that were broadcast throughout North America. People would come from all over to make pilgrimages to Our Lady of the Prairies. The chapel and other buildings are still there and maintained by a handful of faithful who remain there. It isn’t a big group, like it once was, but we did manage close to twenty for Sunday’s Mass.

While driving back to Grand Forks on Monday, the greatly anticipated eclipse occurred. I stopped in the town of Rugby at eclipse time, which is a tiny town, but holds the distinction of being the geographical center of the North American Continent. Thus I watched the eclipse of the sun…literally from the middle of nowhere. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, but it was really neat to see a noticeable darkness descend on the area.

On Tuesday, I drove out to offer Mass in Park Falls, WI. This mission is hosted by a funeral director and he has a nice little chapel in the funeral home to use for Mass (provided there are no coinciding funerals). Because of his profession, we have named the mission after St. Joseph of Arimathea.

Driving back from that mission at night, I found myself in the middle of the fields of Northern Minnesota, in the dark, and in need of stretching my legs. I pulled over to the side of the road, since there were no cars anywhere around and stared up at the unbelievable stars. I also looked northward and as I was so far north, I was treated to seeing the Aurora Borealis. A truly beautiful sight and a very nice little perk to my long trip.

From there I eventually made my way back to Minneapolis to fly to our church, St. Hugh, in Milwaukee for the following weekend before returning home. In the end, it was a successful mission trip overall, which saw me on four flights, doing more than 2,100 miles of driving and saying Mass in four different locations.

As for St. Gertrude’s, it is always good to come home after such a trip. We look forward also to the return of our school children for another exciting school year. Our teachers have been preparing their rooms and classes and the weather has even started preparing for school by becoming a little cooler…all in anticipation something truly priceless… A good Catholic education.

– Fr. McKenna