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Pentecost XXIII

Children’s All Saints Costumes, 2017

Daily Sermons
November 6 – Fr. Lehtoranta – Our Lady Queen of the Patriarchs
November 7 – Fr. Lehtoranta – Requiem for a Friend
November 8 – Bp. Dolan – Seven and One and All Saints
November 9 – Fr. Lehtoranta – Our Lord and Savior Lives in a Church
November 10 – Bp. Dolan – A Friend of Saints
November 11 – Bp. Dolan – A Surprising Saint

✠ The Bishop’s Corner ✠
I write this on Friday, Feast of St. Andrew Avellino, invoked against sudden death. Early this morning I learned of the death of dear, faithful Thelma Sieverding, another surely of our “founding mothers.” In my spiritual reading I had just read this: “St. Andrew is one of the saints specially invoked against sudden death. He was able to receive the last sacraments before he died, which many people cannot because they have put them off till too late. A good life, the last anointing, and viaticum ensure a good death.” How true. Fr. McGuire and I visited Thelma at her Indiana country home only two days before, on one of those painfully beautiful Fall days we’ve been blessed with. We said the prayers for the dying (the Church’s true “last rites”) with Thelma, and her husband Henry and one daughter praying along. Thelma was blessed with a strong, sacrificial smiling Faith in life, and a well prepared and good death.

St. Andrew Avellino once miraculously lit the way on a “dark and stormy night” returning from a sick call. There were no street lights back then, but he glowed. So should we. We must ask his assistance for our darkness here, which hit us suddenly last Sunday with the time change. We got the one remaining parking lot light functioning this week, but we’re still pretty dark by after the 5:45.

Years ago we installed quite a bit of lighting around the church grounds, but now it’s mostly gone, lights burned out maybe, or broken. Nobody can even find the source for the nice Calvary light we once had. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel still shorts off and on, as she has for years. Any and all ideas and even actual assistance would be most appreciated, in lieu of a maintenance man, which we do not have. How beautiful—and safe—was our church at night with all the light. Attractive, apostolic advertising too, for our traditional Catholic faith. “So let your light shine before men.”

Next week we’ll do a leak update, but I wanted to note with some satisfaction that the driveway is at last repaved, exactly one year after we began “project patience.” I do apologize for those who were inconvenienced with its sudden closure, but am edified at the devotion and determination of those who figured out, on their own, alternative parking. One lady, not knowing of the stairs at the Convento, parked there and actually hazarded the hill. Her angel got her down safely. God love her.

What a beautiful stirring High Mass last week for All Saints Sunday. Helfta Hall was full as the little ones entertainingly portrayed their saints, and creative mothers displayed their handiwork. Some fathers were in the mix, too, I know, and of course some of the children worked very hard for their thoughtful and edifying presentations. And it was a nice party as well. Mmm…potato chips and cookies for breakfast!

There’s another nice party on offer Thursday as we celebrate St. Gertrude the Great and mark our 14th anniversary in our “new” church, our 37th church anniversary all together. Thanks be to God and St. Gertrude the Great.

Sunday church attendance continues low this Fall. Looks like we peaked in Summer. Go figure. Still the good news is that almost everybody of our real congregation (but we love our virtual, too) made it to Mass for the Holy Day. The differential was very small. Our collection continues unchanged. Because of your regularity and generosity, we are able to offer all that we do to our visitors and part time members, and share it as well with our devout and also generous internet congregation.

Fr. Saavedra, God love him, arranged for our now restored processional cross to be delivered the other day. Herein lies a tale. Years ago we had a visiting Russian seminarian at Holy Week. He was a character in his own right, worth a novel maybe or at least a good short story. Tall and easily distracted, he hit the door with the processional cross at Easter, bending it just enough. I never got anything done about it, because it could pass, but it reproached me when I passed it in the sacristy. But, “Hail Holy Cross, our only hope!” Last January, we finally got around to inviting Fr. Eldracher for a “first” Solemn Mass. He was on his way to the restorer in North Carolina with a truck full of goods, and agreed to take our humble cross with the treasures. Repaired, the cross languished in the workshop, waiting to hitch a ride. The angels finally got it to Detroit, and good Fr. Saavedra was an angel about getting it to Cincinnati. “Behold the Cross of the Lord. Flee forces of the Foe!”

May the Holy Cross be protection for the living, and solace for the dead and always reign in your heart and head.

– Bishop Dolan