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Advent II

Daily Sermons
December 4 – Fr. Lehtoranta – St. Barbara and St. Juliana
December 5 – Bp. Dolan – St. Sabbas
December 6 – Bp. Dolan – The Two Prelates: St. Nicholas and Msgr. Carling
December 7 – Fr. Lehtoranta – The Vigil of the Immaculate Conception
December 8 – Fr. McGuire – Mary the Ark: Bible Proofs
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zelusdomustuae
✠ The Bishop’s Corner ✠
I’m writing this yesterday, during what is now referred to as a “snow event.” We’re hopeful the snow won’t be too eventful. But Jack Frost stopped by on Thursday, nipping noses and nibbling on ears. The sun was out, however, for her who is brighter than light on Friday. The very prayerful High Mass was sung in warm sunlight. We met again at sunset for Vespers, and Rosary and Benediction and Mass. Immaculate Conception was a true holy day. It was good to see our friends who “came from Lebanon” as the hymn invites, as well as from Kentucky or maybe Norwood. They all came to keep the day holy and honor Mary Immaculate. Behold the bond which unites us. Wonderful to see so many at Mass. And after Mass, more wonder at our young adults who gathered to set up the outdoor Christmas lights. Thank you!

The December sun rose low on the horizon yesterday, during the Offering of the so quiet Rorate Mass. How golden it blazed on the altar and the angels, but briefly. Splendor fades quickly. Man can’t bear too much of it. Still, a beautiful memory, and a heartfelt home to Our Queen.

A Typical First Saturday
Saturday week in the morning, the Liturgical Year at St. Gertrude the Great ended not with a bang but with a blaze—of glory. The All Night Adoration concluded in the bright December light of daybreak. Three Sacrifices of the Mass—three Masses, one Sacrifice of Christ—were offered simultaneously at Our Lady’s altar, the Poor Souls altar and the High Mass at St. Joseph. Meanwhile the Blessed Sacrament was still exposed and adored at the main altar, the remaining exposition candles burned bright in the morning light, but there are no bells during solemn adoration, for all eyes are focused on the Monstrance. After Mass we finished our First Saturday Acts of Reparation and Consecration, and concluded the vigil of prayer with Benediction. A short sermon or First Saturday Meditation, requested by Our Lady, always concludes the service. A final, fourth Low Mass was offered at the high altar—in white vestments for the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Then a good group of Saturday volunteers helped us to put away and clean and get out the Advent array for the Sunday. Away went the flowers and the white. Out came the purple and the great green wreath, ready to be blessed and lighted. “Christmas is nigh!” Now we are already almost halfway in our brief Advent.

West Chester Nature Watch
Each December the owl comes, with its comforting “who,” and settles on our grounds. First Friday night I heard him rustling in the tall grass around the reservoir, disturbing the birds who had settled there for the night. I think birds and cats were confused a little by the return of warm weather last week. Some baby rabbits even appeared. No wonder Puccini has been bolting his breakfast and most eager to get out, a cat on a mission.

Early First Saturday morning the birds sang through the dawn, and a bunny scampered across the lawn. “It must have been like this,” I thought to myself, “when Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego at Tepeyac.” (We keep the Guadalupe feast on Tuesday.) Birdsong, however, was all I heard, and Our Lady was waiting inside, not out, at the altar.

When I go home up the hill at night I disturb the birds who nest in the bushes on either side of the walk. They must be the starlings who perform the airshow each afternoon. My night path is a gauntlet of rustles, and then all is still.

Fr. Cekada had a good week at the Seminary. He was MC at my consecration, and has copious notes and diagrams to help the seminarians organize Fr. Selway’s. Fr. Lehtoranta was joined by the school children celebrating the centennial of Finnish Independence on St. Nicholas’ Day. They sang two charming Finnish hymns. Father shared his Finnish blueberry pie with us.

Yesterday Fr. McGuire offered Mass again at Holy Face Mission in Effingham, south central Illinois. Its gratifying growth started with just one family, once old time traditionalists. More relatives have returned to the Mass of their youth, and word has spread to others. Odd little pockets of Faith are turning up here and there throughout the world.
Thy Kingdom come!

– Bishop Dolan