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The Holy Family

A ray of sunlight illuminates the incense on this very cold morning, while Fr. McGuire offers the first High Mass of the new year.

Our Altar, before Midnight Mass.

Daily Sermons
December 29 – Bp. Dolan – Katie’s Funeral
January 1 – Bp. Dolan – Sacristy Secrets
January 3 – Fr. Lehtoranta – St. John, The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved
January 4 – Fr. Lehtoranta – The Great Sorrow and the Great Joy
January 5 – Fr. Lehtoranta – The Joys and Sorrow of Christmas

✠ The Bishop’s Corner ✠
Far from winding down this Twelfth Night, our frozen Christmas peaks with Epiphany. Snow replaces sands, but cold is cold, until the Kings find the Divine Child with Mary His Mother. Such a warmth of love and devotion follows as precious gifts are proffered and exchanged, this world’s gold for the Golden Boy’s blessing, incense for His worship, and myrrh for His destiny.

Yesterday’s beautiful Mass of Adoration, a tradition of ours here at St. Gertrude the Great, closed the All Night Adoration, and surely drew down Heaven’s blessing. Among the many works we do, worship, the Sacred Liturgy, is surely our chief apostolate. The landscape is dark and barren so that even our little light in West Chester burns bright.

How busy we’ve been! Oh, our fair share of frozen pipes and catching up from Christmas, but more. First Thursday with its prayers for priests brought the news of Vivian Wainright’s death. She had been a most active and devoted parishioner before moving to the country. I offered her Requiem right away to be on the safe side, but we were hoping to do all or part of her funeral.

Special prayers for the sick this week, and some sick calls for Fr. McGuire before he left for Milwaukee. Henry Sieverding is finishing his stay in a rehab facility, and feels fit as a fiddle.

Janet and Andy are doing the Epiphany sacristy, and found parking for the camel at the crèche! Two flutists and a look alike for little Joseph Murray are also to be found there, adoring. The Three Kings shrines adorn the church. Be sure to take your Epiphany packet home with you; a blessing for your house.

On Thursday the McFathers joined me in schedule planning through Easter. We cover a lot of territory, serving nine chapels or missions, and assisting with two more, all the way from frozen Powers Lake, North Dakota to sometimes balmy El Paso, Texas. This season we had to schedule around the Retreat, and the Consecration in Florida, as well as Holy Week.

Thanks for all of your cards and gifts (mostly cookies and chocolate, but the altar boys were helping with that), and prayerful good wishes. Oh, and two hams and a turkey, which we are faithfully eating our way through. A lot of mouths to feed this Epiphany. Fr. McKenna is our faithful cook this season. When he leaves, good Fr. Lehtoranta generally takes over. Anny Reilly is a brick, as the English say. We can always depend on her for a good Saturday night meal. And what would we do without Andreottas, Makis, Bev & Charlie Henry, the Bayers, and…well, maybe you? So…many thanks!

I would like to ask you to join our CAT club at St. Gertrude the Great. No, nothing to do with Caravaggio or Puccini, cat food or vet trips. CAT stands for some-thing like “Cars and Transportation,” actually “Clergy Airport Transportation,” I guess. In a word, it assembles our drivers who would be willing to give an airport ride or pickup for the good Fathers going about their mission rounds. We’re low at the moment, and nobody picked up Fr. Lehtoranta returning from his Milwaukee Christmas. I was mortified. It seemed a little unfriendly. Cold. And at Christmas. He took a cab. He and I are holdouts, dummies I guess, without Smart Phones. So, no Uber either. But the CAT club is a nice way to help your clergy, though, as well as to get to know them, and maybe participate in the graces of their apostolate. What’s not to like?

Fr. Cekada returned to Izzy’s lately and told the clerk that he made the Sunday “Hanukkah” Sermon in December. Father said he was amused. You never know what will end up in the sermon or the Corner, for that matter. The cats are keeping a low profile these days, mostly sleeping and frolicking in the freezing weather.

The “Printer’s Devil” got into the bulletin and made a little mischief for last Sunday’s schedule, leaving us with two competing Sunday schedules. I apologize for the mistake, but was gratified to see so many souls at Vespers last Sunday evening! Well, back to normal this week.

Fr. McKenna ran into some sleepy T.S.A. agents on Christmas morn. He was transporting a Baby Jesus in his carry on (doesn’t everybody on Christmas?) and it was flagged for inspection, “in case it was a real baby!” Well, the dear Holy Child is indeed real, but usually T.S.A. inspectors, like the rest of us, aren’t privileged to see Him. Thus the statues. One Christmas we counted 33 statues and pictures in our church.

Fr. Nkamuke reports a heavy travel schedule him-self, by car and plane, for Christmas and Epiphany. The disgruntled relative of a coordinator blocked his car recently, and force marched him to see the local Novus Ordo priest to face charges of brainwashing young men. Pilate found him innocent, so then they sent him to Herod, the local Peace Corps; who also acquitted him. The Peace Corps! I thought they were supposed to teach people about crop rotation. What a strange world! And it’s only January….

A blessed, faith filled Holy Family Feast to you all, and Epiphany graces this octave.

– Bishop Dolan