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Within the Octave of the Ascension

On our Altar on Easter IV:


✠ The Bishop’s Corner ✠
This has been an extraordinarily busy ten days, even for St. Gertrude the Great, which is saying some-thing. I told you about Bernie Brueggemann on the Ascension. He has a worthy successor in heading our Guard of Honor in Brendan Lotarski. When Tom Simpson decamped to sunny Florida, Brendan just stepped in as a natural, and is a good salesman when it comes to filling Adoration slots. If they only knew what a deal they’re getting!

So: Adoration and First Friday and Saturday, St. Pius V and a lovely last Paschal Sunday, with a meditative chant Mass, and a rousing hymn or two. On Sun-day afternoon Fr. Cekada treated his music students to a fine Baroque concert at the newly restored Music Hall. Our High Schoolers are having quite the freshman year. We hit the ground running, or processing, rather, on Monday for the Lesser Litanies. Fine sunny days with some wind encouraged us in our holy exertions. Formal, proper, and liturgical as are our well organized ceremonies, there is always a family note as well. Someone commented that nowhere else do the people participate so enthusiastically, repeating with the choir the whole petition each time as they merrily march along.

The weather turned dark and humid by Wednesday afternoon, making merriness more of an effort in those so busy hours. And then you must factor in the Spring allergies. Still, the beautiful wild honeysuckle is in bloom everywhere. The cloister garden, however, is a charming oasis of order and calm color, as a cloister should be, all in readiness for today’s May Crowning.

The Holy Day gathered in a good group of disciples to honor Our Lord’s leave taking and receive His last blessing at the Ascension. Fr. Cekada noted that the school choir sang an especially beautiful Mass, but they always do. How blessed are we. The day ended with a fine solemn Vesper service, and Adoration, Rosary and Benediction as well as our May Devotions of the Latin Loreto Litany. A real holy day.

My Ascension Thursday ended with a late evening baby bunny rescue. Caravaggio plopped his captive down on the porch with his urgent “I’ve got a bunny” cry. But he seemed in no hurry to proceed to the slaughter. Then Puccini arrived, all business. The game was on. I outsmarted him (barely), and repatriated the wee rabbit to the tall grass. Puccini was uncharacteristically annoyed at the rescue, and was still pouting Friday morning. He’ll recover.

Yesterday we welcomed visitors from Wisconsin and Michigan for the wedding, even as we prepared for today’s procession and May Crowning, always a touching ceremony. Don’t forget this evening’s second pro-cession, the first Fatima Rosary Procession for Peace. “Of Mary, there is never enough,” the saints say.

By tomorrow we’ll be ready for some rest. Today is another long and intensive day of prayer around here. But that’s what we’re about. Perhaps this is the reason God has delivered us from the hands of our enemies so often. Prayer can be work, yes, but prayer works!

Elvira Moser was given out as dead last Saturday, but it was premature. She had not yet received her Last Rites. Cousin Jackie Regner obtained at last the family’s permission, and contacted us Sunday afternoon. A tired Fr. Cekada (but such is a priests’ life) went over on Sunday evening, and found the place and our patient with a little heavenly help. She died on Ascension Thursday, “well fortified with the sacraments of the church.”

The holy day also saw Jan Becker enter eternity. The Beckers were one of our original families in the 80’s and had, as families will, their ups and downs over the years, but we remember them, and those days, fondly. She and Mary Anne sang in the choir. Jan suffered for years for dementia, but received the Last Rites duly from Fr. Lehtoranta some time ago. Extreme Unction in such a case when Confession is impossible is so important, for it forgives sins which cannot be con-fessed, provided the intention is present in the soul. Procure this sacrament for yourself, and your loved ones, in a timely way. Don’t delay.

Happy Mother’s Day! Thank God for your moth-er, Holy Mother Church, and the Blessed Mother!

– Bishop Dolan