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Advent III – Gaudete Sunday

The closing procession from Bp. Dolan’s anniversary Mass.

The social hall during Bp. Dolan’s anniversary reception.

Zelus Domus Tuae. An original work composed for the occasion of Bp. Dolan’s anniversary celebration.

✠ The Bishop’s Corner ✠

December has all weathers on its pallete although this artist employs its colors sparingly. Did you remember to delight in Tuesday’s white dawn, creation covered in frost and shining bright until the mild sun melted it into another mellow day? By the weekend the cats thought it was Spring and were out about their rounds. While making after-Mass coffee the other day, an alert McFather spotted a hawk breakfasting on some little creature in the office garden. Its colors blending perfectly (the hand of the Creator!) with the Winter background, the bird was only distinguished by enthusiastic movement as it ate.

I imagine most folk except for our shut-ins are moving rapidly these days, what with—already—final Christmas preparations looming. We’re setting aside Thursday as Church Decoration Day, but some workers will be here earlier in the week, too, and Saturday is always a cleanup day. So if you can give a hand, let us know. Our church is so beautiful at Christmastime, but unlike Nature’s vesture, man’s takes work. Many helping hands make light work, didn’t somebody say?

Richard Smith is back home, and soldiering on as he always does. I think most of our sick have been seen, and Fr. McGuire was even able to go up to Columbus to bring Our Lord to Gary Amyx, who years ago was a 5 o’clock faithful. Father always remarks how unfailingly edifying this shut-in is, even as he is slowly subdued by Parkinson’s, and his strength drains away. What could be better than visiting the sick at Advent, or anytime?

Well, instructing children in the Faith is right up there, too. I grieve at how regularly some children miss Sunday Catechism, oh and Mass, too. Parents, could you wrap regularity in religion, and put it under the tree? What a present that would be. Pretend it’s in a sports or dance program you’ve enrolled your children. Would you miss? If you did, the money you paid would be wasted. But your children were bought at a great price, the Precious Blood. Don’t waste them. Grandparents, you’re our second line of defense, since most sponsors disappear after the Baptism. Please activate!

I was thinking of this because our Fr. Arnoldo Villegas wrote awhile back about the stupendous Saturday Catechism he and his volunteer ladies conduct for three hours each week. Plenty of time for a Rosary, a spiritual talk, prayers, play practice, lunch and games and, of course, catechism! Father is in Tijuana, and while I’m sure the migrants, the “Migra” (US immigration forces) mucked up the border crossing something terrible, this was not what he wrote about, but Saturday Catechism and First Friday Adoration. Because this is the stuff that matters. Fr. Villegas had his first All Night Adoration at his new Ss. Peter and Paul Church in always hot Mexicali recently. Women took the earlier hours, and then men watched the night. Adoration enables us to cross the border between earth and heaven, and illegals are welcome, no visa required.

Please pray for Fr. Francis Miller’s Dallas chapel, out of a home by Christmas. It’s dedicated to St. Anthony, so we’re praying he finds them a new place. The McFathers help out there each month, and we were just going to begin First Saturdays in January.

It’s not Christmas yet, but we were planning out the schedule for a busy next year through Easter. Lent will emphasize recollections, for Children, Young Adults, and Altar Boys, and I’m wondering if any adults would go for something spiritual one Saturday? Of course, there’s always the Friday night “double devotional” we offer each year. Give it a thought.

But first Christmas. Tomorrow the Church begins her solemn O Antiphon Novena at Vespers, which we anticipate at Mass. Pray with us. Decorate with us. Bring the children with us. Soon it will be Emmanuel, God
with us!

May St. Joseph clean up for home and hearth and heart for Christ’s coming.
— Bp. Dolan