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Epiphany V

✠ The Bishop’s Corner ✠
Sumptuous is the adjective of choice today for First Saturday’s Candlemas celebration, but for Sunday as well. The Pontifical High Mass was so well sung and served, with its little procession honoring Jesus’ first little procession (just Jesus, Mary and Joseph) as Light of the World into His Father’s temple. So many of you braved the thick fog to attend, laden even with choice winter soups to share at lunch afterwards. By then the sun had come out and melted the snow while you all so quickly and efficiently took down and stored our beautiful Christmas decorations. Thank you for everything!

But Sunday got in on “sumptuous” too. (I wonder if it is the beautiful creamy white Persian rug which graced the sanctuary? A generous soul donated this authentic oriental which we were trying out for Easter.) It was “only” a Green Sunday, after Epiphany, but every Sunday at St. Gertrude is a little Easter. We were solemnizing St. Francis de Sales, and honoring St. Blaise, too. Fr. Cekada was sick with a cold, but he was mightily proud of his choir which did such yeoman service two days in a row. Fr. Lehtoranta and I divided the Masses and throats between us, and seemed to do pretty well. Throat blessing Sunday is always a favorite of mine. The attendance mostly returned, it was a fine Spring morning. The pagan Superbowl mania of a few years ago seems to have subsided. Our Vespers crew expertly sang the Church’s evening service in the traditionally empty church, but a good group of 5:45ers did come early so as to receive the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, and stayed late for their throats. Who could ask for more? Well not to push the envelope…but I could ask for all of the catechism children to attend class for a change. Let’s pray and work for that one. Only four months left.

We were praying for Richard Smith all weekend. Fr. Lehtoranta said the Prayers for the Dying with him Saturday, and remarked how alert he was. They had a good conversation (one always did) with him afterwards. But Monday just before Mass he breathed his last. I was able to offer Mass for him within the hour, a “Privileged Altar” Mass of a bishop, which bestows a Plenary Indulgence. He was certainly deserving!

Richard Smith is another remarkable old timer of St. Gertrude the Great. In the 80’s he and Elizabeth and children used to drive up once a month from Tennessee. After they relocated here, Richard used to usher all the Sunday Masses. Elizabeth ran the gift shop in the undercroft of our first church, in Sharonville. Richard worked until just a few years ago. He died at 92, full of years and wisdom, a great conversationalist, who simply kept going in is own kindly, quiet way. What a man. We shall not see his like again. May he now rest in peace.

We do hope to install a new heating/cooling unit for the school…sometime, as well at long last to get the same for All Saints hallway and the Gift Shop, and maybe one or two more things which need looking at. The large H/Vac unit in the parking lot is for Helfta Hall, awaiting a weather window when the crane wouldn’t too much mess up the lawn, I am told.

Fr. McKenna observes his ordination anniversary tomorrow, Our Lady of Lourdes. His birthday was just last week. He returns from the Missions tomorrow. Fr. Cekada departs tomorrow for his seminary teaching week. I hope to return safely from Brazil on Wednesday. Remember Saint Valentine come Thursday. Saturday we bid adieu to the Alleluia until Holy Saturday. Oh, don’t forget Friday. We make bold to add a third novena to the evening lineup: The Sorrowful Mother with Blessing of the Sick, in the countdown until her Passiontide feast day. But if you can’t make it, we’ll bless you next Sunday, after all Masses.

God bless you this Sunday, too?
–Bp. Dolan