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Lent VI – Palm Sunday


Fr. McGuire is doing some final preparation before today’s Palm Sunday Procession and Mass.

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✠ The Bishop’s Corner ✠
Passion Friday, Our Lady of Sorrows always completes our Lent, and brings us into Holy Week. The palm is pulled apart and bundled to be blessed, even as we finish some of our Lenten observances: The Friday Recollections and Stations and novenas, oh and the meals too, now are just about done for another year. God bless our young workers who turned out yesterday to clean the cloister for the procession and to dismantle the Christmas tree there, which served as a decorative way to protect the fountain from freezing. At least Winter may be passed. Thursday afternoon our new young Masters of Ceremony assembled all of their servers for a thorough Good Friday rehearsal. We thank John VandeRyt for so many years of faithful Good Friday service. The torch is passed on, an important and proud moment.

The McFathers are with us for Holy Week, and Fr. Lehtoranta, the “Christmas priest” at St. Hugh in Milwaukee, serves once again for Easter as well. Fr. McKenna is freshly back from Texas, where he took care of a dying man in El Paso, and a new family in Austin. We hope these will grow into thriving Missions in God’s good time. Fr. McGuire returned late last Sunday, or early Monday, from a particularly pastoral visit to Holy Face Mission in Effingham, Illinois. This week, as usual, he’s been visiting our sick, old and new, fallen away and true.

We are—you are—blessed to have confessions every Sunday morning, just about, of the year. For years before it was a stretch for one priest, maybe two, to accommodate the faithful, especially at Christmas and Easter, between Masses, ceremonies, and Confessions. Thank God for our young priests, their energy and devoted zeal. How easy it is to get to Confessions at our church.

But how could we not as well bless the Lord for the quiet, regular faithful help of the laity in so many areas of church life? This is especially evident at the “great seasons,” such as Holy Week, but really it is year round.

The grounds have suddenly turned a luxuriant green for Passiontide’s purple, and all of the flowering trees are in bloom. The rabbits seem to be thriving, the groundhogs seem to be nesting, and the robins share the roost with lesser species. Puccini caught a bird the other day, just to show he was still in form, and deposited it by the Pieta outside my window. He’s missing his brother, and requires bursts of play therapy, but otherwise he’s adjusted to the sad disappearance of Caravaggio. Cats are known sometimes to come back, months later. We’re on the watch.

Speaking of Puccini, Fr. Cekada and I slipped off the other Sunday afternoon to hear a beautiful Puccini Mass. The composer of course, not the cat. His “Missa di Gloria” is the only one he wrote, and offers a real meditation on the Gloria and the Creed in particular. It was a real treat to hear a chorus of one hundred voices singing this devotional masterpiece.

But let me say that right here in West Chester our music is magnificent. All four of our choirs bless the Lord God, and us His children, with almost “wall to wall music” at St. Gertrude the Great, all week long. We are especially conscious of this at this Holy Week. Come to Tenebrae, and pray with the Church’s beautiful music. We are indeed blessed.

Fr. Collins’ cancer is progressing towards its inexorable conclusion, but he is supported by many prayers, and blessed to have a good friend and priest to care for him, Fr. McMahon. Fr. Collins will be staying at his rectory at St. Michael’s chapel, rather than returning to Virginia as originally discussed. Amidst all of the sorrow, it is a blessing to have some idea of the “day and the hour” of death, so as to prepare. Thank you for your prayers.

Come and pray with us this week. Make it truly a Holy Week. Come and watch one hour, even. Bring the children for such beautiful and memorable ceremonies, the stuff of which Catholic childhood is made, along with its dearest memories.

Blessed Holy Week!
–Bp. Dolan