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Immaculate Conception, Advent II

✠ The Bishop’s Corner ✠
Our second week of Advent belongs all to Mary Immaculate. The holy day and the Sunday merge in blazing glory. We can never honor her enough, nor trust too much in this loving Mother. Place your Advent preparations under her protection, and stay close to her. Continue the Novena at home. Did you know that Our Lady told St Catherine Laboure already in 1830 that religious of St Vincent De Paul must beware of bad reading, wasting time, and useless visiting? Now the so called “social media” invite, press us to do this first thing in the morning, and late into the night. Oh, they can serve a good purpose of course, sometimes even alerting shepherds that sheep or lambs are wandering. But for most people, it’s an easy addition to the three evils lamented by Our Lady. Advent resolutions, anyone?

Speaking of Advent, did you remember to cut a Barbara Branch on Wednesday? It seems there is a Barbara Bread as well, and we enjoyed a beautiful loaf of it, slightly sweet, and tasting of anise.

On First Thursday, we honored the priest St Sabbas the Sanctified, and prayed for our priests. The first of our Rorate Masses was sung. If there’s some rare winter sun about, the transformation from ead dark to splendid sunshine during the forty minute Mass is stunning in its simple symbolism. The Incarnation, the coming of Christ the Light of the World. The rest of the day was mild and sunny, a nice break from the December dark.

Speaking of light, we’ll need some help to get our lights up, both inside and out, as well as the decorations which make our church a real palace for the Little King each Christmas. Can you spare some time Saturday morning the 21st? Robins were passing through the other afternoon, their dark gold breastplates sparkling in the sun. The starlings are still claiming the good seats on the power lines for the end of day. Puccini is looking chic in his double white fur coat. I wonder if this portends a cold winter, er, “climate change?”

Earlier this week the cat was licking its wound from some nocturnal enemy encounter, but it’s grown over now. Cats cure their ills by sleeping, but in their discretion, you’d hardly notice. They sleep a lot anyway. But if under the weather they fast until better. My old friend the owl has arrived for December as is traditional, but is so far keeping silent. He’s the wise one.

St Nicholas is visiting this morning. This is so joyful a season, especially for children, and children at heart. But strive to regain some of the innocence so easily lost, and you’ll have a real gift come Christmas.

I send a blessing home with you, and a prayer for those we see no more, or barely, rarely. Mary keep you.

—Bp. Dolan