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Septuagesima

zelusdomustuae
✠ The Bishop’s Corner ✠
First Friday’s snow at least changed the drab brown landscape and with the pure white, brought light, continuing Sunday’s Candlemas theme. But don’t be surprised at the cold: “If Candlemas Day be fair and bright, Winter will have another flight.”

But what a wonderful day was last Sunday, the Purification. The Christmas weather returned for its finale with sunny mild weather under perfect blue skies. It was the 33rd day of the year, the number which stands for Our Lord’s sacred humanity; halfway between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. The date itself, 02/02/2020, is a most rare palindrome, written the same way forward or backward. “Christ yesterday and today and the same forever.”

We were happy as well to welcome guests and visitors. We all had a grand time after the splendid High Mass, feasting and visiting at the reception. Everything got eaten. An excellent sign. Thank you to all who helped. Mostly, by chance, the same souls who helped on Sunday returned to church Monday. After getting their throats blessed and without even waiting for lunch, they tucked into the Christmas pack away project. More volunteers than in a number of years cheered our regulars and made for a neat and efficient job. Thank you!

The priests are working today blessing throats, but it’s a delight. Think of it, the St. Blaise candles used to be lighted. I always picture wax everywhere, and burned hair ends. But the symbolism of the blessed candle perfectly conveys Christ, who comes to touch us and heal us.

We also turn to His Immaculate Mother, starting a Triduum today to Our Lady of Lourdes for the sick, of whom we have several. The same intention inspires our Sorrowful Mother Novena Friday evenings. (A triduum is three days, a novena nine days, in our case, one day for nine consecutive weeks.)

On Tuesday at 11:25 the Fathers will celebrate a Solemn High Mass to mark Fr. McKenna’s 8th Ordination Anniversary. The Mass will be offered for our sick. Come to honor Our Lady, the priesthood, and to give a “prayer boost” for the sick.

Fr. Cekada made dramatic progress early last week, in his first days of rehabilitation. He continues to work intensely each day with three different rehabilitation goals. Father is slowly gaining strength and we hope he will be able to return to us on Friday. Thanks for keeping up those prayers!

Prayers are needed for Fr. Bede Nkamuke and his Nigerian flock as well. This is his latest, and disturbing news. Looks like the central government is preparing for a radical Islamic takeover:

“The situation here is one of security breakdown. Not in a random, but systematic way. The key military and police and executive positions now belong exclusively to the Hausa-fulanis. Boko Haram still cause havoc in the North and Christians of every colour and Muslims who sympathize with Christians are the target. Everyone’s safety is in his hands. Some Jihadist group has made a public statement that conquest of the whole country will begin soon and has called on other groups in Africa to help them fight.

“The South is not as bad as the North, but the presence of Northerners and Islamic foreigners in the South is disturbing.

“We’re of course careful and vigilant. And we trust in Divine Providence.”

Still, Father carries on and reports an influx of vocation enquiries, and a Baptism and Churching on the Purification, fittingly enough.

We have a Baptism ourselves today, and we all of us make a new beginning as we open the Easter season with Septuagesima, its remote preparation by way of easing our way into Lent. But beware! There’s nothing easy about Lent. This so serious season must indeed be properly prepared if it is to be fruitful. Think on your Lenten plan, and submit it to Our Lady for approval.

May Our Lady of Lourdes light your way.
– Bishop Dolan