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Pentecost VII

✠ The Bishop’s Corner ✠
Quite a week at St. Gertrude the Great, even for us during our “busy season” which is Summer. The week opened with the closing day of our Young Adult Get-Together, an entire success thanks to prayers, courageous good sense and the quiet calm organizational skills of Colleen Eldracher, and her generous assistants. Over sixty young people braved the Covid Revolution, its fear and panic, to travel to West Chester, Ohio and pray and socialize and have a good time, and maybe more… Our numbers were a bit lower due to the One World Lockdown, which closed America’s doors to young people of other countries. But most made it, and certainly made the most of three great days.

Some young people stayed through Monday evening and swelled our numbers to a patriotic 76 (Kirby says) for our July Fatima Rosary Procession for peace. The geese also attended, and provided that little extra penance they’re known for. But it was a fine cool evening under blue skies. Our four surpliced seminarians did the honors, carrying Our Lady of Fatima. The closing Regina Coeli seemed especially touching. May Heaven hear and help, and earth remember to rejoice in so powerful and gracious a Queen. Our Lady has helped, and will continue to do so.

But there was sadness, too, this week for the loss of both Peter and Paul. Pete Gebel was an institution around church, a colorful and engaging character who loved his Faith, and was so faithful to his Mass, and a friend to all. He knew no strangers, and went out of his way to help everyone, especially with the fruit of long years of medical research which he shared freely. Peter fell ill in November, and died on July 8th. But his Rosary was last Monday, and his Requiem was Tuesday. Only a handful of relations and some friends attended, but the number of mourners included many charitable faithful, as was only fitting. Pete was a friend to all.

Paul O’Connor died on Sunday morning. Paul for years had been, with his family, not only some of our first faithful—and from such a distance—but also a volunteer electrician in the early years, always ready to lend a hand, or to serve at the altar. Barbara, his wife, continues faithfully to attend St. Gertrude when she is able. For a long time now she was loyally and devotedly taking care of her infirm husband, until God called Paul to eternity. He was buried on Friday, and we pray that he, too, may rest in peace.

It’s been a long time since there’s been any kind of a dress code for churches. Visitors may come in all good faith, not quite correctly dressed, perhaps even far from the ideal. Some are doing the best they can. Barring the odd scandalous attire, we at St. Gertrude welcome them with a smile and a kind word. Should it be necessary to say anything, the ushers or one of the priests will do so. No one else should. Remember, there but for the grace of God…

What with the Covid shake up, we’ve gotten away from the Men’s Dress Code, the formality of a tie and jacket which we just won’t give up, along with so many other traditions. It is a question of respect, the way you dress, of a proper formality for the Lord’s Day and the Holy Sacrifice. I like to tell people “Please don’t come to Sundays dressed comfortably.” Dress up, dress well, for you appear before the King of Kings.

We are in the middle of Charity Row, the run of successive saints on the calendar, each known for charity. The greatest of these is St. Vincent de Paul, whose good deeds for the love of God were numberless, and whose spiritual doctrine is as elevated as it is seemingly unattainable, but so attractive. God, all for God, everything for God. Man is so miserable today, and there is no mercy to be had from men, because we have forgotten God. But you remember.

Oh, don’t forget Girls Camp this week. Three wonderful, activity-filled days call all of the girls to church. Parents, please make sure your daughters can get in on this great opportunity, fun days and holy, too. This too is charity. God love you!

–Bp. Dolan