Last Sunday After Pentecost

✠ The Bishop’s Corner ✠
Beautiful Autumn is lingering like a beloved dinner guest at the door, in no hurry to leave, nor are we. A mellow morning marked our St. Gertrude Day feast and anniversary celebration, ushered in by a truly stunning sunrise, rose and gold, wrapped all around the day’s Eastern Gate. The school children sang a lovely Mass for our patroness, celebrated with gratitude by Fr. Lehtoranta, marking the tenth anniversary of his priestly ordination.

Afterwards, generous souls served a fine beef barbecue luncheon. Helfta was decorated with blue and white, the Finnish colors, for our anniversary priest. The tasty cake featured Lilies of the Valley, Finland’s national flower. More came than we expected, a happy problem we’ve often been having of late. We must increase now our expectations. But all one hundred had plenty to eat.

After lunch the clergy and school children “came back to thank God” one more time before calling it a day, with Solemn Vespers and Benediction. What a beautiful feast day it was, a true holy day for us. Fr. McKenna interrupted his mission rounds to celebrate with us, but was on the road again at 4:30 Wednesday morning.

Someone tweeted a picture of St. Gertrude with cats for the feast day, but that’s the other St. Gertrude, of Nivelle in Belgium. Once in the 90s then Fr. Sanborn and I visited a chapel there on St. Patrick’s Day for Confirmation. But we were surprised that there is no St. Patrick’s Day there. St. Gertrude of the cats is a local patroness, and outranks even St. Patrick…if you can imagine. Probably the cats have something to do with it.

I remember being struck after the rather low-key Confirmation ceremony that the Flemish speakers gathered on one side of the courtyard, and the French on the other. Although most could understand the other, nobody said anything to “the other side.” But it is our common Catholic Faith which should both cheer and unite us in these drear and even dreadful days. We have survived 20 months of Covid Communism, but this revolution takes its toll in stress, sadness and fatigue.

But God gave us cats to keep us cheery. I love that they have some of the best canine qualities without anything near the mess. Cavaradossi and Giacomo come when called and do enjoy a game or two. Cavaradossi has taken to dragging his latest wand toy around and depositing it near me as a hint. They are easily pleased, cats, and not too demanding.

I wish you a happy Thanksgiving, the American cousin once removed of Martinmas. But Advent comes quietly in on Saturday evening, last day of our Rosary Novena.

– Bishop Dolan