Epiphany IV

Father’s Corner ✠
This week we have “Father’s Corner” because it is Fr. Lehtoranta writing this. We celebrate this weekend the solemnity of St. Francis de Sales. Our small but growing group of priests at St. Gertrude the Great Church is under the patronage of this great soul in Heaven, St. Francis de Sales. He was born at the time of the first French revolution, later branded as a “reformation” by historians. And all the bloodshed, as well as the harsh doctrines of Calvin, St. Francis de Sales counteracted by his charity. One of his contemporaries in fighting against Protestantism was French Cardinal Jacques Du Perron. This man was extremely gifted, a great intellect, famous for his great learning, but he also seemed to possess an extraordinary amount of humility, for he once said: “If you want heretics to be convinced of their errors, you may send them to me; but if you want them to be converted, send them to Francis de Sales.”

We are looking forward eagerly to the ordination on May 4, the Solemnity of St. Joseph, when we will, God willing and Our Lady interceding, welcome four new priests into our little “Salesian” group of priests. But before this happens, there is a lot of preparation required, and all of you can help in that. We will arrange a Seminarian Sunday on Lætare Sunday, March 27. There are many things a new priest needs, and when there’s as many as four of them, we need the help of our faithful, whom these new priests will serve. You can find details of what to do to help in the bulletin, but mark the day on your calendars and plan now to contribute.

In our latest Sodality of Charity meeting the girls and young ladies prepared Rosaries for the Seminarian Sunday, a great way for the little ones to help support the new priests. One elderly parishioner in our St. Hugh of Lincoln parish in Milwaukee once told me how happy she is that we have a Catholic group of young ones like our Sodality, because she remembers her own parish having one, before the revolution/reformation of Vatican II swept away everything Catholic.On First Wednesday, February 2, the feast of Candlemas, I will enroll three new members in our group, bringing
the total number of Sodalists to 30. With this Sodality and its active members, and the Seminarians taking care of the Knights of the Sacred Heart, you can see our clergy working not only for the faithful through Catechism and sermons, but that they will also keep the faith. As St. Paul wrote to his dear priest son St. Timothy: “Let no man despise thy youth, but be thou an example to the faithful in speech, in conduct, in charity, in faith, in chastity. Until I come, be diligent in reading, in exhortation and in teaching.” (1 Tim. 4:12-13)

Speaking of Candlemas, we have our traditional evening celebration of it with blessing of candles, procession, High Mass, sermon, and our Winter Soup Supper, starting at 5:30 PM. You are very welcome to attend this feast, which falls on the day of dear St. Joseph, First Wednesday, and marks the end of the Christmas season. Also, we have our traditional St. Valentine’s day bake sale on February 13— but of course, everything at St. Gertrude’s is traditional!

And devotions do not end there. On the day following, February 3, as well as on the following Sunday, you can come and receive your St. Blaise blessing of throats. I like this saint very much. His is the centerpiece medal of my Rosary. You should know that when you receive this blessing, the priest asks, through the intercession of St. Blaise, that God will “deliver thee from sickness of the throat and from every other evil.” The sacraments sanctify your soul, but we must not forget the sacramentals, because they protect us not only from spiritual danger, but also from all the evil coming from the world today. And don’t forget the First Thursday prayers for our priests and seminarians, and the First Friday and First Saturday.

“In the midst of life, we are in death,” a Lenten responsory sings. After conducting the funeral for his own father in December, and for our dear friend Joan Fey in January, Fr. McGuire travelled to St. Hugh’s for today’s funeral Mass for Virginia Kramer. She was a faithful and charitable soul, and told the doctors that she would refuse to die before she saw a priest. She did, and only died after the Last Rites and Viaticum. A priest couldn’t be there at the hour of her death, but instead, one of our parishioners of St. Hugh was with her at the end, fulfilling her wish to have someone to pray for her when she was dying. What a great act of charity, to send a faithful soul to her Christ and to Mary with the goodbyes of the Rosary and prayers for the dying. May all of us depart from this world as Virginia did, and while remaining here, always treat our neighbor with kindness so that “charity never falleth away.” (1 Cor. 13:8)

Yours in Christ and Mary,
Fr. Lehtoranta