✠ The Bishop’s Corner ✠
Everything is war these days. Last week’s raw February weather, the headlines and what is behind the headlines; and soon coming Lent, all speak of conflict. Winter and Spring always have a battle or two before the new season is allowed in. The Organized Forces of Naturalism, Communism, has declared it’s time for a war in which all sides are part of the Communist Revolution. Don’t be deceived. Don’t be distracted. But Wednesday comes Christ, the Light in our darkness. He will fight Satan, the old Accuser, with and in and for our soul. Our Lenten prayer and alms and fasting represent our cooperation with Christ our Commander, our Liberator. Whose side are you on? Christ requires more than cheering. “Take up your cross.”

Our Fr. Valerii Kudriavtsev is perhaps trapped behind Russian lines now, outside of the Ukrainian capitol of Kiev. Father suffered through this gruesome experience once already, when the Russians first invaded. We pray for his safety and that of his family, and that we can stay in touch with him. On Friday, the bombs were halfa kilometer away.

The clergy have all been sick, but mildly so. Fr. McKenna’s ailment was the last, and perhaps the lightest. Part of it must be exhaustion after a big trip. But he leaves again on Shrove Tuesday, and Fr. McGuire has already decamped to Milwaukee for the Day of Ashes. Each year we try to reach as many of the faithful as possible, since there are no “virtual ashes,” just Masses.

But I know of one family which, when they couldn’t make it to church, did their own ashes, just as a private family devotion in the evening. They would not be blessed, but it would still be something. They would burn last year’s palm. The father would read some of the prayers in English, and give his family the ashes, just as he gives them his blessing, with the thumb on the forehead. In the case of those who have no church or are impossibly far away, it’s a good solution, when properly understood.

But do come on Wednesday. Make it a proper church day, even if you can’t stay for all of Mass or Stations. It is a busy church week, with First Friday and All Night Adoration and First Saturday, and the Altar Boys’ Day as well, to say nothing of the First Friday first Evening of Recollection.

Fr. Lehtoranta had another generous and fun-filled Sodality of Charity meeting for the girls yesterday. They learned something about flower arranging for the altar, with Marlys’ help. Father’s health seems to be holding on. Winter is his natural habitat as a Finn. Father teaches the deacons four times a week, and the high schoolers daily. His two “supernatural” habitats are the confessional and the classroom. In between the many Sunday confessions he hears, Fr. Lehtoranta also finds time to teach the First Communion Catechism class. Blessed are those little ones to have a priest for a teacher.

Congratulations to one of our St. Gertrude the Great schoolteachers, Miss Colleen Eldracher, for the fine Twitter campaign she conducted to promote the annual July Young Adult Get-Together, or YAG. Her welldrawn and positive tweets are a good example to others of the proper use of the medium. I hope these tweets will draw many young people to this great Catholic experience. It’s always so encouraging to meet fellow Catholics from all over, especially the next generation, spend some time with them, and get to know them a bit.

The young ladies are organizing Girls Camp for July 12-14, the week following the YAG. But first, for all of us, Lent…a good Lent, the best Lent ever. It may be our last, and its graces must be great enough to last who knows what these coming twelve months. Smile! It’s the best time of the year.

God bless you and yours,
Bishop Dolan