The Holy Family

Note from the Bishop
Some have been asking how the cats are faring these days, fearing the worst since no mention about them has been made in the bulletin for a while. Well, I assure you they are living their nine lives to the fullest. Fr. McKenna tells me I feed them too much, but I disagree (it’s more fun that way). Cats don’t go to heaven so they might as well enjoy this life…no sense in making them fast. Besides, how can one tell a poor kitty no, especially when they meow and make a ruckus until they get exactly what they want?! The cats were stalking a deer from the window the other day, but as soon as I let them out they immediately cowered and watched timidly from behind the trees. Still, the cats really are doing well and are well cared for. It is easy to get attached to them.

Friday’s feast of the Epiphany was everything it should have been. On the Vigil, we had two guests, who like the Magi, showed up suddenly. I was waiting for a third to appear but he never came. Fr.Lavery stopped by for a friendly visit on his way down to say Mass for some souls in Alabama and South Carolina; and Andy Hoxie came to assist Sister in the sacristy for the big feast day. Andy very kindly serves all the Masses when he is here since we often do not have a server, works the whole day in the sacristy, and works a full time job as he does so. I don’t know where he gets the energy!

Okay, you are going to get a story in real time! As I am writing this, Fat Cat, formerly known as Giacomo (see why I can’t remember his old name!), is outside stalking big game, the same deer that they were stalking from the window the other day. Fat Cat is stealthily, so he thinks, sneaking up on the deer, although the deer sees his every move. Welp, the deer won the standoff and chased the cat back into the woods. I have to give the cat credit though, he has the attitude of “Go big or go home.”

Fr. Lehtoranta is finally back from his trip to St. Hugh of Lincoln in Milwaukee where he goes annually for the feasts of Christmas and the Circumcision,and Fr. McKenna is up there now. Although we cannot offer daily Mass there at this time, still they get Mass every weekend and get the big ceremonies throughout the year. For example, the full Holy Week is held there, as well as Forty Hours (which is done for 40 consecutive hours without break, and every hour filled by the laity), Christmas with all of its special Masses and different sacramental blessings during its Octave. The zeal and the spirit of sacrifice of the parishioners is most edifying.

Fr. Simpson gets to spend the weekend here for a change while Fr. Brueggemann takes care of our flock spread throughout the state of Illinois. I thought you would enjoy a little variety in sermons for the next couple of Sundays. Fr. Simpson is giving the sermon today and Fr. Lehtoranta next Sunday while Fr. McKenna and I are in Mexico. Please pray for a safe and fruitful trip for us. We will go first to the city of Colima, which is on the coast of the Pacific Ocean and has very warm weather all year round, and then to Guadalajara.

Today is the feast of the Holy Family. We live in times when the family is being attacked from every side by the forces of Anti-Christ, which makes it all the more important for the family to be a sort of domestic church in which Christ is the center of its existence, the Rosary is prayed together, and frequent reception of the sacraments is a must. Too often it happens that even the little children are allowed to have cell phones and iPads and other things which become at worst an easy occasion of sin and at best a source of distraction that teaches them to react to stimuli rather than to think and use their imagination. Parents, I know it is difficult, but instead of iPads, how about books for the children. I have fond memories of my mother reading to me as a child. This strengthens the bond between mother and child, whereas the gadgets seem only to put a wedge between them. Maybe for the month of the Holy Family do some family spiritual reading on the lives of the saints! Jesus, Mary and Joseph, protect our families!

I send you a blessing on this feast of the Holy Family.

– Bishop McGuire