The Bishop’s Note
It is Wednesday as I write this note in the beautiful town of Annecy, France, which is nestled in the French Alps and was the home of the holy Doctor of the Church, St. Francis de Sales, to whom we are dedicating this Lenten season. Annecy is the place where the bishops of Geneva, only a 30-minute drive from here, had to reside during the persecution of the Catholics by the Calvinists. St. Francis here gained the support of the local rulers to be able to once more move the Episcopal See back to Geneva. That is quite an interesting story! Just across the street from my little flat is the church in which the great saint was ordained; a few blocks away is the church in which his mother prayed to have a child who would be consecrated to God in the religious life; it is here that St. Francis and St. Jane Frances de Chantal began the foundation of the Visitation Order; and one of the most edifying things that I found out is that the house in which he stayed while he wrote his deeply profound Treatise on the Love of God is just up the street. The relics of St. Francis and St. Jane are both kept in the church of the Visitation overlooking the city.

As Catholic a history as this place has, it is a far distant history. Annecy, as the rest of Europe, has become a shameless place. Europe, too, is very much divided because of the question of the Una Cum Mass of the SSPX. As we know, it is mortally sinful to attend a Mass in which any of the heretics of Vatican II are named. The theology is simple. Only a Catholic pope can be mentioned in the Canon of the Mass. If any other than a Catholic pope is mentioned, then the Mass is being offered in union with (una cum) someone outside the Church and is equivalent to an act of schism. This is no matter of opinion. However, there are other matters of lesser weight which cause a deep division among the Catholics in Europe. But on to better things…

The Confirmations in Rennes and Chambèry went very well. I think we had thirty or so in Rennes and eighteen in Chambèry. That chapel in Rennes is run by Fr. Roger, who was ordained by Bishop Dolan in the late 1990s, and Fr. Hecquard is an assistant there. Chambèry is served by Fr. Roger, Fr. Thomas Le Gal (a classmate of mine in the seminary) and some others, I believe. I had a nice opportunity to see many of our priests from the Companions of Jesus and Mary again (some of them were in Mexico for the diaconate).

While it was a joy to make new soldiers of Christ, still it was a time of mourning for France and for the whole Catholic world over the recent death of the good Fr. Guèpin in Nantes. I was not able to make the funeral Mass, unfortunately, but was able to go to pray for him in his chapel as his body was laid out for visitors. Fr. Henry de la Chanonie gave a warm welcome to me, Fr. Roger and Fr. Hecquard. It was nice to see him again, this time as a priest of God.

The Fathers here at St. Gertrude’s are taking care of things while I am away. I am very thankful to them for their hard work. It was a time of much celebration, I think. February 8th was Fr. McKenna’s birthday and his priestly anniversary was on the 11th—and it was his 11th anniversary, not his 12th! For those of you who might have wished him a happy 12th anniversary, I guess you don’t have to send him good wishes next year since you have already done so!

It’s time to roll up our sleeves and get down to some serious work in our spiritual lives as Lent begins with the blessing of Ashes this Wednesday. But please don’t forget the feast of the Holy Face on Tuesday, a feast which is so dear to us here at SGG. Come to the High Mass on Tuesday to ask Our Lord’s blessing and St. Francis de Sales’ intercession for a holy Lent!

– Bishop McGuire