Easter II

News 3/14/2023: Episcopal Consecration Announcement

The Bishop’s Note
Cat news first…for those who like to follow the news about our cats and other wildlife. Those of you who do not care in the least about how the cats are doing or what they are up to may skip to the next paragraph. Fat Cat and Black Cat spend most of their time outdoors now that the weather is warmer and have somehow managed to avoid our resident skunks. Yes, along with the deer which have been seen quite a bit, and the opossum I saw a few nights ago, as well as the groundhogs and coyotes, we have some skunks. It was a whole family of them at first, but recently I have only seen two. They really have grown up fast! The new cat with a million names is getting her fur back. She was showing some signs of sickness recently but since she received the blessing of animals followed by a blessing of sick animals she has recovered. Sr. Ulrica was a bit surprised to hear that we can pray for our animals. I suppose that is something one doesn’t really think about, but it is true that we can pray for our pets when they are sick. God is so good to the animals that He even gave them a patron saint in the person of St. Francis of Assisi.

God is even better to us. He has given us patron saints for every problem that one could think of (and believe me, there are many of us that can think up lots of problems). St. Joseph is a saint whose patronage extends to pretty much everything. He is the patron of fathers and husbands, the patron of the Church and of holy deaths. He works wonders in the area of conversions. He is even the patron of the interior life. St. Joseph gives us an example of trust in Divine Providence and of humble silence. How good is St. Joseph! His Solemnity is this Wednesday and there will be a High Mass in his honor at 7:00 am.

This week is a week of celebrations and anniversaries. Today is Fr. Simpson’s birthday. He is at Sacred Heart in Lawrence, MA, but returns this evening. Wednesday is Fr. Lehtoranta’s birthday, the feast of Our Mother of Good Counsel, and the first anniversary of Bishop Dolan’s death. It will be a bittersweet day in many respects. A Pontifical Requiem Mass will be sung at 11:25 for the first anniversary. The Bishop left us suddenly, but it was on the feast day of Our Lady of Good Counsel (a feast he truly loved) and he left us his final message in a Tweet, one which will always be kept in our heart: “Blessed Feast of the Mother of Good Counsel! How Our Lady has helped and protected us under this generous title over the years. A novena begun today ends May 4, Solemnity of St. Joseph, Ordination Day of our four priests: a providential help for many souls. Pray with us? The Mother of Good Counsel is called the Madonna of Popes, the last, Pius XII, took her for the Patroness of his pontificate. While highly clerical today, this devotion exemplifies the Lay Apostolate: Petruccia, a wealthy widow who worked on repairing the old shrine, all alone… Meanwhile, back in Albania, the national hero Skanderberg loved her tenderly, and the two laymen followed Our Lady’s image to Italy, not content until they found her. Imitate them, follow her. She’ll give you her Jesus, her Great Counsel. Always ask: Mother, what am I to do?” We have been following that advice ever since.

Here at St. Gertrude’s, however, we think forward and upward, never backwards except to recall the blessings of God. Fr. Nkamuke, our Bishop-Elect, is with us now and begins his retreat in preparation for his consecration on Monday, May 1st. What a great day it will be for the Catholics in Nigeria and throughout the African continent; indeed, what a great day it will before the whole Catholic Church. It is hard to be a bishop these days. They are to confirm Soldiers of Jesus Christ, ordain priests, consecrate Holy Oils for use in the sacraments. These things must be done because they are necessary for the continuation of the Church and the salvation of souls. But, since they do not have ordinary jurisdiction (this comes down to the bishops from the pope, and obviously we do not have a pope and therefore ordinary jurisdiction cannot be had), the fight is a constant uphill battle. Pray for Fr. Nkamuke that he may be a good and a saintly bishop. We need more of those types of bishops today. Three of our school children passed the First Communion test and made their first Confession on Thursday. The fourth was sick, but will be taken care of soon.

Bishop da Silva arrives tomorrow. He is coming up after a visit to Mexico. We are all looking forward to seeing him again, especially after all that he did to help us out last year when we needed help the most. I see the goodness of God in that, too. He always sends help when it is needed. Remember that! Deus providebit! God provides.

There is plenty of other news, but only so much space. I will try to keep everyone posted though. In the meantime, recall all of God’s blessings with gratitude and place your trust in the Mother of Good Counsel. Forward and upward!

– Bishop McGuire