Pentecost XXIII

Bishop’s Note
November is here, and with it the very beautiful autumn colors and cool, crisp mornings. This time of year sees the cats spending more of their time indoors, but they still have their outdoor adventures, too. The other day, Fr. McKenna watched tiny Black Cat stalk a turkey vulture! Although Black Cat is very pretty and is a good companion, he is a little airhead and is clearly not a very smart cat. This incident proves that point. I’m glad he had the sense to stop stalking the enormous bird once it turned around and saw the cat. Fluffy, the Sisters’ cat, is a strange little creature, too. She will do almost anything to avoid walking in the grass. She usually hops from the porch to the stones underneath the camper to sleep on the warm bricks that are there. But she really does not like the grass.

Last week’s All Saints’ Day party was one of the best. There were so many children that, for the second year in a row, one of the other priests had to preach my sermon at the 11:30 Mass. Fr. McKenna was the chosen one this year. In any case, I thought there were many costumes and presentations that were noteworthy. St. Thomas á Becket, of course, was a crowd favorite as he was so excited that he could not wait for me to guess who he was and just blurted it out! I was impressed with how well he knew St. Thomas’ story. The presentation of St. Emerentiana was another that I thought was well done. The “stoning” was done by giggling children who were only too happy to throw “stones” at their sibling. I must say that I am glad I do not have to judge the costumes, because so many of them were well done. There was an All Saints’ Day party at St. Hugh’s in Milwaukee, as well. Fr. McKenna reports that he only got stumped once.

Attendance on All Souls’ Day was excellent and I hope that you continue to show such zeal and love for the captive souls in Purgatory for the rest of the month. We have the Rosary Procession at Gate of Heaven Cemetery this afternoon instead of Vespers and Benediction. The school children have another cemetery procession later this week at St. Stephen’s where Bishop Dolan and Fr. Cekada are buried.

Fr. Lehtoranta remembered that tomorrow (November 6th) is the 10th anniversary of Bishop Nkamuke’s ordination to the priesthood. I can still remember when he and the group from Nigeria had just made contact with St. Gertrude’s. They had all left the Novus Ordo, some wanted to pursue the priesthood and, of course, the Mass. Fr. Leslie would come from South Africa to offer Mass for them until he was murdered. I can still remember when Fr. Ercoli and then Fr. Larrabee both made separate trips to Nigeria to offer Mass and give the sacraments. Now, some fifteen or sixteen years later, Nigeria is booming with missions, a seminary, religious communities, and its own bishop and two priests. It is most impressive to see Divine Providence at work over there. Say a prayer for Bishop Nkamuke and for the success of his apostolate.

Oh! I mustn’t forget two very important upcoming events. Colleen Eldracher, who has been organizing the YAG since it started back up a number of years ago, is getting married to Patrick Klabenes this Saturday. It is amazing to see how many marriages have come from the YAG in just a few years’ time. I have known Colleen since she was just a girl. Her family lived just down the street from the seminary when it was still in Warren, Michigan, and she sang in the choir and attended the grade school which was on the same property. It is wonderful to see her now getting married, but we will miss her here at St. Gertrude’s. We are very thankful for her time teaching in our school, organizing events, sewing and repairing things in the sacristy, and all the other hidden things she did. Say a prayer for her as she begins her new vocation.

The second big event is our Martinmas celebration next Sunday evening. Last year was the first year we had ever done this, but it was quite popular. There were lanterns, hymns in honor of St. Martin, and even a procession with St. Martin and his horse. Of course, it was all followed by a Martinmas meal prepared by some of the young men of the parish. All are invited, especially the families with children. Events such as this one are the perfect method for teaching our children about the saints and giving them an appreciation for our Catholic heritage.

May God bless you for your zeal and love for Him and His holy Catholic Church.

– Bishop McGuire