Advent IV

Link to Poinsettia Memorials

Bishop’s Note
It’s Ember Friday, the feast of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, and our church workers and volunteers are busy decorating the church in time for Christmas. Theresa has been extraordinarily busy filling calendar orders, making trips to the post office and printing bulletins and programs. She does her work quietly, but I honestly don’t think this place could run well without her. She is truly an integral part of St. Gertrude’s. Fr. Lehtoranta left this morning for his annual Christmas visit to our Milwaukee chapel, while Fr. McKenna departs this evening for St. Anthony mission in Dallas, where he will spend a day with his younger brother and then offer both Sunday Mass and Christmas Midnight Mass, before flying up to St. Teresa of Avila mission in North Dakota for Christmas Day Masses. Fathers Simpson and Brueggemann will remain here with me to assist with all of the upcoming Masses and celebrations of Christmastide. I hope they take some time to visit their families during the holidays. It is to be encouraged! Lastly, the Arlinghaus clan is coming in tomorrow to set up the Nativity scene. I can’t wait to see what they have in mind!

Pictures of last week’s St. Lucia Procession are to be seen in this bulletin. Fr. Lehtoranta and the Sodality members worked very hard in preparation for this Catholic custom which comes, I believe, from Sweden. The young ladies did a fine job, for which, I am sure, St. Lucia was very pleased.

Fr. Adan Rodriguez enjoyed his stay with us and mentioned that he feels much more at ease after getting a little rest before Christmas. It is my hope to have Fr. Richards, from Sacred Heart Church in Lawrence, MA, to come down for a few days when he is able.

Sunday is unique because the Vigil of Christmas falls on the Fourth Sunday of Advent. This doesn’t happen too often, but it makes for a very busy couple of days. I call it the “never-ending Sunday” since we have our normal schedule of Sunday morning Masses and then Prime, Vespers, Matins, Carols, Midnight Mass, and Lauds. It is a long day and we are keeping a true vigil, something like Catholics centuries ago would have kept. If you haven’t made a particularly0 good Advent you might consider coming to all the extras 0on Sunday to make one final push towards preparing your soul for Christmas.

Don’t forget, amidst all the hustle and bustle of Christmas, to recall to mind the real reason for the season. Gather the family and even the guests around the family shrine for a Rosary. Come back to Mass during the Octave. These Masses are exceptionally beautiful and offer a quiet time to pray.

I and all the clergy of St. Gertrude’s wish you all a very merry and blessed Christmas!

– Bishop McGuire