Epiphany II

Link to photos from Midnight Mass.

Bishop’s Note
This year’s Christmas and Epiphany Octaves were very splendid indeed. Although the attendance for the Epiphany was somewhat lighter than most years, probably because it was a snowy Saturday morning, it was truly a Gertrudian day which started off with a well served and sung Solemn Pontifical Mass. Of course, there was a celebratory meal involved, too! Dominic and Lauren Caggeso kindly agreed to prepare the breakfast, and Kevin and Phyllis Kiernan, hearing of it, decided they should be there to help. Mealtime is always an occasion which presents many an opportunity for the practice of virtue—the gold of charity being the brightest and best.

Epiphany gave way to the Holy Family on Sunday, a perfect time for a baptism! One of the three great mysteries which we honor in the Epiphany is the Baptism of Our Lord in the Jordan. What an honor it was to baptize little Eleanor Grace Hille. She was a little fussy, but that’s okay, we all get a little fussy sometimes, don’t we?! In any case, little Eleanor has happily been adopted into God’s holy family and is an heir to the Kingdom of God.

School resumed on Monday and most of the teachers and children have recovered from their sicknesses, though that awful cough still lingers for many. The return of the children always makes St. Gertrude’s a smidge brighter. Their innocence is so refreshing. I pray that the Holy Family assists them to preserve it always (and their parents to remove from the home whatever might tarnish it)! The society in which we live is in no way conducive to our salvation. If we expose our children to it as if it were an acceptable thing then the children will be poisoned by its corrupt influence and will lose that innocence that is now so charming.

The sacristy snail count has grown to 16 now! I think the sacristy collection of critters is beginning to rival Miss Mikesell’s classroom collection. Snailville is filled with plenty of soil, moss, rocks, and all the foods that snails like (although they seem to hide under the spinach more than actually eat it). There is even a cemetery for Nemo, fresh with a gate creatively crafted of toothpicks—and a tombstone which says, “Here lies Nemo.” I have to admit, God’s creation is most enjoyable to watch. St. John was very often seen petting his pet bird and St. Francis de Sales was so intrigued by nature that he often used examples of animals and insects to prove spiritual lessons. Oh! and don’t forget that the great missionary bishop, St. Anthony Mary Claret, has a chapter in his autobiography in which he also uses animals as lessons in virtue.

Fr. Lehtoranta’s Sodality of Charity had their Christmas party yesterday. The White Elephant gift exchange was the highlight of the day. Perhaps next week I will have more to say about the party.

The big news is the Ordination in Nigeria of Fathers Benjamin Ikhiaemoh (left of Bishop) and Jonathan Okafor (right of Bishop). The number of clergy in Nigeria is now five. Fr. Okerulu says that these were the first ordinations in that country since the 1960s. I will share more news after I speak again with Bishop Nkamuke.

I send you a blessing and offer you the promise of my daily prayers for each and every one of you.

– Bishop McGuire