Lent I

Bishop’s Note
How good it is to be back home at St. Gertrude’s again! When I left my boyhood home at 18 years of age I never thought I would be able to call any place other than Chillicothe home. However, after 14 years spent living at this church among good clergy and sharing so much time with so many of you, no other place this side of heaven can ever again be called home. I know that many of you feel the same way about SGG, and that is not a small part of why this place is so special. Bishop Dolan, God rest his soul, always wanted it to have a very welcoming and family-like atmosphere, in which we are all centered upon worshiping God and saving our souls—and I believe that he accomplished just that.

Thank you for all the prayers for a safe trip to Mexico. There was quite a bit of controversy over my visit to see an old friend, Fr. Siordia. Everyone seems to want to take away his chapel in Cocoyoc! While I was there I did a Sunday Mass and conferred Confirmation on some of the faithful. Every other group that is fighting over the chapel showed up to my Mass and stood outside the open church doors taking pictures or videos, curious about what I would say, probably expecting that something very controversial would be said from the pulpit. Instead, my message to everyone was that charity must prevail. After all, what good is a church building if those in the building (priests and layman, alike) do not save their souls? That is the purpose for churches, is it not?! The whole reason we left our beautiful basilicas, parishes, seminaries and convents after Vatican II was that we could no longer save our souls in those buildings. Masses were offered in hotels, basements, and homes. We left the beautiful churches because the Faith was no longer taught in those places. Now that we have our own churches, seminaries and convents which teach the true Faith, we must preserve charity in them. Sadly, this is the virtue—or lack of it—which destroys so much of the work that we could do. Well, charity starts at home…so why don’t you and I focus on that greatest of the virtues!

Ash Wednesday was well attended, and now Fr. McKenna and Fr. Simpson are away to ensure that the faithful in all of our missions receive their blessed ashes. Fr. Brueggemann brought Holy Communion and the blessed ashes to our sick and now leaves for Holy Face mission this afternoon.

The surveyor stopped by this past Thursday to take all the proper measurements for our future addition to the rectory. It took quite some time for him to set up a time to get here because of family illness. I will keep you posted as the plans progress. We are hoping that we will be able to start building in the spring, but as the saying goes, “Man proposes; but God disposes.” All in God’s good time!

The seminary in Seattle seems to be running quite smoothly under the guidance of Fr. Ercoli. Fr. Brueggemann spent about a week out there, teaching and visiting with the priests and seminarians. As of now, there are still four seminarians. Do remember our seminarians and the faculty in your prayers this week. The Ember Days are, historically, days on which the different orders are bestowed on seminarians, and therefore are customarily days during which we remember vocations in our prayers and sacrifices.

May the Angels, our “big brothers,” continue to assist you this Lent.
– Bishop McGuire