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  • Writer's pictureSodality of Charity

Sodality St. Joseph Feast on March 18

Dear members and friends of the Sodality of Charity,

On February 11, we had our St. Valentine’s day meeting, where the girls did baking to support the school bake sale. Our Sodality is not just a group which does acts of charity, but it also provides an opportunity for the young people of the parish to make friends. One of the girl scout songs goes: “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, and the other’s gold.”

I said Mass for the Sodality members on February 10, the feast of St. Scholastica. The Sodality and parish have several upcoming events, which you should mark in your calendars. Remember First Wednesday, March 1, and do some act of charity or say a little prayer in honor of St. Joseph. On Wednesday, March 8, our parish has the annual Children’s Lenten Day of Recollection, conducted by our clergy. This is a great way to sanctify Lent, so please come and join us.

Our Sodality’s next monthly meeting will be on Saturday, March 18. Since many of you will undoubtedly celebrate St. Patrick at home, we will honor our Sodality patron St. Joseph at our meeting. His feast day is usually on March 19, but because that day falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent this year, the feast is transferred to March 20. You can prepare for the meeting by bringing with you some food, which will be placed on our St. Joseph table in Helfta Hall, and will then be given to the needy families as an act of charity.

Another way you can honor St. Joseph is to wear red at our monthly meeting. Both these customs have an Italian origin. The tradition is that in the Middle Ages, Sicily was in the midst of a great drought. The desperate people started a novena to St. Joseph, pleading him to send rain. Amazingly, one crop endured during the drought to keep them alive: the fava beans. Their prayers were answered, rain came and the drought ended. The grateful people vowed their gratitude to St. Joseph, and each year on March 19, a communal meal was arranged throughout small towns in Sicily. It was an event of charity, where food was donated and prepared by the wealthy and shared with those less fortunate.

In the 1800s, thousands of Sicilian families immigrated to the United States to escape famine and political turmoil. New Orleans was one of the main destinations, and they established their own community known as Little Palermo. They retained their St. Joseph celebration, and every year on the Saturday nearest March 19, the Italian-Americans flood the streets to honor St. Joseph. Instead of green, St. Joseph marchers wear red, the color of the flags of Italy and Sicily. And instead of shamrocks, they carry fava beans. Leading the procession is a rolling altar bearing Italian food and religious articles dedicated to St. Joseph. Many local Catholic churches, families and stores also construct altars, and St. Joseph tables.

Another lovely observance of the day is the tradition of children giving gifts to their fathers on Saint Joseph’s Day. It is an act both of charity and gratitude, because fatherhood is an office which comes directly from God. Frédéric Ozanam, the founder of the Society of St. Vincent De Paul, a charity group devoted to helping the poor, was married to Marie-Josephine Soulacroix. In 1845 daughter Marie, or “little Marie,” their first and only child was born. Frédéric was not only a loving husband, but also an attentive and tender father. Though he was running an incredibly active and busy charity work, he always found time to spend time with his child. On the day Marie was born, he wrote to his aunt: “I will watch over every one of her steps, I will see all the graces of her childhood emerge and when I clasp her in my arms, I will remember that in her there is a soul made for God and for eternity.”

SGG’s annual Girls Camp will be on June 27-29. Do not miss it, for it will be the “awesomest” and the “bestest” event of the year! The brothers of the Sodalists will enjoy the Boys Camp, which is on July 25-27. Those Sodalists, who are of adult age, should write down the dates of the Young Adult Get-Together (YAG). This event, where young Traditional Catholics from all over the country come to spend a great weekend together at St. Gertrude the Great, will be on July 7-9.

In your charity, pray for the soul of Fr. Philippe Guépin, a Traditionalist priest in France, who died on February 7. He was born in 1951, the same year as Bishop Dolan and Father Cekada, and ordained to priesthood by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre on June 29, 1977, in the same ceremony as Fr. Cekada was ordained. I remember one little thing I read about Father Guépin long time ago. Bishop Dolan wrote once in a SGG Newsletter that Father said every year a Requiem Mass for Queen Marie Antoinette, who was killed by the revolutionaries in 1793. She wasn’t only a Queen, but also a loving and caring mother. Besides having three children of her own, she adopted four more orphaned children. One of these children was a black slave boy from Africa whom she freed, had baptized and pensioned. Marie Antoinette tried to teach her children how blessed they were, had them play with poorer children of a lower rank and encouraged them to give their toys to the poor. This Queen is not remembered fondly by the world history, but God sees the good works which are hidden, and is much pleased with them. And I always found it very charitable, that even in the midst of his very busy priestly apostolate, Fr. Guépin remembered in his prayers and Masses this one charitable soul, so despised by the world. Omnia vincit caritas – charity conquers all.

Lent has started, and we should do some little penance in thanksgiving for everything Jesus has done for us. Good things what we could do are, for example, attending an extra Mass or go to some of our parish’s many Lenten devotions. Stations of the cross is a great way to make Lent holy. We have stations on Wednesdays at 3 PM, on Fridays at 7:30 PM, and on Sundays at 11:15 PM.

Have you ever wondered, who might have been the first Christian? A Christian is one who takes his cross, and follows Jesus. The Bible tells us: “And as they led him away, they laid hold of one Simon of Cyrene, coming from the country; and they laid the cross on him to carry after Jesus.” (Luke 23:26) I think it’s significant that Simon carried the Cross after Jesus; and not just any cross, but the very same Holy Cross where Jesus died for us. We can all make a Lenten resolution to carry our own cross every day. If we do at least some little good every day, then the world is not so evil and dark a place. The Bible says in Canticle of Canticles 8:7: “Many waters cannot quench charity, neither can the floods drown it: if a man should give all the substance of his house for love, he shall despise it as nothing.

Yours in Christ and Mary,

Fr. Lehtoranta

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