• Sodality of Charity

Subdiaconate and Consecration at SGG

Dear members and friends of the Sodality of Charity,


Today, Sunday September 26th, we have the great feast of the North American Martyrs. They hallowed this country with their blood of martyrdom, and the first one to die was the Jesuit lay brother named René Goupil in 1642. He died in what is now the town of Glen in New York state. The pagan Indians captured him and another French missionary, Fr. Isaac Jogues, and tortured and beat them so severely, that it was a miracle they survived. But in few weeks, though scarred and maimed, they were again on their feet and somewhat stronger. Though free to move about the village, the two Jesuits had to avoid any action that would irritate their captors, but Brother Goupil was too open in his devotions. He was once seen by a superstitious old warrior making the Sign of the Cross over the old man’s grandson. One evening Father Jogues and Brother Goupil went outside the village to pray the Rosary, and there two Indians attacked, and hit Brother Goupil in the head with a tomahawk. He called out “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!” and fell to the ground. Two more vicious blows from the bloody hatchet extinguished the last breath of his life. This happened on September 29, the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel. This lay brother died as a martyr for the Cross of Christ, for it was precisely because he was so eager to display the Sign of the Cross that his life was taken. Father Jogues knelt beside the body of his friend, said the words of absolution, and was certain that he was already in Paradise.


You can read the story of Fr. Isaac Jogues, who later joined his friend in martyrdom, from Glenn Kittler’s book Saint in the Wilderness. You can purchase it here:


We here at St. Gertrude the Great will celebrate this coming feast of St. Michael the Archangel in very solemn manner. On that day, our pastor Bishop Daniel Dolan will give episcopal consecration to Father Rodrigo Henrique Ribeiro da Silva (b. 1991) from Brazil. He studied in France in the seminary of St. Louis de Montfort of the Priestly Union Marcel Lefebvre and was ordained priest in 2017 by Bishop Richard Williamson. Fr. da Silva later joined Bishop Dolan’s South America apostolate. He is now the rector of St. Joseph’s Seminary in Brazil, and serves several missions and Mass centers spread throughout the country.


You can read St. Joseph Seminary’s official announcement of the consecration here:


Father da Silva’s consecration will take place at St. Gertrude the Great this Wednesday, September 29, at 10 AM. I hope to see you all there. Note that the following Sunday, October 3, is Rosary Sunday. Rosary procession will be at 8:45 AM, followed by the first Solemn Pontifical Mass of Bishop da Silva. After the High Mass, we have the traditional Rosary Confraternity Breakfast. There Bishop da Silva will tell about his life, and his road to the priesthood and episcopacy – though because he doesn’t speak English, the talk will be delivered by Bishop Dolan. I hope you are able to attend our church on these great days of celebration. Most especially, pray for our new successor of the Apostles, and have Mass said for him if you can. You can use this prayer:


O Jesus, Prince of pastors, give our bishop [Rodrigo da Silva] all the virtues necessary for his sanctification. Give him love, wisdom, and strength and make him a pastor according to thy own heart; send down upon him and the congregation committed unto him, the spirit of Thy saving grace, that we may truly please Thee, and at the day of judgment be his joy and his crown. Amen.


On Ember Saturday, September 18, Bishop Dolan gave the Major order of Subdiaconate to our four seminarians. This video shows them to make the decisive step towards the altar, when they answer “adsum” (“I am present”) to the call of the assistant priest:



I also include photos from the ceremony to the end of this post. Also included are photos from our Seminarians’ visit to Metamora with some of our Sodality members. At the town we visited, among others, the Duck Creek Aqueduct, built in 1846.


Also, keep in your prayers the soul of Fr. Joseph Bachtiger, who died on September 17. He had been studying in Philadelphia’s St. Charles Seminary before the changes of Vatican II, but left because of them and then had a secular job career as a banker. He was ordained to priesthood on May 21, 1994, by Bishop John Hesson. Fr. McKenna said his funeral Mass on Friday, Sept. 24, at Sacred Heart Church in Lawrence, MA. Fr. McKenna wrote of this faithful priest in his last newsletter:


Father was a wonderful, kind priest and close friend of mine, who regularly offered Mass for me and the other faithful in the Boston area. He helped me in many ways during my time in the seminary, whenever I was home, and actually served as my assistant priest during my own ordination to the priesthood. He also fostered in me a love of opera music, for which I am truly grateful for too... helping turn a rough around the edges young baseball player into a proper gentleman. Thanks be to God, I was able to visit Father last month to give him Extreme Unction.


I have tentatively planned to have the next Sodality meeting on Saturday, October 16; but I will send an official invitation, together with the latest Sodality Newsletter, after the consecration.


Yours in Christ and Mary,


Fr. Lehtoranta