The Episcopal Blessing
Dear members and friends of the Sodality of Charity,
On Saturday, May 6, I enrolled six new members in the Sodality. Therefore, we currently have 40 members in our group. On that day we also celebrated Our Lady of Consolation. This was the first time when we had a formal reception of Sodalists, where the new members received their sashes. The priest says for each new member, when she receives her sash: “May the Lord girdle thee with the belt of purity, that the virtue of humility and charity may abide in thee.” The Epistle of the Mass of Our Lady of Consolation is taken from the book of Isaias chapter 11, which tells about the coming Messias: “And justice shall be the girdle of his loins, and faith the girdle of his reins.” The sash of a Sodality member is, therefore, as is the cincture the priest wears during the Mass, a fitting symbol that she both loves and hears God, and wants to do His will.
The devotion to Our Lady of Consolation is very much united to a sash or cincture. Saint Monica, who was the mother of Saint Augustine, had many sorrows in her life. First it was because her husband Patrick was a pagan, and then because her son led a life in heresy and sin. But Our Lady appeared to her with the Child Jesus and offered her comfort and consolation. Mary handed Saint Monica a leather cincture which She asked her to wear as a continual reminder of Her presence and as a visible sign of encouragement. From that moment Saint Monica wore that cincture, and after the conversion of Saint Augustine, recommended it to him as a token of Mary’s loving protection. The cord became afterwards the main symbol for all those religious who followed the rule of Saint Augustine.
At the May meeting, the Sodalists received the blessing from the newly consecrated Bishop Bede Nkamuke. The month of May has been filled with celebrations. We started with the consecration of Bishop Nkamuke on May 1. May 11 was the first anniversary of ordination of our two SGG priests, Father Thomas Simpson and Father Anthony Brueggemann, both of whose younger sisters are members in our Sodality. It was also the anniversary of Father Thomas Ojeka and Father John Okerulu, who help Bishop Nkamuke in Nigeria. On that day Bishop Mark Pivarunas, who a year ago visited SGG to pay his respect to Bishop Dolan at the funeral, ordained five men to priesthood to serve his CMRI missions, Fathers Giles Pardue, Matias Chimenton, Aloysis Hartman, Caleb Armour, and Adam Craig. Also on May 11, Bishop Selway consecrated the new church of the Sisters of St. Thomas Aquinas in Brooksville, Florida. In Italy, on May 6, Bishop Geert Stuyver ordained Piergiorgio Coradello to the priesthood. Father Coradello will serve the Institute of the Mother of Good Counsel. On May 20, 2023, Bishop Pio Espina ordained Brother Bonaventura of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom in Brazil. He belongs to a group of Traditional Franciscans. What a month this month of Mary has been! The visible Church of Christ has not vanished and cannot vanish, and in the spirit of Catholic Action our Sodalists take their own standard as faithful Catholics and confirmed soldiers of Christ.
I said the votive Mass of St. Joseph for our Sodality members, old and new, on the priestly anniversary day, May 11.
On May 13 St. Gertrude the Great started the summer season with the Fatima Rosary procession for peace with 58 people attending. From May to October, on every 13th day, our faithful will answer Our Lady’s call to pray for peace and making acts of reparation. May 14 was Mother’s Day, and the first Communicants formed a procession after the High Mass, and one of the girls crowned the statue of Our Lady. Cardinal Newman wrote in his poem The Month of Mary: “O Mary, pure and beautiful, Thou art the Queen of May. / Our garlands wear about Thy hair, and they will ne’er decay.”
Ascension Thursday, May 18, was the first anniversary of consecration of Bishop McGuire. On that day our new Bishop Nkamuke celebrated his first Pontifical Mass. He returned to Nigeria on May 22 and his priests, Seminarians, and faithful are so very happy to have a Bishop of their own.
June 7 is First Wednesday. On that day, do some devotion or act of charity in honor of St. Joseph, our Patron. The next day, Thursday, June 8, is Corpus Christi. The Blessed Sacrament will be exposed for the whole day, and you can come to church to worship Our Lord and hear the clergy to chant the Divine Office the whole day.
Sodality will not have monthly meeting in June, due to the preparations for the First Communions on June 11, the Sisters’ retreat on the Sacred Heart weekend on June 16-18, and the Girls Camp on June 27-29. The Sodality will, however, host a game night on Friday, June 9, after the 5:45 PM Mass. You can come and enjoy the fun with us, and also buy pizza and drinks. The Sodalists who are of adult age, you have until June 20 to register to the 2023 Young Adult Get-Together. This annual summer event will be at SGG on the July 7-9 weekend.
Another event to look forward to is our second Fall Festival, which will be on September 24, on the feast of Our Lady of Ransom. There will be craft sales and games as last time. If you have many ideas for crafts, you can even get your own booth. Our first festival last year was a fabulous success. During summer, make plans how you can contribute to this big event of the fall.
If you are on a hunt for nice movies, I put on my personal website a little review of a movie titled Almost Home. It was made by a Christian movie director Tom Whitus in 2015, and like the previous movie I reviewed, Not Broken, has a good message and no bad scenes. I hope to make this an ongoing series of posts.
Our Sodality photographer Claire has learned to take quite good pictures. I put a special section on our website where you can look at the photos she has taken. You can see many photos from our May monthly meeting, as well as from the Mother’s Day May crowning.
I wish you have a happy and blessed start of Summer. We’ll see you at Girls Camp and at the many great events St. Gertrude’s offers to all her faithful and visitors.
Yours in Christ and Mary,