The Name Contest
Dear members and friends of the Sodality of Charity,
On September 5, our Sodality will be two years old. The happy memories from this start of our group are mixed with the memories of sadness. Only a few days after our founding meeting our parish family found out that our assistant pastor Fr. Anthony Cekada would not survive his illness, and he died on Friday, September 11.
Hope you all follow Sister Grace’s request in the last newsletter and pray for Fr. Cekada. We are obliged by charity to do so. All of us who knew him remember how kind he was. In my favorite Sherlock Holmes story The Adventure of the Three Garridebs, Doctor Watson tells how touched he was when Holmes showed so much worry for him when he was shot, saying that at that moment he “caught a glimpse of a great heart as well as of a great brain.” So also most traditional Catholics remember Fr. Cekada as a great brain, which he certainly was; but all of us remember him first and foremost of his great and sweet heart.
During our two years of activity, we have also lost our pastor, Bishop Daniel Dolan, but have had the joy too of welcoming our new pastor, Bishop Charles McGuire. And our parish has been blessed with two new priests, who are relatives to many of our Sodalists, Frs. Thomas Simpson and Anthony Brueggemann. Recently two of our members joined our new parish group the Oblates of the Holy Face. Despite the many things changing, as St. Paul tells in his famous Hymn to Charity in 1 Corinthians 13: “And now there remain faith, hope, charity, these three, but the greater of these is charity.”
Our last monthly meeting was admirably planned and organized by Renee and our two Oblate Sisters. The girls also took part in the parish Fatima Rosary procession for peace, raising the attendance once again over a hundred. The mothers of our Sodality girls have all done an enormous amount of service to our parish and also to Bishop Dolan and Father Cekada in the past years. And these good mothers have admirably handed over this spirit of charity and gratitude to their daughters. It’s not in vain that the faithful of St. Gertrude the Great are called traditional Catholics. “Tradition” means handing down beliefs and customs from generation to generation, as Saint Paul also writes in the same epistle: “For I received of Our Lord that which also I have delivered unto you.” (1 Corinthians 11:23)
On First Wednesday, August 3, we received two new girls into our group, and our Sodality now has 33 enrolled members. I said Mass for all our Sodality members on the feast of Transfiguration, August 6. Our group has already a strong bond of natural unity and friendship, and the greatest spiritual benefit of being a member of the Sodality is that everyone is daily remembered in the memento of the living and will have Mass for them once a month.
To strengthen the bond of our members, we are designing our own Sodality of Charity sash, which our members can wear in the monthly meetings and in the special parish occasions. In the Old Testament times the prophets used to wear sash or girdle which bound their pieces of clothing together. In the Mass the priest uses a cincture under the chasuble for this same purpose. Today sashes are usually worn on ceremonial occasions as a sign of a high rank in military or civil society, but there are also sashes worn around the waist and used with the daily attire, such as that of a Bishop.
Our next monthly meeting is on Saturday, September 10. We start with High Mass at 8:10 AM, and end at 2 PM. Further details will follow.
Mark in your calendars Sunday, September 11 and seek to attend the High Mass on that day. Bishop McGuire and I have chosen new names for two of our Sodality members, Sister Cecilia and Sister Grace, and they will start as Novices of the Oblates of the Holy Face on September 11, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Name of Mary. Their new names tell that they are being admitted to a new family, namely the parish run by the pastor and priests. In many religious orders the new members choose their own names, but in our Oblate group it is the priests who pick the name to emphasize how the Oblates’ service belongs first to the parish, and not to their own group.
Name is one of the prized possessions of a Catholic, and that’s why Bishop and I took some time to come up with good ones, just like parents do when they choose names for their children. The Roman Catechism of the Council of Trent teaches about the child’s name given in Baptism:
This name should be that of some person enrolled in the catalogue of the saints. This likeness in name should move one toward a likeness in virtue and holiness. And the saint who is one’s model for imitation is also one’s guardian and advocate. The contrary practice of giving to Christian children the names of pagans – and of notorious pagans at that – is condemned. Such a practice is indefensible; it is an affront to Christian sensibilities and honor. (Part Two: The Sacraments, Baptism, 76)
To promote the big day of these two of our Sodalists, and also our next monthly meeting, I started a contest where you can guess what are the new religious names of our two Sisters. The contest is open to all children (aged 6-18) who are members of the parish of St. Gertrude the Great – boys too! You can see details in our latest newsletter and on our bulletin board. The prizes for the two best guesses are gift cards to our bookstore and St. Jerome Library and Bookstore. I try, as much as I can, to encourage our younger generation of Traditional Catholics to read, and read printed books especially, instead of things on the Internet. Reading is an art which is less and less popular in our world. Once when I was in the Seminary, I told one of the other Seminarians that as a child my favorite story was The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. And to my amazement he asked: “Is that the one where Judy Garland was?” I answered: “I guess so, but I was referring to the book.” (And to make the distinction, the 1939 classic MGM movie is called The Wizard of Oz while L. Frank Baum’s novel is called The Wonderful Wizard of Oz).
At our monthly meeting, I will also present the Sisters’ Holy Face medal, so our Sodality members get a chance to see the medal close.
Some of our Sodalists have started their schoolwork this week. Some parish members run St. Jerome School, which has expanded significantly its client base in the recent year. It offers a very impressive curriculum and book selection for those families who are unable to attend a Catholic school. You can read more about the school at https://www.stjeromelibrary.org/info
Have a blessed beginning of the fall season.
Yours in Christ and Mary,