Fr. Vili Lehtoranta
Interview by Catholic Family Podcast
April 26, the feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel, is the first anniversary of the death of Bishop Daniel Dolan, the founder and first pastor of St. Gertrude the Great Roman Catholic Church. This year the day also coincides with the Solemnity of St. Joseph, which is celebrated on Wednesday after the Second Sunday of Easter. Our observance of the feast is truly “gertrudian,” for we have two High Masses that day, one in the early morning for St. Joseph, and the other at noon, a Pontifical Requiem for Bishop Dolan.
Though the day is a little sad, the clergy and the Sisters are happy and grateful that so many Traditional Catholics from all over the country and the world join us in prayer, and express their condolences in memory of our much-loved pastor.
The Oblate Sisters were recently interviewed by Catholic Family Podcast. This online show is hosted by Mr. Kevin Davis, who lives in Germany, and through his many contacts in the Sedevacantist movement he runs a great apostolate in the spirit of Catholic Action. This is also what the Oblate Sisters are meant to do, to contribute their life and work to help the Church and her priests to save souls. I have already done programs for CFP myself, e.g. telling about my road to the priesthood, and the program about why we at St. Gertrude’s reject the Thesis of Bishop Guérard des Lauriers. In this 35-minute interview, Sister Eulalia and Sister Ulrica talk about their work at St. Gertrude the Great and the many duties they have. Mr. Davis referred them as the “Swiss Army knives” of SGG, and that’s really what the Oblates are, always on hand to help whenever something needs to be done.
The Sisters also speak about their vocation as Oblates, how they ended up being Oblate Sisters, and how this state of life differs from other types of vocations. Their words are helpful and very encouraging to any girl or young lady who is thinking of a religious vocation.
In April and May we also observe the patronal feasts of our Sisters. Sister Eulalia of the Holy Child Jesus Doctor of the Sick has her patronal feast on April 30. The story of the Holy Child Jesus Doctor of the Sick begins in 1942 in the municipality of Tepeaca, in the state of Puebla, Mexico. That year three Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart arrived to Tepeaca in open and conduct a new municipal hospital. From the Josephine Sisters’ (as they were commonly called) motherhouse in Mexico City, Mother Maria Carmelita Barrios brought a beautiful statue of the Child Jesus. Mother Carmelita had learned to love this statue, and had named Him as the Little Doctor of the Sick. Wanting to spread this devotion, Mother Carmelita placed the statue in a little room that served as the hospital chapel, and named Him “the Child Jesus of the Hospital.” It was from this Tepeaca Josephine hospital where the devotion became known and loved by many souls who received blessings by practicing it, especially the sick. The first feast day of the Holy Child Jesus Doctor of the Sick was observed on April 30, 1961. When Mother Carmelita died in 1963, the statue was transferred to the parish church of St. Francis of Assisi, and enshrined on a side altar. This side altar was later enlarged to a beautiful little chapel where the Holy Child became honored by many pilgrims each year.
Sister Ulrica of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart has her patronal feast on May 8, the feast of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, which is also the day when Sister Ulrika Nisch died in 1913. The devotion to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart comes from France, where Father Jules Chevalier, in 1854, promised to teach the faithful to love Our Lady in a special way, if She would grant him his wish of establishing a missionary congregation in honor of the Sacred Heart. The wish was granted, and the motto of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart became: May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be loved everywhere! In 1864 an association of prayer was founded which was granted the official title of “Universal Archconfraternity of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.” The devotion spread also to America and to the Cincinnati area. Originally, most Catholics in Cincinnati were German-speaking, and attended the parish of Sts. Peter and Paul. To serve the English-speaking Catholics, mainly the Irish immigrants, the parish of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart was established in 1874. It covered the English-speaking Catholics in Reading, Lockland, Wyoming, and Sharonville, the very area where Father Daniel Dolan started the mission of St. Gertrude the Great in the 1970s.
Please wish the Sisters happy patronal feasts with your prayers, and also pray for more vocations. And if you are able to, donate to our building fund, so that we may soon have a permanent home for them on the parish grounds.
The Sisters and everyone else in the parish are now preparing for the upcoming consecration of Father Bede Nkamuke, which will take place on May 1, the feast of Sts. Philip & James. Among the many visitors attending this ceremony is Bishop Rodrigo Da Silva, who last year helped us so much by ordaining our Seminarians and consecrating Bishop McGuire, after the sudden death of Bishop Dolan. We are so very grateful to him for helping us in our hour of need, and we pray for him and his apostolate in South America.
The Oblates of the Holy Face have a Linktree page, where you can easily find all the links to the websites of the priests and parishes in the United States, Nigeria, and Brazil, as well as to this newsletter and to their own website.
I have finished editing the memoirs of Father Thomas Ojeka, and the proof-copy is now in print. If all goes well, the book should be available in June. Mr. Davis has done an interview with Father Ojeka, and his story to the priesthood is a very exciting one.
Work is never done at SGG, and when the consecration of Fr. Nkamuke is finished, the Sisters have plenty of projects to keep them busy for the Summer. The Sodality of Charity, a group for girls and young ladies of the parish, will organize the annual Girls Camp, which will take place on June 27-29. The Sodality of Charity is another type of lay apostolate, which seeks to make the young people see St. Gertrude the Great not just as a place where they go to Mass, but also where they can spend time with their friends, do good works, and, as Bishop Dolan always emphasized, have fun! The Sisters and the Sodalists have attended the Girls Camp here for many years, and the best way of ensuring that the attendants have fun is to have them plan and organize the camp. This way the parish is for them not just a place of worship, but also their home. The Internet apostolate, the Oblates, and the Sodality form a firm group of confirmed Catholics, who help the priests in the spirit of Catholic Action.
SGG will also host the Young Adult Get-Together (YAG), where Sedevacantist Traditional Catholics come to spend a weekend together, to make new friendships and strengthen the old ones. The dates of the event are July 7-9. The last year’s YAG was the first one where the Oblate Sisters helped in setting up the events at the church, and also in driving the attendees to and from the airport. All this good work which the Sisters do is done so that souls might be saved, in reparation to the Holy Face for all the insults and blasphemies against God.
First things last! Our Oblate Cat Penny starts to get her full hair back, after living a rough stray cat’s life. She was little intimidated by the huge crowds during Holy Week, but is now her own gentle and friendly self. Her vocation seems to be more of a reclusive than active one. Taking care of her is also an important duty of an Oblate Sister, a truly gertrudian task of CATholic Action!
Yours in the Charity of Christ and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart,
Fr. Vili Lehtoranta