Well, at long last, there is a new roof on the rectory. I offer a sincere thank-you to everyone who contributed to this essential improvement over the last couple of years. Like the rest of our physical plant, the rectory was built very well, but it still requires attention to keep it in good shape. The roofers did a remarkable job in what seemed a very short time. There is still some detail work to be done that they were unable to complete before the winter storm, so we will have to wait for that to pass before they can come back and finish. But the new roof is installed, and what is under it is solid and protected. Thanks be to God.
Weather like we had this week reminds me both of how well set-up we are here at Saint Bernadette by the people who came before us, and the constant care that is our obligation to be stewards of this parish. The buildings are not fancy or elaborate in any way, but all of them are solidly built and do not skimp on any of the elements of their construction or equipment. They are also beautiful and comfortable. This is not to be taken for granted!
So, in every season, there are details and elements that need to be maintained, upgraded, or replaced just to keep things in as good shape as they were given to us. It takes a good bit of time and attention on the part of several of us here at Saint Bernadette Central to do just that. So, every time you come in and find a place that is warm or cool according to the season, and dry and clean, offer a prayer of thanks for all the people who made that possible.
Please let me take this opportunity to invite you all to celebrate our patron saint and the event that changed her life in a way that she herself would have recognized and enjoyed. This February 11, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, is the 156th anniversary of the first visit the Blessed Virgin Mary paid to Bernadette Soubirous in the tiny town at the foot of the Pyrenees Mountains in France.
We will celebrate the even with a Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form, that is, according to the 1962 Roman Missal. This “Tridentine” form of the Mass is almost exactly what Saint Bernadette would have known and loved. The music will be by one of the great composers of all time, Tomas Luis de Victoria, a Spaniard. This setting he based on the tune of a motet he composed to Our Lady entitled, Quam pulchra es, or, How beautiful you are.
The music will indeed be beautiful too, and how better to remind ourselves of the marvelous event that happened then in Lourdes and gave us the saint who is our patroness. And I challenge you to identify anything better than this that you could do on this cold Tuesday evening in February! So come to the Solemn High Mass for the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes on Tuesday, February 11, at 7:30 PM.
You won’t see me around this weekend. I have gone up to see Father Nick! Last year, when he was down to help me after Christmas, he pointed out that he had a place for me to stay at his new place. So I went up for a few days, and found it very restful. There’s a chapel so I can say Mass, and the seminarians are polite (and cautious!) because they know I am a friend of the Dean. This year he renewed the invitation. Not everybody would consider it a vacation to spend a few days in late-January in a hilltop century-old stone seminary in Yonkers, but it worked for me, and I am doing it again this year.
Meanwhile, let’s hope the weather warms up enough that the snow melts, and you get to admire the new rectory roof.