From today’s parish bulletin
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Welcome on this Easter Day!
This Easter Day gives us the joy of Christ’ Resurrection and the Mercy of the Father! I welcome all who are visiting our three parish churches for the first time and all who have spent a lifetime worshipping here. Thank you for making our parish a place of prayer and a community where service to others is real. I am filled with gratitude and hope for our future together.
We have been celebrating Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection in these past few days of Holy Week. We have entered into a profound love of Christ for our world and we have been seeking the mercy of God in all of our actions and works. We are exhausted in our beautiful prayer! We have celebrated the Paschal Triduum of Holy Week. This is the core of our faith. Here are the important liturgies we have celebrated and some images to use in your prayer.
On Holy Thursday, we washed the feet of twelve members of our community. Some of these people grieve the loss of a relative who has died this past year, while others are in their first year in the parish. The sacred action of foot washing becomes an image of our service to God’s people, especially people who are powerless in our society. I hope you discover from this sacred liturgy the deep connection of the Mass and our call to serve people in need. How can we serve more intentionally, with even greater dignity, rooted in the mercy of God?
On Good Friday, we processed to the large Crucifix at Sacred Heart. We prayed there as individuals and families. We left grief at the foot of the cross, we prayed for peace and the reconciliation of family members. We left our pain in the arms of the Crucified Jesus while some kissed his feet and others cried tears for peace. How can we enter into the mystery of suffering in our families and neighborhoods discovering the consolation of the Father’s love? We have so much work to do from the fact that our suffering is given new life in Jesus. How do your unanswered questions and continuing suffering in your life call us all back to the Cross of Christ Jesus?
On Holy Saturday, we ignited a new fire out on the lawn and processed in darkness to see the Light of Christ for our own lives. We blessed water, smeared oil on catechumens and welcomed our newly initiated to the Table of the Lord for the first time. Holy Saturday invites us into the beauty of our second birth in Jesus Christ. How is your life given a new vision for hope in the Resurrection? How can you live more fearlessly in Jesus Christ?
My prayer for you on Easter:
I pray for you who are still trying to figure out if you believe in God. I know that some of you are struggling with realities of life that you never thought you would have to deal with on your own. I know you are searching for love. Allow the mercy of God to offer you consolation and forgiveness, to allow your relationships to be restored.
I pray for our community and for all of you who feel that hope has fled your soul. I pray that we may welcome you and listen more attentively to your needs.
I pray for our young families who live paycheck to paycheck and who wonder if they made the correct choice to have children in the first place. I pray for our older members who have lived in a cloud of depression or loneliness and wonder if hope is still alive within them. I pray for grieving spouses. I pray for family members with new diagnoses of diseases. I pray for our teenagers who carry the weight of so many expectations of parents and teachers and who wonder if they will ever have their own voice in the world.
I pray for you as you question your vocation because you feel detached from the Church because of your life history, especially your struggles with sexuality or marriage. I pray for you who have given up on prayer. I pray that the Holy Spirit may once again infuse you with hope so that you may realize that we all belong to the Risen Christ.
I pray that we may be open to Christ’s love for us this Easter. If we are open to this love we will experience not only a new and lasting surge of life within our own lives but also we will be compelled to serve others in need. I wait for the day that you will know God loves you.
On this Easter, I remember you in prayer. I hold on to hope for you. Things can change in your life! I wait with Mary Magdalene and Peter who peered into the empty tomb and were filled with complete joy. I wait for us to serve beyond our willingness, to love beyond fear and to hope further than the confines of reason. Today we die to ourselves and live in Christ Jesus. Life is worth more than we can imagine! Happy Easter.
Blessings to you all in the Risen Christ!