Blessed and Happy Easter! I pray that you all had a holy, blessed and happy Easter Day and Easter Octave. And that the joy of Easter will continue in your lives through the rest of the Easter Season through Pentecost.
I was completely blown away by the turnout last weekend, especially at the Liturgies of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil. As I was walking up the aisle on Holy Thursday, looking down the individual rows, seeing all so filled with people, I was literally moved to tears. It’s so wonderful to see all of you back home. You could feel the, what? the sense of well-being? contentment? peace? that exuded from the congregation throughout that Mass and the subsequent liturgies of the Triduum. After 2 years of first, no open liturgies, and then last year, limited-capacity liturgies, it was so good to see the church filled with the faithful—many of whom had not been to church regularly in months if not (2) years. A warm “welcome back,” my dear spiritual sons and daughters!
I want to thank God and all of those who made Lent and the Liturgies of the Triduum so successful this year. First, after Our Lord Jesus and His Father and Spirit, I want to thank the Altar Servers who volunteered to serve Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil. I can’t tell you how many people have told me what a splendid job you did.
In particular: the 25 boys who served Holy Thursday, including: Jean-Luc Murray, Joe Hildebrand, David Hatcher, Michael Hildebrand, Myles Carley, Brendan Mullen, Joseph Oswald, Nathan Kurrus, Andrew Kurrus, Paul Raines, Peter Hatcher, Paul Mullen, Patrick Kurrus, Paul Russo, Declan Kapp, Jacob Oswald, Matthew Hatcher, Rocco Russo, and George Raines.
And the 14 boys who served Good Friday, including: Chesterton Bliss, Jean-Luc Murray, Joseph Hildebrand, Brendan Mullen, Paul Mullen, Michael Hildebrand, George Raines, and Paul Raines.
And the 9 boys who served the complex Easter Vigil including: Chesterton Bliss, Xavier Chmielewski, and Aron Joson.
And especially the 6 who served all 3: Andrew Burns, Sam Berger, John Branch, Adam Wells, William Pereira, and Thomas Branch.
Finally, thanks to Christophe Sanchez-O’Brien for being such an excellent Master of Ceremonies for these Liturgies.
I also want to thank Elisabeth Turco, our Music Director, and our parish cantors and choirs. Though, still trying to rebuild after Covid disbanded the choir, they were able to come together to provide another glorious effort repeatedly praised by all.
Thanks also to the folks who decorated the church, especially Julie Mullen and her flower committee. And to Marty and Nena Brennen and their (adult) children, for taking care of the sanctuary and sacristy. And to all the lectors, headed by Phil Bettwy and Patty Pacheco, and to the ushers, headed by Patrick O’Brien.
And Special thanks to Fr. Horkan, Fr. Rippy and Msgr. Dempsey, for all their help, especially with confessions, and to the parish staff for all their good work, especially supporting me in these challenging seasons.
And congratulations to our RCIA folks. We baptized and confirmed 4 catechumens, welcomed into full communion and confirmed three former Protestants, and confirmed 11 formerly uncatechized Catholics. Congratulations and welcome to them all. I commend all 18 of them to your continuing prayers. Also, thanks to Bob and Bev Ward for their dedication in teaching them so thoroughly and faithfully week after week for the last months.
Divine Mercy Sunday. This Second Sunday in the Octave of Easter is also known as “Divine Mercy Sunday,” established as such in 2000 by Pope St. John Paul II, in recognition of the mercy that flows to all mankind from the Paschal Mystery of Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection. The Pope was inspired by the claims of St. Faustina Kowalska that Jesus Himself had requested this during His private apparitions to her during the 1930s. The Lord reportedly also told St. Faustina: “I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain the complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened.”
Although private apparitions/revelations such as this need not be believed by Catholics, this one, as with many others, has been recognized by the Church as “worthy of belief” (i.e., it is consistent with the Catholic faith). Moreover, the Church has established a plenary indulgence for this Sunday: “…granted under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer for the intentions of Supreme Pontiff) to the faithful who, on the Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday, in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honor of Divine Mercy, or who, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!”).” You may go to confession “within several days (about 20) before or after the indulgenced act.” For a brief explanation of indulgences, see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1471ff.]
Easter Continues. The Season of Easter continues until Pentecost Sunday, June 5. This extended liturgical season reminds us of the ongoing importance of the Resurrection to all of us throughout the year: Christ has truly risen, and lives today in our midst, may we always live as if we believe that!
Update on Father Jerry Daly. Fr. Daly is doing well, although still greatly limited in his activities. He continues to suffer with his back problems, and from fatigue, and though he spends most of the day in his chair, he is able to stand and offer private Mass, and walk around his rooms with a walker. In fact, he is doing so well that he had planned to join us and concelebrate Mass with me on Easter morning. Unfortunately, due to some last minute minor and temporary issues, he was not able to. But he sends his best to you, and asks me to relate that he prays for us all the time, and asks (and thanks us) for our continuing prayers for him.
Vacation. I am on vacation this week. Just so you are aware, I plan to take another vacation in June (to fish for Salmon in Alaska), and probably another vacation (or maybe a retreat, or both) later in the summer. It’s been a long 2 years for me, with Covid and then working without a Vicar (although Fr. Horkan has been a big help since August). I feel like I need to take time this summer to rest a bit. I’m fine, just a little worn out. But you can always pray for me, and pray that the Bishop assigns us a Vicar in July.
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles