The Total Difference Easter Makes
A joyous Easter to all! A welcome is in order for any family members, neighbors and visitors present throughout our campuses for our Easter festivities. We are thrilled that you are with us on this glorious Feast of Faith! We also remember those who are united with us at a distance, especially our homebound parishioners and even snowbirds who might not have returned in time for Easter. There is cause for rejoicing in the proclamation that Christ is not in the stone tomb where His body was laid on the evening of Good Friday. No, the tomb is empty!
This is the heart of the Good News and the biblical readings today and throughout the Easter Season give us the journalistic who, what, when, where and why of the Resurrection event. All of that is fantastic and worth pondering, especially as it is told throughout the Acts of the Apostles that we will read from at every Mass of the Easter Season. But the key question that remains to be addressed is the ‘so what?’ of Easter: What difference does it make on Monday when all goes back to normal? What did Christ’s rising really accomplish, apart from giving us an excuse to gather with loved ones and eat Easter candy until we are sick?
The real answer to that question cannot be answered in a bulletin article, since it is one that we must spend our whole lives grappling with. “He saw and believed,” it is told of John peering into the empty tomb. He is risen as He said! That realization changed everything for John—Easter made a total difference in his life. Christ has done his part, we are called to do ours: namely, to order our lives to accord with the truth that Christ is alive, not a dead and distant memory or an imaginary friend. This has been proven radiantly true in the lives of our Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) candidates as they received the Sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Communion. We welcome the newest members of our Church and pray that they could persevere in the newness of their call.
If you are looking to come to terms with the mysterious, earth-shattering reality of the Resurrection, keep in mind that even as RCIA reaches a high point with the reception of these candidates for Full Communion in the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil, there is a period known as mystagogy that allows them to go deeper into the mystery of Christ. Sacramental Initiation is not the end of a path, but the beginning of a life lived in the sacraments! We also begin an inquiry phase for those who are seeking and questioning. The Introduction to (Catholic) Christianity course that Fr. Hagan has been teaching throughout the year on Sunday afternoons is ideal for anyone desiring a refresher in the teachings of the Faith or looking for a church to call home. You can get in touch with Fr. Hagan or myself if you are wondering how to take the next step. You can find out more on our parish website and fill out an inquiry form to join the parish at OurHolyCross.org. The best first step to get involved is simply to keep attending Sunday Mass weekly. It is the most decisive and formative commitment we could ever make because at Holy Mass we meet the Risen Christ.
The Lenten Season we have just passed was a great season of hospitality and service. I want to thank the countless individuals and families who made the Lenten Fish Fry and Soup Supper season such a great success as well as those who organized such wonderful events such as the Ham Bingo, Bake Sale and recent Family Film Night. It is amazing how such generous service makes our parish a home for all and allows us to offer hospitality to so many from the neighborhood and beyond. Gratitude is due to our clergy and the countless individuals who assisted with our Holy Week liturgies under the capable leadership of Jordan Monson and to all our parish staff and lay collaborators who worked behind the scenes to prepare for such wonderful festivities.
So Easter Sunday is here, now what? Besides observing the 50 days of Easter leading up to Pentecost Sunday, I would invite you to mark a few highlights on your calendar:
+ Pray for our First Communicants who are preparing to meet Christ and welcome Him as their guest in Holy Communion on Sunday, May 5th. Our two First Communion Masses will be at our 9:30 am Mass and 11:30 am Mass (for members of our Polish community). Note the adjustment of the date for First Communion, which in the past has been on Mother’s Day.
+ Also on Sunday, May 5, we are hosting an afternoon in Kolbe Hall to reflect on the person of St. Helena who went in physical search for the relics of the True Cross, understanding the immense value of the trophies of Christ’s victory. There are a couple of introductory presentations, a social, our keynote presentation by Dr. Elizabeth Lev, a world-renown art historian who lives in Rome, and a procession around the block with the relic of the Holy Cross and sung vespers in church. It will run from 2-6 pm and is sure to be a delightful afternoon. All are welcome. See the posters and bulletin notice for more details.
+ St. Clement church will be open again for Art-A-Whirl the weekend of May 17-19. We are designated as a location for the festival, artists will be displaying their work in the church hall, and activities will be taking place at St. Clement throughout the weekend including food, live music and more. This is great but we do need lots of help to pull it off. If you want to help in any number of volunteer roles, please contact our Art-A-Whirl coordinator, Mary-Clare Bates at 612-790-0108 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
+ This summer and fall there will be numerous opportunities for people of all ages to come together to continue understanding their faith. I am excited to organize a study group on the Holy Mass as a way to delve into the source and summit of our lives. Details will be forthcoming.
+ The 15th Annual NE Eucharistic Procession will take place on Sunday afternoon, June 9 beginning at Holy Cross at 3 pm and visiting six other neighborhood churches. St. Philip Neri, the sixteenth-century ‘founder’ of the Roman Seven Church walk would be proud of this beautiful Nordeast tradition which goes back to 2004 as a response to St. John Paul II’s letter on the Eucharist. Mark the date and come to walk through the streets of our beloved neighborhood as a visible display of devotion and exuberant faith.
Christ’s Resurrection makes all the difference in the world! It gives us reason to live life to the full, it allows us to go on in living hope. May the joy of the apostles at discovering the truth of the Resurrection fill your hearts to overflowing this day and in the fifty days of our sustained celebration of Easter.
Chrystus zmartwychwstał! Prawdziwie zmartwychwstał!
Christ is risen, alleluia! He is risen indeed, alleluia!
Wishing you and your loved ones a very blessed Easter,
-Fr. Howe, writing on behalf of the clergy, staff and parishioners