My brothers and sisters in Christ,
I want to begin this week by thanking all those who contributed in any way to making our Holy Week and Triduum liturgies so prayerful and beautiful. There were so many parishioners involved and, no matter how they participated and supported our prayer together, they showed all of us the great things that we are able to do for God when we work together.
While it is always dangerous to list how help was offered, it is good to let parishioners know how much they are appreciated. Churches do not decorate themselves, for example. It takes time and energy to make our church look as beautiful as it is and so, to those who spent time preparing and decorating the church for our Triduum liturgies especially, sincere thanks go out to you. Our liturgies are always enhanced by the music which lifts our minds and our spirits to the Lord. This year once again, the music, which is such an essential part of our prayer together as a community of faith, did allow our spirits to soar in praise and glory to God. To our music ministers, we express our sincere appreciation.
As always, our readers, Eucharistic ministers, altar servers and ushers added so much by their particular ministry. We cannot come together to pray without 1) the word of God being proclaimed, 2) the Eucharist being ministered to the congregation, 3) dignified service at the altar, and 4) a welcoming environment that helps to make those coming to prayer feel that they belong here with us. Those in these ministries added a prayerful touch to our celebrations.
For so many people, including Catholics, it seems as if Easter ended last Sunday evening. If we shared a meal with our family and loved ones, they went to their homes at the end of the day and, as is necessary, so many of us went back to work, a significant part of our lives. And so, while we need to return to work or school, it is possible and necessary for us to continue to enter into the 50 days of the Easter Season, not only in church, but also in our homes.
In church, we will see the Easter Candle still burning brightly next to the ambo (the pulpit). We will recall our Baptism as we are sprinkled with the water of new life as the Gloria is sung. The flowers will remind us also of the new life which is at the heart of our celebration of the Resurrection. The real question remains – How, if at all, will we celebrate the Easter Season in our homes where faith is nourished as well? I suggested one way last week in this column – through water and fire in our homes.
Place a bowl of water on the table where you gather as a family to eat. Bless yourselves before the meals which you will share there. Bless yourselves when you leave home or return home after work or school. Next to that water, allow a candle to burn, especially during meals together, as a sign that the Risen Christ dwells in your home. These are simple ways and you may know of others, e.g., flowers around your home which not only look beautiful, but are a reminder of the new life which is so much a part of Easter. In our homes, may Easter still live in symbolic ways so that these 50 days of the Easter Season may truly be a part of our homes!!!
Love and Peace,