April 12, 2020
Today is Easter Sunday. Please be assured of the prayers of Fr. Heisler and myself. May the Lord, His Blessed mother and all angels and saints watch over you and your families. In the first week of the pandemic lockdown many may have envisioned themselves living in a house, a large house. In the second week when the walls seem to draw in an ever more confined space we may have seen ourselves in a tent. And in the third week, Holy Week, we were informed by the health department we would live through the worst week of the pandemic.
But today is Easter. I wish I could have blessed the baskets yesterday and I wish I could have seen the kids romping in the Easter Egg Hunt. Not this year dear ones, and not this year little ones.
In the future we will have our moment for the sweets. But today is Easter. It is everything that defines us as a people of light and love who live in the image of Christ. It may not be the end of the pandemic but it is a reminder that the pandemic is not the center of our life. Christ is the center of our Life.
In the first Easter no one was quite sure where to go and what to do. The women gave the message of meeting the Lord at the tomb. Peter and John met the angels who testified to the Resurrection. Cleopas, purported brother to St. Joseph, met Him on the Road to Emmaus and recognized Him in the breaking of the bread. And in all the Easters that followed we would come see and believe all that Christ taught and promised in his Mystical Body, the Church. We have never been alone nor abandoned. Not once. And not now.
I am reminded of the occasion when the Communists had taken the country called Ukraine and were educating the people in the new man made philosophy of life. In one town all the people were made to meet in the town square. It was demanded that the priest would stand next to the new commandant as testimony of his support. They stood for hours with the ranting and raving of the new collective. The priest said nothing. The sun stood high in the sky when the inhabitants joined together and now the sun was sinking. And still the priest said nothing. In the end the commandant requested, if not demanded, the priest to offer words of support. In defiance he stood and shouted… “Christ has died. Christ has risen. And, Christ will come again.” The crowd, silent through the entire day, cheered wildly for the priest and repeated his testimony of Faith. On this day, dear members of St. Francis De Sales you have my permission, and encouragement, to go out from your homes and shout to the world, “Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again.” And when you go back in gather your spouse and children in your arms, look them each in the eye, and say it again.
I dare say, this Easter, and the Life and Love it brings will be unlike any other Easter any of us have ever known, except for those who have been to the zones of war. I think the governor of New York is quite right in addressing the pandemic as an “enemy.” We, as a parish, are blessed at this time as no one has been identified with the coronavirus. Let us continue in our daily prayers to pray every morning, noon and night for each other.
Ed Corcoran and his lovely wife just stopped by the rectory to have a whole box of medals and scapulars blessed. I asked that he might leave some in the front foyer of the church for anyone who would like one. With a smile he agreed. He knows what many of us from our youth learned from our parents… The value of a sacramental to give hope. Hope will help all of us carry the distance in our Faith and Love. God bless one and all this Blessed Easter.
A replica of the opening to the tomb of Christ in Jerusalem. The replica is at the Franciscan Monastery in Washington D.C. It is well worth the travel time to go and have the tour of the monastery. They also have catacombs in the basement that look like the real thing.
Notice how low the door frame is for the tomb. The stone for the real tomb is Limestone, easily chipped away in the stone to make the tomb. In Washington as in Jerusalem they use a marble slab to show the location of the body in the tomb. Again, the stone really was limestone.
In closing I want to thank the many many folks who made it to confession during Lent… especially the “Big Fish.” We will continue confessions each night this week at 7:00 before Divine Mercy Sunday. The Divine Mercy Celebration will be at 2:00 PM. See you on the church camera. God bless one and all. We have had four baptisms this season, and one wedding. A wedding with six people and a live camera. How terribly romantic. All three groups listed above and the many at home in their devotions were testimonies of the true life within our parish. God bless you. Please know, I am very proud of all of you. May the next generation well reflect your love for God and each other. God bless you indeed. Let us pray for one another.