Brothers and Sisters in Christ, This year’s Holy Week and this past Easter were particularly tragic in some parts of the world. Holy Week opened with the burning of the ancient Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. The loss of a Cathedral which had seen centuries of Catholic worship would indeed be tragic. More so is the loss of Catholics in the pews and from the faith. We also heard of the killing of several hundred Christians in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, many at Easter Sunday Mass, the very day we celebrated our Lord’s victory over sin and death. For some of our fellow Catholics, worshipping in their parish churches is such a danger and risk. Yet, they cling to their faith as we must do. Today is called the Sunday of Divine Mercy. In the Gospel, Jesus makes his appearance to 10 of the Apostles, minus Judas, the traitor, and Thomas, whose whereabouts are not known. Jesus shows the Apostles His wounds, wanting them to appreciate what He went through for them but also for them to realize that He is with them in the flesh, not just the spirit. Jesus makes this point abundantly clear to Thomas who doubts the claims of his fellow Apostles. The Lord is merciful to Thomas by appearing to him and allowing him to touch His wounds and realize that He is real. The Lord is real for us as well. We do not get to touch His wounds but we do receive his flesh and blood in the Eucharist, Jesus’ real presence. This indeed is mercy. So also is the power that Jesus gives to the Apostles through the Holy Spirit: “whose sins you forgive are forgiven; whose sins you retain are retained.” To know the Lord’s forgiveness is something special. We can receive that especially in the Sacrament of Confession.
Divine Mercy celebrations are going on throughout the Diocese and especially at Sacred Heart from 1:30-3:20 p.m., followed by Mass. Confessions will also be heard from 1:30-2:30 p.m. The Chaplet will be prayed at 3:00 p.m.
Next week, we begin the 2019 Bishop’s Annual Appeal. The theme is “God Makes Every Grace Abundant.” Bishop Brennan states that this theme “speaks to the promise of our Lord that our work in His name shall not be in vain…I see His abundant grace in your sacrifices and efforts to proclaim His word, celebrate the Sacraments, and extend God’s loving concern across our diocese.” I will speak more about the Appeal next week.
Please keep in your prayers those killed in Sri Lanka. Let us pray for peace in the world and justice for all those who experience oppression, both near and far.
Have a blessed week!
Administrator Pro Tem