My dear brothers and sisters,
Peace and Easter blessings be upon you.
The Lord appeared to His disciples after His resurrection and greeted them, saying, “Peace be to you.” Many times in sacred scripture our blessed Lord offers his peace. So it is in our lives, the Lord Jesus stands in our midst and says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” (John 14:27, NRSV)
The challenges experienced with the COVID-19 pandemic will be far reaching: the heavy toll of the illness itself on those who experience its effects, the loss of human lives, the suffering borne by families and communities, the heroic responses of those who provide essential services, and the dutiful acceptance of the routines put into daily practice to promote communal health and safety for the sake of others.
As we prepare to celebrate Easter, one might ask if this is the appropriate time in the midst of this global fear to proclaim the Good News that Jesus Christ is risen. Those who first witnessed the resurrection offer a response which is timely. The women in Matthew’s Gospel who go to the tomb are burdened with disappointment and grief having witnessed his sacrificial death. They are overcome with fear and in that precise moment, they encounter Jesus who says to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me." (Mat 28:10, NRSV) Jesus ’response to the woman resounds for us today. As we face this pandemic, we are assured not to be afraid and we are called to proclaim Jesus as the Risen Lord in whom our faith is placed.
At the beginning of the celebration of the Easter Vigil Mass, the light of the Paschal Candle is processed into a darkened Church which then quickly becomes bathed in light as the candles people hold are lit from that one flame. This year, we were not able to experience this with the measures of self-isolation. However, we must not forget this Easter symbol of the risen Christ. Even without this personal experience, the Paschal Candle continues to represent the light of Christ which dispels the darkness and the resurrection of Christ which overcomes sin and death. Our belief in the resurrection is the light of faith which can bring joy and hope in the midst of despair.
This Easter will be for all of us an unsettling and challenging time to celebrate and witness to the joy and hope that is so central to this feast. However, I encourage you to recognize in these times the blessings, graces, and consolations of God which may have been hidden from view in the usual routines of life. With eyes of faith, we see our life experiences as occasions that can draw us closer to God. Sometimes it is clear to us how this happens, and at other moments we wonder how God could possibly use the particular circumstance of our life for His purpose. However, we know from the Saints that God uses these moments to reveal Himself to us.
The secret of happiness is to live moment by moment and to thank God for all that He, in His goodness, sends to us day after day.” St. Gianna Molla
I encourage you to pray for the grace to see the Risen Christ in the current reality of your lives and to recognize His deep love for each one of us. We will see His presence more profoundly in our homes and our families, in our work and in our outreach to those in need.
This Easter, I invite us to rediscover the symbol and power of our faith as a light which can dispel the darkness that we presently experience. This is what we are called as Christians to proclaim and live.
As an Easter people, let us proclaim the Resurrected Christ knowing that He has brought forth life from death, light from darkness, and hope from despair. As Saint John Paul II says, “Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”
This Easter, in these unusual times, let us find within our faith the sustenance and resolve to proclaim, “He is risen.” And we rejoice saying, “Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia.” May God bless you with abundant faith, serenity and joy this Easter.
4/11/2020 02:44:17 pm
I find that this pandemic has brought me closer to Jesus and the Holy family. I am over 70 years and I live alone. I have no family but have many friends and have met many of them through ST Michael's Catholic Community. I fee like my life has changed for the better. I set aside time each day to say the Rosary and also the 33 days of prayer for consecration. As of yesterday I began the chaplet of Divine Mercy although I have been trying to say it each day at 3pm and sometimes at 3am. I realise how unimportant all the trappings which I held dear before this really are. I miss my friends but feel closer to God. I was not always faithful to Him in my youth but managed to get to confession a couple of weeks ago and it eased my mind. I had a worrisome infection and was not sure I would get an appointment with a specialist amid all of this so I prayed to ST Luke, St Jude, ST Therese and the Holy family and lo and behold I got an appointment next month and I know it was a kind of miracle. Prayers answered, I am also praying to ST Francis of Assisi to keep all animal carers at Zoos safe enough to care for all the animals.
John I. ANETOR, PhD, FRSC (UK)
4/11/2020 07:41:53 pm
Thank you your Grace for this very reassuring and comforting message at this difficult time. You made the situation more bearable.
4/11/2020 08:08:35 pm
Thank you Bishop McGrattan for your very uplifting letter. I have really appreciated all of the televised Masses and services within the Diocese. Technology can be a wonderful thing and it certainly has been a help during these trying times. Thank you and your fellow priests for all your fine efforts during these challenging days.
4/11/2020 08:18:30 pm
Our hearts are bursting with gratitude as we journey with Jesus to the Father. How can we be afraid when He is with us, tenderly shepherding and caring for us! Gently washing our feet when they are soiled from the journey. Strengthening our hearts with His Presence when we grow weary. Gathering us together as His own people. We look forward to the entire octave of the Resurrection, culminating in the Divine Mercy!!
Ann M. Wilson
4/11/2020 09:02:56 pm
I am from Sacred Heart Parish. I watched last week three Mass. I do not use Facebook. My 3 older sons who use their computers professionally and recommended to me I do not use Facebook. Last week when I first used this fantastic service I received a full view of the Mass with sound but received the whole scene. Lia helped me a lot. Tonight the Telus link gives me nothing. I am very sad to miss Mass tonight. Blessings, please help me view this Mass and others on your Telus system. I am here. Ann
4/11/2020 09:07:57 pm
Thank you for your wonderful words.Have a beautiful Easter.
4/11/2020 09:17:18 pm
Most Important is blessed Easter. Do to Health reason that flourished for me in 2019 I now live in a Care Center . and can not yet get to Mass at Sacred Heart Parish I have known since early 1081. I am sad that today your Telus system does not work on my IPHON. Stay well, Ann Wilson Thank you.
Ann M. Wilson
4/11/2020 10:05:47 pm
Blessings, I am back to say that by itself the view of the Bishop providing his final greetings after Mass closed appeared but the limited level of sound could not be adjusted by me. For me given my son’s advice can not use your option of Facebook at this point. I will continue to look for a solution. I deeply miss attending Mass whether online or in person. If you can continue to advise I will appreciate this assistance. Blessings for Easter. Ann
4/12/2020 09:05:46 am
Thank you for this message and the reminder of the appropriate application of the Easter message today.
4/12/2020 09:53:14 am
Excellent homily .
4/12/2020 10:08:20 am
Thank you Bishop fir livestreaming all the masses for the Lenten Season. God bless us all!
4/12/2020 10:21:24 am
Thank you, Bishop, and to all who have assisted you, for bringing the Masses and Easter services to Catholics who can't meet in person at this difficult time in our history. I'm certain being able to pray together when the world needs it the most is uplifting and brings hope to many.
Jeff & Anna Lewans
4/12/2020 10:24:41 am
Thank you so much for the opportunity to celebrate Mass through live-stream. In so many places in the world believers are forbidden from gathering to celebrate our Christian faith. These requirements of social-distancing make me feel that in some small way, we are in solidarity with them as we all yearn to receive our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Also, the "low-key" tone of the celebrations has been so well thought out in keeping with the current situation of the global pandemic. The acapella vocals were beautiful and so reverent. We also appreciated the Bishop's address at the end of the live-stream. His care and concern for his flock is so evident. Wishing you all the blessings of our Risen Lord!
4/12/2020 11:36:13 am
AThanpkyou for your gracious message
4/12/2020 10:40:17 pm
My prayer is that the Church would be more present during this pandemic. The need to be prudent and responsible is a must, however, has there ever been a time in history since Christ where the Church has been so absent? I worry the pews will he much emptier when this us over
5/2/2020 09:41:23 am
Excuse me, I did enter a comment. Please read again. I wish to know about the weekday and sunday masses. Terry.
5/19/2020 08:58:03 am
i was great and happy Easter to you
5/19/2020 08:58:44 am
it was great father thank you
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