Dear Fellow Parishioners:
This weekend marks a time of new beginnings. Our “50-day” party ends as our Easter season comes to a close. We have had the opportunity to once again look back on the early years of the Church. Our journey through the Acts of the Apostles followed Peter and Paul, the pillars of our faith, as they went about the work of establishing and embracing the mystical Body of Christ, the Church. We celebrate the birthday of this great gift/responsibility with our Feast of Pentecost. We remember how the Holy Spirit was given to the apostles and to us, sending all Christians forward into the world to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Consider two opportunities:
We celebrate the installation of Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda as the new leader of our Archdiocese. We give thanks for his willingness to shepherd this rich and diverse community of approximately 825,000 Catholics in a 6,187 mile area consisting of 12 counties. We give thanks for his “YES!” to guide this confused and hurting church through bankruptcy and the settlement of the priest abuse scandal. We give thanks for his commitment to embrace this hope-filled and loving institution in its efforts to continue the work of Jesus Christ. This is a moment to give thanks and to celebrate.
Now the work begins. While we cannot and must not forget the past, we are called to learn from our mistakes and move forward. Can we? Will we? The choice is up to each of us. As we ponder our answer, consider the current state of the world. How will we find hope in the midst of all the challenges? For some two thousand years the Church has served as the light of Christ within the world. Through all our difficulties, this human and divine institution, this far from perfect family, continues to be the visible presence of the love of Jesus for all humankind. Therefore, this is a moment to decide how we will be “Church.”
How will we respond to the invitation to once again be a people of faith, hope and love? Know that the world desperately needs our answer, our presence. While there may be countless reasons to hesitate and to withhold our trust, now is the time to take a deep breath and say “Yes!” to the Lord and to the Church. May each of us give our new shepherd the support he so desperately needs as he begins his service to the Archdiocese.
We celebrate the First Communion of 28 young people in our community. We join with these children as they come to the Lord ’s Table for the first time to receive the Holy Eucharist. This is a time to remember the innocence, the wonder, the love, the trust found in this wonderful event. This is a moment to give thanks and to celebrate.
Now the works begins. Our First Communicants are depending on us to show them how to live the Catholic/Christian faith. May each of us embrace this responsibility. Let us give these little angels the support they so desperately need as they continue their faith journey. This is a moment to decide how we will be “Church.”
With great hope,
Fr. Brian Fier