• Bishop Rhoades greets graduates of the University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne, following a Baccalaureate Mass on Saturday, May 6. During his homily the bishop encouraged the graduates to “go forth with the faith of Peter.”

    By Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades

    The following is the text of the homily of Bishop Rhoades at the Baccalaureate Mass for the University of Saint Francis on May 6, 2017:

    Dear graduates, you will rightfully receive many words of congratulations this weekend. I add my word of congratulations to you on your graduation from the University of Saint Francis. You celebrate your accomplishments this weekend with your family and friends. You have studied and worked hard to obtain your diplomas. You have grown in knowledge. You are now ready to go forth and to use the knowledge you have acquired. We are proud of you and we pray for you.

    This morning, at this Mass, we are really not gathering to celebrate your accomplishments. We gather to celebrate a much greater accomplishment — God’s accomplishment: the salvation of humanity, the redemption of the world.  How did He accomplish this? He became one of us. He humbled Himself in the Incarnation — He became a man. And not only that, in an act of the greatest humility, the Son of God died on the cross for us. He loved us to the end. This love of God, revealed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus has changed the course of human history. And this is what we celebrate at this and every Mass. We celebrate the victory of God’s love over sin and even over death. This is the core of our faith.

    The God who loves us, who has conquered sin and death, still humbles Himself. He becomes present in our midst under the humble forms of bread and wine. We have come to this Baccalaureate Mass to give thanks to God and to pray for our graduates. This graduation weekend would not be complete, would not be the celebration it should be, if we were to forget the One who is the source of our life and salvation, the One from whom our graduates received their talents, the One who gives our life meaning and purpose.

    In the Gospel today, we heard about the many people who heard Jesus’ astounding teaching that He was giving us His flesh to eat and His blood to drink and found His teaching too hard to accept. They found Our Lord’s words about the Eucharist shocking, and they stopped following Him. The Gospel says that “many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer walked with him.” Of course, this still happens today. How many people in this culture have walked away from the faith for any number of reasons? Some do so quite consciously — like the people in the Gospel. They find Christ’s teaching, the teaching of His Church, just too hard to accept. Other walk away because they are seduced by other things that they think will bring them happiness. As a result, many eventually find themselves miserable and their lives empty, boring and mediocre.

    But you graduates, who have come for this Baccalaureate Mass, made a conscious choice to worship God on your graduation weekend. You came here for a reason — to celebrate your faith, not just your accomplishments, but the source of your accomplishments. You know that you are pilgrims in this world and that you are on a journey to the city of God. You desire to live your lives with the passion and purpose that come from faith. You know that your true happiness is connected to something greater than yourselves and your accomplishments. You recognize that your life is a gift and that the way to happiness in this world and the next is the way of Jesus of Nazareth and the pursuit of truth, beauty and goodness.

    When so many disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer walked with Jesus, the twelve apostles stayed with Jesus. Our Lord asked them a penetrating question: “Do you also want to leave?” It’s a question that confronts many young people today. Many do in fact choose to leave Christ and separate from His Body, the Church. This is a big challenge for me and for the Church today. At the same time, there are many who don’t leave. They decide to live their lives as disciples of Jesus Christ and active members of His Body, the Church. This gives me much joy and hope for the Church.

    You, graduates, give me much joy and hope, that you are here this morning as young men and women who want to walk the journey of your life with Jesus Christ. It is beautiful to see your faith, the faith expressed by St. Peter in answer to Jesus’ question: “Do you also want to leave?”  Peter said: “Master, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” Wow — what a response!  It’s the response of faith. I pray that you, graduates, will go forth with the faith of Peter, with the conviction that Jesus has the words of eternal life and that He is the Holy One of God, that He is indeed the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

    I pray that, like this university’s patron, St. Francis of Assisi, you will live your lives not superficially, but profoundly in Christ. St. Francis lived his life superficially until his conversion, when he discovered that following Christ offered him so much more than the party life, the passing pleasures, he had been experiencing. And he found happiness, real joy, in what seemed crazy in his culture – in poverty, in chastity, and in obedience. He found joy in prayer, in being in communion with the Lord.

    Many people today are fooled by our culture, for example, by the entertainment industry and its crazy fixation on sex, and by a consumer-focused and materialistic culture, fooled by false promises of happiness. Graduates, don’t be fooled by those who see you as mere objects of their gratification or as just another consumer in a market of undifferentiated possibilities. Don’t be fooled by those who present freedom and choice as the ultimate good or by a culture in which novelty usurps beauty and subjective experience displaces truth. Christ offers you so much more! He offers you truth and real beauty and lasting joy.

    I know that you are yearning for something more than a life of mediocrity. Certainly you want a good job, a successful career. Maybe some of you are a bit anxious in this regard. Maybe some of you are already set with a job. Whatever your personal situation, there is in your hearts a yearning for something greater, because God created you for something greater. He created you for infinity, for eternal life with Him. I encourage you to live your life with passion for this ultimate end. This is what will give you the strength to face the difficulties of daily life. Your journey of life is not an uncertain one. It’s true that there will be surprises on the way, but your destination is not uncertain. It is heaven. It’s amazing when we live our lives with the focus on that destination, when, like St. Peter, we follow the One who has the words of eternal life.

    I would like to end this homily with some of my favorite words from our Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, words that he said in a homily back in 2005 when he became pope. I can’t think of any better advice for our graduates. Pope Benedict said: “If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation.” So, graduates, may you live your lives in this great friendship! If you do, you will find happiness and joy. Your life will be beautiful, like St. Francis’ life. It will be an adventure, an adventure of love and a journey of holiness!

    May the Lord be with you on this journey with His abundant love and grace! May your friendship with Him grow each day! Like St. Francis, may your joy in that friendship be a witness to others of the truth and beauty of the Gospel!

    Posted on May 10, 2017, to:

  • A student from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton places a crown on the head of the Blessed Mother during a May Crowning in 2016.

    By Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades

    For centuries, Catholics throughout the world have honored the Blessed Virgin Mary with special devotion during the month of May. At the same time, the month of May largely corresponds with the Church’s liturgical season of Easter, the 50 days between Easter Sunday and Pentecost Sunday. The popular Marian piety encouraged by the Church in the month of May is not at odds with the liturgical season of Easter. There is a wonderful connection that I would like to reflect on in this column.

    First of all, it is good to reflect on Mary in the Easter season and her joy at the Resurrection of her Son. In fact, the Church highlights this joy in the Easter prayer that is called the “Regina caeli.” We sing or say: “Queen of heaven, rejoice, alleluia. For He whom you did merit to bear, alleluia. Has risen as He said, alleluia. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia. Because our Lord is truly risen, alleluia.”

    Mary had stood at the foot of the cross as the sorrowful Mother, joined with the suffering of her Son. She stood by Jesus in His agony on the cross. We can only imagine her great pain as she witnessed the suffering and death of her beloved Son. It was during this agony that Our Lord gave us Mary as our Mother. In His great love for us, through St. John, Jesus entrusted His mother to us and entrusted us to His mother.

    As Mary shared in the Passion and Death of her Son, it is reasonable to believe that she had a particular share in the mystery of His resurrection. Pope St. John Paul II taught that “the Blessed Virgin was probably a privileged witness of Christ’s resurrection.” Though we don’t have any mention in the Gospels of the Risen Jesus appearing to His Mother, St. John Paul II asks: “How could the Blessed Virgin, present in the first community of disciples (cf. Acts 1:14), be excluded from those who met her divine Son after He had risen from the dead? It is legitimate to think that the Mother was probably the first person to whom the risen Jesus appeared. Could not Mary’s absence from the group of women who went to the tomb at dawn indicate that she had already met Jesus?”

    In the Easter season and during this month of May, we celebrate with Mary the resurrection of the Lord. Truly, Mary’s heart was filled “with joy beyond all telling” at the Resurrection of her Son. We share in her joy and we ask for her prayers, that we may obtain the joys of everlasting life. We think of this lowly handmaid who was raised up by God the Father to reign as queen in glory in the presence of her Son, and we pray: “Queen of heaven, rejoice, for He whom you did merit to bear, has risen as He said!”

    It is also good in the Easter season and in this month of May, to reflect on Mary’s presence in the community of the first disciples waiting for Pentecost. We will celebrate Pentecost this year on June 4th. As we approach the feast of Pentecost, especially in the latter part of May, we can reflect on that first community of disciples praying together in the upper room after Jesus’ Ascension into heaven. Mary was with them in prayer, awaiting the descent of the Holy Spirit. Mary had already been overshadowed by the Holy Spirit at the Annunciation, when she conceived the Son of God in her womb and became the Mother of Christ. At Pentecost, she would again be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, filled with His grace to fulfill her new role as Mother of Christ’s Body, the Church.

    I encourage devotion to Our Lady of the Cenacle, to our Mother who sustained the disciples in the upper room with her love and the example of her prayer. She is our model of prayer as she prayed with the apostles in the cenacle and was united with them in prayer when they were filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. She helped the community to be well disposed for the coming of the Holy Spirit. She helps us to be open to the Holy Spirit and intercedes for us that we may receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit in greater abundance. In the cenacle in Jerusalem, Mary was the spiritual mother of the first disciples. She is our spiritual mother who teaches us to follow her Son and to be guided by the Holy Spirit.

    In light of our Blessed Mother’s joy at her Son’s Resurrection and of her loving and prayerful presence with the disciples in the upper room at Pentecost, we can celebrate this Marian month of May with deeper meaning. I especially recommend praying the holy rosary during this month. In the beautiful prayer of the rosary, we meditate on the mysteries of Jesus, the key moments of His life. As Pope Francis reminds us, when we pray the rosary, Mary helps us to put Jesus at the center of our attention, our thoughts, and our actions. The Holy Father invites us to pray the rosary together in the family or with friends or in the parish. Praying the rosary together strengthens family life, friendships, and parish life.

    On May 13th, we will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first appearance of Mary to the children of Fatima. On that day, Pope Francis will be canonizing Blessed Jacinta and Blessed Francisco. Here in our diocese, I will be celebrating Mass on Saturday, May 13th, the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, at 8:00 AM at St. John the Baptist Church in Fort Wayne. I invite you to attend this Mass in which we will begin our diocesan celebrations of this centennial year of the Fatima apparitions. Providentially, May 13th will also be the day of the New Evangelization Summit that all are invited to attend at St. John the Baptist Parish, Fort Wayne, and St. Monica Parish, Mishawaka.

    In her first appearance at Fatima, on May 13, 1917, the Blessed Mother said to the children: “Pray the rosary every day to obtain peace for the world, and the end of the war.” She repeated this request that they daily pray the rosary for peace in all six of her apparitions to the children. Given the situation in the world today, it is good for us to put into practice Our Lady’s request to pray the rosary daily for peace in the world today.

    Finally, I wish to mention the pious custom of crowning an image of Our Lady during the month of May. This act of love and devotion can take place in our churches and schools and also in our homes. What does it mean? It is an action that expresses our devotion to Mary our Mother as also our Queen. We believe that she reigns in glory with her Son, interceding for us and all God’s children. In this Easter season, it is a reminder that Mary, the humble handmaid of the Lord when she was on earth, now shares in the glory of her Son’s resurrection and has been exalted by God as the Queen of all creation. The May crowning reminds us that the lowly shall be exalted, as Mary sang in the Magnificat. We honor Our Lady as our Mother and our Queen and we pray that she will help us to follow her Son and one day receive the crown of glory in heaven.

     

    Posted on May 2, 2017, to:

  • Carl Bloch, Supper at Emmaus, 1870s, Brigham Young University Museum of Art.

    By Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades

    The news of the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead must never become “old news.”  Jesus Christ is alive forever and His Gospel is alive. It is not “old news” and it is not “fake news.” The encounter with the Risen Jesus transformed the many disciples who saw Him and even ate with Him. In the Gospel of this coming Sunday, the Third Sunday of Easter, we will read of the encounter of two of the disciples with the Risen Jesus on the road to Emmaus.

    Cleopas and his unnamed companion had left Jerusalem sad, disappointed, and confused. But their encounter with the Risen Lord transformed them. They experienced a conversion from despair to hope and from sorrow to joy. This is what happens in our life, a journey not unlike the disciples’ journey from Jerusalem to Emmaus. Our lives can become immersed in doubt, sadness, and disappointment. This happens especially when we leave Jerusalem, that is, when we drift away from the Jerusalem of the Crucified and Risen One, no longer believing in the power and in the living presence of the Lord. We can be like the Emmaus disciples and say: “we had hoped in Jesus of Nazareth.” “We were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel.” The crucifixion and death of Jesus had shattered their hope. When we experience sorrow and suffering in our life or the problems of injustice and evil, we can be tempted to lose hope and depart from Jerusalem, even leave the Church. Yet, the Risen Lord seeks to walk with us, to illuminate the journey of our life, to teach us and give us hope.

    The two disciples on the road to Emmaus allowed this man whom they did not recognize to walk with them and to teach them. He explained the Scriptures to them. He helped them to understand the Law and the prophets. He showed them that the Scriptures revealed that the Messiah would suffer and then enter into His glory. St. Luke tells us that “Jesus interpreted to them what referred to Him in all the Scriptures.” This encounter with the teaching of Jesus fascinated the two disciples. It made their hearts burn within them. They didn’t want Him to leave them. They urged Jesus, whom they still did not recognize, to stay with them. “Stay with us,” they said, “for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.”

    The encounter with Jesus in His word can also fascinate us. It illumines our minds and warms our hearts. It helps us to interpret the events of life and give them meaning. The Lord indeed walks beside us and explains the Scriptures to us, helping us to understand the great mystery. And this can make our hearts burn within us as we discover more deeply, more profoundly, the truth and beauty of our faith. What a blessing that we, like the Emmaus disciples, can encounter the Risen One who transforms our life, by listening to His word!

    The Lord accepted the disciples’ urgent invitation to stay with them. He sat down to eat with them. St. Luke tells us: “while He was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them.” It was the very same action Jesus performed at the Last Supper. And it was with that “that their eyes were opened and they recognized Him.” Jesus had enlightened them by His word and then He broke the bread with them. He re-enacted the Last Supper with them. This was the climax of His encounter with the two disciples. He revealed His identity to them in the breaking of the bread. This is what restored to them the gaze of faith. And so it is in our lives. When we invite the Lord to stay with us, He accepts the invitation. He not only walks with us and teaches us through the Scriptures, He breaks bread with us. In the mystery of the Eucharist, we too recognize Him.

    After the disciples recognized Him, Jesus vanished from their sight. But He stays with them; He stays with us; He stays with the Church, hidden in the breaking of the bread, at every Mass. Jesus promised: “I will be with you always until the end of the world.” Indeed, the Lord is present in every tabernacle of the world even until the end of time. The Eucharist is the great sacrament in which the Risen Lord remains with us and fills our Christian journey with hope.

    The encounter with Jesus in the Scriptures and in the breaking of the bread is not the end of the story. The two disciples left Emmaus at once and returned to Jerusalem, where they told the other disciples what had taken place. They shared with them their experience, their encounter with the Risen Lord. We who have encountered the Risen Lord cannot keep to ourselves the joy we have experienced. We are called to share that joy, the joy of the Gospel. We are charged to go forth to work for the spread of the Gospel. We are sent on mission. The dismissal at the end of Mass reminds us of this. “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.” “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.” The Eucharist gives us the interior strength for this mission. Through us, the hope of the Gospel is meant to be spread throughout society and culture. The Holy Spirit guides and strengthens us for this mission. This is the grace we received at Confirmation: to bear witness to Christ in our words and deeds.

    The journey of the two disciples to Emmaus and then back to Jerusalem is our journey, the Church’s journey. It is a journey that moves from despair to hope, from confusion to clarity, from sadness to joy. It is the journey of conversion, the journey of the Christian life. The prayer for the journey is the prayer of the two disciples: “Stay with us, Lord!” The Lord always answers this prayer. He is with us always. He walks at our side. He opens to us the Scriptures and He remains with us in the Eucharist, the great mystery of His presence, “the perfect fulfillment of His promise to remain with us until the end of the world” (St. John Paul II, Mane nobiscum Domine).

    Posted on April 26, 2017, to:

  • Bishop Rhoades preaches a homily on Easter morning at Sts. Peter and Paul Church, Huntington.

    By Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades

    Sadly, Holy Week began this year with another attack on innocent Christians. Coptic Orthodox Christians in Egypt, like so many Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant Christians here in our diocese, gathered for the sacred liturgy on Palm Sunday. At least 44 of these brothers and sisters in Christ were killed in terrorist bombings at the Church of St. George in Tanta and at the Cathedral of St. Mark in Alexandria. Over 125 people were wounded in the attacks.

    The Coptic Church in Egypt, like many other ancient Christian communities in the Middle East, the cradle of Christianity, faces persecution from violent extremists. The persecution of Christians also extends well beyond the Middle East. At present, Christians are the religious group that suffers most from persecution on account of its faith. Eighty percent of all acts of religious persecution in the world today are directed at Christians. Last year, about 90,000 Christians were killed because of their faith. In the words of Pope Francis: “The Church today is a Church of martyrs.”

    In some countries, like North Korea, violent persecution is carried out by the state. More often, it is carried out by terrorist groups and non-state actors. They perpetrate violence and subjugation against Christians and other religious groups, including murder, rape, false detention and forced exile, as well as damage to, and expropriation of, property. ISIS, Boko Haram, Taliban, Al Shabaab and other extremist groups conduct suicide bomb attacks like happened in Egypt on Palm Sunday. Some also engage in other horrific forms of torture and execution and will often glory in the brutality inflicted on their victims and parade it on social media.

    In November 2014, while waiting for an audience with Pope Francis, I was seated next to another bishop. We introduced ourselves and I learned that he was the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Mosul in Iraq. For an hour before the Pope arrived, we spoke about his archdiocese. His predecessor as archbishop was killed in 2008. ISIS occupied Mosul in the summer of 2014. They gave the Christians in the city the choice to convert to Islam, pay an exorbitant tax most could not afford, or be killed. Most were able to escape, but some were killed. The archbishop was not aware of any who had renounced their Christian faith. With great sadness, he told me that the Sunday after the occupation by ISIS was the first Sunday in almost 2,000 years that the Eucharist was not celebrated in Mosul. The Archbishop explained to me that he did not expect many Christians to return to Mosul after the defeat of ISIS. He shared that, even before ISIS occupied Mosul, his people experienced the hardships of discrimination.

    There were many Christian villages of the Nineveh Plain near Mosul that were destroyed or occupied by ISIS in the summer of 2014. Over 150,000 Christians, mostly Chaldean and Syriac Catholics and Syriac Orthodox, fled from their homes to Erbil and remain there in poverty. Some have moved on to Jordan and Lebanon. Some live in refugee camps. Since the liberation of the Nineveh Plain villages, some Christians have returned only to find their homes and churches severely damaged or destroyed. Some would like to rebuild, but it is an enormous challenge. They also are concerned for their safety and security if they return.

    The plight of persecuted Christians, Yazidis and other religious minorities in Iraq and Syria is sometimes in the news. But we should also be aware of religious persecution, mostly against Christians, that is rampant in other countries like North Korea, Somalia, Afghanistan and northern Nigeria. We also see worsening persecution in places like Bangladesh, China, Eritrea, Indonesia, Kenya, Libya, Niger, Pakistan, Sudan, Tanzania and Yemen.

    Sometimes I am asked by people what they can do to help these brothers and sisters who are suffering because of their faith. There are three things I suggest: prayer, advocacy and material aid.

    When I have spoken to bishops and priests from these areas of persecution, the first thing they ask for is prayer. They ask for the support of our prayers that they may have the fortitude of the Holy Spirit in the midst of suffering. These believers trust in the power of prayer. They ask us first and foremost to remember them in our prayers.

    Persecuted Christians also ask us to take up their cause through advocacy with our government. They need help to rebuild their lives. They need security if they are going to return to their homes. And, if not, they need help as refugees, to find a place to live and raise their families, to build a livelihood and to practice their faith without fear. I encourage the support of the “Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act,” legislation presently advancing in the U.S. House of Representatives.

    Our persecuted brothers and sisters also need material help. Catholic Relief Services has projects in Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries to help suffering and persecuted Christians and other religious minorities who have been driven from their homes. For example, in Iraq, CRS works with Caritas Iraq in providing food, clean water, living supplies, shelters and education.

    It was clear to me in my visit to Gaza and the West Bank this past January that the Christian and Muslim Palestinians cared for each other. They rejected violence. This gives me hope, not only for the people of Gaza, but throughout the Middle East. Peace and friendship between believers of different faiths is possible. But I am not a naïve optimist. The oppressive situation in Palestine and Gaza may lead to another eruption of violence. We must continue to support efforts in peacebuilding, one of the projects of CRS, and encourage our government to pursue justice in that region.

    The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the source of our hope. We believe that love conquers hate, that goodness can prevail over evil, and that life is victorious over death. That is the message of Easter. It is a message that resonates with the deepest aspirations of the human heart. It is the hope that inspired so many Christians from the earliest times and also in recent years to endure suffering and martyrdom, rather than renounce their faith in Christ or forsake His Gospel of love and peace.

    Let us remember in our prayers during this holy season of Easter all our persecuted brothers and sisters. And let us entrust all who have died for their fidelity to Christ and His Gospel into the loving arms of our Redeemer.

    Posted on April 18, 2017, to:

  • The risen Christ is depicted in the painting “Resurrection” by 15th-century Italian master Andrea Mantegna. Easter, the chief feast in the liturgical calendars of all Christian churches, commemorates Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

    By Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades

    Easter is the Church’s greatest feast. It is the day when we celebrate the crowning truth of our faith, the Resurrection of the Lord. We rejoice that God, through His Son, has conquered death and, as the Collect prayer of Easter Sunday Mass says, has “unlocked for us the path to eternity.”  This is indeed good news, great news. It is the source of our hope as Christians.

    On Easter Sunday, we hear in the first reading of Mass, from the Acts of the Apostles, the testimony of St. Peter, who preaches to the people: “They put him to death by hanging him on a tree. This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible, not to all the people, but to us, the witnesses chosen by God in advance, who ate and drank with Him after He rose from the dead.”

    On Easter Sunday morning, Mary Magdalen went to the tomb where Jesus had been buried. She saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. She ran to tell Peter and John. They both ran to the tomb and found it empty. The Gospel tells us that John, the beloved disciple, “saw and believed.”

    The Resurrection of Jesus was a real historical event. There was an empty tomb, yet there was also more. As St. Peter said: God “granted that he be visible.” Peter testifies that he and the other chosen witnesses ate and drank with Jesus after He rose from the dead. The appearances of the Risen Jesus convinced Mary Magdalen and the other apostles and disciples that Jesus had truly risen from the dead. The Resurrection confirmed for them that all that Jesus had said and done while He was with them was true.

    What happened next is key for the Church of all ages, including today. The apostles and disciples who saw the Risen Lord went out to all the world to proclaim the Good News of the Resurrection of Jesus. They went out, as Jesus commanded them, to make disciples of all nations and to baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

    If the Resurrection had not happened, there would be no Christianity and no Catholic Church. As St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.”

    In our journey of life, we face many challenges and sufferings. In the midst of the greatest trials, including death, we live in hope because of the Resurrection. Following Christ means that we take up our cross each day. Sometimes it can be heavy. But, with His grace, we carry it because Jesus, who is alive, is with us. He holds us firmly in His hands. Because of the Resurrection, we know by faith that the cross of Jesus that we embrace is a triumphant and victorious cross.

    I wish all of you, your families, and your loved ones a blessed and happy Easter. As you go to Mass on Easter you will encounter, as we do at every Mass, the crucified and risen Lord. The Holy Eucharist is a great Easter sacrament. Every time we receive Holy Communion, we receive the Body of Christ, risen from the dead. We receive the medicine of immortality. We remember the promise of Jesus: “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

    As Catholics, we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus with great solemnity not only on Easter Sunday, but throughout the Octave of Easter, the eight days from Easter Sunday to the following Sunday. I invite you to consider attending Mass, even if only once during the Easter Octave, to savor the joy of the feast of Easter. I will be celebrating Confirmations in parishes throughout the diocese during the Easter Octave and throughout the Easter season. Confirmation, like Baptism and the Eucharist, is an Easter sacrament. Please pray for all our young people who will be strengthened by the Holy Spirit to bear witness to the Risen Christ.

    May the Risen Lord bless you with joy and peace! May the Blessed Virgin Mary, who stood by the cross in sorrow and was filled with joy at the Resurrection, intercede for us with her love!

     

     

     

    Posted on April 11, 2017, to: