It was great! During Easter Sunday morning Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, I had a sneezing fit! Apparently, all the magnificent lilies, in full springtime bloom throughout the sanctuary, got my allergies going! The church was exploding with pollen!
It was worth it! Because the Church is exploding with new life this paschal season!
We took the forty days of Lent, preparing for Easter, very seriously. Congratulations to those who, by more fervent prayer, more dramatic self-denial, and enhanced service to those in need, responded so well to the Ash Wednesday invitation of the Lord to “return to me with all your heart!”
A special word of congratulations to those who approached the Sacrament of Reconciliation during Lent, especially the thousands who lined-up for confession on our Reconciliation Monday during Holy Week.
Our priests, deacons, and parish leaders report good crowds during the Holy Week liturgies. Our cathedral was bustling with pilgrims — not tourists — and, as usual, Monsignor Robert Ritchie and the clergy, sacristans, ushers, volunteers, lectors, servers, and renowned choir continued the tradition of making St. Patrick’s a “house of prayer.”
On Good Friday night, I went out for a walk around the block with my little nephew, Pat, and we ducked into the cathedral at about 9 p.m. How moving it was to see a long line of people up the center aisle waiting to venerate the cross on display at the communion gates.
Anyway, the forty days of Lent are behind us, so now let’s celebrate the fifty days of the Easter Season leading up to Pentecost Sunday.
Back to the “explosion of new life” I mentioned at the start of this article. See, it’s just not the lilies in full bloom (making me sneeze). The risen life of Christ is in full bloom!
See, our faith tells us that the victory of Jesus over sin, Satan, and death at Easter is not just His triumph alone — He shares it with all of us!
So, at the Easter Vigil, for instance, throughout the parishes of this archdiocese, 2,000 people conquered sin, Satan, and death with Jesus as they were baptized, confirmed, received Him for the first time in Holy Communion, and joined His Church! Alleluia! Welcome! What a boost you are for all of us! And thanks to all of you who prepared our new Catholics through the RCIA.
So, for the next Sundays, thousands of our eight-year olds will share the risen life of Jesus as they make their first holy communion! Alleluia!
So, over the next fifty days, thousands of our seventh and eighth graders will be confirmed with the gift of the Holy Spirit. Alleluia!
So, over the next couple of months, hundreds of couples will begin new lives in the sacrament of marriage. Alleluia!
Spring is busting out all over!
The Resurrection of Christ is radiating life and light all over! Alleluia!
For fifty days we’ll keep the paschal candle on fire, we’ll sneeze from the lilies, we’ll bellow out “alleluia,” we’ll stay close to Jesus through the sacraments.
The darkness, gloom, and death of Good Friday do not have the last word. The night is over; winter is gone.
The light and life of Easter Sunday morning triumph! It’s morning . . . it’s springtime in the Church.
A blessed Easter!