For those of you who are old enough to remember that “tag line” from the Lone Ranger TV show—God bless you, you might be as old as I am. If you are approaching your seventies, please continue to take care of yourself. My sister Joann was the one who got on my case for not wearing a mask in these “COVIDly” unsettling times. My assistant Debbie created the Walmartly fashionable creation I am sporting above.
In all seriousness my dear brothers and sisters, I am hoping and praying that you are all taking good care of yourselves, washing your hands, covering your mouths, and all the things we are told to do to stay alive—and healthy.
The priests of our Diocese—your pastors—are maintaining contact with the Diocesan Central Offices in order to speak about questions and concerns coming from you to them and on to us for advice and answers. These are challenging times for all of us and we do need to move slowly, patiently, and prudently. Please keep that in mind when you are addressing your pastors—and even me. Thank you. We, your priests and bishops, are trying to do our best to stay in contact with the state leadership; encouraging everyone at that level to understand how important our faith is to us and, especially during the Easter season, for us to attend Mass and receive the sacraments. Let us continue to pray that God will send a remedy for us in this time of distress.
The Year of Saint Joseph will be a big help for us. St. Joseph is a principal patron of our Diocese and, of course, our Cathedral. On Friday, 1 May, I will celebrate with you, via livestream media, the Holy Mass at 12:00 noon, in order to launch this year of prayer and good works. Please check the website diolc.org for further information and ideas—beyond the time of pandemic. (It will come to an end, we trust.)
In all other areas, please remember to call one another on the phone or send notes via email or snail mail. Remain close to one another in His Love and ask for God’s blessings as we make our way together.
Our Lenten journey this year has been most striking. We read of the ancients going through the desert, separating themselves and being alone with God. We too have joined in their practice, not by our choice but for our safety.
Despite our separation and inability to celebrate Easter together in church, we must continue to proclaim and believe the most astonishing fact about our Lord and Savior. He suffered, He died and He rose from the dead on that first Easter morning. The first witnesses were filled with many deep emotions and their hearts were moved to greatness. To this day, we too are comforted by the Resurrection and His promises.
We are an Easter people! Easter Sunday begins the Octave of Easter; eight days to continue the celebration of Easter. Eight days to hear accounts of Jesus’ post-Resurrection appearances. The final day of the Octave, the Second Sunday of Easter, is also known as Divine Mercy Sunday. We hear the words of our Lord, recounted in the Gospel, when he tells Thomas and he tells us, “Blessed are they who have not seen me, but still believe.” (John 20:29)
Easter is known as the ‘Feast of Feasts’ – the solemnity of solemnities. The celebration of Easter extends to Pentecost Sunday. Forty days after Easter we celebrate the Lord’s Ascension. The Church then remains in prayer as we await the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Fiftieth day of Easter, concluding the Easter Season.
So let us keep the Easter spirit alive in our hearts and proclaim it to everyone we meet.
We are an Easter people!
Blessed Easter to you – and I’ll see you at Sunday Mass!
Holy Week is the culmination of our 40-day Lenten practices. It is the most solemn period of the Church year. We typically gather to remind ourselves of the solemn mysteries of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection. With many signs and rituals, we become deeply engaged in the action of the resurrection and by offering our own participation and prayers, attempt to enter into this very central mystery of our Faith. This year, however, will be quite different. The priests of our diocese will celebrate the Mass without their congregations, and the faithful will be praying in their homes.
his Feb. 7, 2007, general audience remarks, Pope Benedict XVI said that “Every
home is called to become a ‘domestic church’ in which family life is completely
centered on the lordship of Christ and the love of husband and wife mirrors the
mystery of Christ’s love for the Church, his bride.”
This year, I invite you to join me in the Liturgies of the Sacred Triduum live-streamed from our cathedral. Holy Week begins with Passion (Palm) Sunday (9:30 a.m.). The Sacred Triduum begins with Holy Thursday: The Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper (5:00 p.m.); Good Friday: Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion (12:00 Noon), Easter Vigil Mass (7:00 p.m.) and Easter Sunday (9:30 a.m.) from the Cathedral. The modifications in the liturgical celebrations decreed by the Vatican will be observed. Many of your pastors will also be live streaming Holy Week liturgies so you can join with them spiritually in your own homes.
I also encourage you to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Pray with Monsignor Hirsch and the children of Casa Hogar as they offer their prayers for you and your intentions.
am so grateful. It is by your most generous gifts to our Diocesan Annual Appeal and the efforts of our Diocesan
Communication Staff that we are able to provide these live-streamed moments of
shared prayer and liturgical celebrations. This is life-giving and Faith-building
trust that as you have the talents and abilities to serve the Lord and His
Church, you will each find ways of drawing strength and courage in these
challenging times. I pray for you, your families, and those particularly
touched by this dreadful pandemic. As we navigate these uncharted waters, remain
healthy and pray mightily!