Dear St. Patrick Parishioners,
Christ is risen! He is truly risen! Alleluia! The Easter message of joy echoes through the whole world proclaiming Christ’s ultimate victory of light over darkness, grace over sin, and life over death. It is the message upon which we build our lives and to which we anchor our own hope of victory with him. During this solemn Easter season of 50-days we joyfully give thanks to God for the many blessings bestowed on us as individuals and as a faith community these many years. Because Jesus has died and risen again, conquering sin and death, we believe that with him we too shall live. In this spirit of faith and hope, I wish you and your families a most holy and blessed Easter Season!
Like you, I am painfully aware that our celebration of Easter might seem incomplete this year. Who could ever have thought, or even imagined, that the liturgies of Holy Week – Holy Thursday’s Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Good Friday’s Passion of the Lord, and Easter Vigil’s and Sunday’s Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord – would be suspended. In our lifetime, this is unheard of. Who among us could even remember a time when we did not have the opportunity to celebrate Easter Mass?! But, the decision – the right decision – was made for us to help keep us all safe. In my private Mass for Easter I will lovingly remember all of you, the good people of St. Patrick parish, in a special way. I will ask our risen Savior to be with us and sustain us in the days ahead as we do our best to be faithful people of a loving God. My prayers also include your intentions and the intentions of all our hearts – for those affected in any way by the coronavirus, for their families, for doctors, nurses, EMTs and all health care workers, for those who are on the front lines as police officers, fire fighters and other emergency personnel, for those who still work and encounter the public on a daily basis in our stores and service agencies, for those who have survived the virus, for those who are currently battling the disease, and for those who have died. Our prayers are many – our needs are great. But God’s healing and comforting love and presence are even greater.
I take this opportunity to thank all who have called me or sent emails, texts, cards and notes to me during these days of isolation. Your support and prayers (and your offer of food!) mean more to me than you will ever know. I miss you! I miss celebrating the Eucharist with you! I miss praying with you, laughing with you, and just being with you. But I do not despair. . . and I invite you to not despair either. God always has the last word. Just look at the Easter event! On Good Friday the world of darkness had thrown everything it had on the Anointed One and buried Him in a tomb – thinking it had the final word. But the final word belonged to God. On Easter Sunday God overturned the world’s verdict, as our Savior Jesus Christ rose from that tomb and conquered the darkness of the world forever.
My friends, this is still God’s world. You have heard me preach that many, many times. God will not leave us orphaned. He will see us through these days where it seems always to be Good Friday. But Easter is triumphant. God has the last word – always! May you and our faith family of St. Patrick, along with all of our loved ones, have a most blessed and Happy Easter.
Fr. Richard Pentello