Happy Easter to All!
Dear Blog Visitors:
I am writing this on a very sunny Easter morning. It was on this day that Mary Magdalene visited the tomb of Jesus to find it empty. When she then encountered the Risen Christ, he instructed her to spread the good news of his Resurrection. As I gaze at Rochester's sky, it is my prayer that this sunshine spreads to all who are celebrating the Joy that Easter brings.
Holy Week brought a mix of emotions to me. I immersed myself in all the holiness of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil and Easter morning. With the good, there was also a touch of the bad, via the scolding Pope Benedict XVI delivered from Rome at the Holy Thursday celebration of the Last Supper. In brief, he used that moment to chastise married priests, women priests, and all those who adovcate for an inclusive priesthood. As can be expected, the reverent tone of Holy Thursday was cast into a feeling of anger and dismay for many of the faithful.
These are challenging times for the Roman Catholic Church. The Austrian church is on the brink of schism; Mass attendance in Ireland is reported to be approximately 14%; Mass attendance in Italy is estimated to be between 10% and 20% on any given Sunday; In other parts of Europe, and definitely in the United States, Mass attendance is also markedly down and there is much dismay over a hierarchy that won't budge on very important issues relating to an inclusive clergy.
As I celebrate Easter, I am grateful that my prostate cancer was detected early, and that I was perhaps granted an extension on life as a result. Whenever illness strikes, it is a reminder that we are mortal. However, Jesus reminds us that beyond sickness and death, there is the hope of the Resurrection for all believers.
Despite the tensions that currently exist in the Church, I pray that the celebration of Easter lifts your spirits on this very special day. I also want to wish all who are celebrating Passover a very blessed week, as we recall the events of the Exodus, whereby Jews were delivered from Egyptian bondage.
Peace to all,