An Easter Message from Father Tom
As I write this I am still basking in the experience of Holy Week and Easter. There are so
many things whirling around in my memory, and all of them so good and uplifting. Before I
begin to share some of my thoughts I want to apologize to the many who were so very helpful
during this precious time, but will not (probably due to lapses in my memory, and space
concerns) be specifically named. Please know that I am grateful beyond words for so many
people who stepped forward to be sure we marked these holy days with proper reverence. What
follows are glimpses of how I saw God’s presence fully active among us this past Holy Week,
Triduum, and Easter.
From Palm Sunday through early Holy Week I was moved by the deep devotion of all
who came to worship. There was a true sense of solemnity, while still maintaining a warmth and
simplicity of tone, that was inviting and supportive to all who came.
It was, however, when Triduum began on Holy Thursday that I began to sense a
profound presence of grace. In the midst of running around getting ready for that service I was stopped in my tracks by the choir’s rehearsal. The beautiful sound was just awesome. There’s a story there, but that is for someone else to tell, not me. Suffice it to say that I was not alone in being lifted and assured that God was with us. As the Mass began it seemed that things, though well-rehearsed, were going more smoothly than even that would have accounted for. Again, God’s grace was given to us. The homily that night was another moment of God’s great grace. (I’ll have more on that later!) The music fulfilled the previously foretold beauty and carried us to the beautifully decorated altar of Reposition of the Blessed Sacrament. I have rarely been so happy about what we had offered to God as our prayer that night. I shared that with our altar servers, two of whom were new servers, and they helped add to the excitement for many of us older folk. Their joy at being there was contagious to many of us, reminding us of what a privilege it is for us to be so close to God during such profound moments.
The Good Friday Service, with the starkness that is its character, always moves me. This
year, as in so many past, it called us to step back and allow the story and ritual actions draw us
into the mystery of what is being remembered. And this night, as on Thursday, the homily once
again was an event in and of itself (again, more in a moment). The remaining service was, as
always, so beautiful, even though so somber in tone. One of our new servers also was deeply
moved, and shared that after the service. What a sign of God’s presence on this journey!
Now I will comment on these homilies. We are so blessed by such good Deacons, and
many of you may never really know what a support and help they are to the parish. They do so
much behind the scenes, making it possible for me to not be overwhelmed by the many things
that have to happen for the parish to run well. Their assistance throughout the year is crucial to
me. Throughout the year they preach so well, with obviously heartfelt effort and real work to do
this so well. With that said, I feel that they reached a new level Thursday and Friday, touching
all of us in ways that caused us to enter the mysteries more deeply. We are just so blessed! And
I was not alone in that response. So many people commented to me about how moved they were by these homilies. (Frankly, it was intimidating – how could I measure up to them? But it isn’t a competition, is it?) A most full offer of thanks to them for such fine work on our behalf!
The Easter Vigil continued in the same way – such a complex ceremony, carried out with
dignity. I took a moment during the readings to look out over the congregation, and I was so
moved by the goodness of so many to come to share this core event of Jesus’ resurrection.
Among the highlights was the privilege to receive a new member into our parish family. Though
she has been with us for many years, now she is a full member, truly one with us in all ways. It
is hard for me to express the humility that I feel when the privilege of welcoming someone in
this way is given to me. Finally, as always, the return of Jesus to his home among us in the
tabernacle just overwhelms me.
Easter Sunday was, for me, filled with apprehension and much worry. Would too many
people come? Would we have to turn those seeking Jesus away? I needn’t have worried. The
people of this parish heard my concerns on prior weekends and responded generously. They
sacrificed their rightful and deserved place in our church, offering it to those who might rarely
come to see Jesus. They chose to reflect Jesus’ own generosity, giving up what they wanted, so
that others could encounter the God who loves us all so very much. (“Not my will, but yours be
done, Father.”) Sunday your actions showed the whole world who you really are. You are the
people who offer more than mere lip service to your God. You truly united yourself to Him
sacrificially. I hope you know that He saw and received your offering to His other “little ones.”
With that last act on your part, you made this among the best and greatest Easters I have
ever experienced. I am humbled to be your pastor. I am blessed to be in the midst of such good
and holy people. To all who helped us celebrate the love of God for us throughout these holy
days (especially those unnamed!) I say thank you. And I will remind you that God will not be
outdone in generosity. May He be pleased to continue blessing us as we continue to be His
chosen people, His community of love here on earth. A happy and blessed Easter to you all!
In His Love,
Many have asked about Confessions: still canceled until further notice, however…from Pope Francis:
“I know that many of you go to confession before Easter… Many will say to me: ‘But Father…I can't leave the house and I want to make my peace with the Lord. I want Him to embrace me… How can I do that unless I find a priest?’. Do what the catechism says. It's very clear. If you don't find a priest to go to confession, speak to God. He's your Father. Tell Him the truth: ‘Lord. I did this and this and this. Pardon me.’ Ask His forgiveness with all your heart with an act of contrition, and promise Him, ‘afterward I will go to confession.’ You will return to God's grace immediately. You yourself can draw near, as the catechism teaches us, to God's forgiveness, without having a priest at hand.”
Thanks to BourneTV, Comcast channel 13, our previous week’s Mass is now on twice a week:
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Be well and God bless!