We could not have asked for any better weather for our Easter Sunday celebrations last Sunday. Our Easter Triduum and Sunday liturgies were very powerful and prayerful experiences. All of our Lenten experiences led right into the liturgies of the shortest season of the church year, the Easter Triduum (Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday evening).
On a personal note, as I continue to recover from an infection on my leg, this was the first time I missed the Triduum and Easter day services. Thank you to Father Rey, Father Juan Jose and our deacons who stepped up and did double duty so that each of our prayer services could take place as scheduled. Since we have just one service on each of the Triduum days, they are always great opportunities for us to see the diversity of people who make up our parish. Yet we were all united by our common faith that brought each person to church over the Triduum.
The Easter Vigil Saturday evening is the high point of our church year as we celebrated Christ’s resurrection and victory over our greatest enemies – sin and death. I understand Father Rey did an awesome job in presiding at this great celebration. Again thank you to Father Juan Jose and our deacons who assisted at the Vigil Mass. Two people were fully initiated into our church community through Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. We have been praying for each of them since they took the first steps in the RCIA process last fall. Special thanks go to our RCIA team and sponsors for their faithful efforts in personally sharing their faith stories and preparing our new members to take these steps in their lives. In addition to that, I heard that our choir reached a new high in leading our community in prayer throughout the Vigil!
Our Easter Sunday Masses brought everything to a great conclusion – and a good beginning of the Easter Season. Two additional “over-flow” Masses were celebrated in the Parish Center at 10:00am and 11:30am. I was very happy that the Bloomingdale paramedics on shift Easter Sunday were able to join our community at the 10:00am Mass in the church. As always, many of our liturgical ministers, musicians, choir members and cantors did double duty returning for multiple Masses on Easter. Our Art and Environment volunteers slipped in after services on the various days to prepare for the next day. Thank you, again, to all who helped make these experiences so memorable.
I want to say an additional word of thanks to all of you for your flexibility and cooperation with our efforts to welcome our visitors over the past two weekends. Like our celebrations in many of our homes, our facilities were stretched to their limits. The Knights of Columbus were incredible in their efforts to plan the flow and direct traffic in the parking lots – both Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. Thank you for your understanding and hospitality.
With this Sunday’s celebration of the Octave (Eighth day) of Easter, we have completed the first segment of this 50-day season of new life. Since Easter itself is too great an event to be celebrated within a single 24-hour day, the entire first week of the season is treated as a one day celebration – the Octave of Easter. The Gospel readings at the weekday Masses gave us the different resurrection appearances of the Lord recorded in the four Gospels. Today’s Gospel gives us John’s account of Jesus’ Easter night appearance to the disciples. We hear Jesus’ first words to the apostles after his death and resurrection – “Peace be with you!” It was an incredible moment of reconciliation and forgiveness.
On a sad note, we awoke on Easter Sunday to news of the terror attacks on Sri Lanka. The minority Christian community there was targeted with coordinated suicide bombings at churches and hotels throughout the island. Hundreds of people were killed doing what we were doing on Easter Sunday – celebrating their faith. Bishop Conlon will celebrate a special Mass at 11:00am next Sunday, May 5th at the Cathedral in Joliet for the victims and their families. All are welcome.
We spent 40 days fasting in preparation for the feast of Easter. Now we are called to spend 50 days feasting in celebration. Let’s maintain our initial enthusiasm throughout all of the days of this season. May God continue to bless us with everything that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy