The Joy of Easter

04-24-2022From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

It was so nice to celebrate Holy Week and Easter with all of you here at St. Philip and St. James. The presence of so many people at all of the Masses was inspiring and uplifting. Thanks to everyone who joined us in celebrating this holy time of year.

Concelebrating the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday with Fr. Gilbert was a blessed privilege for me. He always offers a very reverent Mass, which is a blessing to everyone who attends. Seeing so many people gathered for that Mass, and remaining in Church to visit our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, was a real joy.

After the Mass on Holy Thursday, I visited several Churches to spend time in prayer. I ran into people from our parish who were doing the same, which was great. ‘Up all night with Jesus’ has become a fun way to introduce families to the custom of visiting different Churches on Holy Thursday evening – to spend time in prayer and adoration.

Many of you know how much I enjoy the Solemn Commemoration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday, and this year was no exception. I was especially touched as I watched so many people come forward to venerate the Holy Cross with such devotion. Listening to the chants of the cantor and choir, and joining in some of the hymns during that time, helped me enter more deeply into the spirit of Good Friday. Indeed, I want to make a special point of thanking the choir for all they did this Holy Week and Easter. It’s nice to have you back!

At the Solemn Easter Vigil I had the pleasure of Baptizing two catechumens and receiving two converts into the Catholic Church. All of these people were led to the faith by the good example of others. Two of them specifically mentioned the example of people in our parish community as having helped lead them here, a reminder of just how important it is to live our faith and let our light shine before others!

Finally, seeing so many people at Church on Easter Sunday was a great testimony to your faith in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. May that faith be a blessing to you each day, and give you hope in the face of every challenge that comes your way.

Remember that we celebrate Easter for a season of 50 days! During that time, the Rite of Blessing and Sprinkling with Holy Water will take place at the beginning of most Sunday Masses. This Rite reminds us to be faithful to the New Life we began at Baptism, until our Lord brings it to completion for us in Heaven. In general, the somber tones of Lent will be replaced by the joyful one of Easter as a way of celebrating and proclaiming our faith in the Resurrection.

I went to my sister Christine’s home after Mass on Easter, and had a great time. My mother was there, of course, with lots of family. We enjoyed a meal worthy of Easter Sunday, and celebrated the Resurrection together.

Please remember to pray that Hail Mary for me today and every day, and be assured of my prayers for you.

Have a great week!

Fr. John