As we observe the Octave of Easter, I am profoundly aware of having lived the days of the sacred Paschal Triduum – Holy Thursday to Easter night – in their fullness and very much in community.
On Holy Thursday, as three of the Elect in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults presented the blessed oils—the Oil of the Catechumens, Sacred Chrism, Oil of the Infirm—to the assembly, it was clear that they’ve found their spiritual home at St. Joe’s.
One of those presenters was Adam Welz. When Adam said he had promised his daughter that he would learn about becoming Catholic when she first dipped her toe into Faith Formation for children, the RCIA team prayed he would embrace the process not only for his family but for himself—that he would enter into his own relationship with Jesus Christ. And how beautifully that process unfolded over time as he pondered the meaning of the Scriptures and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church! To see his expression of joy as he was immersed in the waters of Baptism at the Easter Vigil, to watch him reach out and embrace his pastor in love and gratitude, was a great moment of faith. Only to be followed so joyfully by the Baptism of the children of Nicole and Brian Diehl, Chase and Lauren.
A first in our experience of preparing candidates for the Easter Vigil was the five candidates—Nicole Diehl, Ginia Falcon, Dan Henry, Jim King and Vince Tassone—deciding to memorize and rehearse the Profession of Faith together. They proudly professed the faith of our Church, in full voice and in unison.
Completing the profound experience of the Triduum was an Easter day visit with our long-time parishioner, St. Joseph School faculty member and librarian, and dear friend, Mary Malone. Joan Doyle and I went to Shepherd Home to pray with Mary and bring Holy Communion. It was Mary’s prayer that this be Viaticum, her final reception of Holy Communion before going home to God. And so we prayed the Easter-filled prayers of Viaticum with Mary. When it came time for her to receive, her weakened body could not have taken a full host and so we broke the bread. Mary received a tiny bit of the Body of Christ; her beloved Joan received the rest. Mary said little but as always her loving spirit and gratitude for the presence of the Lord in her life came through in her gaze. Indeed, Jesus took her home as the sun was setting on Easter day and the Paschal Triduum drew to a close.
The darkness of Good Friday gave way to God’s eternal light.
We know the angels were there to greet you, Mrs. Malone. Rest easy knowing there are newly received Catholics and countless children at St. Joseph’s who will do their best to fill the void you leave in our community and in our hearts.