• Fr. Daniel Gifford

The Resurrection Story

Alleluia, Alleluia! The Lord is truly risen! Alleluia!

At last, we have completed the long season of Lent and entered the even longer, glorious season of Easter. We might be tempted to forget, during those long and arduous days in the desert, that the celebratory season of the Resurrection is actually longer, just as we might be tempted to forget the goodness of God and the hope of His Resurrection in the midst of deep suffering. “For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4). Sometimes providence gives us sunny skies and cheerful days when Easter dawns upon us. But, other times, we might feel we are still at the foot of the cross, with John, Mary, and Mary Magdalene, or running from it with the other apostles, as we listen to the alleluias and cries of “We have seen the Lord.” Even in a time of personal pain, the Resurrection is still our story! Perhaps we may identify with Saint Thomas, who felt the pain of not having met the Lord, as his friends had, yet he remained with them, enduring eight days of their alleluias until his own encounter would come. Or perhaps we may identify with the women who went to offer Him devotion, by anointing His body, only to be asked by the angel, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” Or perhaps we may identify with Mary Magdalene who feared that His body had been stolen and did not first recognize Him when He appeared. Or perhaps we may identify with those other disciples who did not recognize Him when He appeared to them on the road to Emmaus. They were running away. Having been bewildered by the mere rumours of the Resurrection, they were invited to acknowledge their fear, pain and confusion to Him and their hearts began to burn within them. Then, they finally recognized Him in the breaking of the bread, as depicted in Rembrandt’s beautiful The Supper at Emmaus (front cover), which is another of the works of art used to inspire wonder in our children at Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Wherever we are in the story, it is indeed our story and the Risen Christ wants to meet us there and reveal Himself to us. May we wait upon the Lord with great confidence and trust, as He embraces us with great love.

SEASON OF VICTORY: Hopefully, you have seen the posters around, helping us to gear up and get excited for next weekend’s Parish Family Easter Celebration (see the beautiful banner later in the bulletin). This celebration for Divine Mercy Sunday concludes the Easter Octave, but still is only the beginning of the Easter Season. Next Sunday will be our main, parish-wide celebration of the season, but we may have little moments of celebration along the way, such as the Second Sunday Stay and Play in May which we will honor our First Communicants, as part of a special Good Shepherd Sunday Celebration (more to come on that).

EASTER THURSDAY: Speaking of small, but special moments to celebrate the Easter Season, on Easter Thursday (this week, 4/25) our daily Mass and Adoration will be a bit different. Since that is the day within the Octave that the “Supper at Emmaus” gospel is read, we are going to have Mass and Adoration in a manner designed to capture the intimacy of that unique Eucharistic encounter with the Risen Christ. Both Mass and Adoration will be offered in the Chapel on that day, instead of the main Church. Since our “mother’s chapel” is a true Adoration Chapel, with the presence of Our Lord in the Tabernacle, it is actually required to offer Mass in there at least once a year. In the past, this has been done privately (ie. Father getting back from vacation and offering a quiet Mass when no one is in the chapel). This year, we are going to make this intimate Mass experience available to any of our daily Mass attendees. If it goes well, it may become a new tradition. The seating might be a bit tight, but in addition to rearranging a bit and adding chairs to the chapel itself, we will add overflow seating in the main sanctuary, opposite the glass (basically the reverse experience of what “chapel dwellers” experience at Sunday Mass).

THANK YOU: Many people are much deserving of thanks at this time of year, as it takes many people filling various roles to help make our Holy Week and Easter celebrations so beautiful. I want to express my most sincere gratitude to all of our musicians (including organist, cantors, other instrumentalists and music leaders), altar servers, lectors, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, sacristans, ushers, and decorators. I also want to thank the Knights of the Columbus, for agreeing to have their feet washed for Mass of Our Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday. And of course, Deacon John, who is always so helpful with all of our liturgies!


MY NEW RESPONSIBILITIES: By now, many of you have heard, although I haven’t had a good moment to make an official announcement to the parish, that I have been given new responsibilities by the diocese. It is the bishop’s desire that each of our local TEC (Teens Encounter Christ) centers have both a deacon serving as a Spiritual Director, as well as the assistance of a local priest who is committed to helping guide the formation that goes into preparing these weekend encounters with Jesus Christ for our young people. As part of putting this into effect, I have been asked to serve as the new Spiritual Adviser for Peterstown TEC. This was announced to the Peterstown TEC community during the last retreat, and I already have some meetings on my calendar connected to it in the coming weeks. I am looking forward to these new responsibilities, as I continue to serve Saint Louis Parish as your pastor (don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere yet). Since these responsibilities are already beginning, I wanted you to know there is actually an official reason why I will be spending a little more time over in Peterstown.

In Christ through Mary,

Fr. Gifford

St. Louis, pray for us!

Blessed Mary, Queen Mother of the King of Kings, pray for us!

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