As we look toward Easter, we are reminded more strongly than during many other years that each death is followed by a resurrection. For the past year, we have relied on our faith to carry us through the heartache of losses. Sometimes we have grieved a sense of normalcy, of full churches where now there are a socially distanced few, and of vibrant singing, where now instrumental music is played. Often, we have grieved that staff in parishes and dioceses needed to be let go because of a decrease in funds. Many times our hearts have been filled with sorrow because of the death of friends, families, and parishioners.
In the article “Going Forward with Easter Joy: Ministers Need to Care for Selves, Acknowledge Losses to Community,” Tom Welch, md, writes of the duty of ministers to care for themselves. Welch, a psychiatrist, spiritual director, and retreat leader, explains that especially when stresses are great, ministers should be attentive to their physical and mental well-being, as well as their spiritual life. By caring for one’s health, Welch explains, new possibilities can be embraced as we are renewed as an Easter people.
Rodica M. M. Stoicoiu notes in the Liturgical Spirituality essay that a mixture of joy and lamentation are within our prayer. Her meditation, “In a Vastly Changed World, Joyful Hearts Acclaim the Lord,” relates how we carry our sorrow into worship so that it can be transformed. Easter Preface II reminds us, she states, that “we do not stand alone either in our celebration or our suffering.”
The Initiation article, “The Shift to a Year-round Model: One Parish’s Experience,” by Anne Y. Koester, details the steps Holy Trinity Parish, in Washington, DC, took as it changed its process after nearly thirty years of following a school-year model. The accompanying article, “Pandemic Prompts Some to Reflect, Seek Out God,” tells of how the year-round catechumenate has been able to welcome an increased number of inquirers and catechumens as the nation experiences a health crisis.
Families and households can draw on our symbols and the Scriptures to deepen their faith at home. The Liturgical Environment article “Practices in Domestic Church Nurture, Deepen Life of Faith,” by Mary Patricia Storms, helps parishes assist families in displaying symbols in a designated space where members will gather to pray.
Parishes will want to download resources from PastoralLiturgy.org to post on their website and Facebook pages. Kathryn Ball-Boruff writes of living according to the rhythm of the liturgical calendar in “Families Can Make Mysteries of Holy Week Present at Home.” Kathy Kuczka considers how families can pray during each day of the Triduum in the article “Holy Week Offers Opportunity to Link Home with Faith Life.”
Finally, the article “He was truly a shepherd for his flock,” about Fr. Thomas M. Dore, is on the Pastoral Liturgy website. Dore is recalled as a mentor, friend, and devoted priest. Read the article at http://pastoralliturgy.org/resources/ThomasDore.php.
Bishop Joseph N. Perry
Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago
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