ALLELUIA!! It is with great delight and joy that we priests, deacons, seminarian intern, and staff at Our Lady of Mercy parish welcome you today to celebrate Easter Mass!! No matter if you worship here weekly or occasionally, are from out of town, are not Catholic or Christian, have been away from the Church, weak or doubting in faith, have been hurt by the Church, have not been living the best moral life, have been searching – you ALL are made to feel WELCOME! And not just today, but always! We are here for you! And, we want to help you experience a life changing encounter with the Risen Lord. Please feel free to reach out to me or Fr. Mark by phone or e-mail –we would love do whatever we can to facilitate your encountering the Risen Lord.
Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, and our faith that through baptism we too will live beyond our death. But have we ever considered that, because of the resurrection, new life a reality now – that we have already begun to participate in our eternal life. For three days (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter) we have been immersed in the Pascal Mystery of the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus – not just recalling historical events of 2,000 years ago, but entering the mystery of what is now happening among us as an Easter people called to conversion. Easter celebrates not history, but mystery. So what is happening among us now that are signs of resurrection and new life? Three people have been so moved by their experience of welcome and community at OLM, that after a period of prayer, discernment and instruction, last night at the Easter Vigil they became members of our Catholic Christian community through baptism, confirmation and sharing in the Eucharist. Five already baptized Christians became Catholic by a profession of faith, confirmation and Eucharist and five Catholics were confirmed at the Easter Vigil. We welcome them with great joy! The Spirit moved 38 men and 54 women to participate in recent CRHP (Christ Renews His Parish) retreat weekends at OLM – the largest number of participants ever! Over 1,600 families are using the parish App and the online platform FORMED to grow in their faith and spiritual life. While all of these are some signs of new life at OLM, ultimately Easter calls us to a personal encounter with the Risen Lord – an encounter that stops us dead in our tracks and changes our life forever! And while that encounter is different for each individual – the effects are similar….a burning desire to bring others to meet Jesus – the one who loves us unconditionally, accepts us, forgives us, and gives us new life now – you don’t even have to wait until you die! So this Easter, roll away the rock and let your risen self out of the tomb!
On behalf of Fr. Mark, Deacon Art, Deacon Bob, Deacon Mike, Deacon Phil, Deacon Tim, Deacon Tony, our seminarian intern Senovio, and all the staff at Our Lady of Mercy, I wish you many blessings, not only on this Easter Day, but throughout the 50 days of the Easter Season!