Dear Brothers and Sisters,
May God’s blessing be upon you as we begin our celebration of Holy Week. This season of Lent has been unlike any other, yet we navigate this unchartered waters together. I hope you will use the inserted guide to help you celebrate within your home and avail of the numerous streamed liturgies happening throughout the diocese. The schedule for the liturgies I will be celebrating at the Cathedral are enclosed. Others can be found on the diocesan website (www.dcgary.org).
Easter 2020 will also be unlike what any of us have experienced before. And yet – it is still Easter. Jesus is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! In the midst of a global pandemic, now more than ever, we should call upon the triumph of the Cross and the hope of his resurrection. We should be sober and clear about the time in which we live and the challenges we face, but those challenges need to be seen in the light of the overwhelming love of Jesus. He’s won the victory over sin and death. That’s the cornerstone of our faith.
As we celebrate Easter 2020, ask Jesus to fill your heart with joy, knowing that Jesus Christ has indeed risen and has conquered sin and death. We’ve all been affected by the pandemic, some who have contracted the virus and are suffering, others who have been first responders and health care workers, and many who have had to “self-shelter” for our good and the good of the wider community. All of us have made sacrifices. All of us, also, share in common that Jesus died and rose for us.
“The Holy Angels” are our diocesan and cathedral patrons. In the Book of Hebrews, we read that the angels are “ministering spirits sent to serve those who are to inherit salvation.” We call upon the Holy Angels to protect us and help us to experience the joy of Easter. The Easter season should be one in which we all become “angels” to those in need: ministering and sent to serve. I have been so very inspired to see hope and heroism on display in the Diocese of Gary. Each of us should use this Easter season to transform our Lenten sacrifices into an Easter season of service.
Our faith in the Risen Lord, who suffered died and rose from the dead, is rooted in a personal encounter with Jesus that began in baptism. Jesus continues to walk with us in our spiritual journey, drawing us ever closer to God the Father who loves us. We walk that walk together as a Church. It’s a great sacrifice that we are not all together, publicly celebrating the Mass around the altars in our churches during this time of pandemic. Yet, social distance doesn’t mean spiritual distance. We are still walking this walk together. We are united through Jesus in our prayer, service, and in the communion of saints. We are still the Body of Christ – and as the Body of Christ – we are called to serve others. Ask God to show you how you can be one of his “angels” this Easter season.
While we may be “self-sheltering” in our homes for the time being, we know that we are not alone. Jesus' resurrection frees us from the sin and selfishness that separates us from the love of God. Through his grace we are released from sin and free to become the people God has called us to be. Let us keep our hope in the power of the Risen Lord so that we might know the freedom that comes from being his beloved brothers and sisters.
During this Easter season, let us be a people of courageous faith, capable of great joy, despite the circumstances that surround us. Let us not be discouraged, but boldly proclaim the truth of the Paschal mystery. Jesus loves us, he died for our sins and he has prepared a place for us in heaven. Let us use this season of Easter to grow in faith, hope and love.
Risen Jesus, we trust in you. Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us…
The Most Reverend Robert J. McClory
Diocese of Gary