Happy Easter!  We can still say that, because we’re still in our 8-day celebration of the Easter Octave!  I hope that this has been a joyous week in your homes.  I know that we’re still in a time when many people are worried about many things, not the least of which are their health and their security; but perhaps if Easter has provided some much-needed joy and consolation this past week, then we can really take to heart how our only true consolation comes from the Lord, and not from the things of this life.

This weekend is bittersweet here at the rectory, because Deacon Gil was supposed to celebrate his first Mass on Sunday.  His ordination, like many other things, has been postponed, so now he’ll be ordained on September 5th, and he will celebrate his first Mass on September 6th at the 12:15pm Mass.  While I know he’s more than ready to be ordained, I also know that he’ll continue to make an enormous contribution to the life of our parish as a deacon until that day finally arrives.  Please include Deacon Gil and his three classmates in your prayers during their longer-than-expected deacon year.

On a personal note, I can tell you that, as much as I can’t wait for us to be able to celebrate Mass together again, there are many things for which I’m very thankful in the wake of this quarantine.  I’m thankful for our schoolteachers, who have poured themselves into their eLearning classes.  We’ve always known that we have a committed, caring and professional faculty at our school, but over this past month I think we all have a new appreciation for just how dedicated they really are.  I’m grateful to our parishioners for so many reasons.  I’m grateful for the caring that you’ve shown to one another; I’ve heard so many stories of parishioners finding ways to connect with other parishioners who need help, and I have had no trouble at all getting volunteers any time I’ve needed them for any kind of request.  I’m grateful for the way so many of you have been so faithful with your weekly envelopes, far beyond what I ever expected during this financially uncertain times.  And I’m thankful for the many ways that parishioners have shown so much initiative to share the faith in creative ways.  (A particularly amazing example comes from parishioners Heidi and Mark Witte, whose recorded broadcasts of Children’s Liturgy of the Word have been picked up by CatholicTV; see http://www.catholictv.org/shows/childrens-liturgy)

But most of all, I’m grateful for the many ways I’ve seen you living out your faith even when we can’t worship together.  I’m not a social media guy, so I don’t get wrapped up in “views” and “likes”.  But it’s hard not to be inspired by the large numbers of you who are participating in Mass online every day, and particularly in our Sunday Masses.  And so many of you have been in touch with me to let me know how you’re praying at home, or finding ways to practice acts of kindness to others.

So, as we continue to struggle with so many things, I continue to hold out hope that this crisis could lead to a new springtime for the Church.  Sometimes we don’t know how much we take things for granted until they’re taken away from us.  Let’s use this joyful Easter season to celebrate our many blessings, vowing never to take them for granted again.