The Church celebrates Easter for fifty days (from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday inclusive), but observes the Octave of Easter (octave means eight), from Easter Sunday through Second Sunday of Easter inclusive, with particular solemnity. This always serves as a great contrast to the secular society, which as it does with Christmas, throws away all reminders of the Feast the following day. Make sure you continue to make the Easter Season a festive time of celebrating our Savior’s Resurrection. I look forward each year to the Sunday following Easter because of the beautiful Gospel account from St. John. The story of Doubting Thomas is recorded for our benefit, so that his doubt - satisfied by the appearance of the Risen Lord - might be the means of strengthening our faith. Do you sometimes doubt certain doctrines of our Faith? Or do you even doubt, from time to time, the existence of God? Then you need to ask for the intercession of St. Thomas! His simple profession of faith, “My Lord and my God”, is one each one of us should utter often. This is especially true when we gaze upon the Lord in the Eucharist during Mass when the Priest elevates the Host, and then the Chalice containing the Precious Blood, during the Eucharistic Prayer. I was taught to say this when I was preparing to make my First Holy Communion. I still say it.
Today is also observed as Divine Mercy Sunday. As I mentioned in last week’s bulletin, St. Faustina Kowalksa was canonized twenty-one years ago on this Sunday by St. Pope John Paul II in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square in Rome - the first saint canonized in the New Millennium. It was through Saint Faustina that Jesus encouraged this special devotion in which we meditate on and rejoice in the Divine Mercy of the Lord, by which we receive the forgiveness of our sins. I hope many of our parishioners will join in the Divine Mercy devotions this (Sunday) afternoon at Sacred Heart Church in Nekoosa.
The Easter season is a privileged time to celebrate the sacraments, especially Baptism, Confirmation, and First Communion. Today 9 of our young people will be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Confirmation. Typically Bishop Callahan would confer the Sacrament, but has delegated that task
to pastors this year due to the Wuhan virus. Please join me in praying that those Confirmed will be strengthened to live their Christian lives with fervor and fidelity. Come Holy Spirit!
May God bless you!