Pastor’s Message – April 7, 2013

Xpuctoc Bockpec! Christ is Risen!!!

Dear Beloved Parishioners and Guests,

What a wonderful week of prayer and inspiration we have just experienced! The Sacrament of Healing at the Wed. night Pre-Sanct-ified Liturgy, the sharing of the Body and Blood of Christ during Holy Thursday Liturgy, the meditations on the 12 Gospels on Good Friday,

the Funeral Service of Jesus in the afternoon and then the inspiring and

moving Jerusalem Matins and the glorious Resurrection Services on Easter

Eve and Easter Sunday! It is so good to celebrate together as we do! Thank you!

So much has changed in the past few weeks with the election of Pope Francis!Normally, we were often confronted with much negative criticisms or claims against the Catholic church in the media – be it the newspapers, or radio and TV, but now the positive and hopeful reporting is a welcome relief! One man alone has created all this!

We all had our own personal dreams about the new Pope that would be elected. I had hoped for a pastoral smiling pope – one who gives us joy and a reason to smile back. And we have been blessed with such a man – as one Vatican commentator aptly stated: “a revolution of small gestures”. The early images of Francis are of a man who is close to the people. We saw him bowing to the people and humbly asking for their prayers, we witnessed him boarding the bus and returning to the hotel to pay his bill, we see him discarding the royal papal trappings and wearing a simple white cassock with his own iron episcopal cross and also freely mingling with joy and love as he greets the thousands who wish to be ever so close to him. Wow! What a contrast!

Thousands of reporters happily report Francis simple, but profound words: “The message of Jesus is mercy. For me, I say this humbly, it is the Lord’s most powerful message.” In his inaugural homily, Pope Francis challenged leaders and all men and women of goodwill to “be protectors of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.” He called us   to model St. Joseph and embrace tenderness, “which is not the virtue of the weak,     but rather a sign of strength of spirit and a capacity for concern, for compassion,      for genuine openness to others, for love.”

            Like all of us, Pope Francis is not perfect, but a lot of weaknesses can be overlooked when a person radiates true joy and a love for the people he is called         to serve. What an extraordinary example and challenge Francis has given

to all of us and especially to us as pastors…  Please pray that we

have the courage to respond as warmly and as generously as he…