Today, the Second Sunday of Easter, we celebrate the Octave of Easter! With great solemnity, we joyfully sing out our Alleluias and remember that first Easter evening when Jesus appeared to his disciples who are locked behind closed doors, and who are in a state of fear. Jesus greets them, “Peace be with you.” We know the familiar story: Jesus shows them his hands and his side, breathes upon them and says, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” Thomas was not present when the Lord appeared. When the disciples tell him they have seen the Lord, he does not believe them. He states that unless he himself sees the nail marks in the hands and side of Jesus and puts his finger into them, only then will he believe. A week later Jesus appears to the disciples, once again locked behind closed doors, and this time Thomas is present. After extending peace, Jesus singles out Thomas and invites him to look at his wounds and place his finger into them. Thomas believes, and exclaims, “My Lord and my God.” Jesus tells him he is blessed because he has seen and believes. But Jesus goes on to say, “Blessed are those who have not seen and believed.” We fall into that category. We believe in the witness and testimony of the disciples. Our belief is based on faith and not upon sight. If we have read the Scripture accounts assigned to each day of this Octave of Easter, reflected upon the wondrous stories of the Resurrection appearances, and put ourselves alongside of, or in place of, the disciples, we may have felt peace, joy, hope, assurance, excitement, and the desire to share this Good News. Let us take some time this week to think about the ways in which we have experienced and continue to experience the Risen Christ in our lives. Like the disciples who handed on the faith to us, we must continue to hand on the faith to those who come after us.
Today, April 5, Saint John Paul II Parish welcomes the newest member of the household of faith, Mia Inmaculada Cupp!
Mia will be baptized by Father Jim Bessert at the 9:30 a.m. Mass. We congratulate her parents, Maria and Ryan! And we extend a warm welcome to all the relatives and friends of the Orlandi and Cupp families who have traveled near and far to be here today to celebrate the sacrament of Baptism.
Please note that Tuesday evening Masses continue throughout the Easter Season. On those occasions when Father Jim is unable to be with us, we will celebrate Evening Prayer. This Tuesday, you are invited to join the members of the Worship Commission at 6:30 p.m. at Saint John the Baptist Church site for the celebration of Evening Prayer. Evening Mass will be celebrated the last two Tuesdays of this month (April 21 and 28).
I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who diligently worked on the Church environment for the Easter Season, including the setup and mechanics of the baptismal font Thank you, Diana Bismack, Laikyn Curtis, Laurie Diefenderfer, Jerry Pietrzak, Joe Preston, Jim Szynwelski, and Pat Wachowicz. In planning the environment for the seasons, there has been an effort on the part of the Art and Environment Committee to recycle and use materials from all three of our Church sites when possible. Some are incidentals, like ceramic vases, stands, stones, remnants of material, etc. The pastel, and gold and white, satin material throughout the Church was brought over from the Saint Matthew Church site. The pump and heater for the augmented baptismal font was brought over from the Saint John the Baptist Church site. The yellow and white cotton material and the netting material were newly purchased for Easter. If you stand at a distance and look into the sanctuary you can see the form of a cross with the appearance of drapings over the whole cross. The very long center white piece of material, along with the rest of the white material, I was told, represents the shroud that enfolded the body of Jesus, thus the look of wear, crease, and wrinkle. If you would like to read about the principles of art and architecture which are actually guidelines from the United States Catholic bishops, please see Built of Living Stones (Art, Architecture and Environment), published by USCCB and available online. Another good resource is To Crown the Year by Peter Mazar, published by Liturgy Training Publications (LTP).
Saint John Paul II Parish welcomes Drew Derosier to the Maintenance Team! Drew is from Bay City and is a member of Saint Catherine of Siena Parish. Over the past couple of months, the Search Committee (for the Maintenance Position) and I reviewed several resumes, interviewed 4 candidates, checked out references on all of them, and consulted with the Diocesan Office of Human Resources. Upon the recommendation of the Search Committee, I hired Drew as a new member of our Maintenance Staff, replacing a vacancy we had in that area since January 1. (You may remember seeing the job posting in the bulletin for several weeks). In the interim period, I moved Jim Oskvarek (a member of Christ the Good Shepherd Parish) from Maintenance for the Occasional Church sites to Maintenance for the main Church site, with some responsibilities at the Saint Matthew Church site. Jim will remain at the main Church site and Drew’s responsibilities will basically be connected with the occasional Church sites. Both Drew and Jim will also be working on projects together. As with all positions (including present Staff Members who were hired July 1), per diocesan policy, there is an evaluation that takes place after the first three months of employment.
If you did not receive a Little White Book for your spiritual enrichment this Easter Season, there are still a few available at each of the Church entrances. There are also a few at the Parish Office Center.
There are only two weeks remaining in which to sell or purchase Big Raffle tickets. They will be available both this weekend and next after Mass, and of course, during the week, at the Parish Office. Please help out if you are able.
Blessings on your Easter days!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ