Today we celebrate the Octave of Easter: the Second Sunday of Easter and Sunday of Divine Mercy. In the year 2000, on the Sunday after Easter (April 30), Pope John Paul II canonized Saint Faustina and at that time, made the announcement that he was changing the name of the Sunday after Easter to the Sunday of Divine Mercy. He declared that it was important that we accept the whole message that comes to us from the Scriptures regarding the Easter Mystery of our Redemption (the suffering, death, burial, resurrection, ascension of Christ, and the sending of the Holy Spirit) and realize its connection to the mercy of God. As with Pope Francis, so with Saint John Paul II, one of his primary themes was the mercy of God. You may or may not remember: Saint John Paul II died on the vigil of Mercy Sunday, 2005, was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI on Divine Mercy Sunday, 2011, and was canonized by Pope Francis on Divine Mercy Sunday, 2014. There is a strong correlation this Sunday not only to our patron but also to the Jubilee Year of Mercy. I encourage all of us to continue to reflect upon and put into action ways in which we consciously set out to be ambassadors of Christ’s mercy.
Since I am leaving for my CSJ meetings as I write this article, and am under a time constraint, I am unable to write reflection for you on this week’s Gospel. So, please listen closely to Father Jim’s homily, and perhaps, when I return, you can share his spiritual insights with me.
I have great news to report! Or, should I say I have an announcement, since last Sunday Father Jim talked about the various kinds of announcements we make (as he reflected upon the most important one we make: Jesus Christ is risen!). We are in the midst of serious negotiations for selling Saint John the Baptist Church. An offer was made to the diocese and, in turn, a contract was presented to the potential purchaser who, in turn, made a counter offer. A special meeting was held this past Monday with the Parish Finance and Pastoral Councils. Tim Muter, Director of Buildings and Grounds for the Diocese of Saginaw, was in attendance and he addressed the group as to the contract that was made by the diocese and the counter proposal that was made by the potential purchaser. He explained the terms of each proposal and their impact upon the parish. Discussion followed and a counter proposal was presented by the Pastoral and Finance Councils. If approved by Bishop Cistone and accepted by the potential purchaser, the building could be sold this month. I am keeping the information rather general this week as some details may change. I am confident that by next Sunday, I will be able to give you very specific details. In the meantime, please pray that all goes well with the sale of Saint John the Baptist Church.
Please note that there will be a closing ritual liturgy at Saint John the Baptist Church this month. I hope to have that date for you next Sunday, once I check with Father Jim regarding his schedule. There will be much to do in terms of cleaning, clearing out the basement, storing items, and, after the closing ritual liturgy, removing the religious items (statues, altar, ambo, tabernacle, etc.). The Pastoral Council, Finance Council, and Worship Commission may be seeking your help with that part of the process. Just for your information, when things seemed to be at a standstill after having had Saint John the Baptist Church up for sale for several months, with many inquiries, but nothing indicating a sale on the horizon, I thought of burying a statue of Saint Joseph in the church yard. Well, I didn’t exactly do that, but I did pray very hard to Saint Joseph, and it was around his feast day, that things began to fall into place and it looked as though we were finally going to sell the Church. Saint Joseph does work in quiet ways and I do believe he will help us with the completion of the sale of the church.
Blessings on your Easter Season!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ