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Apr 24th, 2022 Bulletin & News

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Breath of New Life

The second Sunday of Easter, the last day of the Octave of Easter, has had different names throughout Church History. Because of the first line in the Latin Entrance antiphon, referring to new believers as newborn infants, today was known as ‘Quasimodo Sunday’ for whom the title character in Victor Hugo’s, The Hunchback of Notre Dame is named. In the earliest ritual books, today was known as White Sunday, the last Sunday of ‘White Week’ because of the white robes worn by those who had been baptized at the Easter Vigil. It was also known as the ‘Dominica in Albis Deponendis’, that is the Sunday when the white robes of the neophytes would be discarded, and they would dress in normal Sunday clothes and be seated with the rest of the assembly.

It is in this spirit that I take this opportunity to say how proud I am of our eight neophytes (what we call the newly baptized) and our newly received members from other Christian traditions into that Catholic Church who totaled 33 in receiving the Sacraments of Initiation last week at our Easter Vigil. Though I have been fighting a bug, I have been positively glowing all week at being a part of that amazing experience.

In the early Church, when people were baptized they were held under the water until they were almost out of air, so that when they rose from the water they were gasping, breathing in a new life. It was beautiful to see the look on the faces of our neophytes as they emerged from the font of new life. I could tell that they were truly forever changed. Likewise those who were encountering Jesus Christ in the Eucharist for the first time and sealed with a gift to the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Confirmation, I could see a very visible change.

We are a different parish at Saint Elizabeth Seton. We had, in comparison to the huge parishes which surround us, smaller numbers this Easter. Yet, we had 33 people enter into the One True Church last weekend! We have about 300 children in our Faith Formation program — a number which exceeds larger parishes in our area. Our little school is busting at the seams, we feed hundreds of families here every week.

Our liturgy is full of beauty and richness. Our faith here is not stagnant. It is alive and active. We are in relationship with Christ Our Risen Lord.

Which brings me to the most recent name for this Sunday, that is Divine Mercy Sunday, based not only upon the mystical experience of St. Faustina in 1920-30s, but also on the readings and liturgical texts given us today. St. Thomas touches the side of Jesus from which blood and water flowed, long understood to be a sign of the sacramental life of the Church: Blood for the Holy Eucharist, water for the Font of Baptism. St. Thomas, in touching Jesus’ side was moved from doubt to faith, and suddenly became aware of how loved he was even in his doubt. The Sacraments remind us of God’s infinite mercy. Conversation does not end with Baptism and Confirmation. It is my prayer that the Mercy of Jesus will continue to transform us and that we never gaze at his Eucharistic Heart without falling to our knees and crying out, “My Lord and My God!”

For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world!