Today’s readings all call us to conversion and repentance. That may seem like a Lenten theme; but it is just as much an Easter theme, even if viewed from a different perspective. Now that we have celebrated our Lord’s victory over sin through his sacrificial death and resurrection, we should be even more resolute in our desire to avoid sin, the reason for which he suffered, died and rose. Saint John reminds us in today’s Second Reading that we cannot claim to know Christ if we do not keep his commandments. The Lord himself, in today’s Gospel, commissions his disciples to preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins. We find Peter doing just this in today’s First Reading: “Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.” To know this is a source of joy. To be aware of how easily we can fall into sin is prudent. Ecclesia semper reformanda—the Church must always be reformed—is an axiom that applies to us as individuals as much as to the Church as an institution. Through the grace of the sacraments, especially penance and the Eucharist, we are continually purified of sin and the life of the Risen Christ is renewed in us. This is indeed good news.
Like the Easter mystery itself, the Easter season is full of grace, especially the grace of the sacraments of initiation. Second graders from St. Charles will receive their First Holy Communion on Sunday, April 25, during a special 12:30 Mass; and those from St. Peter on Sunday, May 9, during the 9:00 Mass. Confirmation will be conferred upon young people from both parishes on Sunday afternoon, May 2, at St. Charles Church, at 1:00. The Church is enriched and renewed by the grace of these sacraments effective in the lives of her members.
Now that we are in the fourth quarter of our fiscal year I ask you to take particular note of the financial report on page 6, especially regarding the Diocesan Annual Appeal. Both parishes are below target in pledges: St. Charles by about $9,000 and St. Peter by about $4,000. Both parishes are down in the number of donors from last year. Once the targets are met, all gifts beyond the target are returned to the parish 100%. I appeal to those who have not made a pledge this year: please consider doing so now. Perhaps this would be a way to use your government stimulus check, if it is not necessary for your immediate needs. The formation of seminarians—our future priests—is an area of particular need. St. Peter’s School and the McDonell Area Catholic Schools also benefit directly from the Appeal. Meeting these targets will save your pastor much anxiety besides assisting the Church in our diocese and around the world.
Did you notice the new tabernacle veils in St. Charles Church during Lent? They were made by Sue Dubiel. “Tabernacle” comes from the Latin word for a tent. It is appropriate that it be veiled so that it looks like a tent. It is reminiscent of the Meeting Tent in the Exodus where the Ark of the Covenant, the locus of God’s presence among his people, was kept. After the temple was built in Jerusalem, the Ark of the Covenant was moved into the Holy of Holies, which was separated from the rest of the Temple by a curtain or veil. The tabernacle, where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved, is the Holy of Holies in our churches, the locus of Christ’s abiding presence among his people. The sanctuary lamp and the tabernacle veil are the signs of this. I appreciate the entire veil having the full liturgical color. Thank you, Sue.
Pray the rosary this week for good weather for a productive planting and growing season. Pray for the needs of the Church in our diocese and for the young people in our parishes preparing for their First Holy Communion or Confirmation. As always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.