A View from the Rectory Window

In our Easter Sunday celebrations we not only consider and reflect upon the depth of God’s love, but we rejoice that we too have been given new life.

I write to thank you, for I have been given new life in my being with you. Perhaps no one is as privileged as I am to know the generosity, sacrifice, and devotion of so many who made these days and weeks leading up to and including our Easter celebration so memorable and so profound. I am unable to thank you all by name here, but I hope through by the Grace of God, to be able to do this in the time allotted to me. Each time we gather I encounter in you the Risen Lord Jesus, present and with us. In the Sacred Scriptures proclaimed, in the sharing in His Body and Blood, and in the innumerable encounters outside our church buildings I have found in your faces, the face of the Risen Lord Jesus who loves me.

Sometimes, because of the nature of our liturgical celebrations, we might think that all we do on Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday is to look back on something that happened 2000 years ago in a small town in the Roman Empire. For me, however, it has been in our small churches of Marmora or Woodbine, the ‘beach’ in Beesley’s Point, a hospital or nursing home room, or the open door to your home that I have found His Risen presence today, right now.

At the same time, while we have rejoiced in the new life that Christ has won for us, I have been most conscious of so many families who grieve loved-ones who are no longer with us. I find that for many, our Easter “Alleluia’s” can be discordant to this pain of loss. As my brother priests and I prayed for all your loved ones who have gone before us this Easter, I also looked into the eyes of so many of you who carry a sacred loss.

In addition to my prayerful support and hopefully pastoral presence, I offer a ‘Grief Support Group’ facilitated by Mrs. Nicole O’Neill, beginning Thursday, April 18, at 7pm. Beginning this night, and for the following six weeks in the Church of the Resurrection extension, it is my hope that this Grief Support Group will offer a safe place to learn more about grieving and to learn how to help and how to be helped during this difficult time.

This Grief Support Group is for all those who have lost a loved one in death, whether recently or years ago, and who are willing to share their pain and grief with other caring people. These weeks together intend to provide an opportunity to understand our reaction to death and the process of grieving and healing. It is a process in which one begins to find the steps of rebuilding life without a loved one so that we might better walk in the peace and newness of life that our Easter faith proclaims.

In all of our Easter celebrations I am conscious that I am blessed to share in that work of God which is always about bringing new life out of death. In these days of Easter may all of us draw near to the Risen and Glorified Christ so that he may show us the way to new and eternal life. Amen, Alleluia!

Monsignor Peter Joyce