I feel much blessed during this Easter season by the signs of life I see all around me, by the gatherings of which I have been a part, by the dedicated people who give witness to our faith in quiet ways — day in and day out.
The blossoming of nature and longer days are certainly a part of that. Who wouldn’t enjoy driving along our lakes and through the rolling hills of this region during this magnificent time of year? Even in the bareness of winter, our area has its own beauty. But now it is breathtaking.
In addition to nature’s springtime reminder that God is ever renewing the face of the earth, I have enjoyed the presence of people who are full of life and who, by virtue of their care for others, call me to a deeper awareness of how precious life really is. Their manner of presence, the way they treat one another, the convictions and values they express through their activities encourage me to emulate them in any way that I can. Because they behave in a way that encourages me, I am the more inclined to try to encourage others through my own words and behavior.
One source of such gifts to me was the recent convocation of our priests and pastoral administrators held this year in Ithaca. We have been gathering in that assembly for many years. Each year is its own gift to me. Each year it is different. But what remains the same for me is the joy that these men and women have in being in one another’s company and their eagerness for the ministerial and human growth for which we all long on this journey through our lifetime. It says something important about these individuals that — no matter how well-educated and pastorally experienced they are — they continue to thirst for new knowledge, for more effective ways to share their faith and more fruitful ways to encourage others.
I think also of the celebrations of confirmation we have had at Sacred Heart Cathedral during the Easter season. The church is filled with candidates, sponsors, and the parents and families of the candidates who literally fill the church with affection and support for those to be confirmed.
In such company I always have a great sense that God is ever active in all of our lives and is offering rich gifts to all who are present at such occasions. Parents and grandparents and sponsors of the candidates rejoice in the significance of the moment for the candidate and for themselves. Memories of the past and hopes for the future come together in the moment and bring with them a heightened awareness of the deeper values that sustain us through the years. The candidates, whatever their ages, know themselves to be loved — certainly by those closest to them, but also by the community gathered to which the candidates bring such delight.
I am deeply grateful for all of the people to whom I have made reference in these comments. With them and thorough them I have enjoyed a deep sense of Easter renewal.
I hope that you, too, can name people, experiences and events that have brought you to a renewed sense of Christ risen and alive among us.
Peace to all.