Signs of Easter life are present - Catholic Courier
Matthew H. Clark Matthew H. Clark

Signs of Easter life are present

If you are traveling in the Genesee Valley any time soon, I hope that you will take the opportunity to visit the new Church of St. Matthew on Route 20A just east of Livonia. The structure is most inviting. The interior is spacious, bright and clean in its lines. Abundant windows allow worshippers to keep touch with the beauty of creation, even as they worship.

The church is warm and inviting. So are the people who built it. Parishioners from St. William, Conesus, and St. Joseph, Livonia, read the signs of the time ‚Äì recognizing that population growth in the area would soon overwhelm the capacity of their churches. So, instead of expanding their two facilities, they decided to build a new one that will meet their needs for years to come. They planned with great care. They gave generously of their time, talent and treasure. The result is the Church of St. Matthew, a testament to their faith and a gift to tomorrow’s church.

When I went to dedicate the new church on May 2, I was not at all surprised to find the liturgy beautifully planned and celebrated with lively spirit. It always happens that way when people have invested themselves so deeply in what they are celebrating.

I thank Father John Hayes, all parishioners who led the effort and the entire community for being such signs of Easter life.

We dedicate new churches only once in awhile. But such occasions are not the only signs of Easter life I have seen in our diocese this season. Here are some other examples from recent experience:

1) Our Convocation of Deacons was a special day. Deacons and their spouses from all over our diocese gathered at Monroe Community Hospital to reflect on their experience of how diaconal ministry impacts on marriage and family, and how marriage and family life influence diaconal ministry.

It was a gift to me to listen to these gifted and generous people as they shared with colleagues about this matter of great importance and common interest. The interchange was honest, humble and beautifully respectful. I learned a great deal about ministry that day as I listened to this special conversation. I am grateful for the gift.

2) Our Junior High Youth Rally in Seneca Falls was another sign of life in today’s church and a rich promise for tomorrow’s. Three hundred sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders from 10 of our 12 counties gathered for a Saturday of play, prayer, worship, conversation and socializing.

I had the honor of presiding and preaching at the Eucharistic Liturgy that day, and of speaking with them for 20 minutes at an earlier point in the program. I enjoyed both experiences very much and was, as always, impressed by how attentive and reverent our young people can be.

In addition to enjoying that kind of direct involvement, I also took delight in observing how much our young people enjoy meeting one another. That’s another indication, as I see it, of something that is true of us all — our faith journeys are enriched when we know others are trying to live the same values that we are.

I thank all of the young people who attended, their youth leaders and chaperones, and our diocesan youth-ministry team who put it all together. Special thanks to our Diocesan Youth Committee, which provided wonderful leadership and example to those coming along behind them.

3) Just yesterday I experienced anew the genuine warmth and friendliness of our teens during May Day at Notre Dame High School in Elmira. Like their younger counterparts at the Junior High Rally, these impressive young women and men have a sense of what they are about. When visitors appear, they extend a warm hello and appropriate hospitality. When called upon to serve, they offer their gifts with generosity. When called to prayer, they respond from their own spirituality. When humor is in the air, they are quick to laugh.

I thoroughly enjoyed the way they honored Mary. In the doing they also honored one another and their wonderful school.

With true gratitude I thank all of the above for being such wonderful signs of Easter life.

Peace to all.

Tags: Bishop Matthew H. Clark
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