April 9, 2023

Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God’s throne!
Jesus Christ, our King, is risen! Sound the trumpet of salvation!”
(from The Easter Proclamation)

After forty days of prayer and sacrifice, we have arrived at the great feast of Easter. Christians throughout the world will be gathering in churches on this day for prayer and celebrating the end of Lent. Many families traditionally will gather at home for food and being together. Though for many people throughout the world who still suffer because of the continuing danger of disease, those suffering the continuing war and its effects in Ukraine and suffering because of earthquakes, floods and other disasters, they will not be able to celebrate this Easter as in previous times.

As we gather today to celebrate this Easter 2023 we give thanks to the many medical, scientists and health care workers who worked so tirelessly over the past couple of years to combat the COVID virus and to keep us healthy. We thank our fire fighters, police and other workers who keep us safe.

As we come together this Easter to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and his promise that in Baptism we also will rise with him on the last day, we do so remembering all those who have died in the past year, those who continue to die or are injured in Ukraine and the many victims of violence and their families here in Chicago and throughout the USA. We pray for everyone throughout the world who is working so hard to bring peace and healing to our world. Even in the cold and dark of a Chicago winter we have placed our hope and trust that warmth will return. We trust that trees will fill with leaves, flowers will bloom and the sun will reflect off the deep blue of Lake Michigan reminding us of the beauty of our earth and our honored place to be humans on God's good Earth.

Holy Week reminds us that Christ has shown us how to live when we suffer, when we experience tragedy and pain and that in his promise comes Resurrection and Eternal life not only for Him but for each of us who accept his message.

In the Gospel for the Third week of Easter we hear these words from St. Luke:
Two of Jesus' disciples were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And as they walked, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but they did not recognize him. And, stopping along the way with them, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized Jesus. And the disciples recounting this experience said to one another were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?
(Luke 24:13-35)

As I write these words for this Easter weekend, I encourage each of us to walk with the Lord in this Easter Season as the disciples in Luke's Gospel did so many years ago. Luke's account not only tells us of Jesus touching the hearts of his disciples on their way to Emmaus but it calls us to open our heart to Christ as he walks with us on our journey in 2023. 

On behalf of all the Franciscan Friars at St. Peters, the lay staff and all our volunteers, I wish to all of you and your family a blessed and holy Easter Season. I give thanks to so many of you who continue to support the ministry here at St. Peter's through your prayers, support and financial help. Without you, we would not be able to be a prayerful oasis here in the Loop.

I thank everyone who has helped enhance our Lent and Holy Week liturgies. We give thanks for all who helped clean the church, those who helped in various ministries, decorating, our musicians and singers, our security team and everyone who participates in our liturgies.

On the following page is the Easter message of Cardinal Blase for each of us in the Archdiocese and for all people of good will. In his letter he writes, "Let this Easter season be a new springtime for us personally, our parishes and our archdiocese as we continue our renewal and commitment to be missionaries of hope to a world so much in need."

May your family have a Blessed Easter Season!

Fr. Michael