From New England to Florida, ministries offered Triduum services and festive celebrations as partners-in-ministry joined in assorted community programs, including the traditional Stations of the Cross, Masses, and even a bike ride. Several of these caught the attention of news outlets.
On Long Beach Island, N.J., close to 2,000 men and women from the community of St. Francis of Assisi Parish gathered on April 16 for an Easter sunrise service on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean near St. Francis Friary in Beach Haven.
James Scullion, OFM, pastor, said in his homily: “As we hear the waves coming in and out, it reminds us that God is always here with us – day in and day out. Even though our own lives may ebb and flow, God is always there,” according to The Monitor, newspaper of the Trenton, N.J., diocese.
“As I stood behind the altar at our sunrise service, it struck me that this is our call and mission as a parish, to welcome all people,” said Jim on the parish’s Facebook page about the Mass, a 59-year-old tradition. “In baptism we have ‘put on the Lord Jesus Christ’ and so we are called, like Jesus, to be the ‘face of the Father’s mercy,’ as Pope Francis would say. Our world, our nation, our church needs this light of mercy and compassion.”
In North Jersey, Frank Sevola, OFM, pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Pompton Lakes, discussed the relevance of the Easter message in these current times with a local newspaper.
“The message of Easter is one of love and forgiveness, welcoming and inclusion for the whole cosmos,” Frank said in the “Easter Has Relevance in Politically Polarized Era” story published by NorthJersey.com, “A hallmark of St. Francis’ theology is the goodness in all creation.”
A photo taken by Octavio Duran, OFM, of John O’Connor, OFM, guardian of St. Francis Church in Triangle, Va., was included in the “US Church Welcomes Thousands of New Catholics at Easter Vigil” story published by The Catholic Herald, Britain’s leading Catholic magazine.
As people around the world do each year, the parishioners of St. Camillus Church in Silver Spring, Md., and thousands of others meditated on the meaning of Christ’s passion and death by re-enacting the journey and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Community members participated in the 14 traditional Stations of the Cross, walking through the neighborhoods of Takoma Park, Langley Park, and Northwest Park.
“On Good Friday, we as people needed to once again contemplate this awesome ministry of Christ’s sacrifice for us on Calvary that has freed us from the snares of sin and death,” said Christian Seno, OFM, who along with the HNP Postulants shared videos and photos of the event on the parish’s Facebook page. “We celebrated the Easter Vigil with the community at St. Camillus Church. The Mass showed the joy of Easter and the rich diversity and beauty of God’s people.”
The choir of St. Francis International School, an award-winning elementary school on the St. Camillus campus, performed at the Archdiocese of Washington Mass for Easter with Cardinal Donald Wuerl from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.
“All of the ministries at St. Camillus were out in full force throughout our area and even the world giving witness to the joy of the risen Christ,” said Tobias Harkleroad, principal of the school. The noon Mass was televised on EWTN Media, the Shrine’s Facebook page and YouTube.
On April 13, Jud Weiksnar, OFM, guardian of St. Patrick Friary in Buffalo, took part in the “Holy Roll” bicycle ride through the neighborhoods of seven Catholic churches of Buffalo’s Polonia and Kaisertown districts.
According to Western New York Catholic newspaper, “the idea for the ride came from Will Pearson, a member of Slow Roll Buffalo and lifelong Catholic. He wanted to take part in the tradition of visiting seven churches on Holy Thursday and share his faith with his biking buddies. Riders may go inside each church to pray, admire the artwork or just enjoy the quiet.”
“It brings people, from all ages, all religions, all economic backgrounds, all educational backgrounds together,” Jud said in the article published on April 12. “It builds community. It’s welcoming. It’s participatory. You wonder what goes into a good parish, a lot of the same qualities that are in Holy Roll.”
Photos of many Easter season services around the Province are posted on the websites of the HNP ministries and their Facebook pages.
— Johann Cuervo is communications assistant for Holy Name Province.
- “Jesus at the Heart of Province’s Lenten Programs” – Feb. 17, 2015, HNP Today
- “Good Friday and Earth Day: More Than a Coincidence?” – June 16, 2014, HNP Today
- “Maryland Parishes Plan Opening of St. Francis International School” – Feb. 3, 2010, HNP Today
- The History of Holy Roll