NEW YORK — From sunrise Masses and Easter egg hunts to music and a weapons protest, friars and ministries around the Province celebrated the beginning of a season of hope and renewal in the Church.
In his homily at Easter Sunday Mass, New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan said the morning of Easter is one “where life triumphed over death … where truth trumped falsehood … when hope was victorious over despair … when faith had the last word over doubt (and) when God would have the last word over Satan,” according to Catholic New York.
Holy Week at St. Bonaventure Church in Paterson, N.J., was a “great success” according Christopher VanHaight, OFM, who said “A spirit of joy filled the hearts of all as our community celebrated together the mystery of our salvation.” He reported that all Masses and services had a large turnout, and the bilingual Triduum celebrations were particularly well-received.
The church held an annual Easter egg hunt following the 9:30 a.m. Sunday Mass, which Christopher describes as a high point, watching “children from the parish fan out across the great lawn, searching for the prized eggs.”
On Long Beach Island, N.J., more than 1,000 parishioners from the community of St. Francis of Assisi Parish gathered for an Easter sunrise service on the beach near St. Francis Friary in Beach Haven, N.J.
Paul O’Keeffe, OFM, in his internship year at St. Francis, attended the Mass, which is a 52-year-old tradition for the parish. He said, “It was a great celebration!” Paul provided photos of the service, taken by parishioner Aileen Barbato.
St. Anthony Shrine in Boston continued a growing tradition of its “Dramatic Stations of the Cross,” which has become an extremely popular, standing-room only, way to commemorate the death of Jesus, according to staff member Diane Monaghan. The dramatic reading of the stations by the Arch Street Players was supported by music from the Arch Street Band. A CD recording of the stations is available for purchase by calling 617-542-6400 ext. 250.
In eastern New York State, Peter Chepaitis, OFM, and Sr. Anna Tantsits, IHM, of Bethany Ministries led Stations of the Cross in a Reformed church in Schoharie, N.Y. Peter and Sr. Anna had participated in a walk through the town between a Catholic, a Presbyterian and a Reformed church almost every Good Friday since 1995, and the service at St. Joseph’s Catholic Parish was always the Stations.
In 2009, St. Joseph’s merged with another parish four miles away, becoming the parish of Our Lady of the Valley, and the church and school were closed.
Members of the Reformed church reportedly said, “It won’t seem like Good Friday without the Stations of the Cross.” The church did not have the stations on their wall — as every Catholic church does — but a plan developed to project the image of each station on a screen through a power point presentation which accompanied the scripture and song for each station, said Peter.
In Pennsylvania, Patrick Sieber, OFM, participated in the 15th consecutive Good Friday protest outside Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest weapons manufacturer. “We prayed for our planet and its people,” Patrick said.
“Every weapon produced by Lockheed Martin means billions of dollars transferred from the public treasury to private wealth, from public need to corporate greed,” he said. “Every weapon produced by Lockheed Martin means another bombing run, another missile attack, another war.”
Pat, who lives at the Province’s Juniper Friary in the Kensington section of Philadelphia, concluded, “Jesus carried a cross of wood. At a cost of nearly one trillion dollars per year, we too carry a cross. We carry the weight of militarism and empire. … We all carry the weight of Lockheed Martin!”
He said that after several hours, police arrested 12 protestors, including himself and a 90-year-old woman. All 12 were released and are awaiting a court hearing.
Divine Mercy Sunday
In Hartford, Conn., celebrations of the Easter season continued on April 11, Divine Mercy Sunday, with festive music performed by the St. Patrick-St. Anthony Gallery Choir and soloists with the Chamber Choir of the nearby Hartt School of Music.
The performance included Bach’s Cantata No. 79, Mozart’s Sparrow Mass and Britten’s “Rejoice in the Lamb.” According to the parish’s e-newsletter, the concert was “a truly unique occasion to hear (the church’s) acoustics working at its finest.” The concert was directed by Gabriel Löfvall, director of the Hartford parish’s music ministry.
On the Sunday before Easter, the friars and postulants of St. Anthony Shrine hosted Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFM Cap. Guardian David Convertino, OFM, and John Maganzini, OFM, vicar, welcomed the cardinal and two guests — Fr. Robert Kickham and Fr. Kevin O’Leary, administrator of Holy Cross Cathedral — to the chapel for evening prayer followed by dinner.
Above, Thomas Conway, OFM, celebrates Mass at sunrise on Easter Sunday in Beach Haven.
Photos of many of the Easter season services around the Province are posted on the Web sites of the HNP ministries.