NEW YORK — Like the joyful and traditional celebration that it is, Easter was observed around the Province with the usual holiday liturgies and baptisms, at Masses and Vigils centering around Matthew 28:1-10, “He is Risen.”
As was customary in the ancient Church, several Province parishes welcomed new members, including St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Triangle, Va., where 21 people joined the parish family after completing the sacraments of initiation. The bulletin thanked the newly-welcomed, with the words: “They remind us of who we are and whose we are; a people of the Resurrection.”
Many parishes restored the practice of holiding baptisms on Easter with the development of RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) approximately 20 years ago.
Other HNP churches where baptisms took place included Holy Name of Jesus Church in New York City and St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church in Hartford, Conn.
St. Patrick-St. Anthony baptized six adults and infants at its Easter Vigil and Easter morning Masses, and received into the church five people who had been baptized in other Christian traditions, according to the bulletin. The parish welcomed another six who had completed the sacraments of initiation.
Pastor Thomas Gallagher, OFM, asked for prayers for the newly baptized, and thanked parishioners in the bulletin, “for the many ways in which you make Christ present to me.”
During the Easter Vigil at Holy Name on West 96th Street, five received the sacraments of initiation. The church also congratulated six baptized Catholics who recieved confirmation and first Eucharist at the Vigil.
“We thank them for enriching our faith community by joining with us. We all pray that these newly baptized and confirmed will find in the Church the meaning and happiness for which their hearts long,” said Gonzalo Jesus de Torres, OFM.
In West Clarksville, N.Y., the Mt. Irenaeus Franciscan Mountain Retreat distributed an Easter reflection on Good Friday. Kevin Kriso, OFM, and Bridget Walsh shared their thoughts about the season. This is the 21st seasonal reflection offered by the Mt. Irenaeus team since fall 2007. They are developed by the Mountain’s Franciscan Sojourners community.
At St. Stephen of Hungary Parish on the Upper East Side, a large-scale Jesus portrait (pictured) took center stage from Palm Sunday to Holy Saturday. The 79-foot-by-113-foot painting was created to enrich parishioners’ spiritual experience, bringing together 20 people from varied backgrounds to create it. The project was initiated by Maria Mezei, who holds a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, assisted by Bernadette Szegedi. It will be auctioned off to benefit the church. The painting, along with a second one that was displayed beginning Easter Sunday, was on the altar.
St. Francis of Assisi Church in Midtown, adorned the home page of its Web site with a colorful piece of artwork that said it best, “He is Risen.”
St. Francis of Assisi Church in Triangle, Va., assembled 245 Easter baskets of parish donations for community children. On Holy Thursday, the parish celebrated a bi-lingual liturgy, which included a combined choir.
Immaculate Conception in Durham, N.C., and St. Francis of Assisi Church in Raleigh, N.C., blessed Easter baskets on Holy Saturday.
St. Mary of the Angels Catholic Church in Anderson, S.C., continued its tradition of outdoor bilingual Stations of the Cross prior to Good Friday services. Pastor Aubrey McNeil, OFM, and Parochial Vicar Thaddeus Sapio, OFM, led the Stations.
English-speaking parishioners gathered with the Latinos, doing the readings of each station alternatively in English and Spanish. Church members played the roles in costume, as participants followed the Way of the Cross around the church grounds.
St. Mary also held a dinner on Palm Sunday for the needy in the neighborhood. This tradition is sponsored by the parish women’s council and its outreach committee. Also on Palm Sunday, Aubrey distributed to parishoners palms that were hand – fashioned into crosses; they were donated to St. Mary from a West Africa village, as a remembrance of the larger Church throughout the world.
— Compiled by Wendy Healy