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From the Pastor 04/16/17

Christ Has Risen, Alleluia! Truly He is Risen, Alleluia! Alleluia! On behalf of the entire Dominican community of friars and novices, and our Dominican sisters, who are so blessed to serve you here at St. Gertrude, we wish you and your families a most Blessed Easter.

Beginning today, and for the next eight days, the Church celebrates the Easter Octave, culminating with Divine Mercy Sunday. These eight days are the highest liturgical days in the entire Church’s calendar as we celebrate Christ Risen and the new life we each have received through His Passion, Death and Resurrection.

I wish to extend my heartfelt thanks to many who have worked so hard to make the celebration of Easter most blessed. A special thanks to Fr. Gregory Pine, O.P., and Rev. Br. Bonaventure Chapman, O.P. for a wonderful Lenten Parish Mission a few weeks ago, and to the Dominican friars who heard confessions during the mission and also during Holy Week. Special thanks to our sacristans, liturgical coordinators, ushers, lectors, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, servers, and decorators. A big thank you to Catherine Fishlock and the choir and cantors for a beautiful Triduum filled with sacred music.

This weekend you will notice the altar servers in new cassocks and surplices. Everyone was so generous in the Memoriam Donations that we were able to purchase not only black cassocks, but also red cassocks as well. The red will be used for Special Masses such as today for Easter. Please see the complete list of In Memoriam Names for the new cassocks and surplices in this Easter bulletin. Thank you for your support and generosity to this project.

Thank you to our RCIA Team for a job well done in preparing our candidates who have embraced the Catholic Faith. Please extend a warm welcome to those candidates who have come into the loving arms of Holy Mother Church: Chad Joseph Cass, Rachel Mary Cass, Lauren Gianna Cloran, Randy Matthew Cloran, Erica Jorge Gonzalez, Brian Joseph Hassman, Kemper Michael Thomas Hassman, Matthew Matthias Hemmerick, Linda Maria Hope Lodder-Beckert, Naomi Chrissette Madaris, Lisa Faustina Morrison, Nino Moses Saunders, Russell Thomas Augustine Newsom, Nathan Christopher Reed, Faith Mary Magdalene Schlosser, Ilea Therese Scott.

Thanks to all our parishioners who were so generous in the Easter Flowers Donation. Your generosity has provided the means for us to have the sanctuary filled with Easter glory. May our celebration of the Easter season be filled with joy and gladness for the redemption won for us by our Divine Savior Jesus Christ. Thank you also for your generous Easter financial support of St. Gertrude’s. Your extra financial support is greatly appreciated at this time of year.

During this Easter Season I offer the following Easter reflection taken from the Office of Readings of Holy Saturday. It is one of my favorite readings.

From an Ancient homily on Holy Saturday

“Something strange is happening ― there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.

He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying, “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the death, and Christ will give you light.”

I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the death, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated.

For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave: I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.

See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weights upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched your hand to a tree.

I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.

Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.”

Please do not forget that next Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday. Confessions begin at 2:30pm. During confessions there will be the Veneration of the Image of Divine Mercy, the Recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and Meditations from St. Faustina’s Diary.

A blessed Easter Week to all,

Rev. André-Joseph LaCasse, O.P., Pastor