A MESSAGE FROM FATHER ROCCO: CHRIST HAS RISEN, ALLELUIA!
I begin by thanking all those who worked so hard throughout Lent, Holy Week, and Easter to make our Church sparkle and every liturgy so very meaningful. My special thanks to Paulo and his music ministry team, our Lectors, Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist, and our Altar Servers. I also want to acknowledge our Confirmation class of young women and men who assisted in the decorating of the Church for the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday and my Jesuit brothers who assisted us throughout these many weeks to spiritually prepare for our joyful celebration of Christ’s resurrection. In the midst of all of this generosity and Easter joy emerged our special Easter celebration thanks to the St. Aedan’s Pastoral Advisory Council, so many volunteers--young and young at heart-- our FABULOUS D.J. and the Easter Bunny: the St. Aedan’s Easter Egg Hunt and Dance. What a memorable moment! Finally, I thank the people of the parish for their outpouring of prayers and donations for the people of Ukraine. To date, we have raised for the Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS) in that war-torn area of suffering and sadness $5,980.
On the third Sunday of the Easter Gospel (John 21: 1-19), the resurrected Christ and his apostles are getting more comfortable with their new realities. The apostles have returned to what they do best—fishing—and Jesus encourages them to fish again even though they came ashore dissatisfied with their catch. However, they did it because Jesus asked. They didn’t know that with this fishing expedition Jesus is actually demonstrating their future calling. Certainly, the apostles will remain fishermen, but their yield will be different. Jesus is displaying that while they will indeed be fishermen, their catch will be believers and followers of Jesus—the way, the truth, and the life.
This kind of fishing will look more like shepherding, how? The apostles will guide, guard, protect, quench the thirst, and satisfy hunger. In his dialogue with Peter, Jesus gives shepherding more clarity. In asking Peter if he loves him, Jesus is really asking how the apostles will serve his future followers: feed the lambs, especially our young, tend and protect them. Their service to others is the love they themselves will give Jesus. Ministry is loving Jesus while loving their flock. Didn’t Jesus say what you do to the least you do to me? And what you don’t do to the least is also done to me?
And what is our service today? How are we called by Christ to feed his lambs, especially our young people? I believe Christ is calling us to work together to teach our young people about God and our Catholic Faith. Before COVID our religious education program was called CCD. Since COVID and becoming your administrator, we have developed a new program called, FAMILY FAITH FORMATION. This program is not about parents dropping their children off to classes and allowing other parishioners to teach them about God and our Catholic faith. This new program invites parents and other family members to be part of the faith formation and teaching journey. With Catechists, Joy and I to assist the parents, we form a team and work to teach the children while rediscovering for ourselves the meaning of God and our Catholic faith as adults.
We have begun registration for September 2022-June, 2023 and encourage all parents to register their children and young adults. It is important to note that this program is not just about Sacraments for our children. It is truly about building and deepening our relationship with Christ as children and as adults. Like any relationship, it takes time and our children and their families deserve that time of faith formation. Through the St. Aedan’s Family Faith Formation Program let us allow Christ’s precious lambs, our children, to be fed by the richness of our faith and a deepening of their sense of Jesus’ love for them. Additionally, may we allow ourselves as parents, grandparents, and other family members to be renewed and refreshed in our sense of the faith.
My Easter Season prayer is that we will allow the Risen Christ to illuminate and transform us as his holy people of faith, hope, and love. And through, in, and with us may others also be moved and renewed in Christ. This is our mission and Christ is calling us to believe and to serve as his fisherwomen and men. Amen.