Blessed Easter season and, especially today, Mercy Sunday. So many wonderful things are happening about us because of God's work. We received many adults and children into the Church via baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil. Fr. José was the presider and did a great job. I felt blessed to be able to have such a competent Parochial Vicar who can just take over. Congratulations to all our Neophytes (that's what the Church calls the newly baptized and confirmed)!
Also today is a special day for the Church Universal, for we will be witnessing the canonization of two amazing new saints: Sts. Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II. I was not yet born when John XXIII was living, but I studied about him and his work in the Second Vatican Council when I was a seminarian. What a loving and gracious man he was! I am so very thankful for his openness to the Holy Spirit and his daring call for an Ecumenical Council. Pope John Paul II is someone with whom I am much more familiar. He has been the pope for most of my childhood and was a great inspiration to me in my journey to the priesthood. This day, Mercy Sunday, was a special celebration for Pope John Paul II, and he was the one who called the Church to observe it as a special day for the whole Church. Here's a link to the USCCB's website for more information about these canonizations.
On Tuesday, one of our own archdiocesan priests, Fr. Peter Smith will be ordained a bishop. He was ordained a deacon at the same Mass where I was ordained a priest. He is a member of the association of the People of Praise. Our Archdiocese is large, and we have great need for an auxiliary bishop who can assist Archbishop Sample in the shepherding of our Church. Congratulations to Bishop-elect Peter Smith!
In all, today we have many reasons to rejoice. The greatest one is, of course, the reality that Jesus Christ is risen and has opened the gates of heaven for his faithful. May this Good News be in your hearts and minds so that we can all rejoice together and spread the joy of this Gospel to all we know!
Fr. William Holtzinger