Jesus has risen.
This is not the end of the story but the beginning of our faith journey.
As we enter Eastertide, we should continue to build the faith that we nurtured during the Lenten Pilgrimage while observing the seven-week celebration leading up to Pentecost Sunday, in which we commemorate the coming of the Holy Spirit into our lives.
This Lenten season the churches of the Diocese of Brooklyn saw a year of growth and celebration after the inauguration of the Lenten Pilgrimage.
The daily Eucharistic Adoration that was held throughout the diocese as part of the pilgrimage is seen as an important part of the Eucharistic Revival — which allows for three years of discernment, encounter, and grassroots responses on the diocesan, parish, and individual levels to the importance of Jesus being fully present during Communion, according to the USCCB.
The revival will culminate with the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis in July 2024. And nine months before that, New York state will hold its own Eucharistic Congress, Oct. 20-23, at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Martyrs in upstate Auriesville.
This latest renaissance of the Church, as it comes out of the post-COVID pandemic, shows the growing need for communion and faith within Brooklyn and Queens.
An important element in the Lenten Pilgrimage was the issuance of a special passport, which was stamped by each parish after the participating pilgrims had attended the daily Mass. This physical evidence allows participants to be witnesses to their faith for the year, and perhaps it can be used as a tool to bring others to next year’s pilgrimage.
As Father Bryan Patterson, rector of the Cathedral Basilica of St. James, told Currents News recently, “People are coming back to the Church in droves,” adding, “We have regular parishioners, regular faithful returning.”
As we progress through the Easter season toward Pentecost Sunday, the Catechism of the Catholic Church #1817 tells us: “Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. ‘The Holy Spirit … he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.’ ”
So in this post-pilgrimage, many more have witnessed that the light of Christ has conquered. The world has fallen, but it is redeemed. Jesus Christ is the King and Victor of all of history — the past, the present, and the future. Hope is the virtue that teaches us this, and hope is the theological virtue we need the most.
Easter reminds us of this fact. Into a darkened church at the great vigil of Easter, the paschal candle was carried as the sole light. That paschal candle represents Jesus Christ, the light of the world, He who has conquered sin and death.
Notice that the paschal candle is lit in every church throughout the Easter season — the light of Christ still burns bright!
Pray for continuing growth in the virtue of hope and loving trust in the Lord Jesus that was evident during this past Lenten season.