Holy Spirit Province Saint-Esprit
Franciscans of Canada - Franciscains du Canada
Ordo Fratrum Minorum
After a rather intense adjustment period, responding daily to evolving directives, the Church has come into a corona virus rhythm. Public Mass is not happening – not today, not next week, nor the week after. We are, nonetheless, praying!
COVID-19 has impacted everyone in different ways. I would say, however, that everyone is now taking this crisis seriously.
The plan was, as always, to have a happy Easter. After, arguably, the darkest Lent since the second world war, we are at the light of Easter yet in shadows. This year’s celebrations are tempered. Isolated and afraid we remain.
The pandemic has spoiled everyone’s party. This year, Christians miss out on the joy of gathering, of renewing baptismal promises, and crowding into foyers for an afterwards glass of wine. This is not a normal Easter at all. This is not how to celebrate the highest feast. But these are extraordinary times and all is well. We will rise again!
As guardians of an Easter faith, we Christians count on our own rising with Christ when that day comes. This means that we are always looking ahead to something more, something better. We believe, however, in something complete. The Good News has indeed arrived. Can we recognize it?
The Coronavirus has not and will not destroy faith. Faith may, in fact, be seeing a renascence. Never in my lifetime, and again perhaps not since the second world war, has such a large scale of individuals collaborated to care for the health and well-being of each other. Never before has the world embraced, as we do now, a sense care for “our common home”. Never before have so many trusted the advice of medical experts, and scientists, and then acted prudently. These are signs of faith, and therefore goodness. God is working!
From the outset of the breakout, my community has been looking ahead. Watching trends from around the world, we prepared. Our parish email database now counts more than 2000 contacts. I have been writing to parishioners several times per week to keep them updated, and connected. Social media has been used to connect people at home to Mass, and we are looking at ways to expand that outreach. Mission and evangelisation continues!
But without a doubt, this Easter is different. It is a celebration like no other. From wherever we are, through whatever means we have developed during the crisis, we continue to collaborate for good. In spite of it all, we must celebrate the good that has been done.
I truly believe that though deprived, more and more, of the assurances that we had, the Church is, all of us are gaining, in abundance, the inspiration we need. Alleluia, God’s people are rising!
Pierre Ducharme, OFM
Pastor of St. Joseph the Worker Parish, Richmond, BC
Secretary for Mission and Evangelisation/Animator of Evangelisation for the Holy Spirit Province