March 23, 2016
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BY FR. LOREN CONNELL, OFMWhat Easter looks likeLast week art teacher Cedric Michael Cox of St. Francis Seraph School in Over-the-Rhine asked first- through fifth-graders to take crayons in hand and create an Easter image. We’ve been posting some of their artwork on our Facebook page. Today we’re sharing some of our favorites.

Please pardon an old man’s journey back in time. I remember making little nests of straw and putting them around the yard on the Saturday afternoon before Easter. I also remember setting out little baskets with artificial grass on the dining room table. By Easter Sunday morning the Easter Bunny had filled those baskets with candy, and the first order of business was for my little brother and me to check them out (and sneak a jelly bean if Mother wasn’t looking).

Then we each took a larger basket outside to see what the Easter Bunny had left in those straw nests. We usually found two or three brightly colored eggs in each one. When John was real little, he had no sense of an egg shell’s fragility; and half the eggs in his basket would be cracked by the time we got to the last nest. Breakfast usually consisted of coffee cake or sweet rolls and, of course, some of the eggs that we had just gathered. The red and purple ones always tasted better than the green or orange ones, but they all definitely tasted better than hens’ eggs.

When it was time to take a second look at the candy. Anyone who knows anything about Easter candy knows that, aside from licorice jelly beans, dark chocolate eggs with coconut fillings are just about the best that can be had. My last remaining task was to convince John to trade his dark chocolate coconut creams for my milk chocolate bunnies or marshmallow chicks. The diplomacy might not have won me a Nobel Prize, but it usually succeeded. What else was a 6-year-old to do?
Nothing profound in these reminiscences, but after leading the community in prayer all week, if I ever did have anything profound to say, little is left of it by now. Enjoy your licorice jelly beans and your dark chocolate creams, coconut or otherwise!

(From the parish bulletin of St. Aloysius, Detroit.)

 

In every human situation, marked by frailty, sin and death, the Good News is no mere matter of words, but a testimony to unconditional and faithful love: It is about leaving ourselves behind and encountering others, being close to those crushed by life’s troubles, sharing with the needy, standing at the side of the sick, elderly and the outcast… “Come and see!”: Love is more powerful, love gives life, love makes hope blossom in the wilderness.

From the Easter message of Pope Francis, 2016

Affirm your faith in peace

(A statement of support for the people of Brussels from the Union of Friars Minor of Europe, UFME)

"I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth." (Isaiah 49.6)

As we prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery, the heart of.our faith, the dramatic news that reaches us from Brussels shows with stark evidence that violence and hatred are still the cause of death and suffering to many innocent people.

On behalf of the friars of UFME, we strongly condemn these criminal acts committed against humanity, and we wish to express the closeness of the Friars Minor of Europe to the entire population of Brussels, ensuring our spiritual closeness and prayers for the victims of attacks and their families.

"If the mystery of evil is unfathomable, then the reality of Love poured out through Him is infinite." (Pope Francis)

Dismissing the temptation to give in to discouragement, it is necessary to affirm our faith in Peace, in Goodness and in Mercy.

On Easter Sunday we will hear from the voice of the Risen One: "Peace be with you". This is not a simple wish, but the precious gift that Lord offers to His disciples. Peace is the gift that we want to seek strongly from the Lord - who St. Francis called "our guardian and defender" - for Europe and for the whole world.

Sabino Iannuzzi, OFM, Presidente UFME

Gerard Manley Hopkins: “Let Him Easter in us!”Next week, from Sunday, Aug. 16, through Wednesday, Aug. 19, the seven Provincial Councils of the U.S. Provinces The coming days are filled with rituals, both sacred and secular.ᅠ We will wash feet, venerate the cross, bless fire and water.ᅠ We will no doubt eat a few colored eggs, perhaps a chocolate bunny (or two), or a few jelly beans.ᅠ Personally I will avoid the Peeps!ᅠ Families often have rituals, too, and many will visit, attend Mass, Are Easter and mercy related themes?ᅠ Perhaps being an Easter people means not only singing alleluia, but being and doing mercy. Would that I could make mercy-ing a constant ritual in my life!provide Easter egg hunts for the kids, and share a traditional meal.ᅠ I have a couple of personal rituals I like to honor.ᅠ When I can, I like to watch one of the Jesus movies; one of my favorites is Franco Zeffirelli’s Jesus of Nazareth.ᅠ I like to read a couple of poems which have spoken to me in the past, especiallyᅠ John Shea’s Easter Morning, where, reminiscent of the Emmaus story when the disciples felt their hearts burn within as Jesus walked with them, he calls Jesus the “arsonist of the heart.”ᅠ He describes the resurrection with the phrase, “My Father’s laughter fills the silence of the tomb.”ᅠ I always recall Gerard Manley HopkinsThe Wreck of the Deutschland and his line, “Let Him Easter in us!”ᅠ The words and images make my heart flame a bit, too!

I have always appreciated how Hopkins makes Easter a verb, a dynamic, a process.ᅠ This year I have also been thinking about Easter in the light of Pope Francis’ Year of Mercy.ᅠ In an interview in the fall of 2013, Francis reflected on the first word in his Latin motto: Miserando atque Eligendo.ᅠ (Though translated in slightly different ways, it is taken from a homily by St. Bede the Venerable on the calling of St. Matthew:ᅠ because he saw him through the eyes of mercy and chose him.)ᅠ Francis noted that it was a bit difficult to translate, so he invented a new Spanish word to explain it: misericordinando, which might be translated in English, if there were such a word, as “mercy-ing.” I think he was tryingᅠ to emphasize that mercy, too, is a verb, an action.ᅠ It is a way of living, a way of being in the world.

 

— Fr. Jeff Scheeler, OFM

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Leave your hurts behind

This Easter falls during a special jubilee Year of Mercy. The Prophet’s call to “remember not the events of the past” demands that we forgive and set aside old hurts and injuries. All too often we can keep our own brothers imprisoned in the past. Something they did or said which may have offended us years ago continues to define our relationship with them. If we are to move into God’s future, and become the type of brotherhood called for in our world today, we must leave these hurts behind. The Risen Jesus empowers us to forgive. (Cf. John 20: 22-23) Let us heed the voice of St. Francis: “There should not be any brother in the world who has sinned, who after he has looked into your eyes, would go away without having received your mercy.” (Letter to a Minister, 9) Yes, brothers, as Pope Francis urges us: “It is time to return to the basics and to bear the weaknesses and struggles of our brothers and sisters. Mercy is the force that awakens us to new life and instills in us the courage to look to the future with hope.” (Pope Francis, Misericordiae Vultus, 10)

– Fr. Michael Perry, OFM

From the Minister General’s Easter Letter 2016,

http://www.ofm.org/ofm/?p=10533&lang=en

A Franciscan cord is represented in the design of the new archives.

PHOTOS BY JEFF SCHEELER, OFM

WHITE HOUSE PHOTO

Participants in the Egg Roll receive a souvenir egg.

One performance left for this year’s Passion Play.

  • Last Friday Fr. Jeff Scheeler and Fr. Dan Anderson represented SJB Province at the blessing and dedication of A Becoming Place, the new retreat center and provincial archives for Our Lady of Guadalupe Province in Albuquerque, N.M. The 5,000-square-foot archives in Bernalillo County’s South Valley will house documents, photos, the works of pioneers like Fr. Berard Haile, collections of pottery and rugs as well as historical artifacts. “Our memories contain a lot of the memories of people in the Southwest with whom we have worked,” said OLG’s Provincial Minister, Fr. Jack Clark Robinson, speaking to a reporter from the Albuquerque Journal. A dedication symposium on Saturday featured a talk on Franciscan treasures by David Hurst Thomas, Curator of the Division of Anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
  • March 21, Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of Detroit were urged to participate in a day of prayer and fasting to support of the people of Flint, Mich., in their ongoing contaminated water crisis. “Our brothers and sisters in Flint have been forced to fast from water – a life’s necessity!” wrote Leon Dixon Jr., archdiocesan coordinator for Black Catholic Ministry, in announcing the campaign. March 21 is the anniversary of the 1965 Freedom March from Selma, Ala., to Montgomery. Communities around the country have been collecting water for Flint. This month the children of St. Clement School in St. Bernard contributed more than 400 cases of bottled water. “La Rosa’s challenged them to 350 cases and promised them a school-wide pizza party if they met the challenge,” says Fred Link, pastor of St. Clement. “They far exceeded it.”
  • The first Instagram post by Pope Francis? It was a photo of himself in prayer accompanied by the words, “Pray for me” in several languages. On his third anniversary as Pope, Francis joined the 400 million users who have already discovered the online photo and video sharing service. (His username is @franciscus.) Read more at http://Francis-joins-instagram/.
  • Next Monday Fr. Bert Heise will pay special attention to news coverage of the Easter Egg Roll at the White House. His niece and several family members are participating, thanks to the luck of the draw. “My niece works for the U.S. Patent Office, and all the offices of the government get one set of tickets to the thing,” Bert says. “She won the lottery in her office.” The event features live music, sports courts, cooking stations and storytelling.
  • Organizers of the St. John Passion Play have issued a special invitation for friars to attend their Good Friday performance, 7 p.m. at Lockland Christian Church, 231 Mill St. in Lockland, Ohio. “Just seeing you there could be the moment God calls someone to a vocation or calls them back to the Catholic faith,” says Diana Herron, whose entire family is involved in the production. This is the 99th season for the Passion Play, launched by St. John Pastor Richard Wurth in 1917 as a living prayer for men of the parish serving in World War I.

Send comments or questions to: sjbfco@franciscan.org

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