Return of the Easter Bunny

04-03-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

In my letter for last Easter when we were still “locked down”, I entitled it “A Year Without the Easter Bunny”, a spin-off of the $lm “The Year Without a Santa Claus”. Well the good news is this year the Easter Bunny returns, albeit in a socially distanced way, following all CDC, AZ Dept. of Health and Maricopa County guidelines. The said Easter Bunny will just leave the sanitized eggs on your doorstep.

All that means is that this year, unlike last year we will be open for Public Easter Masses! Our Easter Vigil during which our catechumens will be baptized and our candidates received into Full Communion, will take place in the Church and will be live streamed (however we have reached capacity). Our Easter Sunday Masses are open, no reservation required and will take place outdoors in the Field area as we did last May and June. So, I hope to see you all at one of them! And I might suggest if you come especially to the 11am Mass wear your Easter bonnet with all the thrills upon it. A hat helps on a bright sunny day. Let’s have our own Easter Parade! Last year I wrote: “This virus has its objectives. Those objectives are not benevolent. The virus does not seek our "ourishing but its own "ourishing.” Well after a year of the virus it certainly has damaged our "ourishing: physically, mentally and emotionally. But how about spiritually?

For many of us the Pandemic created a sense of spiritual disorientation. Not having access or the normal access to our Faith communities and rituals certainly made us rethink how much we appreciate them. In speaking with so many of you, it seems that the void created by a lack of normal religious activities made you more appreciative of those sacred rituals and prayer times. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Last year I asked: Is this the year that belief in God and Church and religious practice are declared forever irrelevant? In the $lm, “The Year without a Santa Claus”, Christmas does come, although in a way that is even more true than the normal celebration. Christmas becomes a real time of giving and not receiving. Well, for us, Easter has come, Christ is still Risen from the dead. The children in the story sent Santa gifts and their outpouring and generosity cause Santa to get on his sleigh and make Christmas happen after all.

This year Easter happens. Far from passing into irrelevance the Church is alive and well. Proof of that is our catechumens and candidates. Even during a Pandemic, the Faith is still being passed on and the Church’s womb of baptism is still giving birth and the sacramental grace is still "owing forth from God’s Temple.

There have been countless (and clever) ways we have kept the faith alive even with lockdowns, no public Masses at times, social distancing, new facial couture and all the rest. In some ways the contrast helped us all see what really matters and what is worth $ghting for.

We have walked through the Valley of Darkness and all the while the Lord has been at our side.

Happy Easter!
Love, Fr. John B.

PS: The Bishop will be announcing the new Pastor next weekend (Divine Mercy Sunday). I assure you, you will be in good and able hands. In the meantime, we have put a bid on a piece of land north of the 303 for the new parish I will be heading. Pray it is accepted!