A Beautiful Time of Year

We have celebrated the Resurrection of the Lord in such a beautiful fashion in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston and begun the Easter Season, these eight weeks of rejoicing in the Risen Lord. In our many beautiful Churches, families gathered together and prayed in such a great fashion, offering sincere prayers of adoration, contrition, and thanksgiving, making a wonderful sacrifice of praise joined with the offering of our Lenten disciplines. Our hearts and minds have raised to God in this wonderful action of His Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord crucified for our sake and raised in glory by the Father.
I am grateful to so many of our priests who worked so hard with our people throughout Lent to truly prepare for the celebration of Holy Week and Easter, so that all might be fully catechized and properly disposed to welcome the living presence of God into their own hearts and the many faith communities scattered across our Diocese. There are so many to thank who work so hard with our priests in our parishes to do so much for our people and for God in order to make this time spiritually rewarding. When you have the chance, please thank your own pastor or chaplain for his good work during the seasons of Lent and Easter.
We were fortunate to televise the celebrations of the Triduum and Easter at the Cathedral of St. Joseph to the homebound throughout the Diocese, enabling those who were not able to leave home or attend Church to still be part of these celebrations. Many great believers who are homebound or unable to attend and really want the experience of Holy Week and Easter, and I am grateful that we are able to offer the solace of the Mass televised from our own Cathedral to them.
We are now entering a beautiful time of the year for everyone, with Spring bringing new life to our beautiful green mountains and showering us with the beauty of trees and flowers in blossom, restoring and renewing the beauty of God’s earth before our eyes. Following the cold days of this year’s Lent, we can see the creative hand of God in our midst as new life returns and we can again smell the roses and other flowers in bloom. I hope that your enjoyment of God’s creation and the gift of Spring will help each of you to experience Our Risen Lord in your prayer for the New Life he has given you in communion with Our Lady and all the Saints. There are so many opportunities to pray and so many reasons to pray, especially in this beautiful time of year. Make the most of these opportunities, and of the occasions you have to care for those in need. The daily news brings the realization of the great number of hungry people and of those suffering poverty, persecution, and strife. There is no better time to pray for peace in a troubled world and safety in our large cities, as well as for those seeking full employment with a living wage in our own State. During the coming weeks of the Easter Season, please remember all these needy brothers and sisters of ours in your prayers, asking God to grant them peace and the hope of a new beginning. Most of all, let us take a greater experience of prayer with us throughout the Easter Season.
As I write to you, I am preparing to join my seminary classmates for our annual Class Reunion. Each year, one of the classmates hosts us at his parish and we gather for Mass and a meal together. It is a wonderful time for us, as we gather in Easter Week, thanking the Lord for the gift of His Priesthood which he has shared with us and for the spirit of fraternity which still binds us together after 46 years of ordination. I hope that each of you has the chance to gather with family or friends during the Easter Season to share with one another the joy of Christ’s resurrection. These months bring many wonderful occasions for such gatherings: First Holy Communions, Mother’s Day, graduations, and the many celebrations of the Sacrament of Confirmation across the Diocese. Make the most of these occasions and the Spirit’s fruit of joy, which is given to each of us in Christ’s resurrection from the dead.