Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Several weeks ago, during the Rite of Election at St. Mary’s Cathedral, I had the privilege of welcoming people from throughout our diocese who will be fully initiated into the Church at the Easter Vigil.During these 40 days of Lent, they have been making their final preparations for what will be a joyous celebration of their new life in Christ.
We all look forward to the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, which reveals God’s unconditional love for each and every one of us. We have nothing
to fear because Christ, who defeated sin and death, is with us every step of our lives, always offering his love and support, even amid the challenges and difficulties we experience along the way.
As we prepare to enter Holy Week and participate in the liturgies of the Easter triduum, we’re reminded that we don’t arrive at the joy of Easter until we have walked with Christ in his suffering on Good Friday. The pain and alienation that Jesus experienced is still present in our world. There are many wounds afflicting our families and communities: broken relationships, violence, addictions, poverty and racial tensions. Around the world,
hunger, disease and war continue to take a tragic toll.
This is especially true in parts of the Middle East, where the Church dates back to the time of the apostles. Many Christians are being killed and persecuted because of their faith in Christ, and they are in need of our ongoing prayers and support.
While these situations are sad and disheartening, we must not forget that hope is at the heart of our Christian faith. For a time, even Christ’s disciples believed all hope was lost when he was arrested and crucified. But then they experienced the resurrection.
Good Friday is not the end of the story. Easter brings the promise of new life and reminds us that Christ — and Christ working through us — has the power to redeem and transform our lives and our world.
The hope of Christ comes to us in many different ways: in the graces provided by the sacraments, in the commitment and enthusiasm of those who will become full members of the Church at the Easter Vigil, and in the people who work to build up God’s kingdom by living out the diocese’s mission to be Christ’s “heart of mercy, voice of hope and hands of justice.”
May the hope of Jesus’ resurrection, and his generous love and mercy, bring you peace and joy this Easter season. And may we be inspired to share this good news with others who need to know that Good Friday isn’t the end of the story.
+Donald J. Kettler
Bishop of St. Cloud
Bishop’s Easter triduum schedule
Bishop Donald Kettler will once again preside at Mass on Easter morning April 5 at the Stearns County Jail in St. Cloud.
“Visiting the imprisoned is something our faith calls us to do,” said the bishop, who also presided at Easter Mass last year at the jail; he has celebrated Mass there on Christmas as well.
“The welcome I receive is great — both by the people who work there and by the inmates themselves,” said the bishop, who served as a chaplain for
several years at state and federal prisons in the Diocese of Sioux Falls, S.D. He also visited prisons as bishop of Fairbanks, Alaska.
Bishop Kettler said he hopes his visits as well as weekly Masses throughout the year at the jail give the inmates “a little hope” and helps them develop a deeper relationship with God. “I hope they can carry some of that with them when they leave,” he said.
Bishop Kettler also will preside at several other triduum liturgies for the public:
- 7 p.m. April 2: Holy Thursday Liturgy at St. Mary’s Cathedral in St. Cloud;
- 12:05 p.m. April 3: Good Friday Service at St. Mary’s Cathedral;
- 8 p.m. April 4: Easter Vigil Liturgy at St. Mary’s Cathedral.