National Catholic Apostolic Church
in the United States
MESSAGE FROM THE PRIMATE
Dear family in Christ,
This year, the Gospel of the Easter Vigil highlights both the fear and joy experienced by the first witnesses of the resurrection, and that is also what we feel today when we try to bear witness to the presence of Christ among us. Jesus said to us, "Do not be afraid."
At the end of the Eucharistic celebration, when the sending out invites us to go in the peace of Christ, proclaiming the Good News of the Lord, we relive, in a way, what happened to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary before the empty tomb more than 2000 years ago. These women met Christ, and they were sent, in fear and joy, to tell others. They went there as witnesses, disciples, disciples with a mission: as missionary disciples.
What were these women afraid of? Perhaps they feared that their credibility would be questioned and that their message would be rejected by those who receive it. Perhaps they wondered if what they had just seen and heard was true or if it was just their imagination? Perhaps they feared the repression of the forces that had orchestrated the death of Jesus? Perhaps it was simply the fear of the unknown. There were probably several reasons to be afraid that Easter morning.
At the same time, however, their fears were tempered by immense joy. Suddenly, in the depths of their mourning, they met Christ who said to them, "Do not be afraid, go tell my Apostles and disciples that they must go to Galilee: this is where they will see me" (Matthew 28,10). The joy that springs from this meeting pushes them to go and proclaim the Good News. It is a joy that cannot be contained, so they run to find the Apostles who had hidden because they feared for their lives. "He's risen!" they tell them. It was a joy born of hope. A joy imbued with the awareness that God's love knows no bounds.
Like the women who met the risen Christ, we too are often afraid. We fear that our message will be rejected and deemed inadmissible, especially in times of prosperity when people think they do not need God or in times of despair and suffering like the one we are now experiencing with the COVID-19 crisis. Faced with this surprising pandemic, many fear to lose their jobs in the long term and wonder how to pay rent, feed their children, and carry out their responsibilities with reduced financial resources. For others, such as people in hospitals and long-term care facilities, the fear of isolation increases when they can no longer receive visits. Parents are struggling to explain the Coronavirus crisis to their children whose daily lives have changed drastically. Faced with the prospect of not being able to gather in local parishes and churches at Easter, "the heart of the whole liturgical year", the Christian community wonders how to celebrate the Easter Triduum with the family in a meaningful way. How to live this period of crisis as an authentic domestic church at home?
How do we deal with our fears? How can we console each other in this context? Following the example of the women who met Christ at the tomb, we must react with joy, confident that it is the risen Christ who sends us, who accompanies us and reassures us. At a time of social distancing, self-isolation, quarantine, and economic uncertainty, we are forced to find new ways to proclaim the Good News of Christ's resurrection. St. Peter asks us to be ready at all times to give a reason for the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3,15). Today more than ever, the Easter people we are must proclaim that Christ has risen, that He has saved us from our sins and that He is with us forever!
As a believing people, our fear fades in the face of the joy of our daily encounter with Christ in the Eucharist, in spiritual communion, in Scripture, in prayer, in practices such as praying the rosary, and in our love and compassion in the service of one another. These encounters, even on social networks, nourish the courage and conviction of our faith so much so that, even in these terribly demanding times, we can boldly proclaim, in words and deeds, the death and resurrection of Christ. He freed us from sin and death, and we share with Him the mission announced by Isaiah:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because the Lord consecrated me through His anointing. He sent me to announce the Good News to the humble, to heal those who are heartbroken, to proclaim their deliverance to the captives, to the prisoners their liberation, and to proclaim a year of blessings granted by the Lord. (Isaiah 61, 1-2)
When we approach our fears with the eyes of faith, we are liberated and can work towards an authentic and lasting spiritual and social transformation by addressing the injustices that surround us while discerning the signs of the times, for God is present at every moment of our daily lives.
In celebrating Easter, we remember the Easter Candle from which the candle that was given to us at baptism was lit and which makes us carriers and bearers of the light of Christ sent as missionary disciples to bring His light to the world. As a Paschal people, we met Christ. We recognize Him and we proclaim Him. He called us and we are free to follow Him. Let us go, in ever greater fidelity, with our eyes fixed on His light that illuminates our path. Let us say to our brothers and sisters, and to all people that the Kingdom of God is very close, that He himself is the Risen Kingdom and lives forever.
I wish you and your loved ones a joyful and blessed Easter.
+Michel Joseph Pugin, O.S.B.
TRAVELING SCHEDULE OF THE PRIMATE
Until further notice all travels have been postponed.
Hasta nuevo aviso, todos los viajes han sido pospuestos.
Marzo 16-30 Argentina Visita Pastoral, Confirmaciones y Ordenaciones. (Debido al Virus Corona, todas las personas que ingresan a Argentina deben permanecer en cuarentena durante 14 días. Entonces, debemos cancelar mi visita pastoral en este momento hasta otro momento apropiado (Mayo), con suerte pronto. Dios nos bendiga a todos y nos mantenga a salvo de cualquier daño. María Madre de la Esperanza, Patrona de la Iglesia, ruega por nosotros y protégenos. Amén.)
Abril 2-21 Long Beach, CA Semana Santa y Domingo de Pascua - Parroquia El Santisimo Sacramento April 13-17 Meeting of the USA clergy and those of our territories, in Long Beach California hosted by our Parish of El Santísimo Sacramento. Junio 5-8 Chicago Primer Visita Pastoral a la parroquia La Misericordia para confirmaciones.
June 25-30 San Antonio Ordination to the priesthood of Deacon Frank W. Bellino.
Juillet 2-15 Haiti Visite Pastorale Vicariat Notre Dame d'Haiti.