For many of us, this isn’t the first time that our Churches have been closed to us. Many of us remember and will never forget when our Churches closed or merged a few years ago. This time, we are able to see live streamings of Masses and devotions! My sister-in-law wakes up at 5 AM so she can watch a Mass in Ireland! Like before, “Roaming Catholics” resulted; today, we have “Streaming Catholics”!
Yet, that closing also brought us an opportunity to learn how much our faith meant to us and the lengths that we would go to keep it alive! This was a real opportunity for grace and a time to see if our faith could withstand the test of our Church gates being locked and our faith community scattered. For some, it was just too much and the hierarchy could never be forgiven for what seemed like the ultimate betrayal. Some became bitter.
For others, they accepted the change and just moved on and visited other nearby Churches to find one that would be suitable and might feel like “home” someday.
Still others believed that we should make a stand, and had to in order to “save” our long and deep St. Joachim history for others who would come after us and for those who had gone before us as they kept the faith alive for us. It seemed impossible yet three years later, the Capuchin Franciscans of the Province of St. Augustine would need a place to move their Friary and to open a Prayer Center for the community of Frankford. St. Joachim Church in Frankford was available and fit the bill for their needs.
Services would begin again (although a Mass is not yet being said for our weekly obligation) and the Friary and Prayer Center, named for St. Padre Pio, to whom we prayed as the Area Parish Pastoral Planning Process was taking place and in the years since, would become an integral part of Frankford.
That rainbow is extended to us to take our faith and what we believe and seriously live it out as witnesses each and every day. We don’t need buildings for that; we are Church! We have each other. And we have a God who is most willing, ready and able to abundantly bless us for all that we do in His name. He loves us, and, while we may not be able to visit Him at His house, we can invite him into each of ours. He can give us the courage to accept the challenges of this coronavirus, to take care of ourselves and our families, and, to be more creative in caring for the needs of others.
We have an opportunity, once again, to see just how much our faith matters in our daily lives and how real God is to us! When Mary Magdalen finds the tomb empty and runs to tell the disciples, let us, too, run to find the Lord! It won’t be hard to find Him! He is in our hearts, the hearts of our family and friends, in our neighbors across the street and across the country. If He is not there, it is because they do not fully know the “Good News”! We are tasked with this mission. That’s a post for another time!
God bless!! Happy Easter! Amen, Alleluia!