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The Pastor’s Corner

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SOLEMNITY OF EASTER

April 20, 2014

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,

If I asked you to choose the single event that has most influenced human history, what would you choose? An invention; a discovery; a medical advancement? Yes, human history has included many world-changing occurrences, but none would be considered the single event that has had the greatest influence on our history — at least, not for the followers of Jesus Christ.

For us, that single event is the reality we celebrate today with such joy: the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the heart of the gospel, which the women at the tomb heard: “Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for He has been raised just as He said … .” This single event is the very core of our faith: Without the Resurrection, there would be no reason to believe, to hope; there would be no Christianity!

Moreover, this single event makes all of the difference to us because the rising of Jesus Christ from the dead to new and unending life radically changes our outlook on life: how we journey with genuine and enduring hope through life as we serve one another in true charity. The reality we celebrate and relive: Christ’s dying and rising makes the real difference — the only difference — in how we live our daily life.

Of course, we shall not escape the uncertainties and difficulties of life: frustration, difficulty, suffering, pain, and, in the end, human death itself, but the Resurrection allows us to endure and to cope with them, to pass through them without being completely crushed by them.

Please know that I will pray for you and your families on this Easter day and throughout the Easter season. May the presence of the Risen Lord Jesus transform us, strengthening us to go forth each day with hearts on fire!

I wish you a blessed Easter, echoing Pope Francis: “Let the risen Jesus enter your life, welcome Him as a friend, with trust: He is life!” Alleluia!

Faithfully in the Heart of Christ,
Most Reverend Paul S. Loverde
Bishop of Arlington

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Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults

Sacred Heart of Jesus parish welcomed fifteen new Catholics into the Church at the Easter Vigil, April 19, 2014. Under the guidance of Rev. Brendan W. Bartlett, and according to the the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) and the Rite of Christian Initiation of Children (RCIC), this journey for our newest brothers and sisters began back in September and culminated in a time-honored candlelight Mass Saturday night. Three Sacraments of Initiation were celebrated during the course of the Mass, Baptism, Confirmation, and First Eucharist. (First Penance was celebrated that morning.)

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Our newest Catholics with Rev. Brendan W. Bartlett, RCIA Director, after the Easter Vigil, 2014.

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Our newest Catholics and their sponsors.

 

Fr. Bartlett became RCIA Director this year when he joined the parish following his June 8th ordination. RCIA classes started back in September and have covered the basics of the Catholic faith, including beliefs, doctrine, morality, and Sacraments. The Rite of Acceptance was celebrated during Advent, the Rite of Election (celebrated at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More on March 9th), and three Scrutinies during Lent, culminated in the reception of the Catechumens and Candidates at the Easter Vigil. The process is designed to both educate those interested in exploring the Catholic faith and help them discern whether it is God’s will for them to join the Church.

Welcoming new Catholics into the Church is a joyful occasion for any parish. Sacred Heart parish showed its usual spirit of hospitality with a warm reception after each scrutiny and after the Easter Vigil during which the new Catholics were celebrated by their sponsors and parishioners. The Body of Christ in the Shenandoah Valley has been strengthened by the fifteen new Catholics who are graced by the Holy Spirit and excited by their new faith.