This is a remarkable Easter for the global Church. With so many countries on lockdown, most Catholics will be unable to attend Mass or come together in person this Easter.
But an isolated Easter doesn’t mean a hopeless Easter. Instead we’re finding other ways to reach out to each other, with prayers and other kinds of support around the world.
As the Church uses social media, live streaming and other non-traditional methods to bring people together, we’re gathering messages of hope and good news, and preparing to celebrate a joyous Easter with our close family and friends.
Deacon Martin, Switzerland: ‘Christ Lives!’
This wonderful message from Deacon Martin reminds us that, while Easter will look very different this year, the message of Easter is as strong as ever:
‘This year it is not so easy for me to formulate Easter greetings and wishes. An Easter without liturgical celebrations, where no Easter praise is sung, no Exsultet sounds, is hardly imaginable.
‘But if we take a closer look, the resurrection of Christ also took place in secret. No one was present. The disciples were hiding. Only women dared to go to the tomb. But nobody believed their words. The disciples of Emmaus were even walking with the risen Christ and did not recognise him. Only gradually did the first Church realise the significance of what had happened.
‘Thus, in this extraordinary time of Easter, I wish for all of us to open our eyes and our hearts in order to recognise the many signs of life and resurrection all around us.
Cardinal Beniamino Stella, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, Rome
While plans are cancelled and pilgrimages postponed, Cardinal Stella points out that the Easter mystery is every bit as powerful in small spaces as it is in large crowds:
‘I believe that all these pilgrims who were on their way to Rome or to the shrines must think that their Easter and their call to conversion must take place in the family, in their small environment, where the Lord calls them to live the mystery of Easter in this time.’
The Holy Father has established an emergency fund to come to the aid of those people and communities tragically impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. Please contribute what you can to help the Church overseas, through Missio. Donate>>
His Holiness Pope Francis
Now that the Vatican is in lockdown, the Holy Father has had to reorganise Holy Week quickly. But while Catholics will be able to follow along online or in quiet contemplation at home, Pope Francis began Holy Week with a message of encouragement and strength. Whilst acknowledging the hardships many people around the world are experiencing because of the pandemic, he urged:
‘Let us try, if we can, to make the best use of this time: let us be generous; let us help those in need in our neighbourhood; let us look out for the loneliest people, perhaps by telephone or social networks; let us pray to the Lord for those who are in difficulty… Even if we are isolated, thought and spirit can go far with the creativity of love. This is what we need today: the creativity of love.’
Pope Francis continued:
‘We will celebrate Holy Week in a truly unusual way, which manifests and sums up the message of the Gospel, that of God’s boundless love. And in the silence of our cities, the Easter Gospel will resound. The Apostle Paul says: “And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Cor 5:15).
In the risen Jesus, life conquered death. This Paschal faith nourishes our hope. It is the hope of a better time, in which we can be better, finally freed from evil and from this pandemic. It is a hope: hope does not disappoint; it is not an illusion, it is a hope.’
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At Missio, we are praying daily for all our supporters in England and Wales, and our sisters and brothers around the world. We remember your intentions daily during Mass in the Missio Chapel. We’re so grateful for everything you do for Missio – together we can come through this present time and build a vibrant Church and a better world for tomorrow. We reach out with all the blessings of this special season and wish you a happy and holy Easter.
During April, Pope Francis’ prayer intention is for all people suffering from addiction. You can find the prayer here, along with a special prayer for those affected by COVID-19. Pray>>
The Holy Father has established an emergency fund to come to the aid of those people and communities who are being tragically impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. Please contribute what you can to help the Church overseas, through Missio. Donate>>
Featured image: Bruno van der Kraan, Unsplash