The testimony of Easter
BY FR. MARK SOEHNER, OFM
Lt. Col. Arnaud Beltram
In an interview with a French radio station, his brother Cedric said that “He gave his life for strangers. He must have known that he didn’t really have a chance. If that doesn’t make him a hero, I don’t know what would.” I don’t know either. According to a Catholic Herald article from the U.K., he experienced a genuine conversion in 2008, and was received into the Catholic Church in 2010. He had made a pilgrimage to Sainte-Anne-d’Auray in 2015, praying to meet the right woman for marriage. Shortly thereafter he became friends with Marielle, whom he married civilly and was in preparation for the sacrament of marriage this June. The canon who was preparing them for this Sacrament, Fr. Jean-Baptiste, was able to give him the Sacrament of the Sick, although he was unconscious, and the apostolic blessing before he died. He compared him to St. Maximilian Kolbe.
In Mark’s Gospel the women come to the tomb wondering, doubting, uncertain. “Who will roll away the stone for us?” They came draped in black, ready to do the rituals for the dead. And they worry about that stone. I could be worried as we witness the deaths, the loss of many friars this past year. I could be worried as I look at our actuarials. It’s easy to get convinced of the power of death. But Easter stands as testimony: We will see him in our own Galilees, our ordinary lives. Death is not the end of the story.
Behold the spot where the crucified were laid
The joy we experience this Easter may not be simply bunnies and newborn chicks. But we are convinced that God can and will, if given a chance, “make a way out of no way.” This Easter we behold the victim become victorious, and in this we have Easter joy.
(Loren’s Easter column appears in this weekend’s bulletin for St. Aloysius Parish in Detroit.)
BY FR. LOREN CONNELL, OFM
Sunday morning we would take our empty baskets and gather the eggs.
If all goes according to plan, 12 friars will gather at St. John XXIII Friary on Sunday afternoon for prayer, fellowship and Easter dinner (fruit-stuffed pork). Looking forward to it, I smile over memories of childhood Easters. Saturday evening my brother and I would put out a dozen or so straw nests all around the yard. Sunday morning we would take our empty baskets, go outside, and gather all the eggs that the Easter Bunny had put in those nests. (And those eggs, especially the purple ones, always tasted better than plain old hard-boiled hens’ eggs!)
Inside, the Easter Bunny had worked other magic. The dining room table held even more candy We bargained for our favorite candies.than the two of us would collect on Halloween, from yukky Peeps and chocolate marshmallow eggs to delicious dark chocolate cream eggs and licorice jelly beans. There it was, half for him and half for me. By Sunday afternoon, it was time to begin bargaining, as I valiantly (and sometimes successfully) tried to persuade him to trade one of his coveted chocolate creams for one of my unwanted Peeps. Since he didn’t – and still doesn’t – like licorice, I had much better luck with the jelly beans.
Pleasant memories! I suspect that many of you have similar ones, and I suspect that parents of little ones will smile this Easter as they see their own children engage in family rituals which will be fondly remembered for years to come.
Easter blessings and peace,
–Vatican City, Oct. 4, 2017
Hosanna! The journey to Easter 2018
PHOTOS BY FRANK JASPER, OFM, and Sherron Bennett
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Last Saturday Lt. Col. Arnaud Beltram, 44, a French police officer, voluntarily took the place of a female hostage in a terror attack in a supermarket in Trebes, France. He was hoping to motivate the ISIS-inspired gunman to end his standoff with the police who had surrounded the building. It cost him his life.
God sends an angel in white into all of our tragedies. He says to us, do not be amazed! You are looking for Arnaud Beltram on a supermarket floor. You will not find him there. Christ and those crucified have been raised up. Christ and the crucified are alive in the selflessness of a mother who patiently teaches her children to read, in feisty young people defiant about gun laws, in the meek who strongly serve in soup kitchens, in compassionate others finding permanent housing for those with mental illness and no home. Behold the spot where the crucified were laid. But all you will find buried here are fear, hatred and arrogance. The crucified have been raised up. They are not in a tomb. They are raised up with Christ. And they are giving us a new spirit of courage.
Sunday morning we would take our empty baskets and gather the eggs.Dear Sisters and Brothers,