St. Augustine School
Dear St. Augustine School Parents,
The last mass we celebrated as a school was Ash Wednesday, February 26, which marked the beginning of Lent. That seemed so long ago. Lent is a time of sacrifice, self-deprivation as we repent our sins and pray in preparation for Easter. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic changed Lent. It has demanded quite literal sacrifice and deprivation in our lives: no going out, no eating out, no shopping, no seeing friends, no masses. For too many people, it has brought the pain of job loss, illness, and death. As Catholics, we believe that self-sacrifice is part of our better nature because it has implications beyond ourselves. We have seen extraordinary self-sacrifice on the part of the doctors, nurses, paramedics, and first responders who daily put themselves in the way of the coronavirus to care for others. Thank you to all the essential service workers in the world and especially those in our school and parish community for all they do to serve and save others! You are true heroes.
This Lent, in one of his sermons, Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel of St. Mark where Jesus and the Apostles are in a boat at sea when a storm hits. Jesus is sleeping, and the others, annoyed, wake him. Doesn’t he care about what they’re going through? He tells them not to worry — to have faith. Pope Francis said that now we, too, are in a storm. He emphasizes that we are all truly in the same boat, but that God is with us.
These weeks have offered challenges we've never had to face, not only in daily life, but also in our spiritual life. We can't attend Mass. Our routines are disrupted. We worry daily about ourselves and our loved ones. With social and physical distancing and health authority directives, we cannot be near to family and friends. Many are lonely. Many are alone. Some of us may even need to fight the virus itself.
If we are to see blessings in all of this, and there are, it has become a time to think about how we live as a community, protect each other from illness, serve one another, and be part of the solution to a global crisis. As faith-filled people weathering this storm, I believe we can meet these challenges and maybe even bring about new and better ways of serving each other and taking care of each other once all of this is over. We will be transformed.
Lent officially ends Holy Thursday. That is when the "Triduum", the great three Days of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday occur leading to Easter. Easter, not Christmas as some mistakenly think, is the principal feast of the liturgical year. For Catholics, it is THE greatest feast. I hope we do not lose sight of this during these challenging times. It is my hope that we find the joys of Easter and the resurrection in all this.
As a faith community, let’s make this year’s Easter Triduum sacred and focused. Though we find ourselves perhaps isolated and distanced from one another, let’s find ways to remain close and to not be distracted, and let’s spend Easter weekend during this exceptional time present to our families. April 12 is Easter. Though we will not be able to fill our churches, though we may find ourselves distant from those we love, let us still fill our homes with prayer and worship and hope.
Holy week is made “holy” forever by the self surrendering love of Jesus -- for us all. He entered into our lives that we might never experience life’s struggles alone. So, no matter what we experience during these difficult times, we can let it become “holy”, touched by the graces of this Holy Week, a week which helps us bring all of the elements of our lives, all our experiences of suffering, into the front of His redeeming, liberating death and resurrection Easter morning. We will get through this.
As you know, this Holy Week, we revised our school prayer. Thank you to all who have started praying it with your chilren and families at home; it is a small way to remind us to be hopeful as a faith community.
Mary, mother of eternal light, good Joseph faithful and just.
Jesus, morning star so bright, in you we put our trust.
On this day we praise and thank you for the mighty works you do;
As we face this new reality, we keep our hope in you.
Happy Easter, St. Augustine families! He is Risen! Alleluia!