I must begin this column by welcoming all of you who are with us today to celebrate this great feast of the Resurrection. To those who are faithful parishioners throughout the year and to those who are visiting with us from another parish or anoth- er place, we want you to know how good it is to have you here today. And most especially, we warmly welcome those who may have been raised Catholic and/or those who live in the area but who no longer practice the faith with regularity. We extend to you the peace of Christ, who extended his peace to his apostles the first time he appeared to them after he was raised from the dead. We speak of “practicing Catholics” because all of us, even the best of us, are still (& always will be) practicing how to relate lovingly to God and to each other. Together we offer this prayer of thanks for the hope given to each of us by the death and resurrection of Christ. It is that hope that allows us to live in a world that is so rife with conflict and despair.
Last week we invited everyone to take home with them a free book we have purchased called “What I love about being Catholic.” It’s not the kind of book you need to read cover to cover, but one you can just open and read one page or two at a time as it offers reflections on how the Catholic faith has helped people in the struggles of life. I hope it inspires you as it has me, to appreciate more deeply what Catholicism has to offer us. If you did not receive one last week, please be sure to take one (or more) home with you today. Perhaps you know of a family member or friend who may benefit from it.
Every year many parishioners work hard to make Lent and Easter special times for us here at St. Leo’s...those who provide opportunities for almsgiving such as through our Have a Heart, Lend a Hand program (thanks to all for your great generosity!), those who practice many hours in the music ministry, those who make our beautiful church even more so by flowers, the children who acted in the Passion Play, and those who minister in some way, in any way, quietly but faithfully throughout the year. Our gratitude to all of you.
In the midst of joy and gratitude, I must also acknowledge the sadness of many who are grieving the loss of a young (32 year old), faith-filled woman named Caitlin Kacher, the daughter of Tim Soucek of our parish. She fought a battle with cancer for many months and did so courageously. She and her husband Todd were married here almost 4 years ago and she spoke of how it was the happiest day of her life. We were especially touched to see so many students from Avon High School (where she enthusiastically taught Spanish) who were here at her funeral last Monday to grieve and pray with us. But our grief reminds us, most especially on this particular day, that we always have hope because of how Christ accept- ed his death for the sake of us all. May Caitlin rest in joy and peace.