From the Bishop

The Joy of Entering the Church

This article was posted on: February 14, 2024

The Easter event, which anchors our year and our lives, unites us with divinity in a most extraordinary and irrevocable way. This is where HOPE is born and sustained in the life of human beings. We are created by God so that we may LIVE together with God. If we keep our eyes fixed on that reality, together we can make some tremendous achievements at enduring some of the extreme challenges that face us on this side of paradise.

But our new, resurrected life happens together. As we hear at Easter, Jesus does appear to individuals  (such as Mary Magdalene and Peter) after His resurrection, but He goes on to show Himself to groups of believers: the 12 Apostles gathered in the upper room, the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and even 500 all at once (1 Cor 15:6). Our faith, then, while personal, is also lived and celebrated with others—especially at Sunday Mass.

If you have been away from gathering with others in the church building, and if you can do so, I invite you to re-enter the light of Christ this Easter. Make a plan to enter into the awareness of mystery in your life—the mystery of Christ present in His Mystical Body, the Church, with your family, neighbors and pastors. Such a supernatural union is only possible because of two significant and earth-shaking events: the death and resurrection of Jesus. These events are ALWAYS in front of the eyes of the Church and her members. Jesus has died for us—all of us—and He is risen from the dead for us.

We celebrate these events together at every Mass. The Mass is not just a ritual performed for us because the Church made a rule for us to be there. The Mass expresses and causes our unity with Jesus Christ, the Son of God, gloriously alive right now among us.

I find our unity with Christ and one another at Mass to be a great comfort and strength for me as I strive to make my way in this world that seems to be filled with so many contrary and isolating ideas. There is so much loneliness, so much pain and so much desire for things we cannot afford and do not need. I need to know that I am loved by Christ and my brothers and sisters in faith. I need to know that, no matter what, someone cares for me more than I could ever dream—He is my Savior, and He is alive in His Church. I know it, and it is there, at my parish’s Mass, that I find my consolation and the energy to live another day confident of His return—for us all!

I’ll see you at Sunday Mass!

Most Reverend William Patrick Callahan
Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of La Crosse
Published in the March/April 2024 issue of Catholic Life Magazine

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