FALL RIVER — Bishop George W. Coleman has issued his annual Easter Message to Catholics throughout the Fall River Diocese, which comprises Southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod and the Islands.
The message has been distributed to pastors in the diocese for conveying to parishioners in some way at Masses on Easter. It will be published in this week’s issue (April 18, 2014) of the diocesan weekly, The Anchor, and posted on the diocesan website at www.fallriverdiocese.org.
It follows below in its entirety.
On the first Easter morning, according to the Gospel of St. Mark, three women went to the place where the Body of Our Lord was buried. Upon their arrival, they found the stone already rolled away from the door of the tomb. When they entered, they did not find Jesus, but a young man dressed in a white robe who told them: “Do not be amazed: you seek Jesus of Nazareth, Who was crucified. He has risen.”
As we begin our annual celebration of Christ’s Resurrection, I greet you and repeat with great joy the announcement of Good News: “He is risen!” I wish to extend this message to all men and women of good will who reside in the Diocese of Fall River, to Catholics and non-Catholics alike, to families, to the elderly, to school children, to the sick and suffering, to the disabled, to those in prison, to those who live alone, and to all who will read this message.
Easter reminds us that death, sadness, and evil do not have the last word. When Jesus was nailed to the Cross, He took upon Himself all our sins, suffering, and pain. Faith in the Resurrection, however, helps us find meaning in our efforts, in our struggles, and even in our suffering. It can relieve us of the sense of helplessness, futility, and frustration. It can even make sense of death itself. The triumph of the love and mercy of God are revealed to us in the light of the Resurrection. This can be decisive for the way we see the world and for the way we live our lives. Christ’s victory is our victory!
I pray that the new life revealed in Jesus’ Resurrection will draw you and your loved ones closer to God and greatly nourish your hope. If you allow our Risen Lord into your hearts, He will transform your lives. He can help you act more honestly and generously toward your brothers and sisters. He can endow you with a greater capacity for mercy toward others and patience with your own limitations. He desires to share with you His peace. The grace of Easter not only promises eternal life when our earthly existence comes to an end, but it also bestows countless blessings upon us here and now, above all the blessing of friendship with God.
With prayerful wishes that the living presence and blessings of the Risen Christ remain with each of you and with your families this Easter, I am
Sincerely yours in the Lord,
+ George W. Coleman
Bishop of Fall River