35 Dartmouth Street, Garden City, New York 11530 - (516) 352-5904
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Easter Message from Fr. Tom

Dear Parishioners,
Blessed Easter to you and all those you love. This evening at 7:30 we begin our celebration of the Resurrection of the Lord with the Easter Vigil and continue tomorrow with Easter Masses at 7:00, 8:30, 10:00, and 11:45. All these Masses tonight and tomorrow are available through livestreaming at the parish website. Simply follow these directions:
1.)           Go to www.stannesgc.org
2.)           With the dark blue background scroll to “Join us for our Livestreaming Mass; click here.”
3.)           About halfway down “Livestreaming Mass at St. Anne’s”, click on our “youtube.com channel”
4.)           If you get a dark screen that says “offline” click on the circular icon picture to the left of the words “St. Anne’s Church” and # subscribers. Clicking that icon will bring you to our livestream and videos.
We hope you can join us.
With these Masses we begin the Easter Season, first the Octave of Easter that extends through next Sunday, April 19. The 50 day Easter Season then extends through Pentecost Sunday, May 31. How much we need the full 50 day Easter Season!
We begin on Easter Sunday, knowing that our celebration at Mass and in our homes will be very different. Our pews will be empty. Our tables at home with have few people, mostly immediate family members. This virus imposes on us so many restrictions, truly preventing us from our traditional gatherings and celebrations.
Still, the Easter gospel at the Vigil will proclaim, “He has been raised from the dead!” recalling the words from the angel to the women at the empty tomb. And then they will meet the Risen Jesus. “Do not be afraid!” he will encourage them.
In this time of pandemic, when there is so much suffering and so much uncertainty, can we experience this 50 day Easter Season not as a testing of our faith, but a proclamation of our faith? Yes, tomorrow our celebrations will be quieter than we would like. We will not hear the strong, amazing voices of our choir. We will not be joined by cousins, neighbors, friends, and grandparents at the Easter family table. But we will know He is Risen and He is among us. Our faith is stronger than our fear. The truths in which we believe are stronger than our uncertainty. When we feel weak and vulnerable in our homes, family members are there for us with their love to encourage us and restore us. This is Easter. This is the presence of the Risen Lord among us.
The Risen Lord immediately gives a mission to the women to whom he first appears. It is simple, “Go and tell the others.” Easter faith, Easter joy cannot be contained. It must be shared. It must be spread. So how important it is that we have this Easter Season that begins with a muted sense of joy and celebration. We need these 50 days to share in the Easter mission of proclaiming the news, and sharing the life of the Risen Lord.
In the second reading for Easter Sunday, the first option, St. Paul says “your life is hidden with Christ in God.”  How important during these 50 days we work hard to discover this life of ours hidden with Christ. We each need to find it, be embraced by it and share it.
During these 50 days we will need to realize how the Lord expects us to share this life. We begin on Easter Day, accepting in obedient love, the restrictions placed upon us. Our love is mature and tested, and we have obeyed and accepted this restricted living for most of Lent. Yet, we begin to anticipate that the virus will be loosening its hold during the Easter Season. It may take another month, two months, three months. We will love another by following the sage and wise advice of the medical and scientific experts, to keep up with what we have been doing for most of Lent.
Eventually, we hope during the Easter Season that extends until May 31, the mornings will be bright with morning son, we will know the peace of evening twilight. The rising sun on the east horizon and the colorful western skies surrounding the setting sun will be leading us to a more healthy May, June, and July. We will pray for the wisdom of our President, our Governor, and our local officials. As the virulent virus pushed us into isolation, we came together as one community to overcome its strength. We pray that we resolve to be one in re-establishing our life patterns when it is the appropriate time to do so. We know no timeline. For God, there is no timeline. We will be okay because our wisdom and love will guide us in our communal and personal decision making, we pray.
Where does our confidence rest? It rests in Easter faith, in Easter love, in Easter truth that “He is Risen.” Our confidence rests because that “hidden life with Christ in God” can be found during these 50 days. And sometime during these 50 days, I hope we can begin imagining a time of the flowering of our faith, a time of the new life of Baptism, the excitement of First Holy Communion, the maturity of newly Confirmed, and the love celebrated in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.
Easter is a time for the bold proclamation of faith, not a time to be timid about our faith, but a time of belief in truths stronger than uncertainty, a time of hope for a more joyful day, a time to discover our hidden life with Christ in God.
All of you are in our prayers this Easter Day. Pray especially for those who have suffered the loss of a family member or relative. Pray for those who are afflicted with this virus. Pray for those who serve as doctors and nurses, and hospital staff, especially those who are at the bedside of the sick. Pray for those who are alone. Pray that you, those you love, and all of us might realize the power and love of our “hidden life with Christ in God.”
Blessed and Happy Easter!
Peace be with you.
Fr. Tom