On behalf of Fr. Timothy, our ACC parish staffs, and myself, I would like to wish you all a very “Happy and Blessed Easter!” May the Lord help you experience the freedom and joy of his new and risen life! Although we are currently living in unusual circumstances with social distancing and restrictions and are not able to celebrate this great holiday as a People of God within a church, my hope is that you and your families at home will truly celebrate this wonderful holiday with prayer, a shared meal, and renewed spirit with those whom you love. Although there is a lot of talk of “social distancing” these days, it’s good to know that Jesus, our Savior, is not “social distancing” himself from us! That is the Good News to share with everyone!
Just a little history: The celebration of Easter goes back all the way to that first Easter morning when our Lord Jesus was risen from the dead, but how did this holiday come to be called “Easter?” What is its origin and development? There are many theories on this: One is that the word, “Easter” comes from the old English word “Eastre” or from the old Germanic word, “Ostern” or even from the Norse/Saxon word, “Ostara.” It has been suggested that these are in reference to the pagan goddess of the dawn, hence where our word for the direction of “East” comes from. In both mythological, physical, and psychological terms, “ East” has always been associated with the direction of the rising sun, hence the direction of life, of new beginnings, of a new day, of an awakening while “West” has been often associated with rest, a settling in, with dying or death. Easter points us “East” the direction of new life, which for us Catholics and Christians is associated with our risen Lord, Jesus Christ! Jesus is the way, the truth and the life hence “East” is the direction of resurrection so the day Jesus rose from the dead is called “Easter” for us.
After more than 3 centuries of debate, at the Council of Nicaea in 325 a.d., set the date for Easter as the first Sunday, after the first Full Moon, after the Spring Equinox. This explains why the date for the Easter holiday often varies year to year. This is also the time of year when Spring arrives as new life comes, animals are born and plants come forth from our earth! With regard to the “Easter rabbit” and “Easter eggs” this is a more recent development in the 17th and 18th centuries. Rabbits and eggs are signs of fertility, but that is another story. For children, the Easter Bunny, colored eggs and chocolate candy may be a way to celebrate, but let’s never forget the true meaning as the “Day of Resurrection of our Lord!”
One final note: I want to thank all those who helped put our Holy Week Services online together and compose our wonderful (albeit shortened) celebrations for members of our parishes to remotely see. For our ACC you can visit: www.taocatholic.com or check any number of other online sites. It’s important to continue the celebration of our faith despite the challenges we face. I also want to thank all those who continue to send in your Easter and Sunday collections to us. Our ACC churches and staff simply need your help if we are to continue to function. Because most of our collections have been down as a result of COVID-19, if you can afford to do so, I urge everyone to give to our Easter and regular Sunday Collections by either sending your envelopes to our offices or by going with direct deposit. Again we thank everyone and wish everyone good health and again “Happy Easter” everyone!