Catholics throughout the world are aware of the significance of the Easter Season. This joyous Season awakens in us the spirit with which we are to live the Catholic Faith throughout the year. Jesus Christ, who died for our sins upon the cross of Calvary, has been raised from the dead. He sits at the right hand of the Father and lives among us. He continues to shepherd His Church. The zeal and hope of the Easter Season should abide throughout the year.
While in this holy season, Catholics are reminded of the traditional Easter Duty. All the baptized are obligated to receive Holy Communion during this Season. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2042) For a just cause this precept may be fulfilled at another time of the year. The current suspension of public Masses is intended to cooperate with public health directives protecting against infection with the coronavirus. I pray God’s mercy will soon bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic but there is no predicting when that will happen. It will come about in the Lord’s time. When conditions permit us to safely gather as God’s people around the Lord’s altar and offer the Sacrifice of the Mass, we will all be able to fulfill the Easter Duty. May the Lord sustain our hunger and thirst for that blessed day.
Catholics are also obliged to confess one’s grave sins once a year. (Code of Canon Law, c. 989; Rite of Penance, #34) This precept is not confined to the Lenten and Easter Season, though many of the Faithful traditionally make use of this time of year to approach the Sacrament of Penance. Catholics may fulfill this obligation anytime during the year. They are urged to seek the grace of the Sacrament of Penance with greater frequency. If a member of the Faithful is unable to approach the Sacrament of Penance, I remind them to make an Act of Perfect Contrition (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1452) with the firm resolve approach the Sacrament as soon as they are able to do so.
These words of counsel are intended to guide and console the Faithful in the Diocese of Sacramento as we journey through this uncertain and agonizing moment for the State, the Nation, and the World. May we respond with faith and charity seeking always the presence of the Risen Christ among us.
Be assured of the prayers of Bishop Weigand, my brother priests and me. We daily offer the Sacrifice of the Mass for all the People of God, especially those in any way afflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic. May the intercessions of Our Blessed Mother Mary and the Communion of Saints be joined with our supplications for God’s mercy to bring healing for the infirmed; perseverance and protection for all those caring for them; wisdom for public officials working to eradicate the pandemic; eternal rest to all those who have died and consolation for all those who mourn.
Christ has risen. May His mercy kindle in our hearts the fire of His hope and joy.
Bishop of Sacramento