An exclusive Easter message from Cardinal Nichols to readers of The Catholic Universe:
“Last Easter, I celebrated the liturgies of the Sacred Triduum almost alone, in an empty Westminster Cathedral. This year, thank God, a congregation will again be present, even if our celebrations are necessarily simpler and more subdued, as we continue to make sure that our churches are places that may be visited in safety.
I am so glad that we can, once again, come together to pray at this holiest time of the year. Prayer in common is such a key witness: our open churches, our prayed-in churches are a reminder to everyone in society that life is not contained just within the boundaries and agendas of this world, but is lived with a horizon of the eternal. That is true at all times, but in Holy Week and at Easter it acquires a special significance.
This is the week when we commemorate the events that fashioned our Christian way of living, and its eternal destiny. We trace themes of service, of discipleship, of sacrifice; we see foreboding, isolation, grief; but then we rejoice that these give way, on Easter morning, to reunion, to new life and fresh hope.
These themes, and the journey through them, have a particular resonance this year. This is a year when, against a backdrop of so much suffering, we may be struck with greater conviction by the truth that, for people of faith, the darkness of death is not the whole story, but is transformed in the light of Christ to a new beginning. We know better than to ‘rage against the dying of the light’, for through death we enter into the glory of God.
So it is important that, this Easter, we pray especially for those who have suffered and died in this pandemic, for those who have cared for them, for those who mourn. We pray that the light of Christ will touch and console them, and lead them home to Him.
In the Risen Lord, God sets out our true course, a new way of life for us to pursue, a new grace and power by which we can live. This Easter, as we look to a new future, we pray that we may embrace this God-given course, and the Easter message of salvation, with all our hearts.”
Cardinal Vincent Nichols
Archbishop of Westminster
Picture: Cardinal Vincent Nichols. (Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk).