Dear Sister and Brothers in the Risen Lord,
It was just a year ago that the Covid-19 pandemic began. In that time, many lives have been lost, many have become ill, and many people have experienced so many changes in their lives that it will take years to achieve a new sense of normal. One pilgrim to the Basilica on Ash Wednesday stated, “It seems that Lent has not been simply 40 days but rather 365 days!” With a small portion of our population already vaccinated, many are sensing that the light is appearing at the end of a very long tunnel, much like the lighted Easter Candle being carried into the darkened church on the night of the Easter Vigil! “Christ our Light” sings the minister as the light of new life and hope is shared among the people, eventually bringing light to all present! It may take a while, but the light of hope, peace, and new life always spreads.
It has been a most challenging “Lent” of 365 days here at the Basilica. Our savings are nearly depleted even after severe staff reductions. Without the presence of the pilgrims and tourists who normally participate in our life here, the weekly collections have provided only about 30% of the necessary revenue. We are most ardently seeking the intercession of the Blessed Mother to provide that which is necessary for our expenses and ministry. It may take many, many years for us to recover; but, I trust that the Lord will provide and that he will inspire the faithful to a greater sense of generosity and kindness!
While it might seem that this pandemic is a great part of our shared history, the most amazing event in all of history is Jesus’ resurrection from the dead! While the sting of death has touched us all, our Easter celebration reminds us of God’s dominion over all things, and the resurrection banishes the last stronghold, even death itself!
The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised. And coming forth from their tombs after his resurrection, they entered the holy city and appeared to many.Matthew 27:51-52
The empty tomb gives us the confidence to say, with Mary, that “my soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord!”
As in every Christian Church and community throughout the world, Easter at the Basilica is a beautiful sign of light and hope, most especially for those with troubled hearts. In our encounter with the Risen Lord, and with the tender embrace of his most Blessed Mother, we share Easter light and hope with others!
At the Basilica, we commit to praying for you and your loved ones and your special intentions during the 50 days of the Easter season.
Thank you for your loving and generous support of the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe!