Easter season greetings to you. It's unbelievable that we're finishing our second week of Easter. I’m Father Don Oleksiak, diocesan administrator of the Diocese of Cleveland.
The Gospel of St. Luke for this Sunday’s Mass describes an extraordinary appearance of the Lord walking with two disciples on the road to a town called Emmaus. Of all the stories we hear of the appearances of Jesus after his Resurrection, this one really resonates with us because the Emmaus story is really our story. It is a Gospel message that no matter who we are or wherever we are in life, the Risen Lord is always with us. Scripture stories like this one remind us of the need to stay close to Christ in good times and in difficult times, like the times we find ourselves in today.
We all wish we could go right back to the way thing were a couple of months ago, don’t we? But the new normal is really different. Just this week we learned that K through 12 schools across the state won’t reopen this academic year. So it’s important that we take a minute to thank and encourage our students and their parents, our teachers, administrators and all those involved with our schools as they continue their hard work and patience during this remaining time of virtual classes and distance learning. May these last few weeks of the school year be fruitful, as we all anticipate the time when our school communities across the diocese can come back together again.
The same goes for our parish communities as we look forward to the coming days when our churches will reopen and our people can come together once more as a household of faith. I’ve been in conversation with the bishops of Ohio and we’re working on a plan for a unified response for the Catholics community throughout Ohio to the executive orders from the governor regarding the reopening process. We don’t know yet when that will be, but with the grace of God, it will be sooner rather than later. In the meantime, please stay connected with your parish. Consult your parish website or newsletter for ways to keep connected and to stay in touch. Your pastor is the shepherd of his flock, he loves you and he needs your help to keep the parish afloat. Please do what you can to help. And, if you need help, give him a call. There is a special fund for parish families that need emergency financial help.
It was in an obscure little town called Emmaus thousands of years ago that the Risen Jesus appeared and provided peace and hope in a time of great upheaval. He does the same for us today. He is with us as we navigate this virus crisis. May the peace of the Risen Christ be with you and your family, now and always.
God bless you.