Together With Christ Resurrected
Happy Easter to all! Our annual parish theme this year is:
Together with Jesus, let us open the door of hope in this difficult time through prayer, bonding and collaboration.”
This pandemic has continued for over a year and we cannot tell when it will end. Perhaps we went through Lent with heavy hearts, especially not having experienced the joy of Easter last year. Even in such difficult times, it is good to make an effort to find the joy of Jesus’ Resurrection this Easter. Since we have suffered with Jesus, we want to live the joy of Resurrection with Jesus, too. Learning from the past year, let us together open a “door of hope” this coming year with Jesus and with renewed hearts. Let me suggest three focal points.
From May 20 this year until July 31 next year, the Society of Jesus will be celebrating an Ignatian Year. May 20 is the day St. Ignatius was wounded in battle at Pamplona, which eventually led to his conversion. In line with this celebration, we would like to make this a time for imbibing the first of the four Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAP) of the Jesuits: “To show the way to God through the Spiritual Exercises and discernment.” With our activities restricted due to the pandemic, this will be an apt time to cultivate a habit of prayer in our everyday life. A detailed plan will be provided soon. If each one could participate in one way or another, we can look forward to bearing much fruit.
Not being able to gather in the church this past year was a big loss for us, but it made us realize that a church is truly constituted only when people come together. Despite the restrictions, being able to create bonds through the Internet was a remarkable consolation. During this coming year, I hope we will continue to make creative use of the Internet, further explore opportunities to meet one another face to face, overcome isolation, and strengthen mutual bonds—with our elderly parishioners, parish members in their prime working age, and also the newly baptized.
Last year’s theme was “New Ways of Collaboration.” However, due to the pandemic, we hardly did anything to incorporate this theme in our daily lives. Collaboration, as a theme, has a wide scope. We need first to review how the various activity groups in our parish are coordinated.
Last year, the “Parish Directives for Activity Groups” were revised for the first time in twenty years. With this as our starting point, I hope we can explore what kind of coordination would be meaningful, especially among the various parish activities. There are many different language groups, and our numbers have grown. Our evolvement into a vast urban parish also calls for a form of collaboration that properly responds to this reality. I hope that, as community, we can join forces and work in such a way as to fulfill God’s will for us.
Together with Jesus
As this year’s theme says, let us “open the door of hope,” not only in our lives as members of the church, but in all our day-to-day activities. By constantly being attentive to Jesus’ joys, sorrows, and expectations, let us try to work together with him. By deepening our prayer life, with an awareness of our bonding with one another and by working together, let us try to make the Kingdom of God come alive among us.
by Fr. Ryuichiro Hanafusa SJ, Pastor