Dear Friends in Christ,

Proclaiming the good news of Easter could not come at a better time.

Everyone is affected, some more severely than others, by the COVID-19 pandemic. Even for most people, who will not get sick, the disruptions to our social and economic life are already here. There is fear of the unknown as we make our way through this emergency, unprecedented in our lifetimes. 

I have written elsewhere about the practical cooperation we should give to our public health authorities, especially as it applies to the life of our parishes. In this message, I want to invite you sincerely to enter more deeply, through these events, into the good news of Easter: and into the reality of your faith in Christ and your relationship with him.

The Son of God entered a broken world, to save it from within. Our world is broken by the original sin that afflicts our relationships with God and one another, whether personal or social. Relations within creation are broken, too, as the outbreak of this virus and other natural calamities reveal again and again.

Our liturgical celebrations of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ will be restricted this year, but each person, each family can reflect on the story revealed in the Scriptures and the liturgical prayers. It is the good news that humankind and creation are being redeemed from sin and death. That each person who turns to Jesus Christ for forgiveness will find it. That each person who opens his or her life to him will be given the peace that is the fruit of forgiveness and the pledge of eternal life.

At the Easter Vigil proclamation, in the Exsultet, the deacon sings:

This is the night
that even now, throughout the world,
sets Christian believers apart from worldly vices
and from the gloom of sin,
leading them to grace
and joining them to his holy ones.

This is the night,
when Christ broke the prison-bars of death
and rose victorious from the underworld.

Our birth would have been no gain,
had we not been redeemed.

O wonder of your humble care for us!
O love, O charity beyond all telling,
to ransom a slave you gave away your Son!
O truly necessary sin of Adam,
destroyed completely by the Death of Christ!
O happy fault
that earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer!

May this Easter be a celebration of this new life for you.

Yours in Christ,

+Michael McKenna
Bishop of Bathurst