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Easter: Through the Octave and Beyond!                       

Easter is more than a day; it is a season of resurrection

While Easter is a Solemnity and an Octave Feast, it is also a 50-day journey until Pentecost. We continue to remember his resurrection with special devotion. Saint Augustine shares this perspective: "The season before Easter signifies the troubles in which we live here and now, while the time after Easter, which we are celebrating at present, signifies the happiness that will be ours in the future."

 

 WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - "I think Catholics enjoy Lent more than Easter. I think we are just more comfortable suffering than celebrating." When a speaker at a Lenten Mission I attended said that, I was taken back. He was trying to offer it as a bit of humor but also stated that there was some truth in it.

 

This particularly struck me as a convert from Protestantism where, in many denominations and independent churches, Lent is ignored, Good Friday minimized and Easter is a huge celebration often preceded by Cantata season, when the choir presents a special dramatized account of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ.

 

Even the least liturgically oriented churches implement a time of response at the beginning of the Easter service, shouting "Alleluia! He is risen!" The congregation responds back enthusiastically "He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!"

 

For many Protestants, Easter is over after the Sunday service. On Monday, it is back to regular routine; one could say they have entered back into ordinary time.

 

As Catholics, however, we're not finished. We have the eight days - the Octave Easter. For example, in the Office of Morning Prayer the psalms for Easter Sunday are recited each day. We have eight Easters, ending with Divine Mercy Sunday.

 

While Easter is a Solemnity and an Octave Feast, it is also a 50-day journey until Pentecost. We continue to remember his resurrection with special devotion. But why focus on Easter as a season? Isn't every Sunday a "little Easter?" Don't we commemorate his passion, death and resurrection every day of the year?

 

Saint Augustine shares this perspective: "The season before Easter signifies the troubles in which we live here and now, while the time after Easter which we are celebrating at present signifies the happiness that will be ours in the future.

 

"What we commemorate before Easter is what we experience in this life; what we celebrate after Easter points to something we do not yet possess."

 

The Season of Easter is not just about His resurrection but ours.  St. Maximus of Turin wrote in the 5th Century, "Christ is risen! He has burst open the gates of hell and let the dead go free; he has renewed the earth through the members of his Church now born again in baptism, and has made it blossom afresh with men brought back to life.

 

"His Holy Spirit has unlocked the doors of heaven, which stand wide open to receive those who rise up from the earth."

 

How much time do we really spend meditating on or contemplating heaven? Have we read much on the subject? How about the resurrection of the body?

 

I know that now, as I get older, heaven is taking on a more important aspect in my life. With my "second half of life" growing shorter, I think more about eternity and heaven. Every time my knees creek and my back hurts, I'm thankful that there can come a day when I will have a resurrected body.  This is our Easter hope Easter: Through the Octave and Beyond!

 

Heaven is not just a place where our souls will float around in some kind of nirvana. The Catechism states, "God will definitely grant incorruptible life to our bodies by reuniting them with our souls. All will rise: 'Those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment' (Jn 5:29)."     

 

 

 During the season of Easter our particular focus is on a hope beyond this world - a hope that is a great equalizer for those who are infirm or healthy, rich or poor. It is a hope that transcends our current situation with the hope of something better. and eternal!

 

Anthony DeStefano, in his book "Travel Guide to Heaven" says that any discussion of heaven needs to include fun. "It's a place of unlimited pleasure, unlimited happiness and unlimited joy!"

 

Now, that's worth think about, worth celebrating and worth telling others.

 

In the year's Easter Vigil, Pope Benedict declared, "At Easter, on the morning of the first day of the week, God said once again: 'Let there be light.'

 

"The night on the Mount of Olives, the solar eclipse of Jesus' passion and death, the night of the grave had all passed. Now it is the first day once again - creation is beginning anew. 'Let there be light,' says God, 'and there was light:' Jesus rises from the grave. Life is stronger than death. Good is stronger than evil. Love is stronger than hate. Truth is stronger than lies.

 

"The darkness of the previous days is driven away the moment Jesus rises from the grave and himself becomes God's pure light. But this applies not only to him, not only to the darkness of those days. With the resurrection of Jesus, light itself is created anew. He draws all of us after him into the new light of the resurrection and he conquers all darkness. He is God's new day, new for all of us."

 

As we now journey the 50 days to Pentecost, we are walking in the new light - the light of new creation which we each experience through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. We don't have to live out as those who have no hope. Our hope is fixed, our pathway is lit and our voyage is refreshed by resurrection's sun and again underway.

 

-----

 

Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online and the CEO/Associate Publisher for the Northern Virginia Local Edition of Catholic Online (http://virginia.catholic.org). He is a former Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church who laid aside that ministry to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church.

Masses:                                                   Confessions *:

Saturday: 4:30pm (English), 7:30pm (Espanol)                      3:30pm - 4:15pm

Sunday: 9:00am (English)                                                      8:00am - 8:45am

Monday: No Scheduled Mass                                           *Confessions also heard by appt

Tuesday: Noon (English)

Wednesday: 12:00pm (English)

Thursday: 6:00pm (English)

Friday: 9:00am (English)                        

Stations of the Cross in Jefferson:

Stations will be prayed in English at 6PM on the Fridays during Lent until Holy Week.  Stations in Spanish will be prayed at 7:30 PM on Fridays

Stations of the Cross in Sparta:

Stations will be prayed at 11:30 AM followed by noon Mass in English and 7:00 PM in Spanish each Friday during Lent


Welcome To our parish!

Dear Visitors, Seekers, and Parishioners,

Welcome to the St Francis website! I am so glad you found us on the web, and I hope that you will visit St Francis  soon, in person. We can’t wait to welcome you!

Our mission statement is as follows:
      We, the diverse, rural community of St Francis of Assisi Church, value our service orientated heritage and believe in the Power of God's saving Love.

     We will continue to build the Kingdom of God in Ashe county by seeking a better understanding of the Scripture and our Catholic faith and then spreading the Good News to all with a willing heart and eager mind.

     We seek to become a unified Eucharisitc community through our devotion and reverance to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the sacrements which bind us together in worship and service to one another

Our community celebrates Liturgy with reverence, active participation, and with care toward high quality of music and environment.  The joy of Christ is evident within the hearts of the assembly when we raise our voices in praise and song!

Opportunities for involvement and spiritual growth abound through our many ministries, activities, and outreach programs. This St Francis  Community truly has a heart for the poor, and takes seriously the Church’s call to Works of Mercy and Works of Justice. We love to help others, grow in faith and friendships, and have fun in the process!

At St Francis, we value life-long learning. Part of growing closer to Christ means continually opening our hearts to learning more about the beauty and depth of the Gospel! From our early childhood ministries, youth group, Religious Education program, to our  adult learning opportunities, we strive to never stop growing!

Please take time to check out our website, and see some of what we have to offer.

We are always open to ways to serve you better, so please do not hesitate to contact me, the parish staff, or our ministry leaders by phone or by email.

We hope to hear from you soon!

In Christ,

Fr. James Stuhrenberg
Pastor



Welcome To our parish!

Dear Visitors, Seekers, and Parishioners,

Welcome to the St Francis website! I am so glad you found us on the web, and I hope that you will visit St Francis  soon, in person. We can’t wait to welcome you!

Our mission statement is as follows:
      We, the diverse, rural community of St Francis of Assisi Church, value our service orientated heritage and believe in the Power of God's saving Love.

     We will continue to build the Kingdom of God in Ashe county by seeking a better understanding of the Scripture and our Catholic faith and then spreading the Good News to all with a willing heart and eager mind.

     We seek to become a unified Eucharisitc community through our devotion and reverance to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the sacrements which bind us together in worship and service to one another

Our community celebrates Liturgy with reverence, active participation, and with care toward high quality of music and environment.  The joy of Christ is evident within the hearts of the assembly when we raise our voices in praise and song!

Opportunities for involvement and spiritual growth abound through our many ministries, activities, and outreach programs. This St Francis  Community truly has a heart for the poor, and takes seriously the Church’s call to Works of Mercy and Works of Justice. We love to help others, grow in faith and friendships, and have fun in the process!

At St Francis, we value life-long learning. Part of growing closer to Christ means continually opening our hearts to learning more about the beauty and depth of the Gospel! From our early childhood ministries, youth group, Religious Education program, to our  adult learning opportunities, we strive to never stop growing!

Please take time to check out our website, and see some of what we have to offer.

We are always open to ways to serve you better, so please do not hesitate to contact me, the parish staff, or our ministry leaders by phone or by email.

We hope to hear from you soon!

In Christ,

Fr. James Stuhrenberg
Pastor

Prayer For The Gifts Of The Holy Spirit

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who, before ascending into heaven, did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples - - - deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me, to perfect in my soul the work of Your grace and Your Love.

Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom - -

that I may not be attached to the perishable things of this world, but aspire ONLY after the things that are eternal.

The Spirit of Understanding - - to enlighten my mind with the light of Your Divine Truth.

The Spirit of Counsel - - that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining Heaven.

The Spirit of Fortitude - - that I may bear my cross with You, and that I may overcome with courage ALL the obstacles that oppose my salvation.

The Spirit of Knowledge - - that I may KNOW God and know myself, and grow perfect in the science of the Saints.

The Spirit of Piety - - that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable.

The Spirit of Fear - - that I may be filled with a Loving reverence towards God and may avoid anything that may displease Him.

Mark me, Dear Lord, with the sign of Your True disciples, and animate me in ALL things with Your Spirit.

Amen.

Fasting for Lent

 

 

 

Lent begins on Wednesday March 5, Ash Wednesday

The following fasting rules were listed in the Catholic News Herald:

Read more - - -

Prayer of St Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen.
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