Letter from the Pastor March 31
These days of celebration/memory of the Lord’s Passion are rich in symbolism. As we arrive at the Resurrection, we come to the richest symbol of all: NOTHINGNESS – the empty tomb, noted for what is there: NOTHING. We are told in John’s Gospel that “the Disciple whom Jesus loved” peered into the tomb and saw the negative space. He saw who was there: NO ONE. It would take weeks, maybe even months for Jesus’ closest followers to come to terms with the nothing that they saw there, but John saw the NOTHINGNESS, and believed. He grasped immediately the meaning of the nothingness: He is not there. HE IS RISEN. As the resurrected Lord began appearing to groups of his followers, the nothingness would give way to something: precisely, it would give way to FAITH, belief that Jesus, once dead was raised from the dead and that he was the awaited Messiah.
20 Centuries later, we are called to make that same transition. We are called to peer into the empty tomb, and like John, to believe. Like the disciples we are called to allow our experiences of Jesus to move us to a place of profound belief. ALLELUIA! HE IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED, ALLELUIA!
This Easter Season is going to be quite busy for many of us in the Newman Community. I would like to request your prayers for 2 very special events coming up in the next 2 weeks. Next Weekend, 32 of our young undergraduate men and women will participate in the first ever, WILDCAT AWAKENING retreat. Last Summer, I accompanied 10 other members of our Newman Community to College Station, TX to participate in the AGGIE AWAKENING Retreat offered by the Catholic Community at Texas A&M University. Many campus ministries around the US have imported this intense retreat experience from the Catholic Aggies. During our first offering of the retreat, we will be supported by retreatants from Aggie Awakening and also from Lumberjack Awakening (offered by the NAU Newman Center). I ask your prayers for the Wildcat Awakening #1 Team and for those participating in the retreat. We look forward to the great fruit that will be produced by this great retreat program this year and in the Future.
I will return from Wildcat Awakening on Sunday afternoon and then on Monday morning, April 8, will depart for an 11 day pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I am blessed to be leading a small group of pilgrims, 11 from our own community and 3 friends from other places and ministries. Of course, while we are there, we will remember the Newman Community in our prayers. We ask the same from you, especially your prayers for our safety and well-being. I had such a remarkable time when I was able to spend the summer of 2009 studying and traveling in the Holy Land. Even though this is a much shorter trip, I anticipate it being as much a blessing. It will especially be wonderful to be in the Holy City during the Easter Season. Again please keep us in your prayers and we will be lifting you up there.
On behalf of the staff and the Dominican Friars and Sisters, I wish you a very blessed Easter.