Easter is always such a joyous time. Of course there is the deep religious significance, and this year there seems to be a abundance of biblical portrayals on television. My best memories of Easter, of course, were as a child. Not only was there a feast of food, and the traditional St. Joseph’s bread that our mother would lovingly make, but it was the anticipation of it all. It was the traditional search for the perfect Easter bonnet. Yes, we did that back then. Before the Second Vatican Council in the late 60s, it was mandatory for women to veil their heads in the Catholic church. At Easter, all women and girls would mark the occasion by wearing their finest Easter bonnet.
After the Second Vatican Council so many things in church changed. Of course as kids we didn’t really realize what was happening – all we knew is that we could finally understand what was being said at mass because it changed from Latin to English. We also got to see who our priest was – he no longer had his back to the congregation – he could actually face the people. Before the Second Vatican Council, we couldn’t touch the host, the priest had to place it on our tongues. After the council, Catholics could hold the host in their hands, and it could even be administered by lay people.
With our newly elected Pope Francis, change seems to be in the air again. Habemus Papam! The first Jesuit. The first pope from the Americas. There seems to be an absolute joy spreading out from Rome to the rest of the world. The feeling, an irresistible one, is a feeling of comfort that we have a new man. “You know the work of the conclave is to give a bishop to Rome,” said Francis I, the freshly elected pontiff with a little laugh, as he stood on the balcony in front of the faithful. “It seems as if my brother cardinals went to find him from the end of the earth. But here we are … ” I am hoping that our newly elected Pope Francis will tread in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi and preach peace and fellowship to all.
A Happy and blessed Easter to all.