By Dubravka Kolumbic-Cortese | Correspondent
The sun shone brightly on faithful from around the Diocese as thousands gathered on Easter Sunday to celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord.
In two of the Diocese’s parishes – St. Joan of Arc, Marlton, and St. Isidore the Farmer, New Egypt – faith, new life and a sense of community was at the forefront of Easter messages.
In St. Joan of Arc Church, worshippers joined in singing “Jesus Christ is risen this day, Alleluia!” before Father Richard Regan, a retired Air Force chaplain and parish weekend assistant, celebrated Mass, which was standing room only inside the church.
Photo Gallery: Easter Sunday in St. Isidore the Farmer, New Egypt
In his homily, Father Regan noted how in the daily news, there are stories of global tragedies such as school shootings, church burnings or wars that affect everyone. In addition, he said, many people are dealing with personal struggles, such as losing one’s job or the illness or death of a loved one.
“Into that chaos,” he said, “comes Jesus Christ. Today we celebrate and focus on his Resurrection. Somehow, that has to fit into our lives … to maintain the posture and faith that we have.”
“The Resurrection means that we believe in life beyond this life,” Father Regan continued. “We know that the God that Jesus Christ has revealed to us loves his creation.”
He challenged atheistic beliefs about God and eternal life, saying it was more logical to believe that “a God that loves us, even when we mess up, would want to keep us with him forever.”
He concluded with a reminder for those present. “Remember, this is the place where you will learn to nourish yourselves to be disciples.”
For parishioner Anne Picciano, the Easter Mass capped off a Holy Week of celebration and Adoration. “It gives you a real feeling of peace and comfort.”
Parishioner Mary Clare Brandt was especially pleased to celebrate Easter Mass with her youngest son, Kevin, who was able to make it home from college for the holiday.
“The whole week, from Holy Thursday to Easter, at this parish is wonderful,” she said. “Having so many people come together, it just gives you hope for the world.”
Some in St. Isidore the Farmer Parish also spoke about camaraderie, as the faithful continue to get acquainted. The parish was recently formed from the merged communities of Assumption, New Egypt, and St. Andrew, Jobstown.
Sally Goeb, a parishioner of 17 years, said, “We’re continuing to come together as faithful Catholics, and it means a lot that we can share together in the Sacraments.”
Speaking on the Easter season itself, she continued. “The Easter season for me means sacrifice. Not necessarily giving something up, but doing something,” she said, explaining that she cooked dinner for the homebound every week during Lent.
Video from freelance photographer John Blaine contributed to this report.