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Easter Message to CDSBEO Families

Dear Students, Parents/Guardians:

I thought I would write a brief letter to our CDSBEO families today to reach out to all of you in these unprecedented times.

While Easter Sunday will soon be here, the bishops have taken the unparalleled step of closing all parish churches in order to protect the health of everyone in our society, especially the elderly. This closure, like the closure of our schools, will remain in place for the foreseeable future. Most Catholics never thought they would see the day when their local church would be closed on Easter Sunday, yet here we are.

As a result, we find ourselves in a time where we are seeking reassurance, spiritual comfort and hope, while being isolated from each other and from the institutions we rely on. There is a common feeling of vulnerability and helplessness. 

I know I can speak for all clergy and educators in saying that we too feel this vulnerability and helplessness. The last thing we want as priests is to be separated from those under our care. So too, teachers long to reconnect with their students and see their bright faces again. Yet the presence of COVID-19, and the threat of contagion that comes with it, has brought about a new reality of quarantine and social distancing that we all must endure.

As Pope Francis said this week: “To the pandemic caused by the virus, we want to respond with the universality of prayer, of compassion, of tenderness. Let us remain united.” At this time especially, I wish to encourage you to remain united with your loved ones and with God. I want to assure you that God is present in this crisis and at all times. We are an Easter people and we share in this hope! The presence of the Holy Spirit within us means the resources of hope and love that come from faith are always close at hand. Just as Jesus calmed the storm, so connecting with God in prayer, and the reassurance it gives, can calm the troubled soul in turbulent times.

One of the most famous passages in the bible is a line from Psalm 23: “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil, for you God are with me.” I have no doubt that God will protect his people now, just has God has always done, by giving us the resources we need to overcome this evil and to flatten the curve of infections.

This is an anxious time for everyone, especially children. But because God is close to us, this is also a highly effective time for prayer – and not just for ourselves. We remember those who are suffering with the virus, those who are caregivers, nurses and doctors, and other frontline workers, and those who find themselves without work through no fault of their own. Let us remain united in prayer and, through these positive thoughts, be comforted by our unity with God and our loved ones.

Lastly, for those who are parents, I remind you to look into the faces of your children when you need hope during these dark times. In their young faces you will see the future. And the future is bright. Christ is risen. Alleluia!

May God bless,
Fr. John Whyte, Board Chaplain

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