I remember as a child every Easter Sunday my mother made me a beautiful new dress and paired it with white shoes and a nice hat. Our parish church, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Brownsville, filled with everybody from the neighborhood. We gathered to celebrate a very special day. I did not understand much at the time, other than we were happy going to church and we all looked beautiful.
As I grew, I came to understand the joy of the Resurrection. My Lenten journey to Easter makes me mindful of the Via Dolorosa we must endure in our own lives on our way to salvation, and the joy the Lord wants for each of us.
Easter Sunday this year will be unlike any I have ever experienced. For the first time in my lifetime, the church will be empty. My sisters, niece, and Goddaughter will not sit next to each other in celebration.
This year, somehow we must find a new way to celebrate Easter Sunday, and to understand how we can celebrate in the midst of all that is happening.
When Mary of Magdala found the tomb empty, she must have felt immense grief that the Lord had been taken from the tomb. Like Mary of Magdala, we might find ourselves feeling sad this Easter Sunday as we find our churches empty on this special feast day. And like the disciples who found the tomb empty and did not understand the scriptures that our Lord had to rise from the dead, we too might be at a loss for understanding. We might ask ourselves, “How can we possibly celebrate when we cannot enter our churches?”
Let us remember that what we celebrate on this special day is that our Lord is Risen!
In the midst of what appears to be darkness all around us during this pandemic which has led to much isolation and suffering, we know and understand that our Lord is risen and is at our side.
Pope Francis invites us to embrace Our Lord’s cross by embracing the hardships of the present time and making room in our heart for the creativity that only the Spirit is capable of inspiring. By embracing the Lord, we embrace hope that is the strength of faith which frees us from fear and gives us hope.
There is much to celebrate and rejoice. Our faith in Jesus Christ can fill us with joy in our own confined spaces at home. Together with our families and united in prayer and celebration, we rejoice with the whole world on this special day. While our churches may be empty this Easter Sunday, we can look beautiful and happy because our Lord is Risen!
As Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, Sister Norma Pimentel oversees the charitable arm of the Diocese of Brownsville, providing oversight of various programs: emergency assistance, clinical counseling, housing assistance, pregnancy care and military assistance. In the summer of 2014 she organized the community resources responding to the surge of refugees seeking asylum in the United States. The Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, TX and its countless volunteers from the around the country have welcomed more than 71,000 individuals from 31 countries. Sister Norma Pimentel earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and graduate degrees in theology and counseling psychology.
Como Directora Ejecutiva de las Caridades Católicas del Valle del Río Grande, la Hermana Norma Pimentel supervisa el brazo caritativo de la Diócesis de Brownsville, supervisando varios programas: asistencia de emergencia, consejería clínica, asistencia en vivienda, atención de embarazo y asistencia militar. En el verano de 2014 organizó los recursos comunitarios que respondían a la oleada de refugiados que buscaban asilo en los Estados Unidos. “The Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen” en McAllen, TX y sus innumerables voluntarios de todo el país han recibido a más de 71,000 personas de 31 países. La hermana Norma Pimentel obtuvo una licenciatura en artes y postgrados en psicología y teología.