Dying, And Rising Again
Published: April 16, 2009
Father Gregory D. Goolsby, pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Church, confirms a new member of the Catholic faith at Easter Vigil Mass April 11. (Photo by Jayna Hoffacker)
My most memorable Easter was 12 years ago at the Easter Vigil. The presider, Father Albert Jowdy, opened his homily with “Tonight there is a death in the family.”
Powerful words! As a member of the RCIA team, I knew what these words meant for the Elect, who would receive the sacraments of initiation this night because I had journeyed with them all year. They were dying to their former selves through the waters of baptism, trusting that they would rise with Christ. Little did I know at that moment what these words would mean to me personally.
Terry, one of my older sisters who lived in Wyoming, was losing her battle with cancer. I had spent time with her the previous month, and it was obvious she was close to death. Her family had gathered to be with her during her last days.
Early Easter morning, the call came that she had died the night before—actually about the time I was listening to Father Al’s homily. Those words once again resounded in my head. And how true those words were for me, too! My sister Terry had experienced the ultimate Paschal Mystery!
I have always loved the Easter Vigil liturgy, but now it also holds extra special memories for me as I once again remember the words, “Tonight there is a death in the family.”
Lori and Jim Rausch have been at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish for more than 25 years, serving as members of the RCIA team, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion and small faith group leaders.
The parish community of St. Thomas Aquinas Church listens as Father Gregory Goolsby shares his homily during the Easter Vigil Mass April 11. The church is illuminated with Easter candles and flowers. (Photo by Janet Frankowski)