Dear Friend in Christ:
May God’s blessings be with you as we celebrate this Easter season!
On that first Easter morning, the women went to the tomb of Jesus. They found the stone rolled away, but they could not find the body of the Lord Jesus. A messenger of God appeared to them and said, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but he has been raised” (Luke 24:5-6).
I pray that the peace and joy of this Easter season will help you to see Christ bringing his light into your life. In times that you feel you are living in darkness due to the illness or death of a loved one, financial struggles, tensions within family life, feelings of insecurity or perhaps even depression about the future, which are indeed crosses, the risen Christ comes to bring light and hope. In the celebration of Easter, he reminds us that we are not only loved by him, but called to new life in him. I pray that you hear and answer the invitation of the risen Lord Jesus and, once again, place your life in his hands.
As disciples of the Lord Jesus, it is so important for us to not just celebrate the resurrection of Christ at a distance, but to find ourselves peering
into the empty tomb and hearing God’s messenger say to us, “He has been raised!” It is the risen Christ whom we encounter each time we celebrate Mass and receive him in Communion. By celebrating this way, we make this Easter event personal, present and relevant to today.
I also write to you to personally invite you to be a part of the Archdiocese of New Orleans Synod. The word synod means gathering. It is a gathering of clergy, religious and lay faithful to discuss the needs of the church. Our Synod began on April 15, 2014, and will extend over the next year and a half. The purpose of our Synod is to discern God’s vision and priorities for our local Church for the next several years. It is important to note that we are not discerning our vision or priorities, but his vision for us as a local Church.
The first step of the Synod is to hold consultation sessions around the archdiocese where all are invited to share their thoughts on what we are doing well, ways we can improve our ministry, service and leadership, and any other concerns and critiques. There will be numerous sessions, and we will hold one in each deanery. These meeting will be facilitated by the Catholic Leadership Institute, and I will be present for all of these gatherings. My purpose for participating in these sessions is to listen prayerfully to your concerns and suggestions. We welcome your honesty as we invite you to share your thoughts, suggestions and critiques of the many dimensions of our Christian life so that we can grow together as the people God has called us to be.
You are welcome to join any of the 10 deaneries for our consultation session. (The list of sessions is below.)
This is an exciting time for our local church. The last Synod that we had in the Archdiocese of New Orleans was in 1983. This is not only a historic moment, but a time where we draw on the wisdom of God to reflect on the ways in which we are fulfilling the command of Christ and ways in which we need to recommit ourselves in order to truly be the evangelizers in 2014 and beyond.
Once again, I wish you the blessings of this Easter season. May the risen Christ touch your heart and be for you, and all those whom you hold in your heart, a source of light, new life, comfort and peace.
Wishing you the Easter blessings of the risen Lord, I am
Gratefully in Christ,
Most Rev. Gregory M. Aymond
Archbishop of New Orleans
How can you participate?
As part of the Ninth General Synod of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, the archdiocese will host a series of consultative sessions to receive input from the faithful.
Except for the youth session on Aug. 2, each consultative session will run from 7 to 9 p.m.:
May 28, St. Margaret Mary Parish, 1050 Robert Blvd., Slidell
June 3 (in Spanish), Hispanic Apostolate, 2525 Maine Ave., Kenner
June 5, St. Joan of Arc Parish, 529 W. 5th St., LaPlace
June 16, St. Rita Parish, 2729 Lowerline St., New Orleans
June 18, Holy Spirit Parish, 6201 Stratford Place, New Orleans
June 19, St. Mary of the Angels Parish, 3501 N. Miro St., New Orleans
June 23, Our Lady of Prompt Succor Parish, 2320 Paris Road, Chalmette
Aug. 2 (for youth) Camp Abbey, 1 to 3:30 p.m., 77002 KC Camp Road, Covington
(Mass for youth at 4 p.m.)
Aug. 18, St. Pius X Parish, 6666 Spanish Fort Blvd., New Orleans
Aug. 19, Mary Queen of Peace Parish, 1501 W. Causeway Approach, Mandeville
Aug. 21, The Visitation of Our Lady Parish, 3500 Ames Blvd., Marrero
Aug. 26, St. Philip Neri Parish, 6500 Kawanee Ave., Metairie
Sept. 4 (for young adults), Holy Name of Jesus Parish, 6325 Cromwell Pl., New Orleans
There also will be other consultative sessions specifically for priests, deacons and women and men religious.