Restored by His Grace!

April 21, 2022
Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. John’s,
Cock-a-doodle do! I was hopeful that crowing like a rooster would be memorable for our parishioners, and hence, I began my Easter homily with my best rooster impression. For Peter, that rooster crowing, was indeed memorable. It was at that moment, his Restoration to Life began! He not only denied being a disciple of Christ, but denied even knowing Him, because he was following Him at a distance. On Easter morning, he ran to the tomb to look for Jesus and to be close to Him. While out fishing, he noticed Jesus was on shore, and he jumped out of the boat and swam to Him. He wanted to be close to the Lord, the source of Restoration! The Lord did, indeed, Restore Peter to Life and raised him up to lead the church. The Lord desires to Restore you to Life, and has a great plan for you!
Did you notice “restore” was used in Mass this past weekend? The Preface of the Eucharistic Prayer read, “For he is the true Lamb who has taken away the sins of the world; by dying he has destroyed our death and by rising, Restored our life!” The final blessing read, “May he, who restores you to eternal life in the Resurrection of his Only Begotten, endow you with the prize of immortality.” We see in these prayers the Father’s heart is one that desires our restoration!
It was truly restorative to pray with over 2,000 people this past weekend! It was wonderful to celebrate the Eucharist together and be nourished by the Risen Christ! It was wonderful to see five adults become Catholic. Three of those were school parents, which has played an important role in their entrance into the Catholic Church here at St. John’s. I am hopeful that we can share their conversion stories with you in the near future.
It is Easter, and so it is the season of Sacraments! We have several students who will be receiving Baptism, Confession or First Communion this weekend. For various reasons they had not received the Sacraments, and so they have been working through our Rite of Christian Initiation of Children program to receive the abundance of God’s grace in these Sacraments. We also have First Communion next weekend, (April 30/May 1), at our 4:30 pm Saturday Mass and 8:30 am and 10:30 am Sunday Masses. We have 60 First Communicants this year, which is the most since I’ve been here. In two weeks, May 7, we have Confirmation at the Cathedral of St. Paul. That will be a blessing as well to celebrate with our 43 Confirmation students, who will be fully initiated in our beautiful Catholic faith. Please pray for all those preparing for the Sacrament! May the Lord Restore them to Life!
This weekend (April 23/24) is Divine Mercy weekend. Please join us at 3 pm in the church on Sunday for a sung Divine Mercy Chaplet and Litany of Restoration. We will have five priests here to hear your confession. Come and experience the Father’s love!
Thank you to all the many volunteers and staff members who made the Holy Week liturgies so restorative! The church was beautiful, and the liturgies were inspiring. It took a lot for all that to happen, and I am very grateful to everyone who helped with Holy Week. Thank you, as well, for the Easter cards and the many “Welcome back” comments. It is good to be home. I missed you all, and I am very grateful to be back at SJB.
As the Father loves me, so also I love you!
Father Paul Shovelain