Dear Brothers, Associates and Partners in Mission:
Our world has changed rather quickly in the past month because of the coronavirus pandemic. Every day brings more change and greater anxiety as more people contract the virus and millions lose their jobs. Our journey through Holy Week is different this year and takes on added meaning because of COVID-19. Social distancing prevents us from getting together to celebrate Easter with our community and our family. Even more, the spiritual journey through Jesus’ Passion seems more real and closer to our experience of suffering and isolation these days.
The image of Pope Francis celebrating Palm Sunday Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica to an empty church conveys a powerful message about demands of the “new normal.” In his homily Pope Francis spoke about the tragic situation caused by the virus and reminded us “not to be caught up in things that matter less; to rediscover that life is of no use if not used to serve others.” The foundation of our lives as a Xaverian community is “to even greater service of the Lord.” As we experience the coronavirus together, I hope and pray that all of us will go beyond ourselves and be a healing presence in our community and our families. At the same time, may we “discover ways to incarnate anew the vision of Theodore James Ryken and the charism of the Brothers of Saint Francis Xavier in the life of the world.”
Through these days of uncertainty, we prayed together virtually, and I have come to appreciate more the international Xaverian community and the personal and spiritual connections we share. I also keep in mind the message of Easter which gives us a deep awareness that God is with us no matter the circumstances of our lives. We can humbly approach Easter with great joy because Easter changes everything. Of course, questions will remain unanswered, but we do know God is close to the world’s suffering through Jesus’ Passion.
The Generalate staff and I are grateful for our personal and spiritual closeness to you and assure you of our prayer for you and your family this extraordinary Easter season.
Brother Daniel Skala, C.F.X. | General Superior