World events do not deter unity of Easter Season

Esteban Serrano, Staff Writer

Despite world health events regarding the Coronavirus and Mayor Nirenberg’s decision to extend the stay home order, Holy Week started with Palm Sunday and ended the 12th of April. Many reports across the country have made claims that pastors and ministers of different religions (including Catholic) were opening services on Easter Sunday in particular. The season of Easter is still in our midst as the next biggest Sunday on the calendar yet to come, which is Pentecost Sunday.

In an interview done during Holy Week, Marianist Priest Fr. Sean Downing S.M. described what the Easter season meant for him personally, and how current events change his perspective on what people should do when it comes to attending mass.

To start off with Easter and what the holiday and time of year means to him, he says, “Easter for me means faith in the hope of Jesus in our lives, even when we struggle. Easter faith shows us the goal of human life, happiness with God, hope reaches out towards God, and love unites us to God. This is also a literal interpretation that life is difficult but uniting ourselves in the Paschal mystery we will know ultimate happiness in God.”

I asked whether the iconic Three O’Clock Prayer, commonly said everyday at the end of a long day at Central and familiar among the students, had any significance to the time Christ died on the cross. He said, “The 3 ‘o’clock prayer has significance in standing courageously with others during times of suffering. In standing in unity together we know we can overcome struggles together.”

Standing in unity has always been of great importance to the Marianists. Fr. Sean shared some things that the Marianists do during the Easter Triduum, while also keeping their safe distances. “Marianists during this time will gather for the Triduum celebrations in the communities we live in. Holy Thursday we will share a meal together, then celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s supper. Good Friday will be a day for quiet prayer. At 3 o’clock we will celebrate the Passion of the Lord together. It will be a very simple meal together. Saturday we will pray Holy Saturday Lauds (morning prayer) and Vespers (evening prayer) together. Saturday will be a day of silent prayer for the Marianist community where I live. Then on Easter Sunday we will celebrate Mass together and will have a festive dinner in the evening.”

Recent debates in the Constitution and recently, Governor Abbott granted permission for Churches and temples to continue public worship practices, but locally Judge Nelson Wolff and Mayor Ron Nirenberg have suggested that these places refrain from opening to the public during this time. Fr. Sean had this to say: “As much as I believe in the power of being personally present to each other, we have to be careful until the pandemic is over. I believe God wants us to protect human life so for the time being it is important to stay home and stream Masses. Eventually, the joyful day will come where we can be present to each other in school and church.”