“This is the day the lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad. The lord is risen, Alleluia, Alleluia. If we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also rise with Him to new life.”

As we celebrate Easter once again, we celebrate the new life, new faith, new hope, and new love in our own individual lives,but we also celebrate the new life in our Catholic Church. We have been blessed with a new Holy Father, Pope Francis, Vicar of Christ on earth.  And for the first time,our new Pope comes from Latin America, where so many of our Catholic brothers and sisters live.

And in the historic Archdiocese of Portland, we welcome our 11th Archbishop after more than 167 years. Our new archbishop comes to us from Marquette, Mich., and at age 52 is the youngest archbishop in our nation.

A new pope and a new archbishop at this holy time of Easter. Easter is about new life and new people, the People of God. It’s about our people who come into the Church on Easter through the sacraments of initiation into the mysteries of faith. Catechumens and candidates for baptism, confirmation and Eucharist, have been on long journeys of faith and preparation for full membership  in the Church at Easter.

But there are many others preparing for one or more of our initiation sacraments — children preparing for their first Communion, our youth preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Easter season, and parents and infants preparing for Baptism all year long.

During Lent,our Catholic people prepare for Easter through the sacraments of healing, reconciliation  (confession) and the anointing of the sick and elderly. And the Easter season is the normal time to prepare for the two “vocation” sacraments - matrimony and holy orders.

The climax of the Church’s year of grace is Easter, an appropriate time to celebrate the sacraments Jesus has instituted to share His risen life with us. Jesus suffered, died and rose from the dead that we might have new and abundant life, the sacramental life of the Church.

A new pope, a new archbishop, a new people — our clergy and lay people,young and old, long­ time Catholics and our new Catholics, returning Catholics and those we need to pray for and reach out to — all coming to new life this Easter, all celebrating their faith in a new and deeper way, all called to love and serve,to prayer and ministry in the Church.

The lord is risen and we have been raised up to new life this Easter. Let us pray for our new Holy Father and our new shepherd,our new Catholics, our first Communicants and Confirmands, our new deacons and priests and Religious, and let us pray for one another, as we all begin a new part of our Lenten and Easter journeys of faith and love as God’s holy people.