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Joy! We need to know how to find it

It’s spring! For those of us who live in Michigan, the easing of bitter cold, the lengthening of days and the hint of green’s return are reasons enough for joy and thanksgiving. We rejoice at the release of winter’s grasp on our lives, and anticipate the warmth and color of summer.

We also rejoice at the end of Lent and the dawn of the season of Resurrection. After Mass on Easter morning, children everywhere will exclaim happily over their colorful baskets and chocolate bunnies. Perhaps their parents will have a moment to savor a cup of morning coffee and the glimpse of a sunrise. These too are little bits of everyday joy that are part of all of our lives – as long as we know how to look for them.

As a priest, I am often invited to be part of some of the most joyful events in people’s lives. I have been blessed to celebrate the sacrament of marriage with many young couples who are just beginning their partnerships and their adult lives – and also with some not-so-young couples, who are rejoicing in a second chance at the joy that comes only from love. In this issue, Jim and Marilyn Rhadigan, who supported each other through the grief of widowhood, tell us a little bit about how they found love a second time.

Father Terry Dumas has experienced several “second chances” in his own vocation story. From husband to father, to priest, to retirement – Father Terry has learned a lot along the way and shares his wisdom with all of us.

And one of my own parishioners, Linda Hundt, lights up our cover this month with her infectious joy. Linda has had some difficult times and some moments that were close to despair, but yet her smile brightens the day of anyone she encounters. Linda also finds joy in giving – leftover pies from her bakery find their way into the hands, and mouths, of parishioners who may be going through tough times.

For some, those hard times may make it difficult to find joy. I recently helped a friend and colleague bury his son – within a year of losing his daughter-in-law and wife, as well. In moments of overwhelming grief, it may be hard to imagine where joy may be found. But as St. Paul says, now we see through a glass darkly; when we are with Christ, all will be clear to us. For those of us struggling to find joy, let us cling to that hope.

And of course, the bits of joy we find in our lives are simply reflections of the greater, deeper joy that Easter promises. For we who believe in the risen Christ, there is a profound joy in Jesus’ victory over death and in his assurances that we join him in that triumph. As Bishop Mengeling reminds us, “We are an Easter people, and Alleluia! is our song.” And so our journey in FAITH continues.