Fr. Mark-Mary relates a story about the CFR founder Fr. Andrew Apostoli’s last days, to convey the good that can come from going without Mass this Easter.
One morning, then-Brother Mark-Mary heard Mass bells at 5:30 in the morning. But they weren’t for a consecration. In his final days, Fr. Andrew was given the bells to ring when he needed something. Subsequently, there were no bells for Mass. With the little bit of strength he had left, Fr. Andrew would ring the bells to call for help when he needed it. Br. Mark-Mary was so used to hearing the bells at Mass, though, that when he heard Fr. Andrew ring them, Br. Mark-Mary would think of the Mass. Likewise, when he didn’t hear the bells at Mass, he thought of Fr. Andrew.
The day Fr. Andrew passed away, the church bells rang to mark the eleventh hour at the exact moment of consecration during Mass. For that Mass, the bells returned as if to mark Fr. Andrew’s life as finally being complete.
In this quarantine, we are deprived of much more than bells, but perhaps this deprivation can make our experience even more profound when the sacraments return.
In this time, it’s like the friars don’t have access to their children, their spiritual children. Before the quarantine, Fr. Mark-Mary celebrated Mass with the Sisters of Life in their convent. Now he can’t. The thought of being reunited with them keeps him going.
This deprivation is not forever. When we are reunited with our Lord, think of how sweet it will be. It won’t be unlike when we will be reunited with God in heaven. Think of this pandemic as the Paschal Mystery, since it is similar to how we can’t receive the sacraments on Good Friday. Let us, therefore, look forward to the Resurrection because it will come.
Meet Fr. Mark-Mary
Father Mark-Mary was ordained as a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal (CFR) in 2018 and lives at a friary in the Bronx.
The mission of the CFRs is to wholeheartedly embrace Jesus through fidelity to the Church and her Sacraments. Paired with their commitment to prayer, contemplation, and study of Sacred Scripture, the CFRs serve those around them, especially the poor, in the footsteps of Christ.
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