Introducing the “Star of the North” newsletter!
Click here for the first edition, March 2015
Bishop Mark Hagemoen’s Holy Week
Easter 2015 Message
Dear brother Priests, Religious, and Lay Faithful of the Diocese of Mackenzie-Fort Smith
Greetings to you all!! The lengthening Spring days are upon us here in the North. All over this vast territory, people are expressing gratitude for the sun and for the light.
The Holy Week and Easter season is upon us, when we confront how the Creator’s Light infuses all darkness, and reminds us of the ever-bearing hope that God’s love and light will conquer all obstacles to human flourishing.
I am reminded and inspired about this time of hope and new life as I recall the famous words of the great St. John Chrysostom in his Easter message:
First and last alike, receive your reward.
Rich and poor, rejoice together!
Conscientious and lazy, celebrate the day!
You who have kept the fast, and you who have not,
rejoice, this day, for the table is bountifully spread!
Let no one grieve being poor,
for the universal reign has been revealed.
Let no one lament persistent failings, for forgiveness
has risen from the grave.
Let no one fear death, for the death of our Saviour
has set us free.
The Lord has destroyed death by enduring it.
The Lord vanquished hell when he descended into it.
The Lord put hell in turmoil even as it tasted of his flesh.
Isaiah foretold this when he said, “You, O Hell, were
placed in turmoil when he encountering you below.”
O death, where is your sting? O hell, where is your victory?
Christ is risen, and you are cast down! Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!
We prepare to again celebrate the anniversary of the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ – the little and vulnerable One who comes at Christmas shows the world a new and ultimate strength, and who will be a true ‘king’ who ‘saves’ all people. God’s vision for shalom and a true community of nations united in love may seem to be impossible in a world which, despite tremendous blessing and advancement, experiences widespread division and brokenness, and is capable of great injury and destruction. Yet, the Saviour does not waver in showing us a new and ultimate way – indeed His light will illumine the greatest darkness! His is a Light of blessing, respect, compassion, service, sacrifice, and love. May His way show us all the way we need to find together.
Thank you all so much for your support and openness to me as your Bishop. I again state that this is a land of great wonder and blessing – yet the greatest blessing is the people!!!
I thank God for the opportunity to serve His Church – His People. I also thank the many priests, religious, lay men and women – who show me what it means to have a generous heart and a servant spirit.
Sincerely in Christ,
Bishop, Mackenzie-Fort Smith