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From the Chapel — April 10: It is finished

Our Sunday Visitor chapel. Scott Richert photo

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“From the Chapel” is a series of short, daily reflections on life and faith in a time of uncertainty. As people across the world cope with the effects of the coronavirus — including the social isolation necessary to combat its spread — these reflections remind us of the hope that lies at the heart of the Gospel.

Four weeks ago, when I wrote the first of these “From the Chapel” posts, all of the office workers at OSV had transitioned to working from home, and Mass had come to an end in our chapel. Ten days later, when we decided to close the rest of the facility temporarily, Msgr. Campion removed the host from the tabernacle, and I extinguished the sanctuary light. The chapel has been dark, and the tabernacle empty, ever since.

Today, on Good Friday, Catholic churches around the world have joined our little chapel. In a normal year, the absence of his presence, indicated by the lack of that flickering flame, cuts deep. This year, it is almost unbearably heartbreaking.

Because even though we know that Christ will return to all of those tabernacles either tomorrow night at the Easter Vigil or on Sunday morning, we won’t be there to greet him. Through the wonders of modern technology, we will observe the sacred mysteries of the Easter liturgies through the internet and unite ourselves to the priests and bishops celebrating them. We will make our spiritual communions, and invite Christ into our hearts, and beg him never to allow us to be spiritually separated from him again.

But physically separated we will remain, until we can safely gather once more to celebrate Mass with one another. And until then, even though sanctuary candles will be lit with the new flame of Easter in churches across our country and around the world, our Chapel of the Holy Spirit at OSV will lie in darkness, awaiting the return of the light that will signal that Christ is, again, among us.

Maranatha. Come, Lord Jesus.

Scott P. Richert is publisher of OSV.

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