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State Chaplain 2017 - 2018

Picture of Rev Kenney St. Hilaire

Rev Kenneth St. Hilaire

April 2018  

Happy Easter! Christ is risen! Alleluia!

Holy Week, the Paschal Triduum and the Octave of Easter can be something of an emotional roller coaster, at least for me. The beautiful, impactful liturgies of these two weeks bring me from the exhilaration of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem to the stark reality of His Passion, from a deep sense of gratitude for the Eucharist and the priesthood to a sobering acknowledgement of my responsibility for Jesus’ pain, from the heaviness of the night to the warmth and joy of standing in a church bathed in the glow of candlelight.

Easter morning brings a particular excitement, seeing the church packed with people dressed in their nicest clothes and wearing smiles all around. The energy in the assembly is palpable. I try to keep the “momentum” going all throughout the Octave.

The Sunday after Easter––we’ve all been there––the crowds have disappeared. The once-or-twice-a-year church-goers have retreated back to their homes. And while the joy of Easter still lingers in the atmosphere, I always feel a tinge of sadness that there was nothing about the celebration of Easter Sunday to draw these occasional Catholics into a more regular practice of their faith.

Perhaps I am to blame. Maybe I wasn’t warm enough in my welcome. Did I come across as accusatory when in my homily I encouraged them to rediscover the importance of Sunday Mass in their lives? I probably should have given the regular parishioners a reminder earlier to be deliberate about reaching out to people with unfamiliar faces.

I suppose a big part of the problem is something I can be guilty of myself from time to time. Instead of thirsting for a deeper and deeper experience of life in the Spirit, I can succumb to the temptation to look only for the minimum that is required of me.  Some may think, “As long as I go to church on Christmas and Easter, I’m doing what’s required.” I may think, “As long as I’m celebrating Mass and hearing confessions and keeping all my appointments, I’m in good shape.” Is that really it?

The precepts of the Church (see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 2041-2043) are laid out as “the very necessary minimum” for the living of our life in Christ. So, while some see them as goals to shoot for (participation in Mass every Sunday and holy day of obligation, yearly confession, yearly Eucharist, abstinence and fasting during Lent, and material support of the Church), the Church sees them as the sine qua non––the bare minimum required for spiritual life.

The minimalist mentality can creep in everywhere: at home, at work, in relationships and in organizations like ours. How many brother Knights do we know who pay their annual dues but have no other involvement with the Order? Granted, some are in this situation out of necessity. But there are many others who simply don’t feel the motivation to do any more than that. They are satisfied with doing the minimum. This spirit of minimalism is like poison, not only in the Church but wherever it is found. It stifles the Holy Spirit, who invites us to the fullness of joy. This Easter season, let’s ask God to renew in us the desire for more. And may our enthusiasm for the Faith be infectious!


 Vivat Jesus!


Fr. Kenneth St. Hilaire

State Chaplain