Easter Sunday


Jn 20:1-9

On the first day of the week,
Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark, 
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter 
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, 
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb, 
and we don’t know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter 
and arrived at the tomb first; 
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him, 
he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, 
and the cloth that had covered his head, 
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in, 
the one who had arrived at the tomb first, 
and he saw and believed.
For they did not yet understand the Scripture 
that he had to rise from the dead.


Happy Easter! He is Risen as He said, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

This Easter feels very different than last Easter, and today we celebrate in a very concrete way the joy of the Resurrection, making all things new. Last Easter we were beginning to understand the devastating effects of the Covid-19 virus and entering into the safety of the lockdown and need for social distancing. This Easter, it feels as if we are able to slowly reemerge from the tomb-like lock down and rejoice in the mystery of the Paschal events in which Christ has conquered death once and for all, and all sorrow and sadness is dispelled.

Mary Magdalene, the first to discover the empty tomb, is an example of true and authentic evangelization, that is, an evangelizer who proclaims the joyful central message of Easter; sin and death no longer have any hold on us. 

We, in the American National Catholic Church, see in Mary Magdalene a model of love and faithfulness that leads us to run to others and proclaim Christ is alive in our world. We pray we may grow with the unfolding grace of that realization throughout the Eastertide.


During this Easter season let us try and be like Mary Magdalene and point others to the empty tomb as witness to Christ alive in our world.

Bishop George Lucey, FCM

Presiding Bishop

American National Catholic Church

Published in: on April 4, 2021 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Holy Saturday / Easter Vigil


Mark 16:1-7

When the sabbath was over, 
Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome 
bought spices so that they might go and anoint him.
Very early when the sun had risen,
on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb.
They were saying to one another, 
“Who will roll back the stone for us
from the entrance to the tomb?”
When they looked up,
they saw that the stone had been rolled back;
it was very large.
On entering the tomb they saw a young man
sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe,
and they were utterly amazed.
He said to them, “Do not be amazed!
You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified.
He has been raised; he is not here.
Behold the place where they laid him.
But go and tell his disciples and Peter, 
‘He is going before you to Galilee; 
there you will see him, as he told you.’”


In many cultures, this day is known as a Day of Silence and/or Solitude. The entire church mourns with Mary and the apostles the death of the beloved. The feeling of desperation and emptiness that may be expressed in the words of St. John of the Cross: “Where have you hidden, Beloved, and left me moaning? You fled like the stag after wounding me; I went out calling you, but you were gone.”. When Jesus died in the cross, the hope of many died with him and where some saw the light now see darkness. 

However, this day is not the end because out the darkness the splendor of the light rises and the hope is restored. “The sanctifying power of this night dispels all wickedness, washes faults away, restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners, drives out hatred, fosters concord, and brings down the mighty.” (The Exulted: The Proclamation of Easter) Our Lord Jesus Christ’s resurrection restores the lost hope, and the solitude and silence become a laud canticle of joy where the beloved reunites with his lover.

“O guiding night! O night more lovely than the dawn! O night that has united the Lover with his beloved, transforming the beloved in her Lover.” (.St. John of the Cross)

Action Item

Let us pray for all of those who had lost hope in life, that the risen Lord who transforms our lives and dares us to enact his love for all and bring his peace guide us and show us the way to remove all desperation.

Fr. Julian Garcia-Londono

Associate Pastor, St. Anthony of Padua ANCC

Published in: on April 3, 2021 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Good Friday

To read this reflection in English, click here

Lectura II

Hebreos 4: 14-16; 5: 7-9

Hermanos y hermanas:

Puesto que tenemos un gran sumo sacerdote que traspasó los cielos, Jesús, el Hijo de Dios, retengamos nuestra confesión. Porque no tenemos un sumo sacerdote que es incapaz de compadecerse de nuestras debilidades, pero uno que ha sido probado de manera similar en todos los sentidos, pero sin pecado. Así que acerquémonos confiadamente al trono de la gracia para recibir misericordia y encontrar la gracia para recibir ayuda oportuna.

En los días en que Cristo estaba en la carne, ofreció oraciones y súplicas con fuertes gritos y lágrimas al que pudo salvarlo de la muerte, y fue escuchado por su reverencia. Aunque era hijo, aprendió la obediencia por lo que sufrió; y cuando fue perfeccionado, se convirtió en la fuente de salvación eterna para todos los que le obedecen.


La cruz es el símbolo más universalmente reconocido que conocemos. Es un símbolo del perdón de Dios. Nos despierta la conciencia de nuestra fragilidad humana y nuestra necesidad de ser perdonados. La contrición, el arrepentimiento y la reparación son nuestras respuestas a nuestra pecaminosidad. Pero el perdón necesita más que eso. Necesitamos que Jesús, el Hijo de Dios, muriera en la cruz por nosotros para que pudiéramos conocer el perdón de Dios. Hoy, arrodillémonos al pie de su cruz y oremos profundamente en nuestras almas por el perdón de nuestros pecados.

Fr. Bernardo Cardona

Published in: on April 2, 2021 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Holy Thursday


Jn 13:1-15

Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come
to pass from this world to the Father.
He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.
The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over.
So, during supper, 
fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power 
and that he had come from God and was returning to God, 
he rose from supper and took off his outer garments.
He took a towel and tied it around his waist.
Then he poured water into a basin 
and began to wash the disciples’ feet 
and dry them with the towel around his waist.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, 
“Master, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“What I am doing, you do not understand now,
but you will understand later.”
Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered him, 
“Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.”
Simon Peter said to him, 
“Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.”
Jesus said to him, 
“Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed,
     for he is clean all over; 
so you are clean, but not all.”
For he knew who would betray him;
for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

So when he had washed their feet 
and put his garments back on and reclined at table again, 
he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you?
You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’  and rightly so, for indeed I am.
If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, 
you ought to wash one another’s feet.
I have given you a model to follow, 
so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”


“As I have done for you, you should also.”  Today marks Jesus’ holy penultimate day of earthly life.  On this day, Jesus left his disciples with two very important examples; washing his disciples’ feet and establishing his last supper as our promise to continue this gift of communion. Just before his last supper with his friends, he reminds his disciples of the origin of his authority and explains that we should mirror his example.  He is showing us that as our master and teacher we should be humble enough to perform the lowest of tasks for the love of his disciples who represent our neighbors.  He is more than just our master and teacher; he is our connection to his and our heavenly Father.  As our father, what would he not do for us.  Jesus is inviting us to all join in loving union and service to one another.  As we commemorate his last supper at each Mass, we are nourished and sustained.


Humble service and prayer. On this holy day, search your heart.  Will you figuratively wash the dirt from your neighbor’s heart and allow them to do the same to you so that we all can enter our heavenly home together with clean and open hearts?  As you hear the story of Christ’s Passion, listen for Jesus’ words of love for us and his desire for us to be with him and his father forever.  Let us pray:  “Jesus, your feast we celebrate, we show your death, we sing your name, till you return and we shall eat the marriage supper of the Lamb.” (O Salutaris Hostia)

Rev. Fr. John Bye-Torre

Pastor, St. Stephen’s ANCC

Published in: on April 1, 2021 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday of Holy Week

What is “Spy Wednesday”?

Before Jesus celebrated the Passover, a “spy” went out to betray him.

As the days of Holy Week move forward, various events occur that directly lead to what will take place on Good Friday. Among these events was the fateful betrayal of Jesus by one of his own disciples.

Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him. (Matthew 26:14-16)

This action by Judas earned him the title of “spy” by medieval Christians, in accord with the traditional definition of the English word, “one who keeps secret watch on a person or thing to obtain information.

From Wednesday onward, Judas secretly watched for a chance to turn Jesus over to the chief priests, and so many Christians labeled this day as “Spy Wednesday.”

In the same vein various cultures reflected the somber mood of this day by calling it “Black Wednesday” or “Wednesday of Shadows,” which also corresponds to the liturgical rite of Tenebrae that is celebrated on this day.

It is also called “Silent Wednesday,” as the Gospels do not record any activities in the life of Jesus. The only event is the secret meeting of Judas with the chief priests.

Wednesday’s events usher in the final days of Jesus’ life on earth and directly lead to the sacrifice of Jesus on Good Friday.


Published in: on March 31, 2021 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Tuesday of Holy Week

Reading I

Is 49:1-6

Hear me, O islands,
    listen, O distant peoples.
The LORD called me from birth,
    from my mother’s womb he gave me my name.
He made of me a sharp-edged sword
    and concealed me in the shadow of his arm.
He made me a polished arrow,
    in his quiver he hid me.
You are my servant, he said to me,
    Israel, through whom I show my glory.

Though I thought I had toiled in vain,
    and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength,
Yet my reward is with the LORD,
    my recompense is with my God.
For now the LORD has spoken
    who formed me as his servant from the womb,
That Jacob may be brought back to him
    and Israel gathered to him;
And I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD,
    and my God is now my strength!
It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant,
    to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
    and restore the survivors of Israel;
I will make you a light to the nations,
    that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.


The faithfulness seen in this reading from today’s liturgy is inspiring in many ways. In it, we hear the confident voice claiming how God was purposeful in the creation and mission of the prophet. The Lord “called me from birth” and “gave me my name.” God “formed me as his servant from the womb” and says, “I will make you a light to the nations.”

Sometimes it is easy to forget that God has created us, sent us here with a special calling – our vocation in this world. The world can easily work to convince us that we are a happy accident of sorts. A random occurrence with no purpose or meaning. But that is not so!

Today’s reading is a reminder to you and to me that we are here for a purpose. We have been called into being and baptized into a way of life as followers of Christ. As we begin to wrap up our Lenten season and approach the joys of Easter in Holy Week, it is only natural that we become reflective on our Lenten journey. How did we fall short? Did we keep to our fasts? Did we embrace those things that we promised ourselves that we would – daily prayer, frequent reading of the scriptures, setting aside gossip and worry, being more patient and kind? As we arrive at the end days of this season, we may be feeling as though we have not done as much as we had wished. That’s okay! We were created for a mission and way of life and it is never too late with God! Each day is a new opportunity to be more faithful and embrace the life that God calls us to. Our God is patient, loving and kind and is always excited to receive us. Remember the life to which you have been called, and if you have not been as successful as you would life on embracing that path, be joyous in the knowledge that you can begin today!

Action Step:

Reflect on those things have you “done” and “left undone” this Lent that you would like to change. What can you do today, to embrace a different path?

Very Rev. Matthew R. Bailey, FCM
Vicar General, American National Catholic Church
Pastor, St. Joseph of Arimathea ANCC, Orange, CT

Published in: on March 30, 2021 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday of Holy Week

“The Straw Hat” by Nikos Lytras. 1925. Public domain


Jn 12:1-11

Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany,
where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served,
while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him. 
Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil
made from genuine aromatic nard
and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair;
the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. 
Then Judas the Iscariot, one of his disciples,
and the one who would betray him, said,
“Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages
and given to the poor?”
He said this not because he cared about the poor
but because he was a thief and held the money bag
and used to steal the contributions.
So Jesus said, “Leave her alone.
Let her keep this for the day of my burial.
You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”

The large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came,
not only because of him, but also to see Lazarus,
whom he had raised from the dead.
And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too,
because many of the Jews were turning away
and believing in Jesus because of him.


The closer we get to Good Friday and Easter day, the more we see instances of Jesus’ followers who are women receiving understanding before those who are men. Here we see Mary anointing Jesus with oil just before he heads towards Jerusalem, and as Jesus points out it will be suitable for anointing his body, sooner than most of them realize. At the crucifixion, we read how many of the women were present and weeping. And on Easter day, it is the women who are the first to discover that Jesus is no longer in the tomb, and indeed they also are his first human followers to proclaim his resurrection.

In the American National Catholic Church, women, both lay and ordained clergy, continue these traditions and are finding new ways to revitalize our church everyday.


Think of the women in your life who have made the biggest spiritual impact on you. As you work through these days of Holy Week, towards Easter day and beyond, what might they recommend you to do as a spiritual practice to become closer to God this week? Try to put those into action, and make sure to thank them either vocally or in your prayers for the ways they have brought you closer to God.

Finally, if you know of any woman who has expressed that the Holy Spirit is calling her to serve God’s people through ordained ministry, please encourage her, pray for her, and recommend her to our discernment team in the ANCC at vocations@ANCCmail.org. We need holy women leading us to follow a path close to Jesus’ heart, just like we see in the scripture today!

William Weightman

Seminarian, St. Katherine Drexel

Published in: on March 29, 2021 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion


Mk 15:1-39

As soon as morning came, 
the chief priests with the elders and the scribes, 
that is, the whole Sanhedrin held a council.
They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate.
Pilate questioned him,
“Are you the king of the Jews?”
He said to him in reply, “You say so.”
The chief priests accused him of many things.
Again Pilate questioned him,
“Have you no answer?
See how many things they accuse you of.”
Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.

Now on the occasion of the feast he used to release to them
one prisoner whom they requested.
A man called Barabbas was then in prison 
along with the rebels who had committed murder in a rebellion.
The crowd came forward and began to ask him
to do for them as he was accustomed.
Pilate answered, 
“Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?”
For he knew that it was out of envy 
that the chief priests had handed him over.
But the chief priests stirred up the crowd 
to have him release Barabbas for them instead.
Pilate again said to them in reply,
“Then what do you want me to do 
with the man you call the king of the Jews?”
They shouted again, “Crucify him.”
Pilate said to them, “Why?  What evil has he done?”
They only shouted the louder, “Crucify him.”
So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd,
released Barabbas to them and, after he had Jesus scourged,
handed him over to be crucified.

The soldiers led him away inside the palace, 
that is, the praetorium, and assembled the whole cohort.
They clothed him in purple and, 
weaving a crown of thorns, placed it on him.
They began to salute him with, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 
and kept striking his head with a reed and spitting upon him.
They knelt before him in homage.
And when they had mocked him,
they stripped him of the purple cloak,
dressed him in his own clothes,
and led him out to crucify him.

They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon,
a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country,
the father of Alexander and Rufus,
to carry his cross.

They brought him to the place of Golgotha
—which is translated Place of the Skull —
They gave him wine drugged with myrrh,
but he did not take it.
Then they crucified him and divided his garments 
by casting lots for them to see what each should take.
It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him.
The inscription of the charge against him read,
“The King of the Jews.”
With him they crucified two revolutionaries, 
one on his right and one on his left.
Those passing by reviled him,
shaking their heads and saying,
“Aha!  You who would destroy the temple
and rebuild it in three days,
save yourself by coming down from the cross.”
Likewise the chief priests, with the scribes, 
mocked him among themselves and said, 
“He saved others; he cannot save himself.
Let the Christ, the King of Israel,
come down now from the cross
that we may see and believe.”
Those who were crucified with him also kept abusing him.

At noon darkness came over the whole land
until three in the afternoon.
And at three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 
Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?
which is translated,
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Some of the bystanders who heard it said, 
“Look, he is calling Elijah.”
One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed 
and gave it to him to drink saying, 
“Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down.”
Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.

        Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.
When the centurion who stood facing him
saw how he breathed his last he said, 
“Truly this man was the Son of God!”


The journey into Holy Week is one of exuberant entry into Jerusalem, despair on Golgotha, and triumphant rebirth.  Compressed into these next few days is the entire rhythm of the race and of each human being.

Today we read Mark’s account of Jesus’s ignominious death on the Cross.  It’s a familiar story.  We’ve heard it many times before, and of course we know its glorious Easter ending, the miraculous event that serves as the bedrock of our faith.

But let me encourage you, as best you can, to try to forget the story’s happy ending.  Do your best throughout the next few days to stay with Holy Week in “real time,” not looking ahead or anticipating events.  Be with the Lord and his disciples as each moment unfolds. 

Only in this way can we appreciate how the disciples felt and reacted during the week that changed the world forever.  Only in this way can we experientially participate in, rather than merely observing from a spectator’s booth, Holy Week.

By staying in the moment throughout this week, we witness to our faith that our lives, history, and the entire cosmos are purposeful because created and lovingly shepherded by God.  We may not know what the immediate, much less distant, future holds for us as individuals.  But we believe that God has a plan which culminates in our fulfillment. 

And so we continue, one step at a time, from moment to moment of Holy Week and throughout our entire lives, trusting that despite any sorrow along the way it leads to God.  As Saint John Henry Newman once wrote,

Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom;
Lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home;
Lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene – one step enough for me. 


In Jesus time, it was customary to offer a gift whenever a king entered a city.  What gift will you give to King Jesus today?

Fr. Kerry Walters

Pastor, Holy Spirit ANCC

Published in: on March 28, 2021 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent


Jn 11:45-56

Many of the Jews who had come to Mary
and seen what Jesus had done began to believe in him.
But some of them went to the Pharisees
and told them what Jesus had done. 
So the chief priests and the Pharisees
convened the Sanhedrin and said,
“What are we going to do? 
This man is performing many signs.
If we leave him alone, all will believe in him,
and the Romans will come
and take away both our land and our nation.”
But one of them, Caiaphas,
who was high priest that year, said to them,
“You know nothing,
nor do you consider that it is better for you
that one man should die instead of the people,
so that the whole nation may not perish.”
He did not say this on his own,
but since he was high priest for that year,
he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation,
and not only for the nation,
but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God.
So from that day on they planned to kill him.

So Jesus no longer walked about in public among the Jews,
but he left for the region near the desert,
to a town called Ephraim,
and there he remained with his disciples.

Now the Passover of the Jews was near,
and many went up from the country to Jerusalem
before Passover to purify themselves.
They looked for Jesus and said to one another
as they were in the temple area, “What do you think?
That he will not come to the feast?”


In the first part of chapter 11 in St. John’s Gospel, we hear about the raising of Lazarus from the dead.  This fantastic miracle was Jesus’s public evidence of the truth of His great claim, “I am the Resurrection and the Life.”  In today’s gospel which follows the miracle, we hear about the two ways in which people react to Jesus.  One way is to believe that He is the Son of God.  The people trusted Him.  He came to conquer death, and death is the result of sin.  The second way to react is to reject Jesus.  The people were either hardened by sin or confused and went to the Pharisees.  A meeting of the Sanhedrin was called and the result was to have Jesus killed.  


To believe in Jesus and follow Him or to hate Him and reject Him.  What is my and your response to be?  It is easy to say we believe, but do we really show it by what we say and do?  That is a question we need to ask ourselves.  

Fr. Tony Testa

Pastor, Our Lady of Guadalupe ANCC

Published in: on March 27, 2021 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent


Jn 10:31-42

The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus.
Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father.
For which of these are you trying to stone me?”
The Jews answered him,
“We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy.
You, a man, are making yourself God.”
Jesus answered them,
“Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, ‘You are gods”‘? 
If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came,
and Scripture cannot be set aside,
can you say that the one
whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world
blasphemes because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 
If I do not perform my Father’s works, do not believe me;
but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me,
believe the works, so that you may realize and understand
that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”
Then they tried again to arrest him;
but he escaped from their power.

He went back across the Jordan
to the place where John first baptized, and there he remained. 
Many came to him and said,
“John performed no sign,
but everything John said about this man was true.”
And many there began to believe in him.


Whenever we see people either throwing stones in scripture, or attempting to do so, we feel an innate anxiety and frankly, horror around the cruelty of such actions.  In the Old Testament, stoning was the way people were punished or even executed for committing crimes, so this was a norm.  In the case of this gospel from John, Jesus was accused of blasphemy, mainly putting himself out there as God while folks knew that he was human, not understanding that he could be both.

We know, of course, that earlier in John’s gospel, Jesus saves a woman from stoning and famously says, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”  So, despite the woman’s alleged sin, Jesus, filled with compassion, saves her.  In both situations, though, there was an attempt to entrap Jesus and we know, of course, that ultimately Jesus is betrayed and arrested – but not this time.

In reflection on this story, one has to wonder how is it that Jesus escapes from these folks?  How does Jesus allude them?  And in imagining exactly how he might accomplish that, what I know is that he frequently seems to recede to a safe place, in this case, across the Jordan – the site of his baptism and with those people surrounding him who are affirming, who see the signs for what they are, with those he loved and who loved him. 

If you haven’t found your safe space to contemplate on your relationship with God during this Lenten season, we are heading into Holy Week with new and profound opportunities to live and walk alongside Jesus just as he walks among us.  Look for your safe spaces – maybe it’s prayer or meditation or contemplation and consider the way Jesus must have been living in the world towards the end of his human life.  We know he was in agony at times.  We know he was prayerful and we know that he remained compassionate and wise, trying to teach us all of the goodness in life.  I recently engaged in a practice of finding words that describe my own image of God and then considering whether or not I could consider those same adjectives as descriptors for myself.  I have work to do on that!  How would you describe your God?  If your God is a punishing God, are you also punishing?  If your God is loving and compassionate, are you also loving and compassionate?  Let’s all take this next week to consider our safe spaces to walk with Jesus and how we might use them in truly walking alongside Jesus.

Mthr. Cheryl Smith

St. Joseph of Arimathea ANCC

Published in: on March 26, 2021 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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