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A Message from Bishop Iffert

Easter 2024

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

He is risen! Happy Easter!

As I write this, I am remembering the story of an Easter Vigil Mass I did not see myself. A fellow seminarian shared the storythree decades ago. The parish he served that year made every effort to celebrate the Easter Vigil beautifully and everything had been arranged to minute detail. The brass was polished, the Blessing of the Fire was artfully carried out, the Liturgy of the Word was extended and powerfully proclaimed, the homily was a masterpiece. In fact, everything was nearly perfect until the moment the procession flowed toward the font to bless it for the celebration of Baptism. Suddenly all realized in horror that no one had remembered to fill the large font with water. What was to be the symbol of new, abundant life, sat empty and stonecold.

I am preparing this Easter greeting in the waning days of Lent as I meditate before an image of the Pieta. I imagine the Blessed Mother, holding her son and Savior in grief, trying to heave his body closer to her heart and hold the weight of him there. I realize that, as Jesus was placed in her arms, Mary likely felt the last warmth of his body ebb away. Felt that coldness and emptiness that all who grieve over the deathbed of a loved one come to know.

Until now, I have rarely spent such time in prayer wrestling with the cold inertness of the body of Jesus in death or imagining the process by which his embodied warmth and breath returned to the world in victory on Easter morning. In her poem, Descending Theology: The Resurrection, Mary Karr does just that. At the end of her meditation, exhilarated by imagined beats of the resurrected heart, she shares: “Now it’s your limbs he comes to fill, as warm water shatters at birth, rivering every way.”

Christ is risen! Victorious over the cold rigor of death, he comes to greet us in the lively warmth of his resurrected body. Like the Spring that warms the wintered earth so that the grain, once buried, might spring up green and fruitful, so Christ offers life to the cold places of our hearts and our world so that we might bear the fruit of the Kingdom of God.

Whether because of our carelessness or another’s, we are empty, even broken vessels. Like that stone cold font that stood unfilled, neglected and empty, we are incapable of restoring ourselves to life. But Christ, by the victory of his resurrection, calls us from the cold and fills our limbs. Like the font in which our newest brothers and sisters are baptized this Easter, Christ makes us cooperators and instruments in his life-giving mission.

This Easter, we will once again renew our baptismal promises and be sprinkled with the waters of baptism. May we allow Christ to restore us to life and make us whole.

May your Easter be blessed, and the Love of the Lord fill our lives with the warmth of love and the living water of the Holy Spirit. May our diocesan Church always witness to the power of the Resurrection and the grace that God has poured out upon us.

Yours in the Joy of the Resurrection,

Bishop John Iffert

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In the Diocese of Covington, before contracting the services of an extern (from outside the diocese) priest or deacon, man or woman religious, or lay person a request for verification in good standing must be submitted to the Chancery. Click here and you will be directed to the Chancery’s webpage where you can download and submit the proper form.

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The Archives of the Diocese of Covington offers assistance in obtaining sacramental records and other genealogical information.

New Beginnings is the diocese’s Separated and Divorced ministry. Click here for more information.

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