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Easter Hope and Joy to All!

Dear O’Dowd Students, Parents, Alumni, and Friends,

In this Easter season, and on this Holy Saturday, may you all be blessed with peace and joy, as we find collective hope in the promise of new life.

It seems especially fitting in recent weeks, as we have been sharing updates related to our community’s response to COVID-19, to consider the struggle and sacrifice of the Lenten season, one of penitential preparation for the coming of the Lord. I have been especially reflective regarding the consequences of faith in this environment.

The possibility of eternal life signified by Easter is among the most beautiful and revelatory events in the Catholic tradition, and for good reason. Jesus’ self-sacrifice on the cross offers all a new beginning. Grasping how life and salvation emerge from death, suffering, and seeming failure in life is among the greatest spiritual challenges in the Catholic faith. It is also perhaps a key form of wisdom we must grasp, in faith and life: the tremendous value of redemption and hope in the face of struggle, loss, and challenge.

Our world offers no end of economic, environmental, and social injustices for this creative struggle. The upending and loss brought on by COVID-19 has been acutely felt by everyone. We see our own families and neighbors impacted and are also moved by stories of those around the world similarly affected. In the midst of this indiscriminate pandemic, the horizon of hope may seem distant. While caving to despair and fear is tempting, the central message of Easter, what faith calls us to, is hope – to see the possibility past the suffering.

The long game of hope requires constructive response in the face of disruptive, destructive forces. The long game calls us to see and be “helpers,” those who continue to hold society together through acts of generosity, patience, and care in trying times. The long game, in short, calls us to “find God in all things,” recognizing and shining light on what is true, good, and beautiful, as agents of joy.

This Easter, may we all work hard to play the long game, remaining constructive and hopeful for the common good. Let us find the helpers and let us be the helpers. I have witnessed so many instances of this in our own O’Dowd community of educators, students, families, alumni, and friends in the past weeks. Despite our physical distance from one another, our community has embraced creative possibilities to remain connected and committed to one another and to our work. Donations to our Student Emergency Fund, students planning a “Lift Your Spirits Week,” seniors working with the school to re-envision end-of-year celebrations, and families and alumni reaching out with supportive notes – all of this fills me with hope.

My Easter joy for you and your families lies in constructive hope. Hope rooted in the creative forms of action that strengthen us and the common good through this time. Hope in the ways we remain connected with one another. Hope in the outpouring of support between friends, colleagues, and community. Hope in the infinite possibilities of grace that will emerge as we move together through this crisis.

May the Feast of the Resurrection fill you with hope and joy,

J.D. Childs President


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