Sun staff reports
The Sun and the diocese asked several individuals from around the diocese to share how they celebrated this Holy Week and Easter. Here are a few of their responses. Share your celebrations with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/SyrCatholicSun.
Morgan Durfee, program coordinator in the Office of Family/Respect Life Ministry, celebrated Palm Sunday with her husband Daniel and son Joseph. The day’s theme was red: “We all wore red, we ate red things, we switched out our decor to red items. Why? As it is a feast and the end of Lent/beginning of Holy Week, where we especially remember Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection, our liturgical color changes to red, symbolizing the Blood of Jesus.” The family broke their Lenten fast from sweets with strawberries and waffles and for dinner had enchiladas with red sauce. They ended the day by watching a livestreamed Mass and a “procession”— a walk around the neighborhood.
In a video shared with the Office of Evangelization, the Prowak family explained that “Not being able to go to church leaves us feeling like something is missing. So here’s what we decided to do: make our front door into stained glass.” The family outlined on their door an image of the cross in painter’s tape, then surrounded it with additional pieces of tape to create shapes similar to those in stained glass. After painting the shapes in various colors, the artists removed the tape to reveal the unique art. “Our friends thought it was a good idea too,” the Prowaks report — several of their neighbors have also created the stained-glass effect on their doors.
Kathleen and David Cizenski, of Our Lady of Hope Parish in Syracuse, are examples of resourceful faithfulness. David is of Polish descent, so in normal times they take their Easter basket to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Syracuse and have their food blessed. Then on Easter morning the tray of blessed food is passed around to all the members of the family. But amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Kathleen said, “maybe we can make a little blessed plate for each of our family members and just drop it off on their doorstep.”
On their big TV, she and David watch Father Christopher Ballard’s Mass that he streams on Facebook. “It’s great,” Kathleen said. “I feel like I’m there. I feel like I’m at morning Mass, like I always am. … He’s got the whole altar and it’s great. It’s just so comforting.” She noted that if 9 a.m. is not open for them, they can watch the recorded Mass at a different time of the day. She also tuned in to Father Ballard having his head shaved for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which funds grants for research on childhood cancer.
Also tuning in to virtual Masses is Rosemary Dacko of Our Lady of Hope Parish. Her husband, Zenon, is a parishioner at St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in Syracuse, and they have watched those virtual Masses in addition to Father Ballard’s Masses and Stations of the Cross. They also have been watching EWTN for the Mass and the rosary. Rosemary and Zenon take care of their little chores in the morning and then watch the Mass and the rosary recitation — “togetherness in our virtual pews.”
The Dackos’ traditions include attending the Easter Vigil Mass at Our Lady of Hope. Then, in normal times, relatives host the whole family for a Ukrainian breakfast. But this year it’s different for Rosemary’s family, which includes a son and daughter in Syracuse, two daughters in Rochester, and one daughter in Brooklyn. After Mass on Easter morning, one of the Dackos’ daughters planned to connect everyone on Zoom and have “breakfast together, sort of.” That includes Ukrainian relatives living in Poland, in the spirit of “worldwide togetherness.”
“It’ll be something on Easter even if we have to let go of quite a few of our fun times like Easter egg hunts and passing around foods at a table and all together,” Rosemary said. “We’ll forgo those things but we’ll find joy in what we CAN do together on Easter. … We’re going to do everything that we can to continue our prayers and our joy on Easter morning.”