He is Risen – Right Here in Pittsburgh
Throughout the years, Easter has always been a time of high celebration for me. In the small church where I grew up, the Easter Even service was as well attended as Christmas Eve. We always gathered at 11:00 p.m., read the lessons, and had baptisms. The next day everyone returned for the great high Easter Eucharist, followed by a trip out to a parishioner's farm for an egg hunt. I recall that as a young acolyte, the year I was allowed to carry the cross for the Easter procession was a moment of indescribable joy.
Throughout my years as a parish priest, I always maintained that Easter Vigil. It never seemed we had as many people as had been the case in my childhood, but my memory may also be exaggerated. After I became a bishop, I made sure to schedule myself on Easter Even where I knew there would be a good celebration. One church always has the readers of the lessons memorize them and do an oral interpretation. One year, five churches came together and I had 65 come forward for confirmation. Last year I went to Oakmont for the Easter Vigil and this year I will be in Indiana. Both years I am at the Cathedral for Easter Day.
Even though those Easter commemorations of years past still stand out prominently in my memory, I can honestly say that this year I am feeling more joy than ever before. I was blessed to join with my fellow bishops and leaders from many denominations on Holy Saturday morning on Mount Washington to bless this city I now call home. Our Presiding Bishop's visit on Holy Tuesday was a blessing that lifted me to great heights. Standing next to her and renewing my vows with the clergy that I have come to love so deeply had great meaning. One reason I was so moved is that I have now visited with almost all the clergy in their own regular places of worship and witnessed a profound and overwhelming sense of joy and excitement at being able to share in the resurrection of our Lord.
It is a fact that this diocese has been through a difficult period. However, the disappearance of dwelling on the hurt and pain is abundantly evident. In many ways, the Diocese of Pittsburgh walked through its week of Passion a few years ago, and now it is truly in a time of resurrection. In some ways we are like the women at the tomb who, although they were overcome with joy at what they found, were still a bit unsure of what the future would bring. In other ways we are like the disciples who came together and took council in Jerusalem after the Resurrection and asked of themselves, "What do we do now?" We seem to have an awful lot of meetings here in Pittsburgh, but a common thread among them all is the joy in discovering the opportunities that lie before us.
My heart is rejoicing this Easter in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, for the joy of resurrection is very abundant. As we all come together in our many places of worship this Easter Sunday, let's take a moment to pray a prayer of thanksgiving for each other, and for the presence of the Risen Lord among us.
Jesus Christ is Risen indeed!
The Rt. Rev. Kenneth L. Price, Jr.