GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (April 20, 2014) – Bishop David Walkowiak with the Diocese of Grand Rapids performed Easter services Sunday at the Cathedral of Saint Andrew. He said the strength of the Catholic Church in West Michigan is strong, adding that four adults were baptized at the Cathedral of Saint Andrew during Easter Vigil services on Saturday.
“It was a very, very joyous event, if you could have seen the look on the faces of these adults, as they accepted Christ and received the gift of faith, it was just a wonderful thing,” said Bishop Walkowiak.
Bishop Walkowiak said the Catholic Church appears to be growing. He pointed out that at the beginning of the season of Lent in March, at least 500 people throughout 11 West Michigan counties were welcomed into full communion. Then Easter Sunday, only standing room was left during mass.
“We are all wired for God; we all have this longing to be one with the Lord because really that is our destiny. Really that’s what Easter is all about: Jesus is our Lord and Savior and that God’s love is stronger than death, and stronger than anything we might encounter in this fallen world of ours,” explained Bishop Walkowiak.
Then while looking into the policies of His Holiness, the Bishop called Pope Francis “refreshing.”
“Pope Francis is fearless. I really have to admire him because first of all he lives the gospel so authentically, I think that’s why we’re attracted to him because we see somebody who practices what the gospel preaches,” said Bishop Walkowiak.
Noting how Pope Francis is concerned for the family, the Bishop commended the commission that is looking into the protection of children, especially those who were victims of abuse in the hands of a priest.
“What we’re finding is Francis has appointed some very strong and sharp people to take a look at, if you will, the operation and to reform it, and to make it even better in the service of God’s people,” said Bishop Walkowiak.
In other Easter celebrations, some members of the Blessed John Paul II Parish in Cedar Springs left for the Vatican City. They are going to witness the canonization ceremony of John Paul II, as he will be named Saint April 27.
Then earlier Sunday afternoon, a memorial was dedicated honoring Venerable Bishop Frederic Baraga, who was the founder of the Catholic Church in Grand Rapids. The memorial is close to his first chapel, which is located at Grand Valley State University’s Campus on Butterworth Street and Front Avenue.