Easter Greetings! It has been a year since I last wrote an article for Epiphany's weekly newsletter. I am grateful for the chance to again communicate a piece of my heart and spirit with you. As you might remember, my internship at Epiphany concluded last June. Rebecca and I and the three little ones (Luca, Joaquin, and Matias) said our “goodbyes” and “thank yous” at that time, as my formation process for ordination entered a new phase. I am relieved to report that all went well during this past year in regard to the preparations for Holy Orders. Along with nine others, I am set to be ordained a Transitional Deacon on June 1st at the Cathedral. I know that I have been held in prayer by Epiphany throughout the year and particularly during the General Ordination Exam that was given in January. Thank you!
While it is true that our family has not been around on Sundays save for a few exceptions, Rebecca and I continued to get our Parish fix by accompanying the YPF youth group once a month. Since the fall we have been privileged to experience God’s grace and light in the presence of the Parish’s young people. We have been so impressed with their insights on faith and religion, as well as their willingness to be honest and transparent about telling their own stories. Christian faith makes absolutely no sense without community. The community engendered by the YPF members gives a glimpse into what God hopes for all of humanity: that people find belonging in a place that is safe, caring, and affirming.
In my humble opinion, the Easter Spirit permeates the very community fostered by our high schoolers. Christ’s Resurrection teaches that the life process is marked by dying and rebirth or loss and renewal. The letting go of self/ego/narcissism is not a defeat, but rather a triumph. What we find on the other side ends up being much greater than what we worried about losing in the first place. The members of YPF demonstrate a profound openness to the Easter Spirit by accepting the ups and downs of life’s journey and by embracing the many transitions that are rapidly occurring at this point in time. In this courageous way, the young people have so much to offer to the entire Parish.
Easter season and the month of May mean that the program year is winding down. Our involvement with YPF is also set to conclude. Once more, Rebecca and I will soon have to say “goodbye” - this time with joy and gratitude for what the young people at Epiphany have gifted us. May all of us be blessed with such an inquisitive and mature spirit to know the divine not just through our rites and liturgies, but also through healing, trusting, and evolving relationships!
Paul Shoaf Kozak