Easter Sunday Sunrise Mass

BETHEL – “It’s a great way to start Easter Sunday,” said Eileen Goodrich as she and her husband Don celebrated the Risen Lord at an Easter Sunrise Mass.

The Sunrise Mass hosted by St. Mary Parish in Bethel at Blue Jay Orchards, is a parish tradition that draws more than 100 people, including those from local Catholic churches to celebrate together during the chilly pre-dawn hours.

“We love it when the sun comes up during Mass,” Eileen Goodrich said. Her husband Don agreed, adding that they both enjoy nature and being at the Easter Sunrise Mass and hearing nature wake up with the birds singing and the sun rising is especially beautiful.

St. Mary Pastor Fr. Corey Piccinino celebrated the Easter Sunrise Mass and during his homily compared a chick struggling to break out of the comfort of its shell and enter the uncertainty of the real world to the faithful breaking out of the confines of this world to enter into a life of peace with Christ.

“My life is forever changed because of the Resurrection,” Fr. Piccinino said. He encouraged those gathered to think of how the stone was rolled away from the tomb and how we should remove obstacles that block us from experiencing Christ’s love and mercy.

“Break out of the shell of the things that keep us bound and go out and share the Good News with the world,” he said.

Following the homily Fr. Piccinino led those gathered in the renewal of baptismal promises and then blessed everyone by walking among them and sprinkling Holy Water on them.

Bundled in hats, gloves, scarves and blankets, the faithful, at the conclusion of Mass, gathered their lawn chairs and under the ever-changing morning sky with yellow, orange and lavender streaks across it, left the orchard with plans to return next Easter.

“I don’t want to miss it,” said lifetime St. Mary Parish parishioner Dolly Jennings of the Easter Sunrise Mass. “It’s beautiful but it’s cold.”