On Holy Saturday, Father Mark Reburiano went out on a mission to make sure people knew that the church was still with them. Putting a tall wooden cross through the sunroof of his Honda, he drove through San Mateo’s neighborhoods to show Easter hope amid a season that seemed anything but hopeful. 

 “I wanted to give people the opportunity to see that Jesus is visiting them, the downtrodden and those who are in despair or are discouraged,” Father Reburiano, pastor of St. Gregory in San Mateo, said.

The idea came to the priest on Good Friday. As he prepared to celebrate the liturgy, he thought about the veneration of the cross, and how the pews that would normally be filled with people would that day be empty. 

Because they could not make it this year, Father Reburiano decided he would bring the cross to them. 

“It’s a good time for the church to go to the people and be the ones to visit, as they could not visit there in the church,” he said. 

With St. Gregory’s associate pastor Father Oliver Ortese, he drove around San Mateo, blessing people with a relic of Christ’s cross. Parishioner Marvin Sanchez live streamed their journey on Facebook, giving people a chance to participate and to know when to come out to watch the cross pass by.

Parishioners later reached out to ask their pastor to do a procession again on Easter Sunday. When the group set out again that Sunday, the cross was draped with a white stole to represent Christ’s victory over death.

“I wanted to give them hope, uplift their spirits. Isn’t that the message of Easter Sunday?” Father Reburiano said. That day, they drove the city’s streets for an hour and a half, winding by parishioners’ homes and passing through the city center.  

Father Reburiano said he continues to be deeply touched by the response to the procession. “People are thirsting for the faith, and to express it now in this time. And unfortunately they can’t do more. We can’t even go to our place of worship,” he said. “So outside the church, with social distancing, they want to express the faith any way they can.”  

Full story at Catholic San Francisco.