Tree of Life synagogue disputes Joe Biden’s claim he visited

President Biden on Thursday told Jewish leaders that he spent time at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh after the October 2018 mass murder of 11 people there — but the synagogue told The Post he never visited.

“I remember spending time at the, you know, going to the, you know, the Tree of Life synagogue, speaking with them,” Biden said in a 16-minute virtual address ahead of the Jewish holidays Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Barb Feige, executive director of the Tree of Life, said that Biden did not visit the synagogue in the nearly three years since the anti-Semitic attack.

In a phone interview, Feige, executive director since July 2019, said firmly that “no” Biden didn’t visit, even before taking office when he had a lower public profile as a former vice president and then-Democratic presidential candidate.

Source: Tree of Life synagogue disputes Joe Biden’s claim he visited

Psaki snaps at male reporter over question about abortion, Biden’s faith: ‘You’ve never faced those choices’ | Fox News

White House press secretary Jen Psaki snapped at a reporter Thursday after he asked how President Biden can consider himself a Catholic while also supporting abortion.

Owen Jensen, a reporter with EWTN, a Catholic news network, asked Psaki during her daily press briefing why the president supports abortion “when his own Catholic faith teaches abortion is morally wrong.”

Source: Psaki snaps at male reporter over question about abortion, Biden’s faith: ‘You’ve never faced those choices’ | Fox News

Biden chooses the wrong Bible verse | The Week

Thursday’s suicide bombing at Kabul airport was the most deadly attack on American forces in Afghanistan since 2011. In remarks on the attack, President Biden honored the fallen soldiers by quoting the Hebrew Bible. “The American military has been answering for a long time. ‘Here I am, Lord. Send me,'” Biden said, in an allusion to Isaiah 6:8. “Each one of these women and men of our Armed Forces are the heirs of that tradition of sacrifice, of volunteering to go into harm’s way, to risk everything; not for glory, not for profit, but to defend what we love and the people we love.”

Biden’s point was that the Marines and other personnel overseeing the evacuation knew they were in danger of precisely the kind of attack that occurred but continued their duties anyway. In that respect, it was a fitting effort to honor their courage.

But the Biblical verse he used was a bad choice to make that point. Jews read Isaiah 6 as describing God’s calling to serve as prophet to the chosen people. For many Christians, it is seen as prefiguring the vocation of missionaries to promote the Gospel. In both interpretations, the phrase “Here I am” expresses willingness to participate in the fulfillment of divine purposes.

The conflation of foreign policy with a religious vocation is a recurring tendency in American history. It’s also a dangerous one, because it transforms agonizing calculations of risk and benefit into contests between good and evil. Biden is leading American forces out of Afghanistan and appealed to national interests elsewhere in his remarks. Yet the crusading attitude that the Bible quote expressed is part of the reason we have failed to secure those interests for the last two decades. To avoid similar disasters in the future, we need to remember that presidents are not prophets and the U.S. military is not the army of God.

Source: Biden chooses the wrong Bible verse | The Week

Anonymous Donor Gifts $20 Million To Schools In Diocese of Greensburg – CBS Pittsburgh

GREENSBURG, Pa. (KDKA) — The Catholic Diocese of Greensburg received a multimillion-dollar gift to further education efforts.

“Twenty million dollars at least,” said Maureen Marsteller, the Superintendent of Catholic Schools.

READ MORE:Man Accused Of Killing 2 Women In Pa. Now Charged With Murder Of Pregnant Woman In Michigan Who Disappeared

That is how much money an anonymous donor gifted the Diocese of Greensburg’s Catholic schools.

“I can’t express how happy we are here in the Greensburg Diocese and I’m so happy for the opportunity for the children and youth of our diocese to have an opportunity to experience Catholic education,” Bishop Larry Kulick said.

The money will go to the St. Pope John Paul II Tuition Opportunity Partnership. Last year, the same individual donated more than $2.5 million to help pay the tuition for prospective students.

The donor hopes the influx of money will keep the enrollment up.

READ MORE:Police Chase Ends On Route 28 After Shooting And Carjacking In Larimer

“To have somebody come out of nowhere and offer millions of dollars in scholarships to people, it’s been transformative,” said Kevin Frye, the principal of Christ the Divine Teacher School in Latrobe.

“That is a lot of love. It’s going to go far. It’s going to bring more people into our community,” said parent Meghan Scalise.

There are requirements for those applying for the funds. The biggest being:

“The requirements are that they become part of a faith community. It doesn’t have to be a Catholic faith community. It can be a denominational church, a Christian faith community, and we want them to become an active member of that community,” said Marsteller.

MORE NEWS:Sewickley Academy Has Suddenly Become A Hotbed Of Division

According to the diocese, the donation will assure the employment of hundreds of educators and staff.

Source: Anonymous Donor Gifts $20 Million To Schools In Diocese of Greensburg – CBS Pittsburgh

Pope reverses Benedict, reimposes restrictions on Latin Mass

ROME (AP) — Pope Francis cracked down Friday on the spread of the old Latin Mass, reversing one of Pope Benedict XVI’s signature decisions in a major challenge to traditionalist Catholics who immediately decried it as an attack on them and the ancient liturgy.

Francis reimposed restrictions on celebrating the Latin Mass that Benedict relaxed in 2007, and went further to limit its use. The pontiff said he was taking action because Benedict’s reform had become a source of division in the church and been exploited by Catholics opposed to the Second Vatican Council, the 1960s meetings that modernized the church and its liturgy.

Critics said they had never before witnessed a pope so thoroughly reversing his predecessor. That the reversal concerned something so fundamental as the liturgy, while Benedict is still alive and living in the Vatican as a retired pope, only amplified the extraordinary nature of Francis’ move, which will surely result in more right-wing hostility directed at him.

Francis, 84, issued a new law requiring individual bishops to approve celebrations of the old Mass, also called the Tridentine Mass, and requiring newly ordained priests to receive explicit permission to celebrate it from their bishops, in consultation with the Vatican.

Under the new law, bishops must also determine if the current groups of faithful attached to the old Mass accept Vatican II, which allowed for Mass to be celebrated in the vernacular rather than Latin. These groups cannot use regular churches; instead, bishops must find alternate locations for them without creating new parishes.

In addition, Francis said bishops are no longer allowed to authorize the formation of any new pro-Latin Mass groups in their dioceses.

Francis said he was taking action to promote unity and heal divisions within the church that had grown since Benedict’s 2007 document, Summorum Pontificum. He said he based his decision on a 2020 Vatican survey of all the world’s bishops, whose “responses reveal a situation that preoccupies and saddens me, and persuades me of the need to intervene.”

The pope’s rollback immediately created an uproar among traditionalists already opposed to Francis’ more progressive bent and nostalgic for Benedict’s doctrinaire papacy.

“This is an extremely disappointing document which entirely undoes the legal provisions,” of Benedict’s 2007 document, said Joseph Shaw, chairman of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales.

Source: Pope reverses Benedict, reimposes restrictions on Latin Mass

Pope Francis doing well after intestinal surgery, Vatican says

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis is doing well following intestinal surgery, the Vatican said on Sunday after the 84-year-old pontiff was hospitalized for the first time since his election in 2013.

Spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a statement that the pontiff “responded well” to the surgery, which was done under general anesthesia and which the Vatican had said earlier had been scheduled and not prompted by an emergency.

He gave no further details about the surgery or how long it lasted and did not say how long the pope would remain in Rome’s Gemelli hospital.

The pope entered the hospital early on Sunday afternoon and the statement was issued just before midnight Rome time.

Francis underwent surgery for symptomatic diverticular stenosis of the colon, a condition where sac-like pouches protrude from the muscular layer of the colon, leading it to become narrow. The operation was carried out by a 10-person medical team.

In addition to causing pain, the condition can lead to bloating, inflammation, and difficulty in bowel movement. It tends to affect older people more.

Source: Pope Francis doing well after intestinal surgery, Vatican says

2 Catholic bishops at odds over Biden receiving Communion

They share Roman Catholicism as a faith and California as their home base. Yet there’s a deep gulf between Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco and Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego in the high-stakes debate over whether politicians who support abortion rights should be denied Communion.

Cordileone, who has long established himself as a forceful anti-abortion campaigner, recently has made clear his view that such political figures — whose ranks include President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — should not receive Communion because of their stance on the issue. The archbishop issued a pastoral letter on the topic May 1 and reinforced the message in an hourlong interview Friday with the Catholic television network EWTN.

“To those who are advocating for abortion, I would say, ‘This is killing. Please stop the killing. You’re in position to do something about it,’” he told the interviewer.

The polarized viewpoints of the two prelates illustrate how divisive this issue could be if, as expected, it comes before the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at its national assembly starting June 16. There are plans for the bishops to vote on whether the USCCB’s Committee on Doctrine should draft a document saying Biden and other Catholic public figures with similar views on abortion should refrain from Communion.

Source: 2 Catholic bishops at odds over Biden receiving Communion

US Catholic bishops may press Biden to stop taking Communion

 

When U.S. Catholic bishops hold their next national meeting in June, they’ll be deciding whether to send a tougher-than-ever message to President Joe Biden and other Catholic politicians: Don’t receive Communion if you persist in public advocacy of abortion rights.

At issue is a document that will be prepared for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops by its Committee on Doctrine, with the aim of clarifying the church’s stance on an issue that has repeatedly vexed the bishops in recent decades. It’s taken on new urgency now, in the eyes of many bishops, because Biden — only the second Catholic president — is the first to hold that office while espousing clear-cut support for abortion rights.

Such a stance, by a public figure, is “a grave moral evil,” according to Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, who chairs the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities and believes it’s necessary to publicly rebuke Biden on the issue.

Source: US Catholic bishops may press Biden to stop taking Communion

Pope at Easter Vigil: Christ alive today, always helps begin anew – Vatican News

By Robin Gomes

In the hour of darkness when humanity is grappling with the pandemic and other ills, Christians need to take to heart the Easter message of the angel not to be afraid, assured that in Galilee where the Lord precedes them, their expectations will be fulfilled, their tears will be dried and their fears will be replaced by hope.   Pope Francis made the point in his homily at the Easter Vigil Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica Saturday night.

Reflecting on the Easter episode of the women at the tomb, the Pope drew attention to what the angel told them.   “Wonder at hearing the words: ‘Do not be afraid!” the Pope said.  “You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.  He has risen’.  And a message: ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him’.”

Always possible to begin anew

After the initial rite of the blessing of the fire and the Paschal candle inside the basilica, Pope Francis and the concelebrants proceeded towards the altar of the chair, with a deacon bearing the lit Easter candle.  During the procession in the darkened church, the flame of the candle was first passed on to the Pope and then gradually to the concelebrants and the limited number of faithful.  After the Pope walked up the main aisle, the basilica’s lights were switched on.

Ushering in the 9th Easter of his pontificate, the 84-year-old pontiff in his homily reflected on what it means to go to Galilee.  First of all, it means to begin anew.  Galilee was the place of the first encounter of the disciples with the Lord, their first love.  It was here that they listened to Him preach and perform miracles. It was also where they misunderstood His words and in the face of the cross abandoned Him and fled.

In spite of everything, the Lord invites them to start over from where they began.  “In this Galilee,” the Pope said, “we learn to be amazed by the Lord’s infinite love, which opens new trails along the path of our defeats.”

Source: Pope at Easter Vigil: Christ alive today, always helps begin anew – Vatican News

Diocese of Greensburg to televise Easter Sunday Mass, stream Holy Week liturgies | Community News | heraldstandard.com

Diocese of Greensburg Bishop Larry J. Kulick will celebrated a televised Easter Sunday Mass on April 4 at 10 a.m. on the Pittsburgh CW and at noon on WAOB-FM 106.7.

Source: Diocese of Greensburg to televise Easter Sunday Mass, stream Holy Week liturgies | Community News | heraldstandard.com

Israelis gather for Passover, celebrating freedom from virus

Passover is the Jewish holiday celebrating the biblical Israelites’ liberation from slavery in Egypt after a series of divine plagues. The week-long springtime festival starts Saturday night with the highly ritualized Seder meal, when the Exodus story is retold. It’s a Thanksgiving-like atmosphere with family, friends, feasting and four cups of wine.

Throughout the week, observant Jews abstain from the consumption of bread and other leavened foods to commemorate the hardships of the flight from Egypt. Instead, they eat unleavened matzah.

Holiday preparations involve spring cleaning to the extreme to remove even the tiniest crumbs of leavened bread from homes and offices. Cauldrons of boiling water are set up on street corners to boil kitchenware, and many burn their discarded bread, known as chametz. Supermarkets cordon off aisles with leavened goods, wrapping shelves in black plastic.

Most Israeli Jews — religious and secular alike — spend the Seder with extended family. Last year’s Passover was a major break in tradition.

Government-imposed restrictions forced the closure of synagogues and limited movement and assembly to slow the virus’ spread. Some conducted the ritual meal with their nuclear family, others over videoconference, while an unfortunate few held the Seder in solitude.

Source: Israelis gather for Passover, celebrating freedom from virus

Dead Sea scroll fragments and ‘world’s oldest basket’ found in desert cave | Religion | The Guardian

Israeli archaeologists have unearthed two dozen Dead Sea scroll fragments from a remote cave in the Judean Desert, the first discovery of such Jewish religious texts in more than half a century.

“For the first time in approximately 60 years, archaeological excavations have uncovered fragments of a biblical scroll,” the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said in a statement.

More than 20 bits of parchment were found after teams rappelled down an 80-metre cliff and scoured the Cave of Horror, so called due to its precarious position and because 40 skeletons of women, men and children were found there during excavations in the 1960s.

Jewish rebels are believed to have hidden in the canyon south of Jerusalem two millennia ago to escape a Roman advance. The fragments from the Hebrew Bible may have been stashed in the cave during the Bar Kochba Revolt, a Jewish uprising against Roman Emperor Hadrian, between AD132 and AD136.

Source: Dead Sea scroll fragments and ‘world’s oldest basket’ found in desert cave | Religion | The Guardian

Priest Declares Joe Biden ‘The Most Aggressively Anti-Catholic President in History’ – Western Journal

Source: Priest Declares Joe Biden ‘The Most Aggressively Anti-Catholic President in History’

Supreme Court lifts California worship bans prompted by coronavirus – POLITICO

The ruling issued just before 11 p.m. ET Friday produced four separate statements by the justices.

However, a majority of the court was only willing to lift the ban California has applied on all indoor worship in Tier 1 counties — those most challenged by Covid-19. The other restrictions remain undisturbed, for now.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the Friday night ruling: new Justice Amy Coney Barrett, whose conservative Catholic views drew suspicion from many liberals in advance of her confirmation last year, declined to grant the churches the most sweeping relief favored by her most conservative colleagues.

Source: Supreme Court lifts California worship bans prompted by coronavirus – POLITICO

Roman Catholic bishops alarmed by ‘misguided’ Biden executive order | Fox News

Roman Catholic bishops criticized on Friday President Biden’s recent executive order on applying anti-discrimination protections to certain groups, arguing it didn’t properly account for religious liberty and furthered “false theories on human sexuality.”

Wednesday’s order, they said, “threatens to infringe the rights of people who recognize the truth of sexual difference or who uphold the institution of lifelong marriage between one man and one woman. This may manifest in mandates that, for example, erode health care conscience rights or needed and time-honored sex-specific spaces and activities.”

Signed by bishops from across the country, the statement represented another sharp disagreement Church leadership had with the second U.S. president to identify as Roman Catholic.

The executive order referenced the Supreme Court’s decision last year in Bostock v. Clayton County, in which Justice Neil Gorsuch issued a controversial opinion on what’s protected under sex-based anti-discrimination law.

Source: Roman Catholic bishops alarmed by ‘misguided’ Biden executive order | Fox News

Pope Francis shares Christmas message for this year of pandemic: “We are all brothers and sisters” – CBS News

Pope Francis said in his Christmas message Friday that fraternity is a watchword for these unusually troubled times exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

“At this moment in history, marked by the ecological crisis and grave economic and social imbalances only worsened by the coronavirus pandemic, it is all the more important for us to acknowledge one another as brothers and sisters,” he said in his “Urbi et Orbi” (“to the city and the world”) message.

This year, due to COVID safety restrictions, the the pontiff delivered his remarks from a lectern inside the Vatican instead of from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica for a crowd of thousands who traditionally fill the square. It was livestreamed for viewing around the world.

Pope Francis said this call for solidarity was especially aimed at “people who are the most fragile, the sick and all who at this period find themselves without work or in grave difficulty due to the economic consequences of the pandemic and to women who have been subjected to domestic violence during these months of confinement.

“The pontiff also touched on the plight of children caught up by war, singling out victims in Syria, Yemen and Iraq in his Christmas message.

“On this day, when the word of God became a child, let us turn our gaze to the many, all too many, children worldwide, especially in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, who still pay the high price of war,” he said.

“May their faces touch the consciences of all men and women of good will, so that the causes of conflicts can be addressed and courageous efforts can be made to build a future of peace,” he said.

Source: Pope Francis shares Christmas message for this year of pandemic: “We are all brothers and sisters” – CBS News

Pittsburgh ‘Menorah Parade’ lights up the city | TribLIVE.com

There was no festival, short ceremony or lighting of the menorah because of state officials limiting outdoor gatherings to 50 people through Jan. 4.

On Tuesday, attendees remained in their cars.

They drove past Charles Morris and then exited the site. As they drove away, a juggler performed.

Rabbi Eli Wilansky of Greenfield, a mashgiach and dietary supervisor food and nutrition for the Jewish Association on Aging, brought his children Shmulik, Nechama and Yaakov to be part of the parade.

“It is so important that we did this, especially this year,” said Wilansky. “Covid time has prevented a lot of things from happening, but we wanted to bring Hanukkah to the streets of Pittsburgh. Our menorahs bring light to the darkness, and we’ve had a lot of darkness in 2020. Hanukkah is the festival of lights and it is so needed this time of year.”

Source: Pittsburgh ‘Menorah Parade’ lights up the city | TribLIVE.com

Hanukkah activities begin online and in homes | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Annual menorah lighting at City-County Building is broadcast via Zoom, as many families join in from home

In one sense, Hanukkah is a holiday well-suited to this time of pandemic: It’s a modest Jewish holiday that is mostly commemorated in the home with candle lighting, games, songs and treats such as latkes and chocolate gelt.

There are more-public observances, too, such as Thursday night’s lighting of a large menorah, or candelabrum, outside the City-County building Downtown to mark the start of the eight-day Jewish festival of lights.

“We’re sorry that this year you can’t be here with us at the City-County Building, but nevertheless, with the miracles of technology, a Hanukkah miracle, you can be here with us, bringing the light of joy of Hanukkah to all your homes,” Rabbi Yisroel Altein of Chabad of Squirrel Hill said during Thursday’s lighting, broadcast via Zoom.

Source: Hanukkah activities begin online and in homes | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Diocese of Greensburg to televise Christmas Masses | TribLIVE.com

The Diocese of Greensburg will televise Christmas Masses this season in addition to holding in-person services, to engage parishioners at home amid concern over a strong resurgence in coronavirus cases throughout the region.

“The Diocese and its parishes have consistently had thousands of faithful viewers watch our streaming Masses from their computers, tablets and smart televisions for many months now,” said Monsignor Larry Kulick.

The diocese streams Masses on its website, Facebook page and YouTube channel, and Christmas Vigil and Christmas Day Masses will premiere on those outlets as well, but it will also be broadcast on the Pittsburgh Cable News Channel.

A Christmas Vigil at Greensburg’s Blessed Sacrament Cathedral will be broadcast at 2 p.m., Dec. 24. Kulick will celebrate a 10 a.m. Mass on Christmas Day.

The diocese began reopening for in-person services on June 1. Kulick said 50 of 78 parishes in the diocese now stream Mass services, “however there are still many in our community who cannot access the internet … I hope these televised Masses will provide an opportunity for us to engage individuals and families celebrating the birth of Jesus with them in their own homes.”

In the past 30 days, Westmoreland County has seen its worst surge in coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic.

The county added 187 cases Sunday and 167 on Monday. Of those, were confirmed through PCR tests.

Source: Diocese of Greensburg to televise Christmas Masses | TribLIVE.com

Lyon shooting: Orthodox priest shot with sawed-off shotgun outside church – CNN

A Greek Orthodox priest who was closing a church in Lyon, France, was shot Saturday by a lone assailant using a sawed-off shotgun, the France National Police said.

The 52-year-old priest was shot in the stomach and his condition is considered life-threatening, according to police and the Lyon prosecutor’s office.

The assailant fled after the shooting and remains at large. A police spokesperson said the shooter was dressed a long black coat and a black beanie, and seemed to be hiding the shotgun under his coat.
Residents of the neighborhood and a municipal police patrol reported hearing two shots near the Hellenic Orthodox church in Lyon’s 7th district on Saturday, the Lyon prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
They saw a person running and later found the wounded priest at the back door of the church, prosecutors said.
A motive for the attack motive remains unknown, according to the statement.

Source: Lyon shooting: Orthodox priest shot with sawed-off shotgun outside church – CNN

San Francisco archbishop holds exorcism where protesters toppled Junipero Serra statue | Fox News

A Roman Catholic archbishop performed an exorcism in Northern California on Saturday morning at the site where racial injustice protesters toppled a statue of 18th-century Spanish missionary Junipero Serra days earlier.

Source: San Francisco archbishop holds exorcism where protesters toppled Junipero Serra statue | Fox News

Biden launches ads touting his faith after cardinal says he’s ‘not a Catholic in good standing’ | Fox News

Former Vice President Joe Biden has launched an ad campaign seeking to highlight his faith as many conservatives and fellow Catholics have questioned the sincerity of his beliefs.

The campaign includes three ads that are set to run in 14 states, many of which are major battlegrounds, according to Religion News Service (RNS). “These ads are one component of our expansive, direct appeal to people of faith that Vice President Biden’s agenda is much more aligned with their common good values than the divisiveness, racism, and fear we see from the current administration,” Josh Dickson, who leads the campaign’s faith engagement, reportedly said.

The ads portray Biden as turning to his faith in dark times and knowing “what it means to be your brother’s keeper.” In one ad, Biden tells a Jesuit priest and magazine editor that “my father would say the cardinal sin of all sins is the abuse of power.”

Source: Biden launches ads touting his faith after cardinal says he’s ‘not a Catholic in good standing’ | Fox News

Yom Kippur to Begin at Sundown Amid Restrictions and Alterations – NBC Los Angeles

Yom Kippur begins at sundown, with services marking the holiest and most somber day on the Jewish calendar altered because of the coronavirus pandemic. With indoor religious services in Los Angeles County prohibited under public health orders, synagogues and other Jewish organizations will hold services outdoors and online, just like for Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year, Sept. 18-20. “This Yom Kippur will be different from past ones as we miss being able to gather with family, friends and community members in our indoor sanctuaries, singing together and greeting friends with hugs,” said Rabbi Ilana Grinblat, the vice president of community engagement for the Southern California Board of Rabbis.

Source: Yom Kippur to Begin at Sundown Amid Restrictions and Alterations – NBC Los Angeles

South Pittsburgh Catholics to distribute 1,200 free meals Sunday in Carrick | TribLIVE.com

Catholic Community of South Pittsburgh volunteers will be distributing 1,200 meals starting at noon on Sunday at Saint Basil Church on Brownsville Road in Carrick.

The meals consist of meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, applesauce, a roll and dessert. Giant Eagle in Brentwood is donating the rolls, and the Waterfront Costco is supplying applesauce, cookies, and other desserts.

“We’re looking to help others find the comfort of Christ through a hot meal and to help remind them that they are not forgotten and that they are truly loved and cared for by our parish community,” said the Rev. Stephen Kresak, pastor/administrator of the grouping of Holy Apostles, Holy Angels, and Saint Sylvester.

Source: South Pittsburgh Catholics to distribute 1,200 free meals Sunday in Carrick | TribLIVE.com

Pope Francis celebrates Easter Mass alone amid coronavirus pandemic

Pope Francis called for unity from around the world to confront the coronavirus pandemic as he celebrated Easter Mass in solitude Sunday inside an empty St. Peter’s Square.

The 83-year-old pontiff made his traditional Easter address, urging the European Union to step up to the “epochal challenge” caused by the pandemic.

“This is not a time for self-centeredness, because the challenge we are facing is shared by all, without distinguishing between persons,” he said.

He noted that Europe rose again after World War II “thanks to a concrete spirit of solidarity that enabled it to overcome the rivalries of the past.”

He gave prayers for the sick, dead, poor, elderly and refugees, as well as doctors and nurses who have worked “to the point of exhaustion and not infrequently at the expense of their own health.”

Source: Pope Francis celebrates Easter Mass alone amid coronavirus pandemic

What is Easter, and why do Christians celebrate this holiday? | Fox News

Easter Day, which falls on Sunday for most Christians in the U.S., celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Easter Day, which falls on Sunday for most Christians in the U.S., celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. After being executed on a cross on Good Friday, Jesus was buried in a tomb. That first Easter, some 2,000 years ago, God the Father raised Jesus from the dead. The account is found in all four Gospels of the New Testament in the Bible.

That’s the basic definition. I hope every Christian knows that much, and I suspect that many non-Christians know this much, too. Beyond those basics, much of our Easter celebration is layered in tradition.

Our churches are often decorated with white lilies and other spring flowers. Families gather for festive meals, often eating ham or lamb. For me personally, jelly beans are always a highlight of Easter customs. It’s traditional to buy new clothes to wear to church on Easter. And if you come to a church on Easter Day, it’s likely you’ll sing hymns and songs beloved by that church community.

But if we keep looking at Easter, it gets more complex and the meaning deepens. The day is larger than the commemoration of a historic event, and it’s larger than familiar traditions. For on Easter, everything changed.

We Christians believe that Jesus Christ was sent by God the father to live among us, to show us perfect love. Jesus loved outcasts and sinners. Jesus offered hope and healing. Jesus said that our joy is found in sacrificial generosity, not in accruing possessions.

Jesus always told the truth. Jesus offered forgiveness of sin, even to those who betrayed and murdered him. Jesus said, over and over, that we shouldn’t be afraid. Jesus showed us perfect love.

Of course, the Roman Empire didn’t much care for someone preaching a message like this. The empire relied on wealth and was built on might and fear. Jesus’ teachings undercut all that.

Authorities conspired to kill Jesus in an attempt to silence his message. So Jesus was betrayed, arrested, tortured and executed on a cross. His followers lovingly cared for his body and he was buried in a stone tomb.

When women went to the tomb early on Easter morning, they found it was empty. Then they met the risen Jesus, who told them not to be afraid. These women told the men, Jesus’ disciples, the good news that Jesus had been raised from the dead, that he was alive.

People 2,000 years ago understood that when people die, they are meant to stay dead. So it was shocking to them to see their friend and teacher alive again. They were so convinced that Jesus was really, truly alive that many of them would willingly be martyred for their faith in the decades that followed.

Jesus’ followers rejoiced at Easter and developed deep faith. It wasn’t just that Easter showed them a really amazing miracle. No, the joy of Easter is even deeper than that.

Easter shows us that perfect love always wins. In the end, whatever powerful people might try to do to silence love, God’s way is always stronger.

Easter shows us that our mortal bodies die, but life for us continues. Easter shows us that we need not fear death. Death no longer has dominion over us.

This holiday celebrates a complete reorientation of the universe. Love defeats hate. Hope defeats fear. Sacrifice defeats greed. Mercy defeats might. Life defeats death.

If you celebrate Easter, you are celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But you are also celebrating God’s great love for us, a love strong enough to defeat death itself. Happy Easter to you all.

Source: What is Easter, and why do Christians celebrate this holiday? | Fox News

Easter on the big screen at Pittsburgh-area drive-in

7:45 PM | 9:15 PM | Riverside Drive In

April 10–12

The Riverside Drive-In in Parks Township, Armstrong County is teaming up with Harvest Baptist Church in Natrona Heights to provide Easter services while also allowing people wishing to worship to practice social distancing.

There will be six showings of a 53-minute pre-recorded service at the drive-in this weekend.

Although the drive-in has a capacity of 300 cars, owner Todd Ament said he’ll limit capacity to 150 to help people practice social distancing. Bathrooms will be open but concessions will be closed.

The event is free but people wishing to attend need to reserve a spot online.

To reserve a spot, click this link.

Source: Easter on the big screen at Pittsburgh-area drive-in

Diocese of Greensburg closes churches, limits funerals, baptisms, confessions

The Diocese of Greensburg has announced that it is closing all church buildings until further notice, with a few exemptions during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Bishop Edward C. Malesic said baptisms and weddings should be delayed if possible and all funerals should take place at the cemetery with a memorial mass scheduled for a later date.

In addition to all previous directives, the following guidelines and mandates apply to all parishes, parish priests, parish administrators and deacons, parish churches and all public chapels:

•All parish churches and public chapels are to be closed until further notice, except in those cases listed below.

•The Sacrament of Reconciliation should be limited to those in serious need. Confessions should be arranged by appointment.

•Baptisms are to be delayed, if possible. However, should baptism be required, no more than 10 people, including clergy, are permitted to be present, taking extreme caution to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

•Weddings should be delayed, if possible. However, should a wedding occur during this time of threat, no more than 10 people, including clergy, are permitted to be present. Proper social distancing must be maintained.

Bishop Edward C. Malesic said baptisms and weddings should be delayed if possible and all funerals should take place at the cemetery with a memorial mass scheduled for a later date.

Source: Diocese of Greensburg closes churches, limits funerals, baptisms, confessions

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