“This is the day that the Lord hath made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it,” with those words Archbishop Donald Wuerl begin the first Easter Service of 2014 marking 90 years of Easter Services on a clear but cool morning in Washington as a capacity crowd filled the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception at 9 am for the Easter Service today.
“Jesus Christ is risen today. Alleluia! Our triumph holy day. Who did once upon the cross, suffer to redeem our loss,” were the opening refrains that sent voices skyward in the beautiful shrine as Christians from across the nation gathered to celebrate the most holy day of Easter.
Archbishop Wuerl said the church turned the lights out during the service on Friday and started a fire in the back of the church where a single candle was lit. The darkness represented death. The candle represented life. From the flame came one single candle and that one candle brought light to the church.
“Jesus was willing to suffer and die not just for the Jews, but for all humanity,” Wuerl said. He also acknowledged the need for good news in a time when so many people faced death in the typhoons and plane crashes that have occurred in recent months. He noted that the lack of control of the future and the failure of the first parents need not be a cause for despair because Jesus Christ became the new Adam and led an exemplary life.
The Easter Sunday Service, April 20, 2014, marked the 90th anniversary of the celebration of the first Mass at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception which was held on Easter Sunday April 20, 1924 at 9 a.m. in the Crypt Church. Rev. Bernard A. McKenna, the personal secretary to Bishop Shahan preached that service 90 years ago today.
As the service ended and mothers and fathers gathered their children to exit the church the weather was clear compared to the cold and rainy day in 1924; however, there was joy in the sight of children playing and husbands and wives hugging each other in celebration of the risen Christ.
The second Sunday of Easter will be celebrated on April 27, 2014.
For times of services go to: www.nationalshrine.com.
Happy Easter, America.