Sunday, April 8, 2012



RADIO VATICANA REPORT: Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass this Easter Sunday in St Peter's Square, after which he offered the urbi et orbi benediction - the blessing of the city and the world - which it is tradition for the Pope to give at Easter and at Christmas. The Holy Father delivered remarks to the faithful gathered in the square, focusing on the radical and permanent novelty of Christ's resurrection. Following his address, Pope Benedict offered Easter greetings in more than sixty languages.
Below, please find the full text of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI's remarks at the Easter urbi et orbi blessing.


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Rome and throughout the world!

“Surrexit Christus, spes mea” – “Christ, my hope, has risen” (Easter Sequence).

May the jubilant voice of the Church reach all of you with the words which the ancient hymn puts on the lips of Mary Magdalene, the first to encounter the risen Jesus on Easter morning. She ran to the other disciples and breathlessly announced: “I have seen the Lord!” (Jn 20:18). We too, who have journeyed through the desert of Lent and the sorrowful days of the Passion, today raise the cry of victory: “He has risen! He has truly risen!”

Every Christian relives the experience of Mary Magdalene. It involves an encounter which changes our lives: the encounter with a unique Man who lets us experience all God’s goodness and truth, who frees us from evil not in a superficial and fleeting way, but sets us free radically, heals us completely and restores our dignity. This is why Mary Magdalene calls Jesus “my hope”: he was the one who allowed her to be reborn, who gave her a new future, a life of goodness and freedom from evil. “Christ my hope” means that all my yearnings for goodness find in him a real possibility of fulfilment: with him I can hope for a life that is good, full and eternal, for God himself has drawn near to us, even sharing our humanity.

But Mary Magdalene, like the other disciples, was to see Jesus rejected by the leaders of the people, arrested, scourged, condemned to death and crucified. It must have been unbearable to see Goodness in person subjected to human malice, truth derided by falsehood, mercy abused by vengeance. With Jesus’ death, the hope of all those who had put their trust in him seemed doomed. But that faith never completely failed: especially in the heart of the Virgin Mary, Jesus’ Mother, its flame burned even in the dark of night. In this world, hope can not avoid confronting the harshness of evil. It is not thwarted by the wall of death alone, but even more by the barbs of envy and pride, falsehood and violence. Jesus passed through this mortal mesh in order to open a path to the kingdom of life. For a moment Jesus seemed vanquished: darkness had invaded the land, the silence of God was complete, hope a seemingly empty word.

And lo, on the dawn of the day after the Sabbath, the tomb is found empty. Jesus then shows himself to Mary Magdalene, to the other women, to his disciples. Faith is born anew, more alive and strong than ever, now invincible since it is based on a decisive experience: “Death with life contended: combat strangely ended! Life’s own champion, slain, now lives to reign”. The signs of the resurrection testify to the victory of life over death, love over hatred, mercy over vengeance: “The tomb the living did enclose, I saw Christ’s glory as he rose! The angels there attesting, shroud with grave-clothes resting”.

Dear brothers and sisters! If Jesus is risen, then – and only then – has something truly new happened, something that changes the state of humanity and the world. Then he, Jesus, is someone in whom we can put absolute trust; we can put our trust not only in his message but in Jesus himself, for the Risen One does not belong to the past, but is present today, alive. Christ is hope and comfort in a particular way for those Christian communities suffering most for their faith on account of discrimination and persecution. And he is present as a force of hope through his Church, which is close to all human situations of suffering and injustice.

May the risen Christ grant hope to the Middle East and enable all the ethnic, cultural and religious groups in that region to work together to advance the common good and respect for human rights. Particularly in Syria, may there be an end to bloodshed and an immediate commitment to the path of respect, dialogue and reconciliation, as called for by the international community. May the many refugees from that country who are in need of humanitarian assistance find the acceptance and solidarity capable of relieving their dreadful sufferings. May the paschal victory encourage the Iraqi people to spare no effort in pursuing the path of stability and development. In the Holy Land, may Israelis and Palestinians courageously take up anew the peace process.

May the Lord, the victor over evil and death, sustain the Christian communities of the African continent; may he grant them hope in facing their difficulties, and make them peacemakers and agents of development in the societies to which they belong.

May the risen Jesus comfort the suffering populations of the Horn of Africa and favour their reconciliation; may he help the Great Lakes Region, Sudan and South Sudan, and grant their inhabitants the power of forgiveness. In Mali, now experiencing delicate political developments, may the glorious Christ grant peace and stability. To Nigeria, which in recent times has experienced savage terrorist attacks, may the joy of Easter grant the strength needed to take up anew the building of a society which is peaceful and respectful of the religious freedom of its citizens.

Happy Easter to all!



Christ is Truly Risen, Alleluia!

April 8th, 2012

Just as the disciples did after the first Easter, we too can shout “Alleluia” with joy, because we have encountered the risen Lord. On this Easter, and every day, Jesus is with us, and brings us new life.
We experienced the joy of that new life in Christ in a special way at the Easter Vigils throughout the Archdiocese of Washington, when more than 1,100 women, men and children became full members of the Catholic Church after being baptized and receiving Holy Communion and the Sacrament of Confirmation. Easter is a time for all of us to reflect on the great blessing that we have received by being invited into the Body of Christ – into his family.
Not long ago, on a very rainy night, I was walking from a meeting to dinner. It was raining so hard, that the street was filling with puddles. One of our group came late to dinner and began to describe how he had been soaked by the spray of a passing car. He was wet, his suit was dirty and he went back to the hotel to wash up and put on clean clothes so that he would be fit to come to the dinner table with us. In a way this story is a parable about the experience of Baptism and new life in Christ.
In God’s plan we started out neat and clean. Original sin, like the spray of the puddle, tarnishes us. Like my friend, returning to his room to wash up and change, there is a remedy for us. In Baptism, we have been cleansed and given a new outfit, clothed in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. In the cleansing waters of Baptism and in Confirmation we received a new heart and a new spirit. The gifts of the Spirit make us worthy to come to the table of the Lord.
This new life through the sacraments could only happen in Jesus’ death and resurrection. The Resurrection is meant for you and for me. The words “Christ is risen, Christ is truly risen, Alleluia, Alleluia,” are our words as a result of these sacraments. Not only is Christ risen, but we are risen in him and his new life as part of his new creation.
What joy this brings us! Like the first disciples, like those who became members of the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil, we have encountered the risen Christ, and we will never be the same. That is why Easter is a day of such great, overwhelming joy. Jesus is risen from the dead and remains near to us. We share a new life in Christ, and we are called to share his Good News. And that is why, on this Easter and every day, we can proclaim, “Alleluia!”


CAFOD warns Government as 1,000 day countdown begins | CAFOD, Millennium Development Goals, MDGs,
Catholic aid agency CAFOD has told the Government and the United Nations today, Good Friday, that urgent action is required to agree a new global plan to tackle poverty. Good Friday marks exactly 1,000 days until the start of 2015, when the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agreed a decade ago are due to expire.

In a new report, “1,000 Days: an end and a new beginning”, the aid agency hails the progress made in many areas since the agreement of the MDGs, but says that work must begin urgently on designing a replacement framework.

In his foreword to the report, CAFOD Director Chris Bain writes: “We must seek to fill every one of the next 1,000 days with progress towards the outstanding targets. But whatever final achievements are recorded at the end of this period, 2015 must be a beginning not just an end. We must learn the lessons from the MDG process, and ensure that what replaces them is a new framework that builds on – but goes far beyond – the progress achieved by the MDGs.

“But let us be clear: 1,000 days is a tiny amount of time for a challenge of this scale. The British Olympics Association began work on its bid for the 2012 Olympics in 1997, over 2,500 days before the bid was accepted and over 5,000 days before the Games themselves.

“So the 1,000 days milestone is an opportunity but also a grave warning. If we do not start working right now, with the necessary clarity, urgency and resources required to achieve a strong outcome, we will reach 2015 with no effective global plan for tackling poverty: a betrayal of responsibility and an abdication of leadership that will rightly shame our generation.”

The report sets out a 10 point plan for a successful outcome to the post-MDG process. This includes recommendations to put environmental sustainability and extreme poverty at the heart of the new framework, as well as focusing on issues such as tackling inequality and addressing the needs of disabled people, which are not included in the current MDGs.

The report also insists that: “People living in poverty need to be directly engaged in debating and designing the new framework. Civil society leaders who represent these communities should have a seat at the table as decisions are made. Practically and morally, it is no longer possible to impose solutions upon poor people or countries, without their say-so or buy-in.”

CAFOD is the co-chair of the Beyond 2015 campaign, which has brought together 280 civil society organisations from over 70 countries to work on proposals for the post-MDG framework, and is recognised by the United Nations as the leading civil society initiative in this area.

Full copies of the 1,000 Days report are available now from the CAFOD website at:


Archbishop Denis Hart's Easter message Print E-mail

Archbishop Denis-HartThursday 5 April 2012
Dear Friends,
Two thousand years ago God sent Jesus, his Son, to share our human nature. He lived, taught, suffered and died and, remarkably, he conquered death and rose again. Easter is a passage through suffering and death to life, a glimpse of the final destiny offered to every human being.
This Easter we are conscious of families suffering through difficult economic times, of the burdens placed on the people of northern Victoria, Queensland and Fiji through floods, of the cries of broken families, of those burdened with illness or loneliness.
As Christians gather to celebrate Easter we remember the hope that Jesus brings of eternal life through truth, justice and love. We are invited to go forward with courage, to know that hope is never absent in our struggles because God is always with us.
Jesus invites us to face the challenges of modern living, to be there for those around about us, to make a contribution to our society, where human life is respected, people’s talents are acknowledged, and the free use of our gifts is placed at the service of others. Jesus’ gift of himself at Easter reminds us that life is always filled with hope of what we can achieve and how we can give of our talents for others, as he gave his all on the Cross.
May these days of Easter be moments when we value each other and are there for them as Jesus is always there for us.
+ Denis J. Hart,

Photo by Fiona Basile/Kairos Catholic Journal


Mgr Antonio Franco talks about Easter for Christians in the Holy Land. More than 20,000 people took part in Palm Sunday services. Checkpoints in the territories and the war in Syria have discouraged pilgrims. At the Holy Sepulchre, many visitors are tourists, few are believers. In Jordan, Catholics and Orthodox celebrate Easter on the same date following the Julian calendar.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - "The witness of faith by Christians in the Holy Land is vital for the small communities that dot the Arab world at a time of shocks and a resurgent radical Islam," said Mgr Antonio Franco, nuncio to Israel and Palestine. Speaking to AsiaNews on the occasion of Holy Week, he said, "We need trust and hope so that faith in Christ will help Christians in the Holy Land and the Arab world to face their difficulties, full of love for the life Christ sacrificed for us."

Despite violence elsewhere in the region, especially Syria, this year Holy Week was relative calmer than in previous years, the prelate said. On Palm Sunday, more than 20,000 people took part in the traditional procession from Bethphage to Jerusalem, twice as many as in 2011.

"There were no disturbances along the way. Someone put up banners calling for an end to Israel's occupation of the territories, but the function went off without a hitch and with great devotion," the nuncio explained.

Still, few of the pilgrims were Palestinian Christians, whose movements are restricted by Israeli checkpoints.

Recently, Fr Pierbattista Pizzaballa, custodian of the Holy Land, announced that in 2013 Catholics and Orthodox in Israel and Palestine will celebrate Easter on the same day, following the Julian calendar.

The desire to enhance ecumenical ties between the two communities is the main reason for the change, but so is the pastoral concern for the fate of mixed couples, which are numerous in the Holy Land.
The Easter season is already jointly celebrated in Jordan, Mgr Franco explained. Catholics and Orthodox will in fact celebrate Easter next week on the east bank of the Jordan River as well as in some communities in the Palestinian Territories.
Compared to past years, holy sites are less crowded this year, said Fr Athanasius Macora OFM, former director of the Christian information Center (CIC) who currently monitors the Holy Sepulchre.
"There are many foreign tourists in the streets of Jerusalem but few of them are pilgrims coming to the Holy Land to pray in the sites of Jesus' Passion," he said. (S.C.)


VANGUARD REPORT: By Demola Akinyemi, — It was Easter tragedy. Christians and sympathisers were thrown into mourning in Ilorin, Kwara State capital, as no fewer than eight people, among them two children, were feared dead in a retreat organised by a high profile church.
The incident was said to have occurred at the church's Camp site located at Eyenkorin on the outskirts of the state capital in the early hours of Good Friday.
Further checks showed that the incident was as a result of rainstorm which caused a pillar at the camp to collapse and fell on the worshippers.
In another tragedy, a pastor with the church, who had gone to donate blood for the victims, was also killed.
The pastor, who was riding n a motorcycle, was said to have run into an oncoming vehicle. He died on the way to the hospital.
Storm had accompanied the rainfall in Ilorin. The rain, which lasted for about two hours, began at about 12.30 a.m.
Contacted, the state police command spokesman, Dabo Ezekiel, only confirmed the death of the pastor and claimed that several others only suffered injuries.
Sources at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital confirmed that three of the victims were brought in dead (BID) along with one woman and two children.
According to the source, "three of the victims were brought in dead apart from the two children and a woman who were in critical conditions." Two others died while receiving treatment, one of them inside the theatre, added the source .
Also,a family source to one of the victims claimed, in a telephone chat, said the casualty figure rose to seven, yesterday afternoon, taking the death toll to five adults and two children.
The source lamented the fate of the pastor who had rallied round to help the injured.
Meanwhile, no pastor from the church was available to comment at the time of filing this report as journalists were referred to one Wing Commander Cindar(rtd), said to be the Chief Security Officer of the Camp.
Confirmed the incident but denied that any life was lost. He claimed that the victims were recuperating at the hospital.


Apr 08, 2012 - Easter

Acts 10: 34, 37 - 43

34 And Peter opened his mouth and said: "Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality,
37 the word which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism which John preached:
38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.
39 And we are witnesses to all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree;
40 but God raised him on the third day and made him manifest;
41 not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
42 And he commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that he is the one ordained by God to be judge of the living and the dead.
43 To him all the prophets bear witness that every one who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."

Psalms 118: 1 - 2, 16 - 17, 22 - 23

1 O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his steadfast love endures for ever!
2 Let Israel say, "His steadfast love endures for ever."
16 the right hand of the LORD is exalted, the right hand of the LORD does valiantly!"
17 I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the LORD.
22 The stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner.
23 This is the LORD's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.

Colossians 3: 1 - 4

1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
3 For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
John 20: 1 - 9

1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Mag'dalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.
2 So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him."
3 Peter then came out with the other disciple, and they went toward the tomb.
4 They both ran, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first;
5 and stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in.
6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying,
7 and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself.
8 Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed;
9 for as yet they did not know the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.


St. Julia Billiart
Feast: April 8

Feast Day: April 8
Born: 12 July 1751 at Cuvilly,France
Died: 8 April 1816 at Namur, Belgium
Canonized: 22 June 1969 by Pope Paul VI
Patron of: against poverty, bodily ills, impoverishment, poverty, sick people, sickness
Foundress, and first superior-general of the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame of Namur, born 12 July, 1751, at Cuvilly, a village of Picardy, in the Diocese of Beauvais and the Department of Oise, France; died 8 April, 1816, at the motherhouse of her institute, Namur, Belgium. She was the sixth of seven children of Jean-François Billiart and his wife, Marie-Louise-Antoinette Debraine. The childhood of Julie was remarkable; at the age of seven, she knew the catechism by heart, and used to gather her little companions around her to hear them recite it and to explain it to them. Her education was confined to the rudiments obtained at the village school which was kept by her uncle, Thibault Guilbert. In spiritual things her progress was so rapid that the parish priest, M. Dangicourt, allowed her to make her First Communion and to be confirmed at the age of nine years. At this time she made a vow of chastity. Misfortunes overtook the Billiart family when Julie was sixteen, and she gave herself generously to the aid of her parents, working in the fields with the reapers. She was held in such high esteem for her virtue and piety as to be commonly called, "the saint of Cuvilly". When twenty-two years old, a nervous shock, occasioned by a pistol-shot fired at her father by some unknown enemy, brought on a paralysis of the lower limbs, which in a few years confined her to her bed a helpless cripple, and thus she remained for twenty-two years. During this time, when she received Holy Communion daily, Julie exercised an uncommon gift of prayer, spending four or five hours a day in contemplation. The rest of her time was occupied in making linens and laces for the alter and in catechizing the village children whom she gathered around her bed, giving special attention to those who were preparing for their First Communion.
At Amiens, where Julie Billiart had been compelled to take refuge with Countess Baudoin during the troublesome times of the French Revolution, she met Françoise Blin de Bourdon, Viscountess of Gizaincourt, who was destined to be her co-laborer in the great work as yet unknown to either of them. The Viscountess Blin de Bourdon was thirty-eight years old at the time of her meeting with Julie, and had spent her youth in piety and good works; she had been imprisoned with all of her family during the Reign of Terror, and had escaped death only by the fall of Robespierre. She was not at first attracted by the almost speechless paralytic, but by degrees grew to love and admire the invalid for her wonderful gifts of soul. A little company of young and high-born ladies, friends of the viscountess, was formed around the couch of "the saint". Julie taught them how to lead the interior life, while they devoted themselves generously to the cause of God and His poor. Though they attempted all the exercises of an active community life, some of the elements of stability must have been wanting, for these first disciples dropped off until none was left but Françoise Blin de Bourdon. She was never to be separated from Julie, and with her in 1803, in obedience to Father Varin, superior of the Fathers of the Faith, and under the auspices of the Bishop of Amiens, the foundation was laid of the Institute of the Sisters of Notre Dame, a society which had for its primary object the salvation of poor children. Several young persons offered themselves to assist the two superiors. The first pupils were eight orphans. On the feast of the Sacred Heart, 1 June, 1804, Mother Julie, after a novena made in obedience to her confessor, was cured of paralysis. The first vows of religion were made on 15 October, 1804 by Julie Billiart, Françoise Blin de Bourdon, Victoire Leleu, and Justine Garson, and their family names were changed to names of saints. They proposed for their lifework the Christian education of girls, and the training of religious teachers who should go wherever their services were asked for. Father Varin gave the community a provisional rule by way of probation, which was so far-sighted that its essentials have never been changed. In view of the extension of the institute, he would have it governed by a superior-general, charged with visiting the houses, nominating the local superiors, corresponding with the members dispersed in the different convents, and assigning the revenues of the society. The characteristic devotions of the Sisters of Notre Dame were established by the foundress from the beginning. She was original in doing away with the time-honored distinction between choir sisters and lay sisters, but this perfect equality of rank did not in any way prevent her from putting each sister to the work for which her capacity and education fitted her. She attached great importance to the formation of the sisters destined for the schools, and in this she was ably assisted by Mother St. Joseph (Françoise Blin de Bourdon), who had herself received an excellent education.
When the congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame was approved by an imperial decree dated 19 June, 1806, it numbered thirty members, In that and the following years, foundations were made in various towns of France and Belgium, the most important being those at Ghent and Namur, of which the latter house Mother St. Joseph was the first superior. This spread of the institute beyond the Diocese of Amiens cost the foundress the greatest sorrow of her life. In the absence of Father Varin from that city, the confessor of the community, the Abbé de Sambucy de St. Estève, a man of superior intelligence and attainments but enterprising and injudicious, endeavored to change the rule and fundamental constitutions of the new congregation so as to bring it into harmony with the ancient monastic orders. He so far influenced the bishop. Mgr. Demandolx, that Mother Julie had soon no alternative but to leave the Diocese of Amiens, relying upon the goodwill of Mgr. Pisani de la Gaude, bishop of Namur, who had invited her to make his episcopal city the center of her congregation, should a change become necessary. In leaving Amiens, Mother Julie laid the case before all her subjects and told them they were perfectly free to remain or to follow her. All but two chose to go with her, and thus, in themid-winter of 1809, the convent of Namur became the motherhouse of the institute and is so still. Mgr. Demandolx, soon undeceived, made all the amends in his power, entreating Mother Julie to return to Amiens and rebuild her institute. She did indeed return, but after a vain struggle to find subjects or revenues, went back to Namur. The seven years of life that remained to her were spent in forming her daughters to solid piety and the interior spirit, of which she was herself the model. Mgr. De Broglie, bishop of Ghent, said of her that she saved more souls by her inner life of union with God than by her outward apostolate. She received special supernatural favors and unlooked-for aid in peril and need. In the space of twelve years (1804 - 1816) Mother Julie founded fifteen convents, made one hundred and twenty journeys, many of them long and toilsome, and carried on a close correspondence with her spiritual daughters. Hundreds of these letters are preserved in the motherhouse. In 1815 Belgium was the battlefield of the Napoleonic wars, and the mother-general suffered great anxiety, as several of her convents were in the path of the armies, but they escaped injury. In January, 1816, she was taken ill, and after three months of pain borne in silence and patience, she died with the Magnificat on her lips. The fame of her sanctity spread abroad and was confirmed by several miracles. The process of her beatification, begun in 1881, was completed in 1906 by the decree of Pope Pius X dated 13 May, declaring her Blessed. [Note: She was canonized in 1969 by Pope Paul VI.]
St. Julie's predominating trait in the spiritual order was her ardent charity, springing from a lively faith and manifesting itself in her thirst for suffering and her zeal for souls. Her whole soul was echoed in the simple and naove formula which was continually on her lips and pen: "Oh, qu'il est bon, le bon Dieu" (How good God is). She possessed all the qualities of a perfect superior, and inspired her subjects with filial confidence and tender affection.

(Taken From Catholic Encyclopedia)


RADIO VATICANA REPORT: “Light makes life possible. It makes encounter possible. It makes communication possible. It makes knowledge, access to reality and to truth, possible.” Because this is true, “The darkness enshrouding God and obscuring values is the real threat to our existence and to the world in general.” These were just some of the words Pope Benedict XVI addressed to the faithful in his homily during the Easter Vigil Mass in St Peter’s Basilica, on the night separating Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday, for which the light of Christ, risen from the dead, is a central theme: beginning in silence and darkness, the paschal fire is lit, and with it the Easter Candle, the light of which begins as a far-off flicker, before spreading until it splits the night with the brilliance of a thousand torches.
Below, please fin the full text of Pope Benedict XVI's homily at the Easter Vigil Mass


“On Easter night, the night of the new creation, the Church presents the mystery of light using a unique and very humble symbol: the Paschal candle. This is a light that lives from sacrifice. The candle shines inasmuch as it is burnt up. It gives light, inasmuch as it gives itself. Thus the Church presents most beautifully the paschal mystery of Christ, who gives himself and so bestows the great light”, said Pope Benedict XVI Saturday evening as he led a congregation of thousands in the Great Easter Vigil, in St Peter’s Basilica.

Since early morning pilgrims had patiently queued for entrance to the basilica beneath foreboding skies, with many more following the liturgy on giant screens in the square. In his homily Pope Benedict drew on the first act of the Easter vigil; when a basilica shrouded in dark slowly flickers to life as the flame of the newly inscribed and blessed Pascal candle passes through the central nave, lighting the candles of the faithful, to the chant “Lumen Christi”. And then the singing of the Easter proclamation, the Exultet.

He said this ancient hymn reminds us that “in the candle, creation becomes a bearer of light”. But it also serves “as a summons to us to become involved in the community of the Church, whose raison d’être is to let the light of Christ shine upon the world”.

During the ceremony the Holy Father welcomed 8 adults into the Church from Italy, Germany, Slovakia, Albania, Cameron, Turkmenistan and the United States of America. He said “The Lord says to the newly-baptized: Fiat lux – let there be light. God’s new day – the day of indestructible life, comes also to us. Christ takes you by the hand. From now on you are held by him and walk with him into the light, into real life. For this reason the early Church called baptism photismos – illumination”.

“The darkness that poses a real threat to mankind, after all, is the fact that he can see and investigate tangible material things, but cannot see where the world is going or whence it comes, where our own life is going, what is good and what is evil. The darkness enshrouding God and obscuring values is the real threat to our existence and to the world in general. If God and moral values, the difference between good and evil, remain in darkness, then all other “lights”, that put such incredible technical feats within our reach, are not only progress but also dangers that put us and the world at risk. Today we can illuminate our cities so brightly that the stars of the sky are no longer visible. Is this not an image of the problems caused by our version of enlightenment? With regard to material things, our knowledge and our technical accomplishments are legion, but what reaches beyond, the things of God and the question of good, we can no longer identify. Faith, then, which reveals God’s light to us, is the true enlightenment, enabling God’s light to break into our world, opening our eyes to the true light”.
Homily of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI Easter Vigil Holy Saturday, 7 April 2012

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Easter is the feast of the new creation. Jesus is risen and dies no more. He has opened the door to a new life, one that no longer knows illness and death. He has taken mankind up into God himself. “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God”, as Saint Paul says in the First Letter to the Corinthians (15:50). On the subject of Christ’s resurrection and our resurrection, the Church writer Tertullian in the third century was bold enough to write: “Rest assured, flesh and blood, through Christ you have gained your place in heaven and in the Kingdom of God” (CCL II, 994). A new dimension has opened up for mankind. Creation has become greater and broader. Easter Day ushers in a new creation, but that is precisely why the Church starts the liturgy on this day with the old creation, so that we can learn to understand the new one aright. At the beginning of the Liturgy of the Word on Easter night, then, comes the account of the creation of the world. Two things are particularly important here in connection with this liturgy. On the one hand, creation is presented as a whole that includes the phenomenon of time. The seven days are an image of completeness, unfolding in time. They are ordered towards the seventh day, the day of the freedom of all creatures for God and for one another. Creation is therefore directed towards the coming together of God and his creatures; it exists so as to open up a space for the response to God’s great glory, an encounter between love and freedom. On the other hand, what the Church hears on Easter night is above all the first element of the creation account: “God said, ‘let there be light!’” (Gen 1:3). The creation account begins symbolically with the creation of light. The sun and the moon are created only on the fourth day. The creation account calls them lights, set by God in the firmament of heaven. In this way he deliberately takes away the divine character that the great religions had assigned to them. No, they are not gods. They are shining bodies created by the one God. But they are preceded by the light through which God’s glory is reflected in the essence of the created being.

What is the creation account saying here? Light makes life possible. It makes encounter possible. It makes communication possible. It makes knowledge, access to reality and to truth, possible. And insofar as it makes knowledge possible, it makes freedom and progress possible. Evil hides. Light, then, is also an expression of the good that both is and creates brightness. It is daylight, which makes it possible for us to act. To say that God created light means that God created the world as a space for knowledge and truth, as a space for encounter and freedom, as a space for good and for love. Matter is fundamentally good, being itself is good. And evil does not come from God-made being, rather, it comes into existence through denial. It is a “no”.

At Easter, on the morning of the first day of the week, God said once again: “Let there be light”. The night on the Mount of Olives, the solar eclipse of Jesus’ passion and death, the night of the grave had all passed. Now it is the first day once again – creation is beginning anew. “Let there be light”, says God, “and there was light”: Jesus rises from the grave. Life is stronger than death. Good is stronger than evil. Love is stronger than hate. Truth is stronger than lies. The darkness of the previous days is driven away the moment Jesus rises from the grave and himself becomes God’s pure light. But this applies not only to him, not only to the darkness of those days. With the resurrection of Jesus, light itself is created anew. He draws all of us after him into the new light of the resurrection and he conquers all darkness. He is God’s new day, new for all of us.

But how is this to come about? How does all this affect us so that instead of remaining word it becomes a reality that draws us in? Through the sacrament of baptism and the profession of faith, the Lord has built a bridge across to us, through which the new day reaches us. The Lord says to the newly-baptized: Fiat lux – let there be light. God’s new day – the day of indestructible life, comes also to us. Christ takes you by the hand. From now on you are held by him and walk with him into the light, into real life. For this reason the early Church called baptism photismos – illumination.

Why was this? The darkness that poses a real threat to mankind, after all, is the fact that he can see and investigate tangible material things, but cannot see where the world is going or whence it comes, where our own life is going, what is good and what is evil. The darkness enshrouding God and obscuring values is the real threat to our existence and to the world in general. If God and moral values, the difference between good and evil, remain in darkness, then all other “lights”, that put such incredible technical feats within our reach, are not only progress but also dangers that put us and the world at risk. Today we can illuminate our cities so brightly that the stars of the sky are no longer visible. Is this not an image of the problems caused by our version of enlightenment? With regard to material things, our knowledge and our technical accomplishments are legion, but what reaches beyond, the things of God and the question of good, we can no longer identify. Faith, then, which reveals God’s light to us, is the true enlightenment, enabling God’s light to break into our world, opening our eyes to the true light.

Dear friends, as I conclude, I would like to add one more thought about light and illumination. On Easter night, the night of the new creation, the Church presents the mystery of light using a unique and very humble symbol: the Paschal candle. This is a light that lives from sacrifice. The candle shines inasmuch as it is burnt up. It gives light, inasmuch as it gives itself. Thus the Church presents most beautifully the paschal mystery of Christ, who gives himself and so bestows the great light. Secondly, we should remember that the light of the candle is a fire. Fire is the power that shapes the world, the force of transformation. And fire gives warmth. Here too the mystery of Christ is made newly visible. Christ, the light, is fire, flame, burning up evil and so reshaping both the world and ourselves. “Whoever is close to me is close to the fire,” as Jesus is reported by Origen to have said. And this fire is both heat and light: not a cold light, but one through which God’s warmth and goodness reach down to us.

The great hymn of the Exsultet, which the deacon sings at the beginning of the Easter liturgy, points us quite gently towards a further aspect. It reminds us that this object, the candle, has its origin in the work of bees. So the whole of creation plays its part. In the candle, creation becomes a bearer of light. But in the mind of the Fathers, the candle also in some sense contains a silent reference to the Church,. The cooperation of the living community of believers in the Church in some way resembles the activity of bees. It builds up the community of light. So the candle serves as a summons to us to become involved in the community of the Church, whose raison d’être is to let the light of Christ shine upon the world.

Let us pray to the Lord at this time that he may grant us to experience the joy of his light; let us pray that we ourselves may become bearers of his light, and that through the Church, Christ’s radiant face may enter our world (cf. LG 1). Amen.



by Annie Lam*
There are 39 full-time catechists and 1500 volunteer catechists. Evangelization a pastoral priority for Card. Tong. The story of Janet, who will be baptized tonight, along with her younger brother.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - This Easter, 3,500adult catechumens in the Hong Kong diocese will receive the Sacrament of Christian Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Communion) at various parishes at the Holy Saturday Vigil today, April 7.

In his Easter Pastoral Letter 2012, Cardinal John Tong of Hong Kong specially thanks priests, deacons, sisters and laypeople to offer their time and energy in teaching catechism. The catechists "not only carry out the mission of evangelization of the Church, but also strengthen their own faith," the 72-year-old bishop said.

According to the diocesan statistics of Aug. 31, 2011, there are 39 paid catechists and more than 1,500 voluntary catechists. Local Catholic population comprises 363,000 Chinese and 138,000 non-Chinese.

On March 3, Card.Tong stated evangelization as one of his pastoral concerns. "Certainly, the rise in the number of Catholics is gratifying, but the quality of their faith is equally essential," he said, hoping his faithful will progress both in the quantity and the quality of faith.

Card. Tong encouraged the new Catholics to grow in faith. He cited a middle-aged volunteer catechist who was baptized three years ago. The catechist was touched by the words of St. Augustine's words in the "Confessions": "Oh, too late have I loved thee,... too late have I loved thee." After baptism, the catechist lives a simple life, and he studied a course on catechetics and became a volunteer catechist. Now, he plans to study more to deepen his faith, the Easter message says.

Among the 3,500 catechumens, Janet Lo, together with her younger brother, are two of them. She told AsiaNews that she finds life, love and peace in the Catholic faith and is happy to promote faith to others.

Janet, who works in marketing field, said they have finished an 18-month catechism class and received anointment scrutiny liturgy (see photo) performed by Card. Tong and the visiting Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck of Esssen during Lent.

"I especially like a phrase in the Prayer for the Year of Laity of the diocese that says: Love Life, The Gift of God," Janet said. Their search of faith was inspired by their mother's struggles with an illness some years ago. That experience brought her whole family closer to God. "My father, a Catholic, prayed hard with my mother in those difficult days. My mother got baptized and passed away peacefully."

"The experience inspired us to thank God and to respond to His call to become Catholics, like our parents," she said. She also thanked her alma mater, a Christian school that sowed the seed of faith in her heart during her schooldays.

* Annie Lam is a researcher at Holy Spirit Study Centre.



Bishop Anthony
The Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP.

Messages from the Bishop of Parramatta

Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP

To read one of Bishop Anthony's messages, click on the drop-down menu below.

Messages from the Bishop
Easter Message 2012
From Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, Bishop of Parramatta
When people raise their glasses in a toast and say ‘Cheers’ or ‘Your health’ they might not realise that they are praying. When Jesus rose from the dead His first words were those same ones: Shalom, peace, your health. And then He showed us His wounds.
Ah, we might say, I like the cheers bit, but do we have to be reminded about the violence of this world? It seems we do.
Jesus shows His apostles His wounds to help them understand what sin does. Our resistance to what’s good and true and beautiful lacerates our own souls as much as Jesus’ body. “Crucify him!” is the cry that shame pours upon innocence in every age.
Sometimes other people hurt us, physically or emotionally, financially or morally. Sometimes we hurt them. And sometimes we harm ourselves. When we lash out at God and goodness, or just fail to be all that we could be and should be, it diminishes us, it leaves its wounds.
For all the goodness and beauty around us, we know that there is dysfunction in ourselves and our society, in broken relationships and a world that is not quite as it should be. Which is why we all need cheers, health, salvation.
But what really makes us happy? Love, above all, is what we are hard-wired for. We need friendships with God and neighbour. Deep and lasting friendships. Experiences, too, of health and beauty and truth, of work and play, of internal and external harmony. Evil fractures these things; grace restores them. Sin wounds and kills; grace cheers and raises from the dead.
Christ rose from the tomb to show that every break with God, each other, ourselves, can yet be healed. That nothing can separate us from the love of God. That whatever we’ve done He will have us back if we return to Him. Jesus opens His arms wide, not just to display the hurt of Good Friday and the healing of Easter, but to welcome back every returning soul.
We too are called out of the tomb of our anxieties, grievances and addictions. To be signs of hope and happiness.
It doesn’t come easy. Dietrich Bonheoffer spoke about the illusion of ‘cheap grace’, of imagining that healing always comes easy. Easter, he thought, shows it doesn’t. Our healing cost Christ His life. But He willingly gave His all for us.
The blessings of this holiest of seasons for you and your loved ones. Peace be with you, I say. May God’s spirit be with your spirit, I pray. Shalom, peace, your health, cheers!


Apostleship of the Sea try to make a difference to lives of seafarers
By Staff Reporter on Wednesday, 4 April 2012
A seafarer receives an Easter egg far away from home (Photo: John Green)
A seafarer receives an Easter egg far away from home (Photo: John Green)
Apostleship of the Sea port chaplains and ship visitors are making a difference to the lives of lonely merchant seafarers this Easter by giving them a chance to celebrate their faith at such an important time in their spiritual year.
They are bringing them a sweet treat and a taste of joviality – Easter eggs – as a gesture of thanks from the British community for all they do for us.
Seafarers bring us 95 per cent of all the goods we use and consume.
But as we enjoy the fruits of their labour, merchant seafarers are trapped inside their ships in port or at sea, many miles from home – out of sight and out of mind.
Indeed, for seafarers any festive period is much like any other time of year – the only difference being that their separation from family and friends and from their faith can be even more difficult to bear than usual.
This is where the Apostleship of the Sea steps in, visiting merchant ships and providing seafarers with some Easter cheer in the form of Easter eggs donated by the local community and also a chance to attend Mass if they wish it.
Seafarers often turn to the Apostleship of the Sea at Easter for pastoral and practical help, even on Easter Sunday itself.
Recognising that seafarers are often unable to practise their faith fully while at sea, Apostleship of the Sea teams make every effort to take Catholic seafarers to Mass on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, or arrange to have Mass celebrated onboard, so that seafarers can experience Easter as the important religious festival it truly is.
The Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) is a registered charity and agency of the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of England and Wales and Scotland. It is wholly reliant on voluntary donations and legacies to continue its work.
Ninety per cent of world trade is transported by ship, and more than 100,000 ships visit British ports each year. But the life of a modern seafarer can be dangerous and lonely.
They may spend up to a year at a time away from home, separated from their family and loved ones, often working in harsh conditions.
AoS chaplains and ship visitors welcome seafarers to our shores, regardless of their colour, race or creed, and provide them with pastoral and practical assistance. They recognise them as brothers with an intrinsic human dignity.


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bzdel(CCCB – Ottawa)… The Most Reverend Michael Bzdel, C.Ss.R., Ukrainian Catholic Archbishop Emeritus of Winnipeg and Metropolitan of Ukrainian Catholics in Canada, died on April 3, 2012, at his residence in Winnipeg, at the age of 81.
Archbishop Bzdel was born on July 21, 1930, in Wishart, Saskatchewan. A member of the Eastern Church branch of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists), he was ordained a priest of the Ukrainian Catholic Church on July 7, 1954; appointed Ukrainian Catholic Metropolitan Archeparch of Winnipeg by Pope John Paul II on December 29, 1992; and ordained to the episcopate on March 9, 1993, in Sts. Vladimir and Olga Cathedral, Winnipeg. His resignation as Ukrainian Catholic Archeparch of Winnipeg and Metropolitan of Ukrainian Catholics in Canada was accepted by the Holy Father in January 2006 after attaining the age of 75 years.
As Metropolitan, Archbishop Bzdel was one of the four ex officio members of the Permanent Council of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB). He also served on a number of CCCB Commissions and Committees, in particular the former Ad hoc Committee for Aid to the Church in Eastern and Central Europe and the Balkans. In 1997, the Holy Father named him a delegate to the Special Synod for the Assembly of Bishops for America.
Funeral services will be held in Winnipeg beginning on Wednesday, 11 April 2012, at 7:00 p.m. at Sts. Vladimir & Olga Cathedral, with Hierarchal Parastas. Services will continue on Thursday, 12 April 2012, at 10:00 a.m. at St. Joseph’s Ukrainian Catholic Church, Winnipeg, with the Divine Liturgy and concluding rites, followed by burial at Holy Family Cemetery.


CHRISTIANS the world over are commemorating an important part of their calendar, the Easter period, during which they remember the death and resurrection of their Messiah, Jesus Christ, who was crucified on the cross more than 2,000 years ago.
It is a period of deep reflection and prayer by all believers as they remember Christ's crucifixion and the full import of that singular act which is re-incarnated by Christians around the globe in remembrance of the ultimate sacrifice endured by the Lord to save mankind.
Easter is preceded by Lent, a period which is devoted to fasting, abstinence and penitence in commemoration of the days Jesus Christ spent fasting in the wilderness. Devout Christians opt to fast during Lent and also offer tithe or appreciable amounts as church offering to their respective churches to assist the under-privileged persons in their communities.
Zambia's population is predominantly Christian and this fact, more than anything else, prompted the decision to declare the country a so-called 'Christian Nation' by second republican President Dr Frederick J.T. Chiluba. This declaration was subsequently incorporated in the preamble in the national Constitution.
But one question which begs an answer is: Do most Zambians truly reflect the values and spirit of Christianity in their day-to-day lives?The answer is a resounding NO! Sordid evidence abounds which proves beyond doubt that the bulk of so-called Christians have turned their backs on Biblical principles and scriptures and their lives are devoid of any values that could be construed as Christian.
The levels of corruption in our country have escalated, and many of the perpetrators of such acts are 'Christians,' and yet they have no scruples and do not have even a modicum of integrity.
Corrupt officials in Government ministries, departments, quasi-Government institutions and parastatals continue to exhibit unbridled greed and impunity which often lead them to commit grotesque crimes--stealing far in excess of what any person would need for their sustenance.
Many of them steal not because they are in want of basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter; they rob the State and the poor because of avarice; they steal because of their gargantuan appetites for luxuries, which is totally immoral.
It is also undeniable that many of the so-called Christians lead lives of debauchery totally bereft of Christian values. Many, for want of a better term, could be characterised as "Sunday Christians," those who congregate with fellow believers on Sunday and unashamedly return to their sinful ways immediately they leave church.
We are not advocating a level of righteousness which is beyond the capacity of a human being to attain; we are referring to incorrigible individuals whose sins are so repulsive and grotesque, and they make no effort to reform.
Witness the ever-rising statistics about child defilement and rape, indiscriminate killings of spouses, particularly wives, by their partners, bestiality and other unimaginable evils. Are we in the Sodom and Gomorrah era?
These are all matters of grave concern to Government, the Church and the community at large.
We need solutions to curb such crimes in our midst, but efforts made so far have not had the desired impact.
President Michael Sata echoed the sentiments of many in his Easter message yesterday when he implored all Christians to celebrate Easter responsibly and remember the plight of the less fortunate of our society.
He said: "As we celebrate Easter, we should do so responsibly and be mindful of those less fortunate than ourselves.
"Easter should be a time of goodwill and expression of unconditional love to one another. Let us love each other. This is the greatest teaching that Jesus left us."
Hatred, greed, corruption and other vices have the potential to destroy the nation, the President observed. We wish all our esteemed readers happy Easter and hope that the majority will celebrate with moderation and in a dignified manner.




Genesis 1: 1, 26 - 31
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth."
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth."
29 And God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.
30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so.
31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day.

Psalms 104: 1 - 2, 5 - 6, 12 - 14, 24, 35
1 Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, thou art very great! Thou art clothed with honor and majesty,
2 who coverest thyself with light as with a garment, who hast stretched out the heavens like a tent,
5 Thou didst set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be shaken.
6 Thou didst cover it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains.
12 By them the birds of the air have their habitation; they sing among the branches.
13 From thy lofty abode thou waterest the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy work.
14 Thou dost cause the grass to grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth,
24 O LORD, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all; the earth is full of thy creatures.
35 Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more! Bless the LORD, O my soul! Praise the LORD! --
Genesis 22: 1 - 18
1 After these things God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here am I."
2 He said, "Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Mori'ah, and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you."
3 So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; and he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.
4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place afar off.
5 Then Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the ass; I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you."
6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together.
7 And Isaac said to his father Abraham, "My father!" And he said, "Here am I, my son." He said, "Behold, the fire and the wood; but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?"
8 Abraham said, "God will provide himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son." So they went both of them together.
9 When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar, upon the wood.
10 Then Abraham put forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
11 But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" And he said, "Here am I."
12 He said, "Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me."
13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.
14 So Abraham called the name of that place The LORD will provide; as it is said to this day, "On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided."
15 And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven,
16 and said, "By myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son,
17 I will indeed bless you, and I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore. And your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies,
18 and by your descendants shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves, because you have obeyed my voice."
Psalms 16: 5, 8 - 11
5 The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; thou holdest my lot.
8 I keep the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also dwells secure.
10 For thou dost not give me up to Sheol, or let thy godly one see the Pit.
11 Thou dost show me the path of life; in thy presence there is fulness of joy, in thy right hand are pleasures for evermore.
Exodus 14: 15 - 31
15 The LORD said to Moses, "Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward.
16 Lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go on dry ground through the sea.
17 And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen.
18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen."
19 Then the angel of God who went before the host of Israel moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them,
20 coming between the host of Egypt and the host of Israel. And there was the cloud and the darkness; and the night passed without one coming near the other all night.
21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
22 And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.
23 The Egyptians pursued, and went in after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.
24 And in the morning watch the LORD in the pillar of fire and of cloud looked down upon the host of the Egyptians, and discomfited the host of the Egyptians,
25 clogging their chariot wheels so that they drove heavily; and the Egyptians said, "Let us flee from before Israel; for the LORD fights for them against the Egyptians."
26 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen."
27 So Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its wonted flow when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled into it, and the LORD routed the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.
28 The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen and all the host of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea; not so much as one of them remained.
29 But the people of Israel walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.
30 Thus the LORD saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the seashore.
31 And Israel saw the great work which the LORD did against the Egyptians, and the people feared the LORD; and they believed in the LORD and in his servant Moses.
Exodus 15: 1 - 6, 17 - 18
1 Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the LORD, saying, "I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.
2 The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him.
3 The LORD is a man of war; the LORD is his name.
4 "Pharaoh's chariots and his host he cast into the sea; and his picked officers are sunk in the Red Sea.
5 The floods cover them; they went down into the depths like a stone.
6 Thy right hand, O LORD, glorious in power, thy right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy.
17 Thou wilt bring them in, and plant them on thy own mountain, the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thy abode, the sanctuary, LORD, which thy hands have established.
18 The LORD will reign for ever and ever."
Isaiah 54: 5 - 14
5 For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.
6 For the LORD has called you like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, like a wife of youth when she is cast off, says your God.
7 For a brief moment I forsook you, but with great compassion I will gather you.
8 In overflowing wrath for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you, says the LORD, your Redeemer.
9 "For this is like the days of Noah to me: as I swore that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you and will not rebuke you.
10 For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
11 "O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires.
12 I will make your pinnacles of agate, your gates of carbuncles, and all your wall of precious stones.
13 All your sons shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the prosperity of your sons.
14 In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you.
Psalms 30: 2, 4 - 6, 11 - 13
2 O LORD my God, I cried to thee for help, and thou hast healed me.
4 Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name.
5 For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
6 As for me, I said in my prosperity, "I shall never be moved."
11 Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing; thou hast loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,
12 that my soul may praise thee and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to thee for ever. -
Isaiah 55: 1 - 11
1 "Ho, every one who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Hearken diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in fatness.
3 Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.
4 Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples.
5 Behold, you shall call nations that you know not, and nations that knew you not shall run to you, because of the LORD your God, and of the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you.
6 "Seek the LORD while he may be found, call upon him while he is near;
7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and return not thither but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
Isaiah 12: 2 - 6
2 "Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation."
3 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
4 And you will say in that day: "Give thanks to the LORD, call upon his name; make known his deeds among the nations, proclaim that his name is exalted.
5 "Sing praises to the LORD, for he has done gloriously; let this be known in all the earth.
6 Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel."
Baruch 3: 9 - 15, 32 - 38
9 Hear the commandments of life, O Israel; give ear, and learn wisdom!
10 Why is it, O Israel, why is it that you are in the land of your enemies, that you are growing old in a foreign country, that you are defiled with the dead,
11 that you are counted among those in Hades?
12 You have forsaken the fountain of wisdom.
13 If you had walked in the way of God, you would be dwelling in peace for ever.
14 Learn where there is wisdom, where there is strength, where there is understanding, that you may at the same time discern where there is length of days, and life, where there is light for the eyes, and peace.
15 Who has found her place? And who has entered her storehouses?
32 But he who knows all things knows her, he found her by his understanding. He who prepared the earth for all time filled it with four-footed creatures;
33 he who sends forth the light, and it goes, called it, and it obeyed him in fear;
34 the stars shone in their watches, and were glad; he called them, and they said, "Here we are!" They shone with gladness for him who made them.
35 This is our God; no other can be compared to him!
36 He found the whole way to knowledge, and gave her to Jacob his servant and to Israel whom he loved.
37 Afterward she appeared upon earth and lived among men.
Baruch 4: 1 - 4
1 She is the book of the commandments of God, and the law that endures for ever. All who hold her fast will live, and those who forsake her will die.
2 Turn, O Jacob, and take her; walk toward the shining of her light.
3 Do not give your glory to another, or your advantages to an alien people.
4 Happy are we, O Israel, for we know what is pleasing to God.
Psalms 19: 8 - 11
8 the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever; the ordinances of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
Ezekiel 36: 16 - 28
16 The word of the LORD came to me:
17 "Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their ways and their doings; their conduct before me was like the uncleanness of a woman in her impurity.
18 So I poured out my wrath upon them for the blood which they had shed in the land, for the idols with which they had defiled it.
19 I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed through the countries; in accordance with their conduct and their deeds I judged them.
20 But when they came to the nations, wherever they came, they profaned my holy name, in that men said of them, `These are the people of the LORD, and yet they had to go out of his land.'
21 But I had concern for my holy name, which the house of Israel caused to be profaned among the nations to which they came.
22 "Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came.
23 And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them; and the nations will know that I am the LORD, says the Lord GOD, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.
24 For I will take you from the nations, and gather you from all the countries, and bring you into your own land.
25 I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.
26 A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances.
28 You shall dwell in the land which I gave to your fathers; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.
Psalms 51: 12 - 15, 18 - 19
12 Restore to me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners will return to thee.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of thy deliverance.
15 O Lord, open thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth thy praise.
18 Do good to Zion in thy good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,
19 then wilt thou delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on thy altar.
Romans 6: 3 - 11
3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
6 We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin.
7 For he who has died is freed from sin.
8 But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.
9 For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.
10 The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.
11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Psalms 118: 1 - 2, 16 - 17, 22 - 23
1 O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his steadfast love endures for ever!
2 Let Israel say, "His steadfast love endures for ever."
16 the right hand of the LORD is exalted, the right hand of the LORD does valiantly!"
17 I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the LORD.
22 The stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner.
23 This is the LORD's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
Mark 16: 1 - 7
1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Mag'dalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salo'me, bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.
2 And very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen.
3 And they were saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?"
4 And looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back; -- it was very large.
5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe; and they were amazed.
6 And he said to them, "Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here; see the place where they laid him.
7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you."