At Easter Masses, Cardinal Wuerl Reflects on the Joy of Christ’s Resurrection

Sunday, March 27, 2016

“Jesus, I believe. Jesus, make me new and alive in your risen life.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, celebrated Easter Masses at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, marking the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. On Easter Sunday, Cardinal Wuerl shared an Easter message on social media.*

On Saturday night, the cardinal celebrated the Easter Vigil at the cathedral. The faithful waited inside the darkened church while outside, the cardinal blessed the paschal candle and the light was passed through the congregation until the entire church was illuminated as darkness and death were overcome with light and new life and the Exsultet (Easter proclamation) was sung. The same liturgy unfolded in parishes throughout the archdiocese as the resurrection of Christ was proclaimed.

At the cathedral parish, there were a total of 21 individuals welcomed into the Catholic Church, either as catechumens who were baptized, or as candidates (already-baptized Christians who received Eucharist and Confirmation). A total of 1,375 adults, teens and children were welcomed into the Catholic Church this year in the archdiocese.

At the cardinal’s Mass on Easter Sunday at the cathedral, he told the standing-room only crowd in attendance, “No matter how many Easter Sundays we have celebrated, there is always the renewal that comes through the gift of the Holy Spirit when we gather in Church with our brothers and sisters, simply to acclaim, ‘Christ is Risen, Christ is truly Risen.’”

We rejoice, Cardinal Wuerl said, because Christ conquered death. “For nearly 2,000 years, Christians have come together to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus. We celebrate by recalling the event and listening to the voice of witnesses. We were not there at the Easter garden, at the empty tomb, so we need to hear again the witness of those who were.”

“But we come to Easter not just to hear all over again the proclamation that Jesus is risen from the dead, we come because we know that we, too, can share in his Resurrection. This is the most exciting part about Easter.  Resurrection is also for us, for you and for me. At the renewal of baptismal promises at this Mass, we are reminded that through the Paschal Mystery – through the sacred action called Sacraments – we spiritually share in the hope of our own resurrection.  We have been buried with Christ in baptism so that we might rise with him to new life.”

The cardinal spoke of the Jubilee of Mercy, as a special gift from the Holy Father, “The Resurrection does not say that you and I must be perfect” he said. “The Jubilee of Mercy recognizes that we are not. But Christ the Risen Lord invites us to walk with him and on the journey to become closer and closer to him and to grow deeper and deeper in the new life he offers us.” The cardinal said that the Holy Father continues to tell us to “go out, encounter others, and bring the joy of our faith and love to others.”

The words, “Christ is Risen, Christ is truly Risen, Alleluia, Alleluia,” taken on special significance for us we renew in our hearts the words of the Apostles, “Jesus, I believe. Jesus, make me new and alive in your risen life,” said the cardinal as he concluded his homily. Following the Mass at St. Matthew’s Cathedral, Cardinal Wuerl celebrated the noon Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, which was carried live on EWTN and on The Catholic Channel on SiriusXM Satellite Radio and broadcast on We Are One Body Radio.

* Link for media to download .mov file of Cardinal Wuerl’s Easter messsage:

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The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 95 Catholic schools, located in Washington, DC, and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

Chieko Noguchi
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