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

April 5, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, celebrated Easter at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle marking the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. On Saturday night, he celebrated the Easter Vigil where he baptized and confirmed 21 catechumens and the elect, who were welcomed into the Catholic Church. Today, the cardinal’s Mass at the cathedral was a standing-room only crowd that had gathered to hear “all over again, the announcement, Christ is Risen,” the cardinal said in his homily.

The narrative of the resurrection has been meticulously preserved by the Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the cardinal said. “All the successors to the apostles so carefully guarded the accounts and so thoughtfully made provision that they be written down and affirmed under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. All of this was done with such precision and care so that you and I today are able to place our faith, our trust, our confidence in the words of the Scripture, in the living witness of the Church.”

But we are asked to do more than share the good news, said the cardinal, who said we must raise our voices on behalf of suffering Christians around the world – the victims of terrorists and extremist attacks simply because they dare to say, ‘Christ is risen.’ “Pope Francis in his Easter message, his plea this morning just a few hours ago, asked us not to remain silent, not to remain inert in the face of this terrible plague – violence against our Christian brothers and sisters and all others suffering from religious persecution,” he said. “Pope Francis explicitly prayed for peace and an end to ‘the present absurd bloodshed’ and ‘all barbarous acts of violence’ to cease in Syria, Iraq, the Holy Land, Libya, Nigeria, South Sudan, the Congo, Kenya and Ukraine.

“As Pope Francis tells us in his apostolic exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel, ‘Christ’s Resurrection is not an event of the past; it contains a vital power which has permeated this world,’” continued the cardinal. He noted that the sprinkling rite that takes place during the Mass “reminds us of the words of the Prophet Ezekiel that are being fulfilled today: ‘I will sprinkle clean water upon you to cleanse you from all your impurities… I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you… I will put my spirit within you.’

“I ask you spiritually to join yourself to the hundreds and hundreds of adults throughout this archdiocese who were baptized into the Church at the Easter Vigil last evening and also to unite yourself spiritually to all of us in this church and throughout the whole Church as we once again affirm our faith that Christ is risen, Christ is truly risen.”

This Easter, more than 1,300 adults, teens and children were welcomed into the Catholic faith at parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Washington. At the Easter Vigil at the cathedral on Saturday, Cardinal Wuerl told the newly baptized that the Easter Sacraments that were administered “are not a goal that you have achieved and a mission you have completed, but rather the beginning of a whole new appreciation of your place in God’s plan and your membership in his family.”

We are free to profess our faith, said the cardinal as he concluded his Easter homily, calling on the faithful to remember those who are unable to openly do so. “Let us remember all our brothers and sisters today, as we rejoice and profess, ‘Christ is risen, Christ is truly risen!!”

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.

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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.

CONTACT: Chieko Noguchi
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