Christians Globally Celebrate Easter Sunday  

Easter SundayChristians worldwide are celebrating Easter Sunday, a festival and holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

It is described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day of his burial after his crucifixion by Romans at Calvary.

According to the gospel of John in the New Testament, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb where Jesus was buried and found it empty, and an angel told her that Jesus had risen.

Easter is the culmination of the passion of Christ, preceded by Lent (or Great Lent), a forty-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance.

The week before Easter is called holy week, and it contains the days of the Easter Triduum, including Maundy Thursday, commemorating the last supper, as well as Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus.

The Pope has also delivered his traditional Easter message in Rome, with a scathing condemnation of those who fail to help migrants.

Pope Francis said migrants often met “rejection from those who could offer them welcome and assistance”.

He also condemned terrorism as “a blind and brutal violence” that should be fought with “weapons of love”.

Clergymen at the various worship centres in Nigeria, in their various sermons, sued for ‎peaceful coexistence among citizens and emphasised living in love and humility between the rulers and the ruled.

They urged the leaders to embrace the virtues of sacrifice and tolerance in governance, stressing that the welfare of the people should be their priority.

Pope’s Easter Message Condemns Failure To Help Migrants

PopeThe Pope has delivered his traditional Easter message in Rome, with a scathing condemnation of those who fail to help migrants.

Pope Francis said migrants often met “rejection from those who could offer them welcome and assistance”.

He also condemned terrorism as “a blind and brutal violence” that should be fought with “weapons of love”.

The Pope was delivering his “urbi et orbi” (to the city and the world) message to thousands amid tight security in St Peter’s Square.

Pope Francis also offered a prayer for Syria, and expressed his hope for success at peace talks scheduled to resume next month.

He also spoke of recent attacks in Belgium, Turkey, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, and Iraq

The latest terror attack in Brussels the Belgian capital on Tuesday left 28 people dead.

Many pilgrims cancelled their planned trips to Rome in the wake of the violence in Brussels, but the square was packed on Sunday, as was St Peter’s Basilica when Pope Francis celebrated mass on Saturday evening.

Church Synod To Open Amid Gay Row

church synoid popePope Francis is due to celebrate mass at St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, at the start of a synod of bishops that will focus on family issues.

The run-up was dominated by a row over a Vatican priest, Poland-born Krzysztof Charamsa, who on Saturday announced he was in a gay relationship.

Monseigneur Charamsa said he wanted to challenge the church’s “backwards” attitude to homosexuality.

He was later dismissed from his post at the Vatican’s office in charge of guarding Roman Catholic doctrine.

A spokesman said Charamsa’s decision to give interviews on the eve of the synod was “grave and irresponsible” and would put Pope Francis under “undue media pressure”.

Almost 300 Church leaders -will be discussing such issues as the treatment of Catholics who are gay, and how to approach couples who live together without being married or wish to take communion after being divorced.

Christmas Celebration: Pope Delivers First Homily

In Rome, Catholic faithful have flocked to St. Peter’s Basilica for Pope Francis’ first Christmas Eve midnight mass, in which the pontiff once again preached the importance of  humility.

NBC’s Martin Fletcher reports that Pope Francis offered a traditional lesson of light and love during his first Christmas Eve midnight mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.

Pope Francis reiterated the importance of reaching out to the downtrodden, using the shepherds who were the first to hear of Jesus’ birth as an example.

Quoting from the book of Titus, the Pope said that Jesus brought light and grace to the world, and that grace “made salvation possible for the whole human race.

The Pope added that while Jesus embodied light and love, those who hate walk in “darkness.”

Christians all over the world are celebrating Christmas, a holiday that honors the birth of Jesus, whom Christians believe is the son of God.

Christmas is regarded as the most important day of the year for Christians, along with Easter when the death and resurrection of Jesus are celebrated.  The Christmas season (called Christmastide) ends on January 6, known as the Epiphany or the twelfth day of Christmas.

The traditions are different from country to country, but they nearly always include a feast, giving gifts or cards, and enjoying church or public festivities such as singing Christmas carols and songs.

Cardinals Head To Conclave, Church Beset By Woes

Roman Catholic cardinals gather under the gaze of Michelangelo’s “Last Judgment” on Tuesday to elect a new pope to tackle the daunting problems facing the 1.2-billion-member Church.

The secret conclave, steeped in ritual and prayer, could carry on for several days, with no clear favorite in sight to take over the reins from Pope Benedict, who abdicated last month saying he was not strong enough to confront the Church’s woes.

In a process dating back to medieval times, 115 “Princes of the Church” from 48 countries will shut themselves in the Vatican’s frescoed Sistine Chapel on Tuesday afternoon after a public Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in the morning.

They will emerge from their seclusion only when they have chosen the 266th pontiff in the 2,000-year-history of the Church, which is beset by sex abuse scandals, bureaucratic infighting, financial difficulties and the rise of secularism.

“We are ready to enter the conclave and it will be longer than the last one,” South African Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier told reporters on Monday, referring to the 2005 election of Benedict, that was wrapped up in 24 hours after four ballots.

“It will last a few days. Maybe four or five,” he predicted.

The average length of the last nine conclaves was just over three days and none went on for more than five days.

Vatican-insiders say Italy’s Angelo Scola and Brazil’s Odilo Scherer have emerged as the men to beat. The former would bring the papacy back to Italy for the first time in 35 years, while the latter would be the first non-European pope in 1,300 years.

However, a host of other candidates from numerous nations also have been mentioned, including U.S. cardinals Timothy Dolan and Sean O’Malley, Canada’s Marc Ouellet and Argentina’s Leonardo Sandri.

CONSERVATISM AHEAD

All the red-hatted prelates closed in the Sistine Chapel were appointed by either Benedict or his revered predecessor John Paul, and the next pontiff will almost certainly pursue their fierce defense of traditional moral teachings.

But Benedict and John Paul were criticized for failing to reform the Vatican bureaucracy, battered by allegations of intrigue and incompetence, and some churchmen believe the next pope must be a manager or put a good management team in place.

Vatican insiders say Scola, who has managed two big Italian dioceses, might be best placed to understand the Byzantine politics of the Vatican administration – of which he is not a part – and therefore be able to introduce swift reform.

The Curia faction is said by the same insiders to back Scherer who worked in the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops for seven years before later leading Brazil’s Sao Paolo diocese – the largest diocese in the biggest Catholic country.

With only 24 percent of Catholics living in Europe, pressure is growing within the Church to see a pontiff from elsewhere in the world who would bring a different perspective.

Latin American cardinals might worry more about poverty and the rise of evangelical churches than questions of materialism and sexual abuse that predominate in the West, while the growth of Islam is a major concern for the church in Africa and Asia.

The cardinals are expected to hold their first vote late on Tuesday afternoon – almost certain to be inconclusive – before retiring to the Vatican hotel for the night.

They hold four ballots a day thereafter until one man has won a two-thirds majority – or 77 votes. Black smoke from a makeshift chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel will show no-one was elected while white smoke and the pealing of St. Peter’s bells will announce the arrival of a new pontiff.

As in medieval times, the cardinals will be banned from communicating with the outside world. The Vatican has also taken high-tech measures to ensure secrecy in the 21st century, including jamming devices to prevent eavesdropping.