Christ’s light shines through—now, and in days to come
On a Friday night in early April, a rare occurrence took place on the banks of Lake Superior. The beacon on Minnesota’s Split Rock lighthouse lit up the sky for a few hours, an intentional offering of light—hope amid significant darkness.
Lighthouses are, for the most part, historic sites now. Places we visit and images we put on postcards and Facebook covers. But at one time, they provided a vital role in saving lives and ensuring the flow of trade in this region and others.
From sunrise liturgies to lamb cakes, U.S. Catholic readers share how they celebrate.
When I was about 6 years old, I finally got to participate in an Easter tradition in which I begged to partake every year: my Sicilian great-grandma’s roasted lamb’s head. With my dad and uncle, I was invited upstairs to her apartment on the third floor of my grandmother’s house in Queens, New York. (The rest of my extended family, perhaps more sensible, stayed downstairs snacking on chocolate eggs.) I remember feeling so grown-up, like I was part of a family tradition that went back generations before me.
Faithful young men spend months preparing for their unique role in the community events.
A little before 1 o’clock Saturday morning, the Good Friday procession, which had started at 7 o’clock the night before, finally arrives at the Calvario Chapel in San Gregorio Atlapulco, a pueblo in the southernmost part of Mexico City. It is the procession’s penultimate stop. At that point, Los Varónes—14 young men with deep faith—have carried the heavy coffin containing the figure of a crucified Christ for almost six hours. Pain shows on their faces. Their feet are cut from walking barefoot on broken sidewalks and streets. They’ve been fasting for more than a day.
The short answer: no one really knows.
In many Romance languages, the word for the Feast of the Resurrection is tied directly to Passover: Pâques (French), Pascua (Spanish), and Pascha (Latin) all come directly from Pesach, the Hebrew word for Passover.
Though the cross reigns over Good Friday, Easter's mystery needs a symbol of its own.
I don’t usually think of Jesus’ crucifixion when passing the sweets table, but there it was: A big rich dark chocolate cake adorned with white sugary latticework in the shape of—you guessed it—a cross.
It wasn’t completely out of place, since I was at an ordination. But it brought to mind the perennial question of why, if you want to make something, anything, “Christian,” all you have to do is slap a cross on it, and voila! I wonder if the Romans had any idea that their preferred instrument of torture would someday be imitated in cake frosting.
Looking for a good metaphor for the spiritual journey this Lent and Easter? Go fly a kite!
Kite-flying is a venerable spring tradition, but in our family it also has religious significance. Every Easter, after the last egg is found and church clothes are hung, our family gathers kites, tails, and string and heads to the nearest open field. Living in the Midwest, this can mean skipping in light jackets or tromping through leftover snow in bundled layers to keep chilly blasts from rattling our bones. Either way, it marks an official, if sometimes defiant, welcome to spring's promises of new life.
Do our Lenten practices enhance life after Lent?