Christians from all over the world are gathering to celebrate Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead.
According to the Scripture, Jesus rose from the dead or came back to life three days after being crucified. It is marked as Jesus’ victory over death. The crucifixion of Jesus is commemorated on Good Friday, which is the Friday right before Easter.
Easter is celebrated as it signifies the rebirth of Jesus. His resurrection symbolizes the eternal life that is granted to all who believe in Him.
Easter is the biggest day of the year for the Church. It is indeed the day we build towards every year through the season of Lent and all the Holy Week services. It is the “Hallelujah Chorus” of Sunday worship services. On this day we celebrate the greatest news ever proclaimed, “Christ is risen”, victory is won.
Donald Trump praised Pope Francis hours after the pontiff questioned his Christian faith.
Pope Francis had said Donald Trump’s proposal to build a wall on the US border with Mexico was not Christian, provoking a strong response from the businessman.
However, hours later, at a town hall event in South Carolina, Donald Trump was more conciliatory.
Republican voters in the US state will make their presidential choice in days.
The Republican presidential hopeful leads the South Carolina polls and he took to a stage in Columbia on February 18 to answer questions on national television.
When asked about his row with the Pope, Donald Trump said he wouldn’t describe it as a fight, although he later said he didn’t like fighting with him.
“I have a lot of respect for the Pope. He has a lot of personality and I think he’s doing a very good job, he has a lot of energy.”
Donald Trump said the pontiff was misinformed when he criticized the proposed wall, because he was not aware of the drugs coming in and the other security problems that made a strong border a necessity.
Earlier in the day, Pope Francis said “a person who thinks only about building walls… and not of building bridges, is not Christian”.
That was roundly condemned by Donald Trump, who issued a statement in which he called the comments “disgraceful”.
Donald Trump’s anti-immigration stance is a central plank in his campaign – he wants to deport 11 million undocumented migrants and said Muslims should be temporarily barred from coming to the US.
The row with Pope Francis comes two days before Republicans in South Carolina and Democratic voters in Nevada will choose their presidential candidates.
Donald Trump, who has no political experience but won in New Hampshire, is the clear frontrunner in February 20 Republican vote.
At the town hall event on February 18 hosted by CNN, Donald Trump backed down from comments made at the weekend when he said President George W. Bush lied about the existence of weapons of mass destruction before invading Iraq.
Pope Francis has questioned Donald Trump’s Christianity over his call to build a border wall with Mexico.
The pontiff said “a person who thinks only about building walls… and not of building bridges, is not Christian”.
Donald Trump supports deporting nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants.
Calling himself a “proud Christian”, the Republican presidential hopeful blamed Mexico for the Pope’s remarks, calling them “disgraceful”.
Donald Trump Trump has alleged that Mexico sends “rapists” and criminals to the US.
Pope Francis made the comments at the end of a six-day trip to Mexico.
“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not of building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel,” he said.
The Pope declined to say whether Americans should vote for Donald Trump, who is leading the Republican race for president.
“I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that. We must see if he said things in that way and I will give him the benefit of the doubt,” he said.
Addressing a rally in South Carolina, Donald Trump responded to Pope Francis’ comments.
“For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful. I am proud to be a Christian,” Donald Trump said.
“No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith.”
“[The pope] said negative things about me. Because the Mexican government convinced him that Trump is not a good guy,” Donald Trump added.
He also said the Vatican was ISIS’ “ultimate trophy” and that if it attacked, “the Pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been president because this would not have happened”.
Donald Trump’s Republican rivals, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, both Catholics, said they look to Pope Francis for spiritual guidance, not political direction.
Marco Rubio said the US has a right and an obligation to control its borders.
Jeb Bush told reporters he “supports walls where it’s appropriate” and that “Christianity is between he and his creator. I don’t think we need to discuss that”.
Earlier this month, Donald Trump called Pope Francis “a very political person” in an interview with Fox News.
“I don’t think he understands the danger of the open border we have with Mexico,” he said.
American Catholics are seen as an important voting bloc in US elections. Many support Republican candidates because of their opposition to abortion and gay marriage.
Donald Trump has been courting the evangelical Christian vote, often successfully, but his fellow Republican rivals have tried to argue that his religiosity is not sincere.
Ted Cruz’s campaign is now running an advertisement featuring a 1999 television interview Donald Trump gave in which he said he was “very pro-choice” when it comes to abortion.
In January, Donald Trump faced ridicule after flubbing a Bible verse when giving a speech to a Christian university in Virginia.
He has said he is a Presbyterian Christian but has had trouble recalling his favorite Bible verse when asked.
Donald Trump has referred to communion, the Christian sacrament signifying Jesus’ last supper, as having “the little wine” and “the little cracker”.
Religion is a topic that we often find at the forefront of news stories. It seems like no matter what happens; people will find a link to religion. There are even huge political debates fuelled by religious arguments. It’s impossible to ignore this subject if you’re reading any news story or following social media.
The problem is, religion is talked about so much, yet people know so little about it. Everyone’s heard of the main religions, the ones you hear about the most. Christianity is often in the news, for a number of reasons. Whether it’s the Pope visiting America, or someone finding a piece of toast that looks like Jesus. Then, of course, it gets in the news for much darker reasons too. The other religion we often hear a lot about is Islam. And, when I say we ‘hear a lot’ about it, I mean it’s in the news a lot. Most of the time, it’s talked about for the wrong reasons, and we aren’t told much about the actual religion. Instead, we’re fed facts and figures and told things that we’re led to believe are true. As a result, most of the public end up with a distorted view of Islam and the Muslim community.
Of course, the same can be said of Christianity too. Often, we’re only shown radical Christians in the news, people with beliefs so far off the scale they seem crazy. Media outlets do this because it sells. People love to see a religious nut talk about crazy stuff. But, it ends up having a negative effect on religion in general. The public start to see religion as a bad thing, something that brainwashes people. It makes sense when you think about it. If we’re only shown the religious extremists, we start to get a blanket view of religion. We aren’t shown stories of everyday Christians or Muslims doing good things through religion. We’re only shown the crazy people that take a distorted view of religious teachings.
Religion isn’t a bad thing. If you knew about it, then you’ll already be aware of that. Christianity, Islam, Judaism, these aren’t cults meant to brainwash people. They’re a source of hope for so many people all over the world. People choose to follow a religion because they like what it teaches them. They like the sense of hope it gives them, the joy it brings. Religion is also a great way of bringing people together and forming a community. Many people turn to it when they’re looking to find a new meaning.
If you think religion is bad and teaches people to be crazy and evil, then you’re wrong. Start learning more about different religious teachings so you can be more informed. Don’t let the media blur your vision and stop you from seeing the truth. You don’t have to be a person of faith to learn about these things. The more you understand, the more you’ll be amazed at how distorted the media’s representation of religion is.
Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, the Sudanese woman who fled to Italy after being spared a death sentence for renouncing Islam, has arrived in the US.
Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag arrived in New Hampshire on Thursday evening with her American husband and her children.
Welcoming her on a brief stopover in Philadelphia, the city’s mayor, Michael Nutter, described her as a “world freedom fighter”.
There was global condemnation when Meriam Ibrahim was sentenced to hang for apostasy by a Sudanese court earlier this year.
Meriam Ibrahim’s father is Muslim so according to Sudan’s version of Islamic law she is also Muslim and cannot convert.
She maintains she was never Muslim having been raised by her Christian mother.
Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag arrived in New Hampshire on Thursday evening with her American husband and her children
Meriam Ibrahim flew from Rome to Philadelphia with her husband and two children, en route to Manchester, New Hampshire, where her husband has relatives and the family hope to settle.
While in Philadelphia, Michael Nutter said people would remember her just like “others who stood up so we could be free”.
He compared her to Rosa Parks, who became a symbol of the civil rights movement in the US when she refused to give up her seat to a white man on a bus in Alabama.
Michael Nutter presented Meriam Ibrahim with a small replica of the Liberty Bell, a symbol of American independence.
Her next stop was Manchester, and there were about 40 relatives and supporters at the airport to greet her.
He said her husband said a few words, in which he thanked the US government for its strong stance, the New Hampshire senators who worked hard to arrange her asylum and the people of Sudan for their support.
Meriam Ibrahim’s husband, Daniel Wani, also a Christian, is from South Sudan and has US nationality.
Their daughter Maya was born in prison in May, shortly after Meriam Ibrahim was sentenced to hang for renouncing one’s faith.
Under intense international pressure, her conviction was quashed and she was freed in June although she was initially stopped from leaving the country and the family took refuge at the US embassy in Khartoum.
When in Rome, Meriam Ibrahim met Pope Francis, who “thanked her for her witness to faith”, according to a Vatican spokesman.
Pope Francis was visiting the parish of St. Alphonso Maria dei Liguori, in the district of Justine, on the outskirts of Rome when an onlooker placed a baby lamb over his neck.
The pontiff was at the site to spend the afternoon of the Epiphany festival there where parishioners had set up a special nativity scene.
More than 200 people took part in the re-enactment, wearing period costumes and playing the parts of villagers, artisans and street sellers. People lined the sides of the road leading to the church and watched from rooftops and balconies of surrounding buildings.
According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis greeted each of the participants and many of the parishioners who attended.
One special guest lay waiting in a small hut: a 2-month-old baby named Francesco, who had been baptized that morning and played the role of Jesus in the pageant.
Pope Francis visiting the parish of St. Alphonso Maria dei Liguori in Rome’s outskirts
A woman dressed as a shepherd placed the small lamb on Pope Francis’ shoulders. Children sang a Christmas song and gave the pope a bouquet of red roses.
At the end of his visit, Pope Francis talked about the importance of a new year beginning with Jesus, who stays by everyone’s side to overcome evil. He asked everyone to pray for children who would be born in 2014 and for all grandparents, who he said are the source of wisdom.
The priest who organizes the parish’s live Nativity scene each year said he had invited Pope Francis just a few days earlier and the pope had accepted immediately.
“The pope was so happy. He told me <<Keep it up. Don’t get discouraged>>,” Father Dario Criscuoli told journalists.
According to the Vatican newspaper, the priest said Pope Francis told him” “Surely to put something like this together you have to be crazy, but that’s OK; God likes some things that are crazy.”
Pope Francis celebrated his first Christmas Eve Mass since becoming pontiff St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.
The pontiff once again preached the importance of acceptance and humility, qualities he has demonstrated continually in his first nine months as head of the Catholic Church.
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light,” Pope Francis began, quoting from Isaiah, a book of the Bible that includes prophesies foretelling the birth of Jesus.
Pope Francis has sought to change the image of the Catholic Church as a judgmental, lavish, inflexible institution since his election in March.
On Monday, he made a Christmas visit to Pope Emeritus Benedict and asked him to pray for him.
In Christmas Eve’s Mass, 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.
“They were the first because they were among the last, the outcast,” he said.
“We bless you, Lord God most high, who lowered yourself for our sake. You are immense, and you made yourself small; you are rich and you made yourself poor; you are all-powerful and you made yourself vulnerable,” he said in thanks to God and also a clear indication of the humility he encourages his flock to emulate.
Before Christmas Eve Mass, Pope Francis personally placed a baby Jesus doll in a replica of a manger, a custom usually performed by an aid
In his address to Vatican administrators on Saturday, Pope Francis said holiness was a practice of “deep humility and fraternal charity in our relationships with our fellow workers,” as he urged the cardinals, bishops and priests to avoid gossip.
Before the Mass, Pope Francis further inspired meekness, when he personally placed a baby Jesus doll in a replica of a manger, a custom usually performed by an aid.
The 2 1/2-hour Mass was the first of many services Pope Francis will lead during the holidays. On Christmas Day, he will deliver a “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) message from the basilica’s balcony overlooking St. Peter’s Square.
Pope Francis will also hold mass on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day and another on January 6, for the feast of the Epiphany or “Three Kings’ Day”, celebrating the Magi’s visit to the baby Jesus.
Crowds of pilgrims and tourists have begun to gather in the biblical town of Bethlehem to kick off Christmas Eve celebrations.
The nearby Church of the Nativity sits on the spot where the Bible says Jesus was born.
The number of visitors to Bethlehem has been steadily rising in recent years as peace talks to resolve the Middle East conflict have resumed.
Crowds of pilgrims and tourists have begun to gather in the biblical town of Bethlehem to kick off Christmas Eve celebrations
Despite the erection of Israel’s separation barrier with the West Bank, which appears as a high concrete wall around the town, three gates have been opened for Christmas to allow the Christmas procession led by the Latin Patriarch coming from Jerusalem to enter the city.
In Vatican City, Pope Francis has made a Christmas visit to Pope Emeritus Benedict, 86, and said he found his predecessor looking well.
Pope Francis, who was elected in March, spent about 30 minutes with Pope Emeritus Benedict in an ex-convent on the Vatican grounds where the former pope has been living since he stepped down earlier this year, the Reuters news agency reports.
French Catholic Church has finally corrected a “blasphemous” error that crept into the Gallic version of The Lord’s Prayer 50 years ago.
After a 17-year debate, theologians and writers concluded that the French equivalent of “And lead us not into temptation” implied that God Himself could lead us astray, rather than help us keep on the straight and narrow, and thus had “blasphemous” overtones.
The French line before read: “And don’t submit us to temptation.”
It now reads: “And don’t let us enter into temptation.”
The change will be incorporated into a new French translation of the Bible validated by the Vatican that will be published next month.
Traditionalists were appalled when the unfortunate wording was introduced in 1966, as according to father Frédéric Louzeau, a theologian, it suggested that: “God, who is infinitely good and the source of all goodness, could drive man to evil or sin.”
French Catholic Church has finally corrected a “blasphemous” error that crept into the Gallic version of The Lord’s Prayer 50 years ago
Le Figaro, France’s main conservative daily, said the consequences of the poor translation on “millions of Catholics” was “incalculable”.
The “error” was due to an ecumenical compromise between Orthodox Christians and reformed Protestants to create a “common Lord’s Prayer”. The resulting text came in the wake of the Second Vatican Council of 1965, which sought to address relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the modern world.
The French Protestant version of the Bible modified the phrase at the time.
The new translation will be presented during the forthcoming plenary assembly of French bishops at Lourdes. However, it will not be used in French parishes until the changes are incorporated into the latest Roman Missal – not before 2015.
“We’ll have to explain it to our congregation. Even the priest will get it wrong,” Father Scheffels, priest in Nanterre, west of Paris, told Le Parisien.
Eric Denimal, a theologian, told the newspaper that believers should not worry about having said the wrong thing for the past 50 years.
“Whatever way the phrase is pronounced, what counts ultimately is the authenticity of the relationship between the person praying and the God he is addressing,” he said.
The Lord’s Prayer is a central prayer in Christianity also commonly known as the Our Father and in Latin as the Pater Noster.
In the New Testament, it appears a longer form in the Gospel of Matthew as part of the Sermon on the Mount, and a shorter form in the Gospel of Luke, as a response by Jesus to a request by “one of his disciples” to teach them “to pray as John taught his disciples”.
The prayer concludes with “deliver us from evil” in Matthew, and with “lead us not into temptation” in Luke.
Students and College for a Weekend (CFAW) guests enjoyed a performance by the band Crowder and a message of encouragement from Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robertson during Liberty University’s Convocation.
Willie Robertson, 41, is the CEO of Duck Commander, a leading duck call manufacturer, and the executive producer of Duck Dynasty. As the only member of the family with a business degree, Willie Robertson took the company from a living room operation to a premier destination for all things outdoors.
Before Willie Robertson took the stage, Crowder gave the crowd a preview of its upcoming concert with Colton Dixon. The band performed, This I Know, a song about Christ’s love for people.
Vice President for Communications Johnnie Moore also took a few minutes to greet CFAW guests and let them know how much Liberty appreciates them.
“We want you to know that as members in the body of Christ you are our honored guests and we are really glad you are here today,” he told the crowd.
President Jerry Falwell, Jr. introduced Robertson as “the star and driving force of the biggest reality television show in the history of cable television.”
Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robertson during Liberty University’s Convocation
“In addition to his business savvy, Willie and his entire family are known for their faith in Jesus Christ,” Jerry Falwell said.
“They are not just some of the top celebrities of our time, but are some our nation’s most famous Christians.”
Willie Robertson shared how his father Phil came to know Christ when he was 28 years old and decided to make duck calls, a tool hunters use to lure fowl.
“Without my father making the decision to come to Christ, there would not be a show called <<Duck Dynasty>>,” he said.
“When you are moving toward God, you are moving in the right direction.”
Willie Robertson then told the story of John the Baptist pointing people to Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew and how the book of Isaiah calls John the “highway for God.”
“My challenge to you is to not let the world’s measuring stick show you what is successful,” he said.
“Our family views success (as being) able to go around the country and share the message of the Lord and to talk about our faith.”
As he finished, Willie Robertson reminded students that even though they may believe in God, Satan will always try to prevent them from spreading the Gospel.
“A base like this [Liberty University] of young people can move mountains. Thank you for watching our show – you are making a difference,” Willie Robertson said.
Pope Francis has once again condemning the Roman Catholic Church’s narcissistic “Vatican-centric view” of religion.
Pope Francis, who was elected earlier this year after Pope Benedict’s resignation, has been praised for his comments since taking the position.
During a discussion with the atheist editor of La Repubblica, an Italian newspaper, Pope Francis once again made it clear that he is looking to reform the church.
The Pontiff commented: “This Vatican-centric view neglects the world around us. I don not share this view and I’ll do everything I can to change to it.”
Pope Francis then went on to lay out his plan, stating: “The Church is or should go back to being a community of God’s people, and priests, pastors and bishops who have the care of souls, are at the service of the people of God.”
Pope Francis has once again condemning the Roman Catholic Church’s narcissistic “Vatican-centric view” of religion
He continued: “And I believe in God, not in a Catholic God, there is no Catholic God, there is God and I believe in Jesus Christ, his incarnation. Jesus is my teacher and my pastor, but God, the Father, Abba, is the light and the Creator. This is my Being. Do you think we are very far apart?”
Since becoming the leader of the Catholic Church, Francis has proven that he is a more liberal kind of Pope. He has proven this by being more lenient on various subjects which have included atheism.
Recently, Pope Francis even criticized the church for being too obsessed with certain issues. Back in September, the Pontiff was quoted as saying: “We have to find a new balance, otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and the fragrance of the Gospel.”
Pope Francis then added: “The church has sometimes locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules,” before asking his clergy to not act like government officials or bureaucrats.
Pope Francis has arrived in the town of Assisi to pray at the shrine of the 13th-Century saint whose name he adopted.
The pontiff is accompanied by eight cardinals chosen to help him shape a radical programme of reform for the Vatican.
The Pope has said he wants today’s Catholic Church to resemble St Francis of Assisi’s “church of the poor”.
He wants to use abandoned monasteries and convents to house refugees.
Pope Francis also says he wants to see a less hierarchical Church which is less centred on the Vatican.
Pope Francis has arrived in the town of Assisi to pray at the shrine of the 13th-Century saint whose name he adopted
Two days ago Pope Francis told Italian newspaper La Repubblica his namesake had “longed for a poor Church that looked after others, accepted monetary help and used it to help others with no thought of itself”.
“Eight-hundred years have passed and times have changed, but the ideal of a missionary and poor Church is still more than valid,” he said.
During his day-long “pilgrimage” to Assisi, the Pope is expected to meet groups of poor, sick and disabled people who are being looked after by Catholic orders or charities.
St Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of Italy.
Known in Italian as Il Poverello, or the Poor One, he was the son of a wealthy local cloth merchant who scandalized his family when he reached the age of 25 by dumping his expensive clothing and living in sackcloth, ministering to the poor for the rest of his life.
Pope Francis has become known for his candid views – unlike anything heard coming out of the Vatican during recent papacies.
Katherine Russell Tsarnaev, the widow of Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, has reportedly started to reject the strict Muslim rules her husband forced upon her.
Katherine Russell, 24, is living at her parents’ home in Rhode Island with her daughter by Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and her family is encouraging her to convert back to Christianity, according to reports.
She has also changed her name back to Katherine Russell from Karima Tsarnaeva, the name she adopted after marrying Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed earlier this year following a police shootout.
“Katherine is slowly starting to change,” a source told the National Enquirer, adding that she is already wearing fingernail polish and eating at fast food restaurants.
It had previously been reported that she drastically changed after meeting Tamerlan Tsarnaev while at a club during her college years.
Katherine Russell is cooperating with officials in the investigation, but claims she had no idea her husband was plotting to bomb the Boston marathon as she was working 80 hours a week as a health care aide.
“Katherine was completely subservient to him,” a source told the Enquirer.
“She cowered around him.”
Katherine Russell has started to reject the strict Muslim rules her husband Tamerlan Tsarnaev forced upon her
Katherine Russell has not been accused of any wrongdoing, but the FBI have questioned her to find out if she had any clue as to her husband’s plans.
The bombing at the marathon’s finish line on April 15 killed three people and injured more than 260.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his brother Dzhokhar, originally from Chechnya, are believed to have carried out the attacks due to their radical jihadist beliefs.
Katherine Russell’s lawyer Joshue Dratel, from New York, said that he joined Russell’s legal team to help her navigate the criminal justice system and to protect her interests.
He said she had spoken with investigators and planned to keep co-operating.
“I don’t see that changing in the foreseeable future,” he said.
“There’s no inconsistency between that and her interests at this point.”
Katherine Russell was widowed when Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a police shootout on April 19 – four days after he and his younger brother Dzhokhar allegedly set off bombs during the Boston Marathon. Three people were killed in the cowardly attack and 264 more were wounded, several of whom lost limbs.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, is in a prison hospital facing charges that could bring the death penalty.
Tamerlan tsarnaev, 26, died on April 19 after a shootout with police.
Katherine Russell had been living in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her husband and two-year-old daughter, but has been staying with her parents in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, since the day her husband was killed.
Among the questions about Katherine Russell is what she knew or saw in the weeks leading up to the bombing, and in the days after it.
Two U.S. officials have said that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told investigators the bombs were assembled in the small apartment Katherine Russell shared with her husband.