Worshippers share joy of Easter

A nine-foot-tall cross completely covered in silk flowers brightened the lawn at Corpus Christi Chur

A nine-foot-tall cross completely covered in silk flowers brightened the lawn at Corpus Christi Church on Sunday. It bloomed with peonies, pansies, forsythia, hydrangeas, tulips, carnations and cherry blossoms hand-placed by members of the congregation in celebration of Easter.

The Christian holiday celebrates the resurrection of Christ three days after his crucifixion, as recounted in the New Testament.

“We celebrate the fact that the Lord rose from the dead,” explained the Rev. James Clark. “We celebrate his resurrection because we believe, in our brokenness, through our baptism, Christ has called us. We shared his death when we were baptized, now we share in his resurrection, so we come to celebrate that Easter joy.”

The Roman Catholic church was full for the 9:30 a.m. service, the second of three held that day. Folding chairs were added next to the pews to accommodate the large crowd.

The sanctuary was full of donated, potted flowers — orange and white lilies, yellow mums, pink azaleas, pink and blue hydrangeas, purple tulips. It was also alive with children — little girls in frilly dresses and shiny shoes and clutching stuffed animals and baby dolls; fidgety little boys in button-up shirts and sweater vests, with neatly brushed hair.

Behind the altar hung a tapestry adorned with the image of Jesus wrapped in strips of linen, stigmata on his hands, a golden halo encircling his head.

Holy water was sprinkled over everyone sitting in the pews, as a reminder of their baptism and the need for forgiveness.

“Hallelujah! Isn’t it great to be able to say that again?” Clark asked the congregation. “Hallelujah! He is risen!”

In his sermon, Clark said that Christ’s resurrection proves that love is stronger than death.

“The fact of the empty tomb, that fact, that Christ is truly risen from the dead, is the most important and significant belief of our faith. St. Paul says that if Christ did not rise from the dead, all that we do is in vain,” he said.

Clark said that Jesus’ resurrection “makes the light of hope shine so brightly in our lives that it shrinks our crosses down to size” so that our burdens are easier to bear. He encouraged the congregation to help others to carry their crosses as well.

Clark asked the congregation to take up something new during the season of Easter, just as many gave up a favorite food or something else dear to them during Lent. He suggested sharing the good news of the gospel with others and reaching out to the poor, hungry and homeless.

At several times during the service, the sanctuary filled with song.

“This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad,” the congregation sang.

Andrew Gayle of Clifton Park came to the service with his family. He held his 14-month-old daughter, Naomi, in his arms.

“This is kind of her first full celebration, so it’s special for our entire family,” he said.

The loving nature of this time of year is what makes Easter special to him.

“Everyone seems to come together and have a greater appreciation of religion and hopefully her mother and I can instill that kind of emotion in her and her sister as well,” he said.

Daniel DeFabio of Ballston Spa held his squirming, smartly-dressed 1-year-old, Alex, in his arms. He hopes his son will learn that Easter symbolizes new possibilities and continued optimism.

“It’s a season of hope. It’s a celebration of new beginnings and new opportunities,” he said.

MaryAnn DiNuzzo of Mechanicville sat on a bench in the vestibule with her mother, Lucy McSparron, waiting for the 11:30 service to begin. “I think for Catholics, Easter is the holiest of holidays because it’s a birth, and Christ is risen, and without that, then there’s no saving,” said DiNuzzo.

McSparron summed up why she came to Easter Mass very succinctly: “This is where we’re supposed to be on Easter Sunday.”

Categories: Schenectady County

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