North Texas

North Texas Catholic Leaders Reflect on Easter, Heartbreak in Paris, Sri Lanka

On Easter Sunday, the holiest of days for the Roman Catholic Church and the greater Christian church worldwide, pews were packed and joyful music roared from the ceilings as believers celebrated the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

"Easter Sunday offers an opportunity to focus more directly and intently on the mystery of Christ's death and his Resurrection," said Bishop Michael Olson, who leads the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth. "And to come together to thank God for his blessings."  

Olson presided over Easter Sunday Mass at St. Patrick Cathedral in Downtown Fort Worth. He said it's meant to be a happy and uplifting day.

"When people walk out of church, I hope they take with them a sense of hope and a sense of commitment again to the purpose and mission of the church -- which is the salvation of souls," Olson said.

But with the hope and salvation came a sense of sadness in the wake of two heartbreaking events that have rocked the church and the world.

On Monday, the historic and iconic Notre Dame Cathedral went up in flames -- and is expected to take several years to rebuild.   

Earlier Sunday, more than 200 people were reported dead following a series of explosions in the small island nation of Sri Lanka. Many of the victims were celebrating Easter Sunday at three Catholic churches.

"Persecution and suffering have always been a part of following Christ and being a member of his church," Olson said. "Our prayer for the church in Sri Lanka is they live a sign of hope by rebuilding and persevering in the faith despite persecution."

And it's in that perseverance, Olson said, that we can overcome the sadness and show that God's love -- on Easter Sunday and beyond -- is stronger than all.

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