An Easter message: Jesus has called us to life

April 25, 2023

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo baptizes a man during Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday, April 8, at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Houston. During the Easter Vigil Mass, he baptized 13 new Catholics at the Co-Cathedral, and then confirmed 24 people whom all joined the 1,820 candidates and catechumens who fully entered the local Church at parishes throughout the Archdiocese in the Easter season. (Photos by James Ramos)

HOUSTON — Like itinerant missionary priests, both Daniel Cardinal DiNardo and Auxiliary Bishop Italo Dell’Oro, CRS, trekked around the Archdiocese to celebrate Liturgies during Holy Week in early April.

Parishes and Catholic communities throughout the Archdiocese also celebrated Holy Week in Liturgy and through special prayer services and worship. Priests and clergy washed the feet of hundreds of faithful — many catechumens and candidates — on Holy Thursday, followed by lengthy vigils with the Blessed Sacrament through the night.

PHOTOS: Holy Week around the Archdiocese

From Galveston Island to Houston’s East End, on Good Friday, the Passion of Jesus was recalled through Living Stations of the Cross presented by both youth, young adults and adult faith communities.

Cardinal DiNardo celebrated Mass and Liturgies at St. Mary Cathedral Basilica in Galveston on Palm Sunday, April 2, and a week later on Easter Sunday, April 9. He celebrated Mass on Holy Thursday and Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. Then he went north to Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Conroe, where he celebrated Good Friday Liturgy.

On Holy Saturday, April 8, right at 9:40 p.m., the bells of the Co-Cathedral’s carillon bell tower rang out and echoed throughout downtown Houston. The bells continued to ring for the next three minutes as the choir and the faithful inside the Co-Cathedral proclaimed the Gloria while acolytes rang more bells, and candles were lit throughout the sanctuary.

Then, using a special baptismal shell, he baptized 13 new Catholics at the Co-Cathedral, and then confirmed 24 people whom all joined the 1,820 candidates and catechumens who fully entered the local Church at parishes throughout the Archdiocese in the Easter season.
In his Good Friday homily in Conroe, Cardinal DiNardo exhorted that Catholics call for an end to antisemitism of any kind and for the rejection of any bitterness towards the Jewish, especially as anti-Semitic incidents have increased in recent years.

Echoing his own ecumenical efforts with Jewish leaders and St. John Paul II’s message of friendship with the Jewish people, Cardinal DiNardo said the Catholic Church has — for the past quarter century — made it clear “that antisemitism does not belong in the mouths of any Christian.”

Back at the Co-Cathedral, in his Easter Vigil homily during the Liturgy in which Cardinal DiNardo said actions speak louder than words, Cardinal DiNardo spoke to each candidate and catechumen who had vigilantly made their journey to the Church: “God is thinking about each one of you. Your name is written eternally in God’s beloved life that is eternal... God has guided you.”

Because “Christ is risen,” the Church does not celebrate a memorial service for a dead man, he said, but “we celebrate the living God in Christ Jesus who has called us to His life. ”

Bishop Dell’Oro celebrated most of his Holy Week Liturgies at Warren Chapel at St. Dominic Village. In this series of Lenten and Easter encounters with St. Dominic’s Catholic retirement community, Bishop Dell’Oro presided over Liturgies there on Holy Thursday and Easter Vigil.

He also led a Good Friday Liturgy at the Co-Cathedral that concluded a lengthy Way of the Cross procession that began at the University of St. Thomas and ended at the Co-Cathedral. He also celebrated Easter Sunday Mass at the Co-Cathedral.

On Easter Sunday, surrounded by bright white lilies and orchids, yellow daffodils, pink and white hydrangeas and yellow and pink tulips that brightened the Co-Cathedral to signal the Easter season, Bishop Dell’Oro led the rite of renewal of baptismal promises for hundreds. Then, with Father Jeffrey Bame, Co-Cathedral rector, and the assisting deacons, sprinkled the people with holy water throughout the packed Co-Cathedral.

In his homily, he reminded Catholics to follow their heart in prayer and not rage, and to leave the judgment of people and situations to God and not to themselves, especially when they do not fully understand the situation, much like the crowds judged Jesus in His Passion.

He ended his homily with a hearty greeting and proclamation and said: “Happy Easter to all of you! Happy Easter!”