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This is a holy week for so many around the world and, as is often the case, the Passover and Easter holidays coincide. The First Council of Nicaea in 325 determined that Easter should always fall on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox. Consequently, Easter remained without a fixed date but proximate to the full moon, which coincided with the start of Passover, the 15th of the Hebrew month of Nissan.
While the long, tedious and intense preparations that lead up to these special days were happening, the whole world came to a sudden stop this week as the great cathedral, Notre Dame de Paris, Our Lady of Paris, went up in flames. We watched in horror as this magnificent church, an international symbol visited by millions of tourists each year, burned and intense smoke billowed throughout the Parisian sky.
A building project begun in the 12th century and completed 300 years later, could have been reduced to a pile of smoldering rubble, burying with it, the most precious of religious relics and artifacts. But miraculously, it remained standing, artwork rescued, the faithful holding vigils, as petitions for Paris were sent up through song, hymn and prayer from people of all faiths and beliefs from around the globe.
The holidays we are about to enjoy with our families and friends are reminders of the miracles of ancient times; freedom from slavery and the resurrection of Christ. They occur in the spring as a symbol of renewal and hope for us all. I hope that you and yours find peace and hope during this season of miracles, light and wonder.