LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Easter Masses and services will be celebrated today at churches throughout Los Angeles County while sunrise services will be held aboard the battleship Iowa and in Rancho Palos Verdes, Manhattan Beach and Santa Monica.
Easter will also be marked by an Easter Brunch at The Midnight Mission for homeless and near-homeless individuals and the 11th annual EasterFest at Grand Hope Park in downtown Los Angeles where children will hunt for 20,000 Easter eggs.
A sunrise service on the fantail of the battleship Iowa, docked at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro, will begin at 6 a.m., hosted by Community Christian Church of Rancho Palos Verdes.
The 71st annual Easter Sunrise Service at Green Hills Memorial Park in Rancho Palos Verdes will begin at 6 a.m. An Easter message will be delivered by Pastor Jacques Molyneux of Ocean View Baptist Church in San Pedro and music will be provided by the Alive Church Worship Band.
An offertory will be given to Community's Child, a Lomita-based nondenominational Christian program that provides homeless women with infants healthy alternatives to abuse, poverty, addictions and hopelessness.
A sunrise service will be held north of the Manhattan Beach Pier beginning at 6:30 a.m., conducted by the Manhattan Beach Community Church, which describes itself as “an inclusive Christian church” affiliated with the United Church of Christ.
The sunrise service at Palisades Park will begin at 6:30 a.m. Those attending the service conducted by the First United Methodist Church of Santa Monica are asked to bring fresh flowers for the cross, blankets and chairs.
The Easter Sunday Mass, the Mass of the Resurrection of Our Lord, will be celebrated at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles at 7:30 a.m., 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. in English and at 1 p.m. in Spanish.
The 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Masses will be streamed live on the Cathedral's YouTube channel, youtube.com/user/olacathedral and its Facebook page, facebook.com/olacathedral.
During the Mass, after renewing their baptismal promises, all faithful will receive a blessing with Easter holy water as a reminder that, in and through Christ, they have died and been born again through the waters of baptism.
The feast of the Resurrection of Christ is the oldest and most important Christian celebration. Christians believe that, by rising from the dead, Jesus demonstrated his power over sin and death, manifesting his divinity as the Son of God.
According to the Christian Scriptures, Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah who offered his life for the sins of the world as was prophesied in the Hebrew Scriptures.
“When we truly understand this path that Jesus is calling us to walk it really gives our lives a new meaning and a new direction,” said Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, who will celebrate the 1 p.m. Mass.
“Jesus calls us now to follow him from that empty tomb and to experience our lives as a gift of love that we receive from God. An extraordinary blessing that we have received with our life and with our faith.
“He calls us to see our daily work as a sacrifice and a service of love that we offer to God and to our brothers and sisters. He calls us to spend our lives in the service of others, giving them life and hope and sharing his joy. Love is life-giving or it is not real love.”
The Midnight Mission expects to serve 3,000 pounds of oven-baked turkey, 8,000 pounds of roast beef, 1,000 pounds each of sweet yams, oven-baked vegetables and rice and 3,000 pounds of dessert to thousands of homeless and near-homeless men, women and children at its Easter Brunch, according to Georgia Berkovich, its director of public affairs.
Entertainer Dick Van Dyke and the actor Mr. T are expected to be among the volunteers serving from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
There will also be an Easter Village where homeless and near-homeless children will be able to meet the Easter Bunny and receive baskets full of candy and other treats.
“Of the many services The Midnight provides to our unique community, one of the most important is the sense of family and community we provide to those who often feel lost and forgotten, especially on national holidays and other days of celebration,” Berkovich said.
“Events like this allow those in our Skid Row community to know that people care and that there is hope for recovery from homelessness and its many causes.”
The 11th annual EasterFest at Grand Hope Park will be held from 1-5 p.m. and include Easter Egg hunts, bounce houses, face painting, arts and crafts and games. The deadline to purchase tickets has passed.
A portion of the proceeds will go to help ministries in Skid Row helping homeless families and children, according to the Kevin K. Haah, the lead pastor of the New City Church of Los Angeles, which is organizing the event.