LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Easter was marked Sunday in Los Angeles County not only by Masses and services in churches, but also by sunrise services at beaches and Forest Lawn cemeteries and The Midnight Mission's traditional celebration.
"Easter is God's answer to all evil and suffering in the world," Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez said in his Spanish-language homily Sunday at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. "It is also the answer to sin and to all the suffering in our own lives. The empty tomb tells us that God's love is stronger than any hate, violence, injustice and evil. God's love can change any situation. God can make life grow from death, he can give meaning to all suffering and transform it into a source of health. He can transform our sins and mistakes into something positive."
Monsignor Antonio Cacciapuoti, the cathedral's pastor, delivered the English-language Mass at 10 a.m. The church's Easter Sunday masses can be viewed at lacatholics.org/easter/.
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.
Earlier Sunday, Easter sunrise services were held at the Forest Lawn cemeteries in Covina Hills, Hollywood Hills and Long Beach and the Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks-Griffin Mortuary, Crematory & Memorial Park in Westlake Village.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Church celebrated a "Sunrise Mass on the Beach" on the sand at 11th Street, south of the Hermosa Beach Pier, and a sunrise service was held on the beach north of the Manhattan Beach Pier, conducted by the Manhattan Beach Community Church, which is affiliated with the United Church of Christ.
Revive LA Church held its third annual Easter sunrise service by Tower 8 on Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades at Temescal Canyon Road at Pacific Coast Highway. Mt. Olive Lutheran Church held an early morning Easter service on Santa Monica Beach, south of Lifeguard Tower 26.
Sixth Street was closed in front of The Midnight Mission to accommodate the nearly 2,000 homeless and near-homeless individuals and families who were served a traditional Easter meal and received hygiene items.
The Midnight Mission expected to serve 2,000 pounds of herb chicken, 45 gallons of gravy, 1,000 pounds of honey glazed spiral ham, 1,000 pounds of garlic mashed potatoes and 700 pounds of seasonal vegetables, according to Georgia Berkovich, its director of public affairs.
The event also included an Easter Village where children received baskets full of candy and other treats and met the Easter Bunny, played by comedian and Midnight Mission alumnus Logan Hobson.
"Of the many services The Midnight provides to our unique community, one of the most important is the sense of family we offer to those who often feel lost and forgotten during the holidays and other days of celebration," Berkovich said.