Israel has granted approximately 850 Palestinian Christians who live in the Gaza Strip permits allowing them to visit Jerusalem for Easter.
"Muhammad al-Maqadma [spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Civil Affairs] said the permits were the result of 'dedicated efforts' by Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh in order to enable hundreds of Christians to celebrate the holidays within a span of 45 days," reported the Middle Eastern publication Ma'an News.
"This is the first time such a large number of Christians from Gaza received permits to travel to the West Bank and Jerusalem," al-Maqadma told Ma'an Saturday. more >>
Pope Francis broke from his Palm Sunday homily where he recalled the suffering of Jesus Christ to decry the treatment of refugees, noting that those who ignore their plight are like those who washed their hands of Jesus' fate.
In a prepared speech, Francis spoke about the pain and suffering Christ went through before his crucifixion at the hands of the Roman soldiers, including "mockery, insults, and spitting," along with beatings and torture.
"He suffers in His body terrible brutality: the blows, the scourging and the crown of thorns make His face unrecognizable. He also experiences shame and disgraceful condemnation by religious and political authorities: He is made into sin and considered to be unjust," Francis said. more >>
Ahead of Easter Sunday, Pastor Perry Noble of NewSpring Church in South Carolina has offered helpful tips for Christians when inviting a new person to their church.
In a March 15 post on the megachurch pastor's blog, Noble explains that while it may feel "awkward" to invite a first-timer to Easter Sunday service, there are things to remember that will encourage a Christian to do the "big ask."
First, Christians must remember that "everyone will spend eternity somewhere," and ultimately "someone will thank you one day for not giving up on them." more >>
Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church says he's preparing for the most "important and life-changing" series he's ever taught, which will focus on God's mercy, as he reflects on the darkest day of his life nearly three years ago when his 27-year-old son took his own life.
"Easter has become particularly personal and poignant to me in the past three years, because five days after Easter three years ago, my 27-year-old son ended his own life," Warren said in a video posted on Facebook Sunday, talking about his son, Matthew.
"He had battled mental illness since childhood, and despite all the best doctors and the best medicine, therapy, and prayers, and love, he lost his battle for hope on Easter week. And Our family was devastated. The day Matthew gave into despair was the worst day of my life," the pastor added. more >>
Jencarlos Canela, the Florida-born actor set to play Jesus in "The Passion" live musical, says his role will stay "true to the Bible."
Canela, who is of Cuban descent, told Miami's Sun Sentinel this week that he believes the upcoming musical will manage to stay true to the Scripture while also maintaining a modern and exciting twist.
"It's going to be very different. It's just revolutionary. It's groundbreaking. It's not the Jesus that we are used to seeing with the long beard and the robes," the 27-year-old said, adding that while the musical is "staying true to the biblical sense of the story … the elements surrounding the story are modern." more >>
Christians all over the world are now gearing up for Easter 2016 because this is one of the most important occasions for them, but many people do not know when it will fall this year and why the dates are moveable.
At any given year, the Easter can fall from any date between Mar. 22 and April 25. For this year, Mar. 27 will mark the Easter Sunday, The Huffington Post reports.
Originally, Easter was connected with the Passover celebration, which is scheduled according to the lunar cycle. The first apostles were Jewish, and it was recorded that Jesus Christ died after Passover, and Easter comes shortly after that feast. more >>