Chicago faithful celebrate Easter Sunday

April 12, 2009 (CHICAGO) At Chicago's Holy Name Cathedral, Francis Cardinal George gave the Easter homily, where he stressed that in these times of economic collapse, there is one thing that will not fail.

As banks, businesses and the economy in general struggles, the cardinal says faith in God is the only answer.

He gave his Easter message in the cathedral's auditorium Sunday. With the sanctuary closed because of fire and cathedral officials ready for the possibility of another Easter mass protest, many parishioners were hoping for a quiet service with a message of tolerance and hope.

This year's Easter mass was given during a time of trial for Holy Name Cathedral and its worshipers, who gathered needing to hear a message such a message.

"I enjoyed it. Everything went smoothly. The mass was incredible," said Brian Milsap, a parishioner.

Cardinal Francis George delivered an Easter homily that encouraged believers to put their faith in God, and not in man, during these uncertain times.

"Let the celebration of Easter this year help us realize again...what lasts forever is the risen Christ," the cardinal told those gathered Sunday.

More than 1,000 people packed into the parish center's auditorium, cafeteria and activity room for the services. A fire in February damaged the roof of the landmark Roman Catholic church while it was undergoing a multi-million-dollar renovation. Early Sunday, a line of the faithful stretched more than a block long. Some were disappointed about not having service in the cathedral, which has been damaged by water and smoke.

"I looked it up on the Internet, and we thought we'd come her. Oh dear," said parishioner Nicola Joy as she looked up at the fire-damaged builiding.

There was a noticeable security presence at Holy Name's scheduled services Sunday. Last year, anti-war protesters threw fake blood on themselves during an Easter mass. All six protesters pleaded guilty in connection with the incident.

Seventy-year-old Holy Name usher Robert Gowrylow, who was slightly injured during the unrest, was relieved nothing like that happened this Easter.

"[I feel] much better, and I heal," he told ABC7 Chicago.

So is the community that is Holy Name Cathedral.

Worshippers gather for Easter services across Chicago

Thousands attended Easter services Sunday at Salem Baptist Church on the city's South Side.

The service featured a play depicting how Jesus can free believers from their burdens.

Worshipers were also invited to post their own worries on crosses set up around the church. Rev. James Meeks told the congregation that, because of Christ's resurrection, they can have hope.

Music was an important part of the Easter services at Armitage Baptist Church. Many in the congregation were on their feet, clapping to the music.

The message of Sunday's service was: celebrating the hope in Jesus.

And Chicago's lakefront provided the backdrop for sunrise services held by the Fourth Presbyterian Church.

Dozens of worshipers bundled up in their hats, coats and scarves to attend the service at Oak Street Beach. Some parishioners even brought their pets.

The church also held services at their sanctuary on North Michigan Avenue.

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