High turnout for Easter at Holy Name

April 5, 2010 4:30:24 AM PDT
A standing-room-only crowd packed Holy Name Cathedral for the first Easter Sunday Mass there since 2007.The service came during difficult times for the Roman Catholic Church.

A renovation project, and then a fire, kept parishioners from celebrating Easter inside the cathedral for the last three years.

Crowds gathered Sunday to hear the cardinal's message on this holy day.

The faithful came to celebrate the resurrection of Christ and the rebirth of their beloved Holy Name Cathedral.

"Its amazing. There's a line outside the cathedral. It's a beautiful place to be," said parishioner Susan Nutson.

Some worshippers waited an hour to be seated for Sunday's Easter mass.

"This is my first time. Yes, I'm so enthusiastic to go there and worship," said Obie Njoku.

Holy Name showed no signs Sunday of the February 2009 fire that heavily damaged the roof, sanctuary, and other areas of the 134-year-old Roman Catholic church. The building had to be closed for six months to repair the fire damage, after having briefly reopened following a renovation project.

"The church, the parish church, has come back from a long, hard time, but we've got people here from all over the place," said Holy Name Cathedral's Rev. Dan Mayall.

Francis Cardinal George presided over Sunday 11 a.m. mass and delivered the homily.

"The false stories about the church and Jesus are as widespread today as they were 2,000 years ago," he told those assembled.

And like the pope, the cardinal failed to specifically address the sex abuse scandal that continues to tarnish the church's image worldwide. The closest Francis Cardinal George came to mentioning the crisis was when he said there are false stories being told about the church today, just like there were about Jesus in his time.

"On Easter Sunday, there is one message. Christ is risen from the dead, God brings good out of evil, and not the grave, but eternal life, is the last word," the cardinal said.

And while many agreed it has been a time of trial for the Catholic church and Holy Name, for some, Sunday was a day to celebrate faith and forgiveness.

"I think we as Catholics have strong convictions and firm feelings about our faith," parishioner Larry Nutson said.