Easter Sunday is the oldest celebration in Christianity and, excepting Christmas, its most widely observed. In modern times, it has also become a more secularized holiday, featuring chocolates, candies, eggs and anthropomorphic magic rabbits.
    But it is still a celebration of a more spiritual significance to many of the Christian faith, especially those who are Catholic.
    On Good Friday, Father Adam Cesarek of St. Mary’s Catholic Church explained to the Daily Leader the celebration’s significance, offering insight to lay people into what the Resurrection means both for his congregants and for himself personally.
    “It begins with significance of Sunday Mass in general,” he said. “The general idea is that every Sunday is a celebration of what has happened on Easter Sunday — every Sunday is kind of a reiteration of the idea that Christ has risen from the dead.”
    The priest noted that there were misconceptions of Mass for non-Catholics, particularly amongst Protestant Christians.
    “Sometimes, some of my Protestant brothers and sisters get confused on this,” he explained. “They think or have this idea that we’re re-crucifying Christ over and over, every single time we do this, and that’s not actually what’s happening. What’s actually happening, to get into the kind of crux of it, is that it’s caught up in the idea of Passover.
    “The Mass is the Passover — we believe Jesus is the Lamb of God, who takes the sins of the world, which is the whole idea of the Jewish Passover from the Book of Exodus. The whole idea of the Mass is that we are free from death, that death would pass us over.”
    Cesarek further clarified the misinterpretation of the meaning of Mass by referencing liturgical use of “anamnesis,” a Greek word meaning “reminiscence” that plays an important role in understanding the Eucharist, as well as the Resurrection.
     “When we enter into Mass and when we come there, this word ‘anamnesis’ is not us calling to mind an event that happened 2,000 years ago,” he said. “This isn’t a recalling of a time when Jesus was there: this is us literally becoming present at the crucifixion, at the Last Supper, at the Resurrection ... So what happens at Mass is that we believe literally we are becoming present at the foot of the cross.
    “What I like to tell people from time to time, here — kind of like how a gameshow host would say — is that you have to be present to win,” he added, smiling wryly.
    On a more personal level, the St. Mary’s priest discussed what this facet of the Catholic precepts  meant to him.
    “I spent a lot of my life worrying about a lot things of this world,” he said. “In college, it was all about three things: popularity, the interest of girls and being good at baseball. I spent from seventh grade until my junior year in college consumed with that reality of being popular, of having girls interested in me and being good at baseball. Those three things were going well in college, but there was something missing: I asked myself, ‘Is this as good as life can get?’ ...
    “I did not know it was possible for me to love God in the way I do. That is the joy that comes with Easter as well for us — that we know that there is something greater that we might not be able to put our fingers on entirely, but that it’s definitely there.”