Sunday, March 23, 2008

Remembering a Living Faith on Easter - Vatican Style

(Pictured above: As part of this 2008 Easter celebration, Pope Benedict XVI baptizes Muslim-born Magdi Allam into Christianity)

Although the morning started out a little chilly, after a nice mass, then Easter dinner with family, all feels right in the world. Hopefully, you had a nice Holiday weekend as well regardless of your religion.

As you can see above, this Easter marked a special conversion of a prominent Italian Muslim to Catholicism. I couldn't help, but share this special and powerful story.

Muslim Conversion at Vatican on Easter
March 23, 2008
By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict called in his Easter message on Sunday for an end to injustice worldwide and expressed joy at continuing conversions to Christianity hours after he baptized a prominent Italian Muslim convert.

The pope celebrated an Easter Mass for tens of thousands of people in driving rain in St Peter's Square as Christians around the world commemorated Christ's resurrection.

The wind and rain that has whipped most of Europe did not spare Rome as the German pontiff, wearing white and gold vestments, said Mass while the crowd huddled under umbrellas.
The mass came some 12 hours after an Easter vigil service on Saturday night where, in a surprise move, the pope baptized Muslim-born convert Magdi Allam, 55, an outspoken journalist and fierce critic of Islamic extremism.

At the morning Mass, the pope read a prayer saying that after Christ's resurrection some 2,000 years ago "thousands and thousands of people converted to the Christian faith" and he added: "This is a miracle that still renews itself today".

The Egyptian-born Allam's conversion to Christianity -- he took the name "Christian" for his baptism -- was kept secret until the Vatican disclosed it in a statement less than an hour before the Saturday night service began.

Allam, who is a strong supporter of Israel and who an Israeli newspaper once called a "Muslim Zionist," has lived under police protection following threats against him, particularly after he criticized Iran's position on Israel.

Writing in Sunday's edition of the leading Corriere della Sera, the newspaper of which he is a deputy director, Allam said he realized that he was in greater danger but he has no regrets.

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