Fittingly, stories of rebirth and renewal made their way to many newspaper front pages on Easter Sunday. One of my favorites ran in the Chicago Tribune. That story, by Angie Leventis Lourgos, highlighted Christians such as Edeette Chukro, a Syrian who celebrated her first Easter in America:
Easter is bittersweet for those seeking refuge like Chukro and her family, who were among the Christian minority in Syria. They fear for their loved ones overseas. They worry their mass exodus will diffuse their culture and identity.
And they note the paradox in fleeing Syria, a cradle of ancient Christendom, in order to worship freely.
St. Paul, once a tormentor of Christians, was converted on the road to Damascus in the New Testament's Book of Acts. Aramaic, the ancient language of Jesus Christ, is still spoken in pockets of Syria today and is sprinkled in the Mass at St. Mary's.
"Jesus went to Syria to preach. St. Paul went to Syria to preach. St. Peter went to Syria to preach," said Bishop Paulus Benjamin, a leader of the Assyrian Church of the East, who is based in Chicago. "There's a rich Christian history there. Unfortunately, Christians now must leave."
Salt Lake Tribune Godbeat pro Peggy Fletcher Stack also told the story of a faithful foreigner finding freedom in the U.S.:
As Saman Lall joins other Utah Christians celebrating Jesus Christ’s resurrection on this spring-dappled Sunday, you could say the Pakistani educator has been reborn himself.
This is, after all, Lall’s first Easter in a country where freedom of religion is a bedrock principle, where all varieties of believers worship freely.
Lall could repeat the ancient prayers and ceremonies in a new land: Foot-washing, taking communion, carrying the cross, tracing the "stations of the cross," experiencing darkness in the sanctuary, followed by lit candles, a flood of light, and then, hallelujah.
All without fear.
Other moving Easter stories included Oklahoman religion editor Carla Hinton's piece on "New Life for Emma" and Tennessean writer Heidi Hall's profile of a former drug addict and prostitute who found "A rebirth of her own."
The Houston Chronicle reported on the reopening of a Galveston, Texas, cathedral closed for almost six years after Hurricane Ike. And the Arizona Republic produced a compelling narrative on a shrine scarred but still standing after a wildfire.
Some other Easter Page 1 angles:
• Indy churches share spirit — and their space, from the Indianapolis Star.
• A chapel, and a man, restored, from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
• Celebrating Easter with a reawakened faith, from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
• In merged Charlotte church, 'every Sunday is like Easter,' from the Charlotte Observer.
• Local Catholics remember two popes fondly, from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
• Celebrating the Resurrection by reaching out, from The State in Columbia, S.C.
• Seven places to pray, from the San Antonio Express-News.
• Easter message rings true as new Maronite church grows, from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
• Easter comes just once this year, from The News Tribune of Tacoma, Wash.
Not interested in Easter? There's always that "Welcome to Weed County" piece from Sunday's Denver Post.