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Easter a chance to ‘reset and rebuild’, says head of Catholic Church

Cardinal Vincent Nichols will point to the Easter story to show that ‘death is not the last word’.

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Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, outside the Church of St Michael in Newcastle (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, outside the Church of St Michael in Newcastle (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, outside the Church of St Michael in Newcastle (Owen Humphreys/PA)

The Easter break is a chance to reflect on our true needs, reset our sights and “look forward to the rebuilding of our common life”, the head of the UK Catholic Church will say.

Thousands of families will be spending the Easter weekend mourning loved ones who have died after contracting coronavirus, while others will be celebrating apart due to the lockdown.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols will point to the Easter story to show that “death is not the last word”, and to urge families to seek comfort and courage in Jesus Christ.

His sermon will be broadcast on 39 BBC local radio stations on Easter Sunday at 8am as part of an hour-long service for a “national wireless congregation”.

This time of great testing enables us to distinguish what is truly important from all that is fleetingly desiredCardinal Vincent Nichols

He will say: “We can be refreshed by this vision of love stronger than death, of self-sacrifice flowering into new life, of the bonds of humanity reaching beyond the grave.

“The life shared by every human being and binding us together is a life which will find its fulfilment in the glory of heaven. Today we can reset our sights, focusing on our true needs and on our finest gifts.

“This time of great testing enables us to distinguish what is truly important from all that is fleetingly desired, and has so often mistakenly been given pride of place in our ambitions.

“Already we have to look forward to the rebuilding of our common life. May the light of the risen Christ guide and inspire us in that task.”

Cardinal Nichols will use the sermon to highlight how faith can be a comfort “in a time of darkness and anxiety”.

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(PA Graphics)

(PA Graphics)

Press Association Images

(PA Graphics)

He will say: “So often it seems that death does have the final say, breaking our hearts, especially when the departing one is far from our arms.

“Then, as for many today, death is ruthless, uncompromising, hard as rock.

“Today we proclaim another reality: death is not the end. The rock of suffering and death is broken open by the cross of Jesus.”

Services by Archbishop Justin Welby, the most senior bishop in the Church of England, Rev Martyn Atkins, superintendent of the Methodist Central Hall Westminster, and Cathy Madavan, a Baptist church leader, have already been broadcast on previous Sundays.

Chris Burns, head of BBC Local Radio, said: “We are delighted that Cardinal Nichols has agreed to lead worship for BBC Local Radio listeners.

“It is something that we have been planning with the Catholic Church since the coronavirus outbreak began and it’s fantastic to see it come to fruition.

“Easter Day is extremely important to all Christians and we are privileged to have the leader of the Catholic Church in this country sharing his thoughts with our audiences at this important time.”

PA