Easter will be celebrated in Southern California Sunday with thousands flocking to services across the region.
In Sherman Oaks, St. Francis De Sales Church had their first-ever Easter sunrise service to celebrate Jesus' resurrection. Prayers at the service included a moment of silence for victims of the attacks In Brussels, Paris and San Bernardino.
Thousands of homeless and near-homeless men, women and children being treated to a special meal at The Midnight Mission in downtown Los Angeles and church services throughout the city. The Midnight Mission will also have an Easter Village where homeless and near-homeless children will be able to meet the Easter Bunny and receive baskets full of candy and other treats.
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A free sunrise nondenominational service was also held aboard the battleship Iowa for the second consecutive year. Guests boarded the ship docked at the Port of Los Angeles beginning at 5:30 a.m. for the 6 a.m. service consisting of singing, music, prayers and praise celebrating Jesus' resurrection.
The service is "a tie to history'' as nondenominational Easter services were held aboard the ship when it was in service, according to Jonathan Williams, CEO and president of the Pacific Battleship Center which operates the ship. The service is also part of the center's efforts to make the battleship "a community asset'' and to "connect with the community,'' Williams said. An Easter breakfast and egg hunt is also scheduled as part of the day's activities.
The Easter Sunday Mass, the Mass of the Resurrection of Our Lord, will be celebrated at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels at 7:30 and 10 a.m. in English and at 1 p.m. in Spanish. During the Mass, after all the faithful have renewed their baptismal promises, they will be blessed with Easter holy water as a reminder that in and through Christ, they have died and been born again through the waters of baptism.
Easter is the oldest and most important Christian celebration. Christians believe that by rising from the dead Jesus demonstrated his power over sin and death, manifesting his divinity as the Son of God.
Copyright NBC Southern California/ City News Service