'Bless Us, O Lord' -- Father Jean Felicien, parochial vicar of Our Lady of Sorrows-St. Anthony Parish, Hamilton, blesses Easter baskets during a morning prayer service on Holy Saturday. Joe Moore photos
Easter Treats -- Parishioners of all ages and stages brought Easter baskets to be blessed by Father Jean Felicien during a morning prayer service on Holy Saturday morning.
On Holy Saturday morning, many church sanctuaries around the Diocese were bedecked with colorful baskets filled with Easter food. Parishioners brought the baskets to be blessed by a parish priest or deacon.
The blessing of Easter food is an ethnic tradition with a long history, stemming from a time when Lent fasting was strictly maintained. Both the end of the Lenten fast and the coming celebration of the Resurrection was marked by the blessing of the Easter food, often brought to the parish priest in decorated baskets.
The contents of the basket and the decorations change according to the culture, but in all cultures the blessing recognizes food as a gift from God and an important part of the Resurrection story. For families, the eating of the blessed Easter foods is an opportunity to share a joyful tradition centered on the Risen Lord.