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April: A Holy Month for Solidarity

Candles are sacred in many faith traditions.
Candles are sacred in many faith traditions.

During April 2020, people of faith will observe some of the most important holy days in their respective calendars: for Jewish people, Passover; for Christians, Easter; for Baha’is, Ridván; and for Muslims, the beginning of Ramadan.

One of the most sacred holidays in the Jewish tradition, Passover commemorates the Israelite’s liberation from slavery in ancient Egypt. A Seder meal is held to honor the first night of Passover.

Passover is also the holiday Jesus and his disciples celebrated in Jerusalem right before his crucifixion and is honored by Christians this month during their Holy Week. Holy Week concludes on Easter when Christians celebrate Jesus’ rising from the dead.

Ramadan is the holiest month of the year for the Muslim community because it is when God revealed the first verses of the Quran to Muhammad. Its observance is one of the 5 pillars of Islam. The month of fasting, prayer, and reflection starts in April and brings together (even if virtually) Muslims worldwide.

The Baha’i faith celebrates Ridván this month, which is their holiest festival. This day honors when the faith’s founder, Bahá'u'lláh, announced in the garden of Ridván he was the prophet sent by God, thus marking the beginning of the Baha’i faith.

As a multifaith community, Faith in Place extends our hope that each of these holy days, festivals, and seasons be filled with blessing for all who observe them.

Chicago Sinai & Stone Temple members work together to plant Stone Temple's Garden.
Chicago Sinai & Stone Temple members work together to plant Stone Temple's Garden.

And even though it is not a religious holiday, we are also beginning celebrations honoring the 5th anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si', known in English as On Care for our Common Home. The letter implores the Catholic community to act on the climate crisis and framed the call to care for the Earth as an expression of faith for many, even non-Catholics.

This season, honoring and celebrating these holy days and anniversaries feels different this year amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. As we honor the days most holy to our faiths, we pray we can also draw together in solidarity as we grapple with the effects of the pandemic. Let us continue to support our siblings in environmental justice communities who are experiencing higher rates of illness and less access to life-sustaining resources such as groceries and personal protective equipment (PPE). We are proud of the ways our Green Teams have courageously and creatively stepped up to serve their communities and are here to support you, even when we cannot physically be in the same space.

Candles are lit at Diwali in November, at Hannukah in December, and at Easter Vigil in spring.
Candles are lit at Diwali in November, at Hannukah in December, and at Easter Vigil in spring.

One way we will come together to encourage each other and honor the 50th anniversary of Earth Day (happening on April 22nd) is by hosting a Multifaith Earth Day Vigil this Monday, April 13th at 7 pm.

We hope you can bring a candle and join us for prayers and reflections from faith leaders of different backgrounds. The practice of lighting candles, or carrying light into the darkness, is sacred among many faith traditions. Hindus have Diwali, Jewish people have Menorahs, and Christians light a new Paschal candle on Easter Vigil. We pray that as we light candles together, it can shine a light in this dark time and renew our unified hope.

We invite you to bring your own candle and a prayer to the vigil. Please go ahead and register for the virtual event. We look forward to lighting a candle with you.

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