What does Easter mean to you?

Geraldton Guardian
Louise Oliveri at the St Francis Xavier Cathedral, Geraldton.
Camera IconLouise Oliveri at the St Francis Xavier Cathedral, Geraldton. Credit: Gavin Box, The Geraldton Guardian

For thousands of Christians in Geraldton, Good Friday and Easter Sunday have special significance, as churches remember the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We asked four church members from different walks of life and different Christian traditions what Easter means to them.

LOUISE OLIVERI

Louise, 44, is an administration officer, wife, mother of two and keen sportswoman.

She works at St John School, Rangeway, and for her husband Joe, a Geraldton cabinet-maker.

She plays basketball with Lightning in the Geraldton Amateur Basketball Association and is also a Geraldton Netball Association umpire and a member of the association executive committee.

Is a parishioner at St Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Cathedral, Geraldton.

What does Easter mean to you?

Easter is a time for prayer, penance, fasting and forgiveness.

It’s the most important celebration of the Catholic Church, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus.

It’s a time where faith comes to life. It starts with Ash Wednesday, then Lent, a time of fasting — every Friday no meat — and for the whole 46 days there is prayer up until Easter Sunday.

It’s such a special time.

So many special things happen over that time.

The main thing is Mass on Sunday — it’s like going through the story with Jesus.

It’s a time when belief and faith become stronger.

If you don’t have faith in something, it’s like you have no purpose.

It’s a time when people from all walks of life, maybe people who have problems, can all come together.

The encouraging thing for people is that it doesn’t matter what you’ve done.

The resurrection is all about forgiveness.

It’s a time when people choose to be Catholics, go through a Catechism program and then commit to the church, or renew their baptismal promises.

I believe people have choices in life — they have just got to make the right ones.

But if they don’t, they can go somewhere and get forgiveness.

It doesn’t matter what you’ve done in life, Easter is a time for renewal.

Stephen Rice at the Geraldton Anglican Cathedral.
Camera IconStephen Rice at the Geraldton Anglican Cathedral. Credit: Gavin Box, The Geraldton Guardian

STEPHEN RICE

Stephen, 27, is an IT help desk operator, psychology student, husband. His interests are his pets, Netflix and dirt bikes.

He works part-time in IT at Strathalbyn Christian College, studying psychology externally at Monash University. He has been married for one year to Inge, a teacher at Strathalbyn. Attends the Geraldton Anglican Cathedral.

What does Easter mean to you?

It’s an exciting opportunity to revisit the (gospel) accounts of people who lived with Jesus, who saw such amazing things that they decided to sit down and record it.

I believe the accounts are historically correct — that people really did see Jesus die and return to life three days later.

Because of that, it requires a response from me. If Jesus did rise from the dead, then he is who he says he is — the Son of God — and that has implications for the way I live my life.

In particular, he invites me to follow him, to live a life of love and turn away from selfishness.

Jesus made a great sacrifice for me and all mankind, so I’m very thankful he died for my sins.

I’m challenged every day to be less selfish and really think of others.

Jesus set an amazing example to look to.

I know I will fail and fall short. But it’s only by Jesus’ grace that I’m accepted into his kingdom to start with. It’s not by my good works.

He accepted me before I did anything. When I chose to give my life to Jesus, he saved me.

Chloe Chapman with her brother Joseph. Both are studying for university degrees.
Camera IconChloe Chapman with her brother Joseph. Both are studying for university degrees. Credit: Gavin Box, The Geraldton Guardian

CHLOE CHAPMAN

Chloe, 18, is studying a Bachelor of Nursing at the University of Southern Queensland (through Geraldton Universities Centre).

Her interests are surfing, horseriding, running and music (singing and piano). She attends Sun City Christian Centre, Karloo.

What does Easter mean to you?

It’s remembering the hope Jesus brings — how he died and rose again for me, how he took my punishment on himself so I could be made right with God.

It reminds me of God’s forgiveness, grace, victory and love — the greatest love of all — that God would love and care enough to do that for me.

JOSEPH CHAPMAN

Joseph, 19, is studying a double-degree in law and finance externally at Edith Cowan University.

His interests are music (piano and guitar), running and table tennis. He attends Sun City Christian Centre, Karloo.

What does Easter mean to you?

It’s a time to remember and celebrate the sacrifice Jesus made by coming to this earth and dying on the cross for the forgiveness for my sins.

It’s a good opportunity to remember and celebrate that God paid the ultimate price because he loved me so much that he would send his son to die for me.

Nearly two-thirds identify with Christian faith

The Christian faith still has a powerful connection with many in the Geraldton-Greenough local government area. According to the 2011 Census*, nearly two-thirds (63.83 per cent) of the then 36,488 population nominated themselves as having a Christian faith. The second largest faith community were Muslims (about one per cent). One in five people said they had no faith (22 per cent). In the Christian community, nearly half were Catholic and nearly one-third were Anglican.

* Figures from the 2016 Census not yet available.

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