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SLC religious leaders address confluence of 3 religious holidays in one weekend

Posted at 10:25 PM, Apr 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-16 00:25:49-04

SALT LAKE CITY — This weekend marks the first time in 33 years that Easter, Ramadan and Passover all take place at the same time.

FOX 13 News spoke with leaders from Christian, Islamic and Jewish faiths about how this convergence has strengthened many in their relationship with their faith.

“We are the three world religions that share the Holy Land that shares Jerusalem,” said Father Martin Diaz, the pastor of the Cathedral of the Madeleine. “So to have the three come together, Ramadan, Passover, and Holy Thursday to Easter, is a wonderful, wonderful event.”

Rabbi Avremi Zippel of Chabad Lubavitch of Utah echoed the sentiment.

“I think it's profound that so many of the world's major religions are all celebrating their festival this weekend," he said.

Imam Shoaib Din at the Utah Islamic Center urged unity between those of different religions.

“We need people of faith to come closer together,” he said. "This is a time where we definitely need more people. We need more prayers. We need more people to focus on God.”

This is a time for each of these world religions where they are at their highest faith.

Friday marks just past the halfway point of Ramadan, the month in which the Quran is believed to be revealed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

“Ramadan is the most spiritual time of the year for us,” Imam Shoaib Din said. “This is a time we grow closer to God than ever before.”

During Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk as a part of the five pillars of Islam.

Din said this has been a return for many because of the last few years of hardship during the pandemic — saying many have come out more humble because of the tribulations COVID-19 has put many through.

Across town, at the Cathedral of the Madeleine, many gathered for Good Friday services including the Stations of the Cross, Singing of the Passion, and Veneration of the Cross.

Good Friday is the Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Starting with Holy Thursday, the weekend marks the last supper through the resurrection of Jesus, which is marked by Easter.

“There’s a fulfillment of humanity of the soul that takes place when we come together,” Father Martin Diaz said, adding that right now has also marked a return for many.

He said he is “hopeful” because of the ability to come back together, and also said this has strengthened many in their faith during the time of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Rabbi Avremi Zippel is setting a table for the first time in three years for the Passover Seder, which marks the start of Passover — an eight-day holiday that begins Friday night.

“Tonight and tomorrow night, we'll be hosting a Seder: the formal Passover dinner where we gather together with friends and family and loved ones and community,” he said. “Everything helps us remember the liberation and the freedom that our ancestors gained 3,300 years ago in the land of Egypt.”

Passover, or formally known as Pesach, is a holiday marking the end of slavery of the Jewish people in Egypt.

The name comes from the Book of Exodus where the Israelites were instructed to mark a lamb's blood on their doors so the "Angel of Death" will “pass over” their home.

FOX 13 News asked each religious leader what it means to share this time in convergence with the other religions.

“It's a reminder that as a civilization, as a people, as a human race, there is so much that binds us more than there is that separates us,” Zippel said.

“When we are all in our high holidays, then it makes it even more, merrier and better," Din added.

“What a beautiful moment it is. I'm sure God is very happy," Diaz said.

All three leaders said this is a time to love one another regardless of one's beliefs.