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notre dame montreal

Why do Christians release doves

We were asked last week why we released doves at the commemoration service. The dove is a sacred bird for Christians, a symbol of purity and innocence and most importantly a reassurance of the presence of God. As we watch them fly we are reminded that at significant times God used a dove to communicate his blessing.

  1. It was a dove which returned with an olive branch to give God’s blessing of peace and victory over death to Noah as the waters of the flood subsided. (Genesis 8)
  2. King David in his old age spoke of his wish to escape the pain and trouble and to have ‘the wings of a dove’ to fly away and be at rest. (Psalm 55)
  3. At the birth of Jesus it was their purity which allowed them to be used as an offering. (Luke 2:24).
  4. At the baptism of Jesus the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove to show God’s presence and blessing. (Mark 1:10)
  5. Jesus himself encouraged his disciples to be innocent or gentle as doves (Matthew 10:16)

The doves which we released flew overnight back to St Albans, apparently stopping at a suitable resting place in the dark. we explained to the children that although the doves flew out of sight they had not disappeared, only out of our sight. So our loved ones when they die leave our sight but they do not leave our minds and they do not disappear. we believe that like the doves they return home, to God who made them. As we release doves we pray for that same blessing to be upon us and our loved ones.