In one of the most beautiful liturgies of the year, we welcomed 18 newly baptized into our parishes. The evening began at 8:15pm at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in complete darkness as the Easter Fire was lit outside. Fr. Hersey, Deacon Dennis, the Elect and their godparents gathered around the fire with the Easter Candle. The beauty of night had fallen as Fr. Hersey began the prayer over the Easter Candle. Soon he lit it for the first time and then passed that light to the Elect’s candles. As Deacon Dennis processed in with the Easter Candle, the Elect followed lighting all the other parishioners’ candles with their light. What a beautiful ritual! The Elect sharing their light with all the people that will be supporting them now that they are new members of our Church!
Soon we all sit down to hear salvation history in the dark of the night. After the last reading, the lights flick on and the Gloria is proclaimed loudly! After the Gospel reading, the sacraments of baptism and confirmation take place. The change in the Elect is evident even from where I sit. I can see the utter joy on their faces and their souls coming to peace at the new entrance into our Church.
After confirmation, the Liturgy of the Eucharist begins. The newly baptized and confirmed get to join us at the table of the Lord for the first time after their years of preparation. Their faces are serene as they walk back to their seats and meditate on their newly deepened bond with Christ.
If you have never been to Easter Vigil, I highly recommend it. Yes, it is much longer than a regular Sunday Mass but you will not notice that until you get into your car. As you are participating in the Liturgy, you will be so drawn into what is happening in front of you that the question of time escapes your mind!
I pray the peace of this Easter season draws you in closer to our Lord that is always waiting for us with open, loving arms!