Now that's what I call a fire =)
The rubrics call for the Vigil to start after darkness has fallen and this year, we started at 9PM which is one hour later than last year. It also calls for the New Fire to be sufficiently bright to dispel the darkness of the night. And so we prepared a huge fire this year. Tip to servers and sacristans, drop pieces of candle wax into the fire just before the ceremony begins for that bright glow.
The people gathered round, with the servers as the priest began the age old Rites of blessing the Paschal Candle.
The people closely follow the Rites.
The candle, the symbol of Christ the Light, is inscribed with the following:
Christ yesterday and today (as he traces the vertical arm of the cross),
the beginning and the end (the horizontal arm),
Alpha (alpha, above the cross),
and Omega (omega, below the cross),
all time belongs to him (the first numeral, in the upper left corner of the cross),
and all the ages (the second numeral in the upper right corner),
to him be glory and power (the third numeral in the lower left corner),
through every age and for ever. Amen (the last numeral in the lower right corner).
When the cross and other marks have been made, the priest may insert five grains of incense in the candle . He does this in the form of a cross, saying:
By his holy
and glorious wounds
may Christ our Lord
and keep us. Amen.
The priest lights the candle from the new fire, saying:
May the Light of Christ, rising in glory,
dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds.
The people then follow the Light of Christ into the darkened Church.
The people then light their candles from the Paschal Candle symbolizing their being enlightened by Christ. The priest will intone "The Light of Christ" 3 times, each time on a higher key while the people respond "Thanks be to God".
Our hero Mr. Kevin Choo helping the people light their candles from the Paschal Candle. Newly joined, this was his first time serving Easter Vigil and I think he did an excellent job, beside the steady Keshure. Both are students in my Confirmation Class.
The final Lumen Christi at the sanctuary
The people with lighted candles in the Church.
They hold their lighted candles for the singing of the Exultet, the ancient proclamation of the Resurrection.
Then come the many readings starting from Genesis 1, to the Fall of Adam (the felix culpa, the O Happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam that has gained for us so great a Redeemer) and the protoevangelion of Gen 3:15, the Exodus and the parting of the Red Sea and others chronicling the many times God has saved His people and continues to save His people. The readings are interspersed with Psalms and songs taken from the Bible. Then the Gloria is then sung and the bells of the Church rung while the lights are turned on.
The Litany of the Saints. Yes, I know we are supposed to stand during the Easter season but hey, kneeling is better than standing cos these people need the kneeling once in a while.
The liturgy then continues with the Blessing of the Water which recalls the action of the Holy Spirit at Creation, when He hovered over the waters which baptism mirrors as all the baptised are a new creation, the waters of the flood through which sin was destroyed, the parting of the Red Sea by which Israel is liberated from slavery and the baptized liberated from the bondage of sin and the passing through the Jordan River through which the people of Israel entered the Promised Land and the elect enter into the Church. The Paschal Candle is dipped 3 times into the water to recall the Baptism of Christ in the Jordan.
Several catechumens were Baptized that night.
We also had a Rite of Reception where one promized to believe all that the Catholic Church teaches as revealed by God.
The laying of hands.
The anointing with Chrism, the sealing with the Gift of the Holy Spirit.
It was a moving and touching moment for these new brothers and sisters to be welcomed into the Catholic Church and the people of God.
The Mass then went on as usual with a full complement of servers.
Hope your Holy Week has been blessed. Any photos you wish to share? Do drop me a message in the com box.