Saturday, April 08, 2006

Easter Vigil 07

The Great Vigil of the Feast of All Feasts, according to the reforms instituted by Pope Pius XII in 1955, starts with the Service of Light. This year, in thier boundless wisdom, our parish priests decided that the Vigil Mass will begin at 8.00PM.

The catechumens and their formators together with the people gathered in front of the Church as the Service of Light began.


Fr. Mark starts by blessing the new fire and then inscribing the Paschal Candle.



Christ Yesterday and Today, the Beginning and the End, Alpha and Omega; all time belongs to Him and all the ages; to Him be glory and power through every age for ever. Amen




The Paschal Candle is then brought in procession into the darkened Church.




At the door, the Priest intones 'Lumen Christi', Christ our Light. The light from the Paschal Candle is then passed to the people who light their own candles symbolizing the Light of Christ which enlightens the darkness.



The priest then intones the same words in a higher tone 2 more times.By this time, the people should all have their candles lit from the Paschal Candle.



The priest then chants the Exultet, the Proclamation of Easter.




The full authorised English text is given below, together with the Latin original (from the Missale Romanum of 1970).

Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God's throne!
Jesus Christ, our King, is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!

Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,
radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes for ever!

Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
The risen Savior shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the mighty song of all God's people!

My dearest friends,
standing with me in this holy light,
join me in asking God for mercy,
that he may give his unworthy minister
grace to sing his Easter praises.

Deacon: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.
Deacon: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up to the Lord.
Deacon: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People: It is right to give him thanks and praise.

It is truly right
that with full hearts and minds and voices
we should praise the unseen God, the all-powerful Father,
and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

For Christ has ransomed us with his blood,
and paid for us the price of Adam's sin to our eternal Father!

This is our passover feast,
when Christ, the true Lamb, is slain,
whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.

This is the night when first you saved our fathers: you freed the people of Israel from their slavery and led them dry-shod through the sea.

This is the night
when the pillar of fire destroyed the darkness of sin!

This is night
when Christians everywhere,
washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement,
are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.

This is the night
when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.

What good would life have been to us,
had Christ not come as our Redeemer?
Father, how wonderful your care for us!
How boundless your merciful love!
To ransom a slave you gave away your Son.

O happy fault,
O necessary sin of Adam,
which gained for us so great a Redeemer!

Most blessed of all nights,
chosen by God to see Christ rising from the dead!

Of this night scripture says:
"The night will be as clear as day:
it will become my light, my joy."

The power of this holy night dispels all evil,
washes guilt away, restores lost innocence,
brings mourners joy;
it casts out hatred, brings us peace,
and humbles earthly pride.

Night truly blessed when heaven is wedded to earth and man is reconciled with God!

Therefore, heavenly Father,
in the joy of this night,
receive our evening sacrifice of praise,
your Church's solemn offering.

Accept this Easter candle,
a flame divided but undimmed,
a pillar of fire that glows to the honor of God.

(For it is fed by the melting wax,
which the mother bee brought forth
to make this precious candle.)

Let it mingle with the lights of heaven
and continue bravely burning
to dispel the darkness of this night!

May the Morning Star which never sets
find this flame still burning:
Christ, that Morning Star,
who came back from the dead,
and shed his peaceful light on all mankind,
your Son, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

Exultet iam angelica turba caelorum:
exultent divina mysteria:
et pro tanti Regis victoria tuba insonet salutaris.

Gaudeat et tellus tantis irradiata fulgoribus:
et, aeterni Regis splendore illustrata,
totius orbis se sentiat amisisse caliginem.

Laetetur et mater Ecclesia,
tanti luminis adornata fulgoribus:
et magnis populorum vocibus haec aula resultet.

Quapropter astantes vos, fratres carissimi,
ad tam miram huius sancti luminis claritatem,
una mecum, quaeso,
Dei omnipotentis misericordiam invocate.
Ut, qui me non meis meritis
intra Levitarum numerum dignatus est aggregare,
luminis sui claritatem infundens,
cerei huius laudem implere perficiat.

Vers. Dominus vobiscum.
Resp. Et cum spiritu tuo.
Vers. Sursum corda.
Resp. Habemus ad Dominum.
Vers. Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro.
Resp. Dignum et iustum est.

Vere dignum et iustum est,
invisibilem Deum Patrem omnipotentem
Filiumque eius unigenitum,
Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum,
toto cordis ac mentis affectu et vocis ministerio personare.

Qui pro nobis aeterno Patri Adae debitum solvit,
et veteris piaculi cautionem pio cruore detersit.

Haec sunt enim festa paschalia,
in quibus verus ille Agnus occiditur,
cuius sanguine postes fidelium consecrantur.

Haec nox est,
in qua primum patres nostros, filios Israel
eductos de Aegypto,
Mare Rubrum sicco vestigio transire fecisti.

Haec igitur nox est,
quae peccatorum tenebras columnae illuminatione purgavit.

Haec nox est,
quae hodie per universum mundum in Christo credentes,
a vitiis saeculi et caligine peccatorum segregatos,
reddit gratiae, sociat sanctitati.

Haec nox est,
in qua, destructis vinculis mortis,
Christus ab inferis victor ascendit.

Nihil enim nobis nasci profuit,
nisi redimi profuisset.
O mira circa nos tuae pietatis dignatio!
O inaestimabilis dilectio caritatis:
ut servum redimeres, Filium tradidisti!

O certe necessarium Adae peccatum,
quod Christi morte deletum est!
O felix culpa,
quae talem ac tantum meruit habere Redemptorem!

O vere beata nox,
quae sola meruit scire tempus et horam,
in qua Christus ab inferis resurrexit!

Haec nox est, de qua scriptum est:
Et nox sicut dies illuminabitur:
et nox illuminatio mea in deliciis meis.

Huius igitur sanctificatio noctis fugat scelera, culpas lavat:
et reddit innocentiam lapsis
et maestis laetitiam.
Fugat odia, concordiam parat
et curvat imperia.

O vere beata nox,
in qua terrenis caelestia, humanis divina iunguntur!¹

In huius igitur noctis gratia, suscipe, sancte Pater, laudis huius sacrificium vespertinum,
quod tibi in hac cerei oblatione sollemni,
per ministrorum manus
de operibus apum, sacrosancta reddit Ecclesia.

Sed iam columnae huius praeconia novimus,
quam in honorem Dei rutilans ignis accendit.
Qui, licet sit divisus in partes,
mutuati tamen luminis detrimenta non novit.

Alitur enim liquantibus ceris,
quas in substantiam pretiosae huius lampadis
apis mater eduxit.²

Oramus ergo te, Domine,
ut cereus iste in honorem tui nominis consecratus,
ad noctis huius caliginem destruendam,
indeficiens perseveret.
Et in odorem suavitatis acceptus,
supernis luminaribus misceatur.

Flammas eius lucifer matutinus inveniat:
Ille, inquam, lucifer, qui nescit occasum:
Christus Filius tuus,
qui, regressus ab inferis, humano generi serenus illuxit,
et vivit et regnat in saecula saeculorum.

Resp. Amen.

¹ This sentence follows apis mater eduxit in the Latin. It is shown here to correspond with its placing in the English.

² This sentence has no equivalent in the standard English version.


The begins the reading of the lessons detailing the history of salvation, from the creation of the world to the coming of Christ and the Redemption, showing God's intervention with His mighty arm in saving His people Israel and foretelling of the New Covenant in Christ.

Each of the lessons is followed by a psalm of canticle.

The darkened candle lit Church.


Then the Gloria is sung to the ringing of the Church bells which have been silent since Holy Thursday. The lights of the Church are then turned on.


The Church increases in brightness.


The Gospel of the Resurrection is then proclaimed.


The next part of the Liturgy follows. The baptism of the catechumens.


The Litany of the Saints is then sung as the ministers and people kneel.



First, the water is blessed with salt and the Easter Candle is dipped in it 3 times, recalling Christ (symbolized by the Paschal Candle)'s Baptism.
Light from the Paschal Candle is then given to the catechumens as they make their profession of faith.






Then, the Rite of Baptism, the new birth from above by water and the Holy Spirit, begins. We have 12 candidates this year. A little low.



Young and old.



Men and women.



All thrilled to be received into the Body of Christ, the Church, the One Ark outside which there is no Salvation.

Then comes the clothing with the white Baptismal Garment, symbolizing their new state of purity and freedom from all sin, original and actual, which they are supposed to bring unstained to the altar of God in Heaven. Good luck folks.



The formators then pass the Light of Christ to them.





Fr. Mark then lays hands on them as a prelude to Confirmation with Holy Chrism.




Edwin Johnson, who leads the RCIA programme.


Fr. Mark praying the prayer of confirmation over them.


The candidates are anointed with Chrism and sealed with the Holy Spirit.




The parish then joyously welcomes them into the community.




With candles lit from the Paschal Candle, the people then renew their baptismal promises.



Fr. Ross and Fr. Mark then blessed the people with water to recall their baptism and incorporation into the Body of Christ.


I got a good dousing.



The presentation of the Gifts.



Censing the people.


Hoc est enim Corpus Meum.


Hic est enim Calix Sanguinis Mei.


Exchanging the sign of peace.


First Holy Communion, by intinction.



After Mass, the people once again joyfully welcomed the new brothers and sisters into the community.


The morning Mass was also quite surprisingly well attended =)
Sorry, no photos.

Have a great and happy Easter.

Christos anesti! Christ is Risen!
Alithos anesti! He is truly Risen!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your photographs Andrew. Did you take them yourself? Do you find yourself less able to concentrate at the Masses you photograph? I hope you don't mind me asking these questions as I am quite interested in liturgical photography myself. I notice that your congregation kneels at the Litany of the Saints at the Easter Vigil. Is this a custom or something new done this year? I was always under the impression that at Eastertide the invocation to the Saints is done standing, but I'm wondering if the kneeling is mandated by the Malaysia, S'pore, Brunei Bishop's conference, as I've seen other churches in the region do it as well, and our parish has got it wrong? Certainly in London where I usually am this time of the year, we stand for the Litany. BTW - I LOVE that your altar of repose is in a garden. No one could possibly fail to appreciate the symbolism.

I observed Holy Week at the main church in Brunei (or 'cathedral' - though strictly speaking, we have a cathedra, but not a cathedral as Brunei is not a diocese but an Apostolic Vicariate led by an Apostolic Vicar with the dignity of Titular Bishop of Putia in Numidia). Here are some pictures of our Holy Week celebrations including the Vicariate Chrism Mass at another parish, if you are interested. I didn't take them myself.

I haven't been back in Brunei for Holy Week for a while (usually I make my observances in Westminster Cathedral, London - which as you know is liturgically excellent!). We did an ok job I suppose. The music was a wierd mix. For the first time ever they had one or two praise and worship songs at each service, which most of the congregation, myself included, did not approve. At the same time there was a decent amount of Latin. For Maundy Thursday the Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei was chanted in Latin. Ubi Caritas antiphon with English verses for the preparation of the gifts. Pange Lingua and Tantum ergo chanted in Latin in procession to the altar of repose. Good Friday no Latin, but English plainchant was used for the psalm (as is our custom), the Improperia was sung in English, and Sing my tongue (Good Friday version) in English for the veneration. O Sacred Head sung acapella for the communion. Easter Vigil saw the return of the Latin Gloria, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei. Everything else in English. 4 OT readings, 1 epistle. 67 (!!) baptisms and 3 receptions into the church.

Oh I forgot, another question. What is the official liturgical name for the capes that the servers in your parish wear with their albs? We have albs with cincture in our parish too, used sometimes, though they tend to stick to cassock (though I question the use of the red cassock seeing as they are not cardinals) and cotta for the big feasts, but I've never seen capes used before. What do they symbolize?

Andrew said...

I took most of the photographs except the ones on the Easter Vigil. A friend took them using my camera as the RCIA facilitators requested it.

If you don't use a flash unless absolutely necessary, then it is less distracting. Also, if you just sit in front and don't move around so much, you minimize the distraction, for yourself and for others. I do get a little bit distracted, but just a bit. But hey, someone's gotta do it =)

The Litany of the Saints is prayed standing during Eastertide. And also at ordinations. But since we kneel so seldom, we might as well just do it. In the Orthodox Church, following a decree from the Council of Nicea (yeah, that one), kneeling, since in Orthodox theology it is a posture of penitence, is forbidden on Sundays which are a memorial of the Lord's Day and the Resurrection. If you see other Churches do it, then it is out of ignorance =) The ordo for the regions states it should be sung standing.

The Garden Altar of Our Lady's Shrine was just completed in time for Holy Thursday. I like it too. It is also functional as it is much cooler than in the Hall where the adoration is usually held. The symbolism is a major plus. Beautiful.

Bishop Sim seems nice. I spoke to him when he came to Penang with the entire regional episcopate for the Golden Jubilee celebrations 2 years ago. It was nice that he was upgraded from Apostolic Prefect to Vicar Apostolic and raised to the dignity of the episcopate.

The photos from Brunei look great. Are there local Christians? Malays I mean? Is it forbidden? To preach to them and baptize them?

The liturgy at Westminster Cathedral is indeed excellent, preserving the heritage of English choral music. They're the only Catholic ones to have regular sung Vespers you know. Our own Holy Spirit Cathedral has a good choir which sings in Latin for the solemn Masses as well. The Latin Choir director in my parish is sick, so Latin is on hiatus. Hopefully it will be back soon. Before a certain motu proprio is released? Wink..wink...

We only had 12 baptisms. The cathedral had 39 or something like that. Where do you get so many catechumens?

The shoulder capes that the servers wear is a derived from the mozzetta that comes with the choir dress of bishops and cardinals. Although unbuttoned, it looks more like the shoulder capes from the simar. It is not liturgically correct, but adds dignity to the celebration. The regional bishops have banned the black cassock, so the cotta or surplice can't be used with it. The plain alb, the mandated vestment, is too plain, so they improvise =)

The red cassocks are inappropriate for funeral Masses and we cant afford too many sets of cassocks. This discussion is still ongoing as we try to find an amicable solution for all. Here's a photo of another parish where capes are used.

Anonymous said...

Hi Andrew,

The vast majority of the newly baptised, as far as I know are locals, some Chinese, most Malays who belong to the indigenous tribes of Brunei such as Iban, Dusun, etc. Conversion of muslims is of course forbidden, but you might be aware that the indigenous tribes (in Brunei we call them anak bumi) have a strong heritage of Christianity. In fact, Bishop Sim has anak bumi roots, hence he spends the Triduum in the lone mission outpost in the Brunei interior (situated in a long house no less!). I am so happy to see so many locals being welcomed into the Faith, though there are new (illegal) Protestant sects that have recently started (in Brunei the only two Christian denominations allowed to practice publicly are the RCs and the Anglicans), that have made inroads into our local Chinese Catholic population, so that is something worrying.

When you say that the regional bishops have forbidden black cassocks, do you mean just the Malaysian bishops or the entire bishops conference? Did they give a reason? I ask because if it's the entire Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei Bishop's Conference, than I find it very strange because one of the other parishes in Brunei have a set of black cassocks for altar servers used for ferial Masses, and this was purchased by the then Monsignor Sim, when he was parish priest of that church. Maybe they mean black cassocks for those in orders? Because, the priests here for benediction, etc, wear either an alb and stole, or a white cassock with cotta and stole, never a black cassock. P.S. The alb can always be...ehem..made to look more traddy. Throw in an amice, a little lace here and there - and there you go.

And yes, I love West Cath. Mgr Mark is so nice as well. The most fantastic homilist and so nice to everyone. He gave me his 39 buttons (!) cassock to use when I was a server there - I served there for a year, before medical school scheduling just messed everything up! And the choir - in my not so humble opinion - arguably the best cathedral/collegiate choir in the UK.