The Easter Vigil Mass, which is one of the oldest of all Easter observances, officially marks the beginning of the Easter celebration.
As the vigil began at the Cathedral of St. Catharine of Siena on Saturday night, all was in darkness except for the flames of the candles held by those in attendance.
From the times of early Christians, fire and candles served as an important and functional symbol in the vigil. Not only did they light up the darkness, they also served as a symbol of Christ, the light of the world. The custom continued as the lighting of the Paschal Candle brought light to the darkened church.
The Scriptures for this Mass unfold God’s plan for the redemption and salvation of His people.
After the readings the Alleluia was sung. For the 40 days of Lent, the Church refrains from singing the Alleluia. During the vigil the Alleluia was once again sung in a triumphant hymn.
During his homily, Bishop Alfred Schlert said all present were privileged in a humble sense to have been called by God to share in this one true faith.
“Today and every day, let’s live with the fervor of our faith as if it were brand new to us and live every day in the presence of Christ,” he said.
“Tonight may this building shake for joy as we live in the light of the resurrected Christ.”
During the Mass, which commemorates Jesus’ passing from death to life, we remember in Baptism we die to our old way of life and rise to new life as a child of God.
After the blessing of the Easter water, the water was used for the Baptism of three elect candidates. Along with those baptized, five candidates received the Sacrament of Confirmation and First Holy Communion.