Sunday, April 8, 2012


Last night I attended the Easter Vigil at my parish.  This is the first year that my parish church also happens to be the cathedral for the diocese and so the bishop was the celebrant.  It is a very beautiful building, and especially so at night and with candles, though after the rest of the Holy Week liturgies, it's a test of stamina to make it through the three hours (especially so late at night!). 

I don't know for sure because I haven't been keeping close track, but maybe I've attended a dozen or so Vigils, but not always Catholic ones.  And about half of those were before I made my First Communion because once I went, I couldn't wait to go back the next year.  The very first Easter Vigil I attended was at an Orthodox church in Morocco, in '96 or so, where I was a guest of a Romanian friend.  Afterwards we had a feast that lasted until dawn and by the end, in my delirium, I became convinced that I could understand Romanian! 

One of the earliest portions of the service is the Exultet, usually sung by the deacon.  Apparently this prayer dates back to the fifth or sixth century.  "[H]ere the language of the liturgy rises into heights to which it is hard to find a parallel in Christian literature. We are drawn out of cold dogmatic statement into the warmth of the deepest mysticism."  That is my favorite part of the evening, and I don't even understand it all.  This helped, though.  It is the transcript of the Pope's homily from last night and worth a read.

Happy Easter, everyone!

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