I got home a few minutes ago from the Easter Vigil. I had gotten involved in my parish’s RCIA program to help those interested in joining the Catholic Church learn more about our faith before making the final commitment. Weekly meeting began in late September or early October, culminating into their full acceptance into the Church this evening at the Easter Vigil Mass. I had the great honor of sponsoring one of our catechumens for full communion.
Being on the RCIA team was very enriching for me. Seeing the genuine excitement some of them were showing as they learned about the faith really invigorated my faith. It makes me realize how blessed I am to have been raised in the Catholic Church my whole life. I’ve never had to search for Christ’s Church; I’ve been in it from my baptism when I was a month old. I also had the pleasure of talking to an acquaintance of mine who I hadn’t had the opportunity to talk to in a while. I was surprised to see she’s now a lector, after having only become a Catholic a few years ago. I spoke to her after Mass and she reminded me that she had been a Baptist but came to discover the Truth of Catholicism. It was good to hear that her father had become reconciled to her decision, after vehement opposition. These things take time and maybe now that he’s accepted her decision, his heart can be opened to make the same journey.
I always enjoy the Easter Vigil. The Church really goes all out to bring the the specialness of this evening that we begin the celebration of Christ’s victory over death. (In the Catholic Church, Easter last for eight days. All of next week is a time of celebration of Christ rising from the dead.) We sing the Exultet rejoicing that God sent Christ (and we always make sure to have our best cantors scheduled for the Easter Vigil). It’s also the culmination of a lot of work. We decorated the Church Thursday morning. (I had to miss that session due to work.) We had the Liturgy of the Lord’s Supper Thursday night commemorating Christ’s gift of the Eucharist and the ordained priesthood Thursday evening. Following that Liturgy, we had silent adoration in the Church to keep a vigil of prayer with him while he was in the Garden praying before his Passion. Friday morning, we gathered for Morning Prayer and another session of setting up the Church for the Good Friday Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion. That began at three in the afternoon, the hour of Our Lord’s death for our sins. At seven that night, we prayed the Stations of the Cross, commemorating Our Lord’s journey from his being condemned to death to his burial in the tomb.
This morning, we again had Morning Prayer. (Mass and other sacraments are not offered between Thursday and Saturday due to Christ being in the tomb. It’s a reminder of what we would be missing without His sacrifice.) We then spent about two and a half hours decorating and cleaning the Church to prepare for tonight. The Mass began tonight at 7:30 with the Liturgy of Light where we light a fire in the back of the Church which represents Christ, light the Paschal candle from it and then light candles held by members of the congregation to signify the light of Christ spreading throughout the world. (The church is dark through this time.) There are then up to seven readings from the Old Testament to show the buildup to Christ coming into the world. It’s hard to read those readings without getting hit by the beauty of God’s plan for us.
I’m always pumped up by the Easter celebrations in the Catholic Church. For all our problems, we do liturgy right.