The Easter Vigil is one of the most important celebrations in the liturgical year. In the Catholic Church, catechumens are baptized and received into full communion with the Church at the Easter Vigil. The liturgy consists of four major parts. The first part is the Liturgy of Light or Lucernarium; the celebration begins outside the church after sunset, where the Paschal Candle is blessed. The Paschal Candle is then processed into the church. Inside the church, smaller candles held by the people are lit from the Paschal Candle. The Paschal Candle represents the Light of Christ, in which the Risen Lord has conquered darkness. Immediately following is the Easter Proclamation (or the Exultet), which is an ancient hymn attesting to the mysteries of Easter.
The second part is the Liturgy of the Word, comprising of several readings from both the Old and New Testaments. Psalms are sung in between the readings. The readings and psalms convey to us the unfolding of God’s marvelous plan of salvation. The third part is the Baptismal Liturgy where catechumens receive the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. The fourth part is the Liturgy of the Eucharist, wherein the gifts of bread and wine are transubstantiated into the Body and Blood of Christ, and the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ at Calvary is made present and offered to God the Father. The newly baptized receive their first Holy Communion and the rest of the faithful receive Holy Communion.
This year, the Holy Name of Jesus Chinese Catholic Mission celebrates the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday, April 20 at 8:00 pm. All are invited!