Tonight is the Easter Vigil in the Holy Night. This vigil is the greatest and most noble of all solemnities in the Catholic Church. The celebration of this Easter Vigil opens the Easter time which ends on Pentecost Sunday. Tonight is 'the Mother of all holy vigils' because it is the night when the Church awaits in prayer the Resurrection of the Lord and celebrates the Sacraments of Christian Initiation. We thank God for the journey thus far.

The Easter Vigil is divided into four parts: the solemn beginning of the vigil or lucernarium,  the liturgy of the word, baptismal liturgy and the liturgy of the Eucharist. Note that the Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord has two masses, namely, "the Easter Vigil in the Holy Night" and "at the Mass during the Day". Tonight, nine readings are provided, namely, seven from the Old Testament (Genesis 1: 1-2:2; Psalm 104: 1-2a. 5-6.10 and 12.13-14.24 and 35c; Genesis 22: 1-18; Psalm 16: 5 and 8.9-10.11; Exodus 14:15-15:1; Exodus 15:1b-2.3-4.5-6.17-18; Isaiah 54: 5-14; Psalm 30:2 and 4.5-6.11-12a and 13b; Isaiah 55:1-11; Isaiah 12:2-3.4.5-6; Baruch 3:9-15.32-4:4; Psalm 19:; Ezekiel 36:16-17a.18-28; Psalm 42:3.5;43:3.4; ) and two from the New Testament (the Epistle Romans 6:3-1, Psalm 118: 1-2.15-17.22-23 and Gospel according to the liturgical year {Luke 24: 1-12 ,Year C}) and are read so that the character of the Vigil which demands an extended period of time may be preserved. However, where more serious pastoral circumstances demand it, the number of readings from the Old Testament may be reduced, always bearing in mind that the reading of the Word of God is a fundamental part of this Easter Vigil. Immediately after the solemn vigil which ends with the seventh reading from the Old Testament and its responsorial Psalm, the Easter Mass of the Resurrection begins with the Priest intoning the Glory to God in the highest. At this juncture, the altar is decorated with flowers, the altar candles are lit. After the Gloria then the collect in the usual way.

At the Mass of Easter Sunday, in place of the penitential act, all are sprinkled with water blesses on Easter night, to recall their baptism. The sequence, found in the Lectionary, may be either sung or recited. The renewal of the Baptismal Promises may be inserted instead of the Creed. At the dismissal, the double alleluia is added.  

The Octave of Easter enables the faithful to celebrate for eight days the great mystery of the Resurrection of the Lord. The weekday Masses retain the solemnity of the Eucharist. The penitential act at the beginning of the Mass may be replaced with the blessing and sprinkling of Holy Water. A powerful reminder of our sharing in the Paschal Mystery especially through the sacrament of Baptism. (Culled from the Roman Missal). I trust you and I love you all.


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