Sunday, March 23, 2008

From Darkness to Light

Last night my husband, sister and brother-in-law attended the Easter Vigil Mass at our parish St. Matthew in Largo. Easter vigil is the most sacred mass of the year. It is the first mass of Easter where we celebrate Christ rising from the dead.

It is deep in tradition. As the photo shows we start outside (this year we were under and overhang because it was raining off and on) with a fire which signified the light of Christ. This light is then passed candle by candle through the crowd. We then process into the dark church illuminating it. Readings from the old and new testament are read, music is sung and finally the lights come up and we sing the Gloria. Following is one of the best parts - the baptisms of those coming into the church ending with their first communion and confirmation.

I know it's a long mass - more than two hours. But I always say it is worth it. It is the encapsulation of what we as Catholics are about. An Easter people, a people of the word, with up to nine readings packed in (it's up to the pastor on the number of readings), a sacramental people and a people of the light. I always say that every Catholic should attend this mass at least one time. Granted it's not the best place for young kids, it is a place for anyone wanting to witness deep traditions that use your senses well - from sight and sound to the smells of incense permenting the space and even taste as there's often cake to celebrate with the newly initiated.

So Happy Easter to all. Alleluia, Alleluia.

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