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Great Vigil of Easter
April 20, 2019 @ 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm CDT
If Good Friday marks the most difficult moment in the Christian Year, the Easter Vigil marks its pinnacle – the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The service takes place in two parts which hinge around the Easter acclamation – Christ is Risen! The Lord is Risen Indeed!
The first portion of the liturgy is the Vigil proper. As was the custom of the ancient church, we will gather in darkness to hold vigil for the momentous occasion to come (did you know there is a Pentecost Vigil and that the Christmas Eve service is technically the Vigil of Christmas?). We will begin outside with the kindling of the new fire for Easter. The deacon will then carry the newly lit Paschal Candle into the chapel while the presider chants “the Light of Christ” to which the congregation will respond “thanks be to God”). This ritual of the unconquered light of Christ marks the moment of Christ resurrected, even though no one is around to see it.
After arriving in the Chapel, the priest will sing the Exsultet – the ancient song that communicates our salvation story all the way from the very beginning in the book of Genesis and culminating with the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. During the singing of this ancient hymn, we will light candles from the Paschal Candle, symbolizing the spread of the unconquered light of Christ and how it comes to us through grace in the Sacrament of Baptism. This is followed by the reading of scripture and then responding to the readings by singing songs and reciting canticles. Finally, the Gospel is read, Saint John Chrysostom’s Easter Homily is read, and our baptismal vows are renewed before the lights come on and we give the Easter Proclamation and celebrate Holy Eucharist.
If you have never experienced a Vigil, you won’t want to miss this.