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The Great Vigil of Easter

At the Easter Vigil, the new fire is kindled in darkness and the Paschal Candle is prepared and blessed. It is carried in Procession through the Church, as the people’s candles are lit from it. In the coming year, when baptisms are celebrated, each new Christian will be given a candle lit from this candle, and when a funeral is celebrated, this Candle will stand by the coffin as witness to Christ’s victory over death. Through the entire Fifty Days of Easter, the flame that we light in this liturgy will be kept burning and will be the source of light for the candles at the altar.

The Exsultet, an extensive hymn of thanksgiving and blessing over the candle is sung. The Liturgy of the Word begins with a series of readings from the Old Testament that illuminate the mystery of Christ’s resurrection and the renewal of all things.

After the readings, the renewal of the Baptismal Covenant and the Blessing of the Waters bring us to the transition point that marks the turning of the year. At the font, where we are joined with Christ in death and resurrection, the Resurrection is announced. Light and music flood the Church, the bells which have been silent since the beginning of the Triduum ring out, and we move on to celebrate the Eucharist, with great joy and thanksgiving.

Earlier Event: March 31
Holy Saturday Morning Prayer
Later Event: April 1
Easter Sunrise Eucharist