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  #1  
Old Mar 29, '09, 7:29 am
ryanmac ryanmac is offline
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Posts: 169
Default What happens at Easter Vigil?

I'm in RCIA with just two weeks left before Easter Vigil. My wife and I are Evangelical Protestant converts and looking to invite a lot of our Evangelical Protestant friends. I would like to share a bit about what will happen beforehand to help the experience be richer for them - many who have never been inside a Catholic parish.

It's a few days before our next RCIA class and I'd really like to get invitations out today, so if I was on top of things last week I would've just asked our priest. But I'm hoping the CA community will have more than enough answers. Thank you.

Could you please outline the liturgy of this special mass? (especially how it differs from a regular mass?)

Our class of about 15 people will be entering or returning to the Church, and my 6 month old son will also be baptized.
  #2  
Old Mar 29, '09, 7:51 am
Phemie Phemie is offline
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Default Re: What happens at Easter Vigil?

Welcome home.

THE SERVICE OF LIGHT

Blessing of the Fire

The fire might be in a brazier or be a bonfire outside, it all depends on the parish. In ours, those who are able gather outside.

Preparation of the Candle
The Paschal Candle has a few symbols that are traced on it (the cross, the alpha & omega, the year)and 5 grains of incense embedded in it (the 5 wounds of Christ).

Lighting of the Paschal Candle from the new fire.
The Paschal Candle symbolizes the Light of Christ in the world.

Procession with the Easter (Paschal) Candle
The Priest (or Deacon) takes the candle and, three times during the procession to the altar, lifts it high and sings alone "Christ our light" to which the people respond "Thanks be to God".
After the second such response all the people light their candles with a flame taken from the Easter Candle

The Exsultet (Easter Proclamation)
Sung by either the Deacon, the Priest or a cantor.

LITURGY OF THE WORD
7 readings from the Old Testament (our history), each followed by a Psalm and a prayer (at last 3 must be read)
Gloria
Opening Prayer
Epistle
Solemn Alleluia
Gospel
Homily

CELEBRATION OF THE SACRAMENTS OF INITIATION AND THE RITE OF RECEPTION


Celebration of Baptism:
Invitation
Litany of the Saints
Blessing of the Water
Renunciation of Sin
Anointing with the Oil of Catechumens
Profession of Faith
Baptism
Anointing after Baptism (with Sacred Chrism)
Clothing with a Baptismal Garment
Presentation of a Lighted Candle

Renewal of Baptismal Promises (whole community including candidates)
Invitation
Renunciation of Sin
Profession of Faith
Sprinkling with Baptismal Water

Celebration of Reception

Invitation
Profession by the Candidates
Act of Reception

Celebration of Confirmation

Invitation
Laying on of Hands
Anointing with Chrism

Prayers of the Faithful

LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST

As usual

BLESSING & DISMISSAL

Last edited by Phemie; Mar 29, '09 at 8:06 am.
  #3  
Old Mar 29, '09, 8:01 am
ryanmac ryanmac is offline
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Default Re: What happens at Easter Vigil?

Wow, this is fantastic. Thank you Phemie.

If the vigil starts at 8 when should I tell my friends it will finish?

Anything else you might want to share with non-Catholic Christians witnessing the mass?
  #4  
Old Mar 29, '09, 8:09 am
Phemie Phemie is offline
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Default Re: What happens at Easter Vigil?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ryanmac View Post
Wow, this is fantastic. Thank you Phemie.

If the vigil starts at 8 when should I tell my friends it will finish?

Anything else you might want to share with non-Catholic Christians witnessing the mass?
We don't usually have any candidates or elect and ours takes at least 2 hours (we do all the readings and sing all the Psalms). With that many sacraments tell them not to expect to go home before 10:30.

Easter is late this year so sundown is also late. In our neck of the woods we can't start our Vigil until 9 p.m. because it won't be full dark until then.
  #5  
Old Mar 29, '09, 8:11 am
Stjudeprayforus Stjudeprayforus is offline
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Default Re: What happens at Easter Vigil?

I went through RCIA last year...

It is a BEAUTIFUL mass.....


All the lights were out and we (RCIA class) came in holding candles... it was gorgeous.


The whole serrvice is absolutely amazing.

Congatulations!!!! Anyone who attends will love it.
__________________
“Today Jesus had His arms extended to embrace you. Today
Jesus’ Heart was opened to receive you. Were you there?”
Excerpt from Mother Teresa’s Letters to M.C. Sisters
(April 8, 1977), paraphrasing St. Alphonsus Liguori
  #6  
Old Mar 29, '09, 8:30 am
SassysMum SassysMum is offline
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Default Re: What happens at Easter Vigil?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ryanmac View Post
I'm in RCIA with just two weeks left before Easter Vigil. My wife and I are Evangelical Protestant converts and looking to invite a lot of our Evangelical Protestant friends. I would like to share a bit about what will happen beforehand to help the experience be richer for them - many who have never been inside a Catholic parish.

It's a few days before our next RCIA class and I'd really like to get invitations out today, so if I was on top of things last week I would've just asked our priest. But I'm hoping the CA community will have more than enough answers. Thank you.

Could you please outline the liturgy of this special mass? (especially how it differs from a regular mass?)

Our class of about 15 people will be entering or returning to the Church, and my 6 month old son will also be baptized.
WELCOME!!!

Phemie has actually answered your question wonderfully.

The only thing I would add...it will be ~crowded~. I hope that your parish is large. It probably is considering you said there was 15 candidates. My parish is small... therefore, seating becomes an issue at Vigil. You might want to consider that whenever inviting all your friends.

Welcome & you'll be in my prayers!
  #7  
Old Mar 29, '09, 10:15 am
Phemie Phemie is offline
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Default Re: What happens at Easter Vigil?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SassysMum View Post
WELCOME!!!
The only thing I would add...it will be ~crowded~. I hope that your parish is large. It probably is considering you said there was 15 candidates. My parish is small... therefore, seating becomes an issue at Vigil. You might want to consider that whenever inviting all your friends.

Welcome & you'll be in my prayers!
Would that that were the case in our parish. We are small but, unfortunately, we have lots of empty seats for the Vigil.
  #8  
Old Mar 30, '09, 9:23 am
SassysMum SassysMum is offline
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Default Re: What happens at Easter Vigil?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phemie View Post
Would that that were the case in our parish. We are small but, unfortunately, we have lots of empty seats for the Vigil.
That surprises me. I guess each location is different.

'Easter Vigil' and 'Christmas Eve - Midnight Masses' are remarkable in my area. Father refers to them as the "Chris-Easter Catholics" (they only attend at Christmas & Easter).
Of course...not all in attendance are Catholics. This is when the curious Protestants choose to come and see how Catholics worship. I know because I'm in a heavily Protestant area and most my friends are Baptist/Evangelicals. I've had a few quiz me about the Midnight Mass Service & Easter Vigil. It always goes....."I bet it's a pretty service....I would like to go, just to see what you do. Would it be wrong for me to go just because I'm curious?"
In the end..the only one that has ever went with me is my sister-in-law. And she doesn't attend any church but was raised Baptist.

We attended midnight Mass in 2006 at the Basilica (about 60 miles away). I'm still amazed! We arrived at 11PM and it was packed. My husband & I were the last to get a seat. And people kept coming. Folks sat on the floor until there was no more space left. Lastly, people were standing in the back, lined out the doors and down the side walk.
  #9  
Old Mar 30, '09, 9:31 am
Phemie Phemie is offline
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Default Re: What happens at Easter Vigil?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SassysMum View Post
That surprises me. I guess each location is different.

'Easter Vigil' and 'Christmas Eve - Midnight Masses' are remarkable in my area. Father refers to them as the "Chris-Easter Catholics" (they only attend at Christmas & Easter).
Of course...not all in attendance are Catholics. This is when the curious

We attended midnight Mass in 2006 at the Basilica (about 60 miles away). I'm still amazed! We arrived at 11PM and it was packed. My husband & I were the last to get a seat. And people kept coming. Folks sat on the floor until there was no more space left. Lastly, people were standing in the back, lined out the doors and down the side walk.
For Midnight Mass we also have empty pews although there are more people than at the Vigil because students home from university usually still want to attend Midnight Mass.

I'm sure that ff the Vigil were at 4 p.m. it would be standing room only, just like the 5:30 p.m. Christmas Eve Mass. But after dark on a Saturday night? No, if it's anything like last year, most of the congregation will comprised of the families of those who are either in the choir or are readers & EMHCs
  #10  
Old Mar 30, '09, 9:52 am
kage_ar kage_ar is offline
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Default Re: What happens at Easter Vigil?

The Vigil is a minimum 2 hours long (with 15 coming in, you will likely go 2 1/2 or even 3 hours), and then there is the reception - we won't leave the Parish until the wee small hours of the morning. Check and see if there is a reception, and if you can invite guests to the reception.

I've seen many Standing Room Only Easter Vigils, let those you invite know to arrive early.

There will be a "program" or missalette for your visitors to follow along. Chances are they will not be sitting with your family (your family and your sponsors will have reserved seats up front).
  #11  
Old Mar 31, '09, 4:00 am
Joannm Joannm is offline
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Default Re: What happens at Easter Vigil?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stjudeprayforus View Post
I went through RCIA last year...

It is a BEAUTIFUL mass.....


All the lights were out and we (RCIA class) came in holding candles... it was gorgeous.


The whole serrvice is absolutely amazing.

Congatulations!!!! Anyone who attends will love it.
You came in at the Processional with candles? When were they lit? Were you being baptized at the Vigil? I have some difficulty with this. First of all, if you were Elect you should not have a candle until you receive it at your baptism. Secondly, you should have not been in the procession. But then again, people in charge often don't read the rites, so anything could happen.
  #12  
Old Mar 31, '09, 7:35 am
Phemie Phemie is offline
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Default Re: What happens at Easter Vigil?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joannm View Post
You came in at the Processional with candles? When were they lit? Were you being baptized at the Vigil? I have some difficulty with this. First of all, if you were Elect you should not have a candle until you receive it at your baptism. Secondly, you should have not been in the procession. But then again, people in charge often don't read the rites, so anything could happen.
Do you mean that the elect cannot participate in the Service of Light and have tapers lit from the Paschal candle after the 2nd "Christ our Light" as we all process back into the church?
  #13  
Old Mar 31, '09, 8:02 am
Stjudeprayforus Stjudeprayforus is offline
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Default Re: What happens at Easter Vigil?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joannm View Post
You came in at the Processional with candles? When were they lit? Were you being baptized at the Vigil? I have some difficulty with this. First of all, if you were Elect you should not have a candle until you receive it at your baptism. Secondly, you should have not been in the procession. But then again, people in charge often don't read the rites, so anything could happen.

From what I understand... I wasnt an elect, I was a candidate. (after the rite of elect)
Also.. the Bishop sets the standard for each parish.



I wasnt baptized at the vigil.... I was baptized when I was a baby. Others were baptized.
__________________
“Today Jesus had His arms extended to embrace you. Today
Jesus’ Heart was opened to receive you. Were you there?”
Excerpt from Mother Teresa’s Letters to M.C. Sisters
(April 8, 1977), paraphrasing St. Alphonsus Liguori
  #14  
Old Mar 31, '09, 8:11 am
redrosetea redrosetea is offline
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Default Re: What happens at Easter Vigil?

Our church is always packed and how long it lasts depends on how many people are received into the church

It will be late when it is finished..We have gotten home after 11 pm many times
  #15  
Old Mar 31, '09, 8:22 am
Contarini Contarini is offline
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Default Re: What happens at Easter Vigil?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phemie View Post
In our neck of the woods we can't start our Vigil until 9 p.m. because it won't be full dark until then.
I wish we had that rule in the Episcopal Church. My old parish in NC started at 8 or 8:30, but the one I attend now starts at 5:30, and usually only uses four readings. I'm preaching this year (yes, I was rather shocked too when the priest asked me--we don't have a rule preventing laypeople from preaching, and I've preached before, but at the Easter Vigil?) and have managed to get another reading included. We actually have a total of 9 in the Prayer Book. I didn't know that you guys have only seven.

I think we both have abridged versions of the Exultet, unfortunately. Do you guys usually use the "Felix Culpa" passage? We don't.

I have only been to a Catholic Easter Vigil once (the first year I was in grad school when I was first exploring Catholicism). The next year there was a family emergency that prevented me from attending, and the year after that I became involved with the Episcopal Church. Although given how early ours ends, I could probably go down the road and do it twice!

Edwin
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