Easter Vigil Mass: Has your church cut down on the OT readings?

Normally, there are supposed to be seven readings from the Old Testament that are read during the Mass on the Easter Vigil that tell us of salvation history. Has your parish cut down the number of OT readings? My pastor decided to do it about three years ago, and alas, the readings are cut down again this year. Only 4 OT readings. It kind of makes me upset because I really like that point of the Easter Vigil Mass - the 7 OT readings. Has anyone else’s parish cut down the number of readings? We will have a new pastor next year, so maybe we will have all seven if the new pastor wills.

My pastor cut the readings to four as well. I think, however, that it may be because he’s trying to improve things slowly so as not to put the congregation in total shock. They were used to a priest who didn’t encourage anything spiritual nearly two decades, so a lot of things that are coming back are very strange to them.

Pastor cut back to the minimum 3 last year. I was very upset and argued with him but it was pointless. Kept to 3 again this year but I’m less upset since I’ve seen that the priest who will be ministering to us is 84 and ill. I suspect that he will not be standing outside in the wind and snow for the entire blessing of the new fire as some priests have done in preceding years.

At my former parish last year (when I was received into the Church), we had one OT and one Epistle read. Of course, we also did none-zero-none of the scrutinies or rites as catachumens.

I’m at a different parish now and we will do every single OT reading at the Mass of the Easter Vigil. Our priest said “why would you ever want to reduce the number of readings?” Really, when you think about it, if you are going to the Easter Vigil, what else were you planning to be doing Saturday evening, that you are in such a hurry to get out of church?

We are also having the Good Friday liturgy chanted and sung.

We too have shorter set of readings, but I do understand. We have 19 people being baptized this year (including some children) and an additional 19 people being confirmed, so it isn’t like the Easter Vigil will be short. And combine that with the 9 masses being celebrated on Easter Sunday, I don’t exactly blame our priests for wanting to get a little bit of sleep in there somewhere. :wink: :smiley:

Well, the Easter Vigil is not supposed to be short. I can tell you, that as a catechumen, I felt totally shortchanged last year. It was like an assembly line–get all those folks through as quickly as possible, so we can get done at a decent hour. The focus wasn’t on the sacraments, it was on getting done so we’re not here all night.

Really, there are only a few times a year when the days are this intense and busy. Our friars will sleep on Monday and Tuesday.

I’m assuming your much younger than I (61) but on Good Friday’s our services would last three hours just reciting the Passion of Our Lord.one could expect to spend 4 hours in Church that day.my Church services on Good Friday are not much different than any other Friday.I can’t say what the overall effect on the Church this has but I guess fewer and fewer people were attending so they decided to start cutting back.Maybe a revival is coming.It would be nice I think.

Easter Vigil was one of the first few times I had been to Mass and then, without any expectations, and now, after a couple of years, “assembly line” is the last phrase I would use to describe it. We have incense, a huge choir, chant, and TONS of joy. Would it be nice to have all of the readings, quite possibly, but do I feel like I’m really missing out, nope, not at all. There are way to many other amazing things going on for me to be sitting there thinking about how I really wish that we had all the readings.

Even before Vatican II, the celebration of the Passion was not that long. I’m 57 and attended Good Friday service every year. We were always back home by 4:30.

Did your parish add that celebration? The Way of the Cross, perhaps? None of the Passions are that long.

I go to the Easter Vigil almost every year and have heard all the readings maybe 3-4 times.

Sometimes a priest may cut down on readings for good reason.

Not everyone is so dedicated and appreciative of a long liturgy. For myself, I love it. But sometimes when I am incredibly moved, I find that others aren’t always paying attention, and some actually sleep. It’s not rampant, there is a lot of joy at the parish I attend (and my priest is a great homilist, and has such passion for liturgy that it’s contagious) but still, after awhile, people become impatient.

And here’s the thing: the Easter Vigil is such a great liturgy. My priest wants to encourage everybody to attend that one. If it goes on too long (and it will already be fairly lengthy) people will stop attending.

So out of his desire to see more people attend Easter Vigil, we stick to five readings.

But for me, the time there goes just way too fast.

My point is, though, don’t be too hard on priests who do not include all of the readings. There may be good reasons for it. For me, as much as I’d love to hear them all, I am just so blessed to attend a parish where my life has been changed.


We had all of the readings last year and this year will be the same. We had around 15 baptisms, and around 12 weddings (convalidations) last year. The vigil started at 8 p.m. and ended at around 1 a.m. in the morning :eek:

St. Elias in Brampton, Ontario (Ukrainian Byzantine Rite) is doing 15 readings. If you feel you’re being shortchanged, that is the place to be.

Last year, I believe that only five readings were proclaimed at the Papal Easter Vigil Mass. Given the various ceremonials imbedded within the Vigil, and, the Holy Father’s age, I would say that cutting the readings down a bit was certainly justified.

At my parish, all seven OT readings are proclaimed; however, only one verse of the psalm is sung. I do not know why we keep doing that.

The (off topic) Good Friday liturgy is long for the advised personal adoration of the cross. In the good old times only a few people kissed the cross, for the rest the cross was elevated by the priest, and they adored it in kneeling in the pews.

As for the 6 readings, my opinion is that the liturgy is for the people, and not the people for the liturgy. Especially with the catecumens and candidates
it should be about 2 hours, also it should start earlier. The real resurrection happened early in the day, which on Jesus time and place started about 6 PM Saturday.

In my parish back then everyone lined up to kiss the Cross.

We are not in Jesus’ time and place and the Vigil must start after dark. It would be great to start at 2 am and end at 5 am just as the sun is rising. Some parishes do it that way.

I find it sad people think that listening to the high points in the story of our own salvation one time during the year is too much.

I’ve belonged to my current parish for nearly 7 years. Last year and this year I’ve had to go to the evening service on Sunday. One year I went to the 7:30 Mass. So the other four I’ve gone to Vigil. I distinctly remember my first couple of years in this parish the pastor would note in the Palm Sunday bulletin that the Easter Vigil Mass, while beautiful, is very long and might not be ideal for those with kids. With that said, the answer to the question is as long as I’ve been going to my current parish, it’s been three: Genesis, Exodus, and Epistle, i.e. the minimum. We typically have a big class of RCIA though so that might contribute to the trimming.

We have four readings. Easter Vigil commences at 8:00 P.M. and Father thought to cut down the readings for the benefit of the elderly who attend. The procession from the bonfire to the Church and finding our way to the pews by candlelight takes an hour. :slight_smile:

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