Easter Vigil Readings Question

Did your parish or the parish you went to do the traditional seven Old Testament readings? Our parish only did four OT readings and then the Epistle and Gospel. I like reading all seven of them since they are a fundamental part of the Easter Vigil, but I am happy we got at least four. The Vigil was a beautiful Mass.

My parish only does four OT readings. I hope some year we do all seven.

We only hear two from the OT. Our priest is very concerned that the vigil mass will be too long if we hear too many readings. We hear the short version of the exultat too.

I wish we would hear all seven. Maybe someday I’ll attend the vigil Mass at our cathedral.

I belong to St. Stanislaus Parish in Manhattan, NYC. It is the oldest Polish Parish in the United States. At the Easter Vigil service tonight, we had the full seven readings in both Polish and English! Although we had no Baptisms nor Confirmations, the service lasted 3 hours!
It was the longest Easter Vigil service I have ever attended since I was a boy over 60 years ago, and the Vigil service was in Latin.

Four OT readings at my parish, too. Genesis 1, Genesis 22, Exodus and Isaiah 55.

We had 4. And 3 baptisms, 12 accepted to full communion with the Church. 3 and a half hours. Wish we did all the readings though. The exaultet, as usual, was beautiful and the absolute highlight of the year! Christ is risen! Alleluia!!

We had four readings at my church in western NY. The vigil started at 8:15 PM (a little after sunset,) and the new fire was lit in a cauldron in the narthex instead of outside the church as in previous years, simply because it was so chilly for people (many of them elderly) to be standing around outside. I was a little apprehensive about this, as we’ve had a couple of mishaps with the fire outside in past years!

We had the long form of the exultet, and I was surprised that they actually rang the bells in the steeple (apparently, last year, some of the neighbors complained about them.) I don’t understand that–if church bells annoy somebody so much, why buy a house that is right near a very Gothic-style church?

We had one adult baptism and three confirmations this year, which I suspect is why they opted for four readings. If we are initiating new Catholics, I always make it my business to get to the vigil Mass, to lend my support and celebrate with them. So that added to the time involved. All told, everything ended by 10 PM.

In a way, I’m grateful they didn’t do all seven readings: My back is still recovering from the three hours spent sitting in church on Good Friday. Two hours last night was plenty for me. Basically, I came home and collapsed on the bed just to get the pressure off my spine.

The choir was very well-rehearsed, and I have to comment on the decorations. The committee didn’t opt for banks of madonna lilies this year. Instead, there were mixed spring flowers and plants (including some madonna lilies,) banked in front of a garden waterfall in front of the altar. It was very evocative of the waters of Baptism, and absolutely stunning.

I had left my phone in the car, otherwise I’d post a picture.

We did all seven readings, and baptized 12, and our service was about just a little over 3 hours…such a beautiful service, the music was amazing…our Music Director did and amazing job pulling all the musicians, choirs, cantors together…Praise God for Easter Vigil Services, they are so sweet and beautiful. I love the renewing out baptismal promises part also, and dearly love the music…

At my parish, there were four (Abraham’s sacrifice, the escape from Egpyt, the prophecy according to Ezekiel, and a reading from the book of Romans), then the gospel. In between, our priest summorized the others in a story format. Altogether it lasted about 30 minutes including the Psalms.

The entire Mass ended at around 9:40pm.

We did all 7 OT readings. I read Genesis 1, and I think it was my first time reading that one. The Pastor had left it up to the readers whether to do the long or short version. We all opted for the long one.

Pastor confused the choir at the Blessing of the Water. We had no baptisms and no font to be blessed (haven’t had a Baptism at the Vigil in many years) so we all fast-forwarded to the section of our Missal for 'Blessing of the Water when there is no Baptism". He, OTOH, started to read the part for when there is a blessing of a font so he stood there expecting them to sing the Litany. He ended up saying the Litany which no one was expecting so we were rather slow on the responses until we figured out what was going on.

We got lots of incense but learned by experience that we have to add a charcoal to the thurible right after the incensing at the Gospel in order to have it last until the incensing for the offerings.:o

Our Vigil started at 9 and was over at 11:15 p.m. Came home and had a cup of tea with fresh bread and molasses (hadn’t had supper) then went to bed. Having brunch with friends this morning. Working tonight.

My Church did all seven readings, the Mass lasted like 2 hours, I loved it :smiley:

At the abbey ours lasted about the same, and we had 5 OT readings but the first one was the short version. No baptisms, the abbey doesn’t do them. I respect their need for shorter readings. Many of the monks are in their 80s and there’s a few in their 90s. By last night I was kind of liturgically worn (and had serious “pew derrière” from so many hours in Church… and I’m not finished, I’m off to an Anglican service in an hour); and was tired after changing out the snow tires for summer tires on my car in the afternoon. But when I felt like sitting down during some of the longer standing parts, I had to look at Brother Anselm, who’s 91 and uses a walker, who stayed standing for every single part where the liturgy required it… now that was inspiring.

The Exultet was chanted in French, BTW; the responsories, Gloria, Vidi Aquam,offertory were in Latin. Then we had a reception with a nice buffet table and some wine afterwards.

We had 4 this year, the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th, as they are in the missal (I don’t have it to hand to give the references). The whole service lasted just over an hour and a half.

I’m not sure I hold to the argument of taking readings out in order to keep the whole liturgy short, except perhaps in the case of a largely elderly congregation (like the abbey mentioned). People going to the vigil expect it to be long - I’d be surprised if the word vigil isn’t defined along such lines in modern dictionaries.

Given the joyous feel of the vigil, why wouldn’t we want it to be as long as possible :smiley:

All the best


I have yet to attend a vigil where all seven are read, along with their corresponding psalms. If your parish does this, you are so lucky to get the “full” feeling of the mass. I hope someday to attend a vigil with all seven readings.:slight_smile:

I have to admit that I was seriously annoyed that the cantor refused to learn the new Exsultet and sang the one from the last edition of the Roman Missal. And I don’t know where they got the Psalm after the Exodus reading but it wasn’t the version in the Canadian Lectionary.

We used to have receptions after the Vigil but in recent years the former Pastor discouraged it, for reasons we’ve never been able to fathom.

The new Pastor was surprised when we told him that we’d once had gatherings after the Vigil but that now we didn’t and that not many people come to the Vigil, fewer still than those who come to the Good Friday Liturgy, which itself was sparsely attended: “You must be joking?! The most important Liturgy of the year? And they don’t come?!” At this point he’s getting used to my friend and I going :shrug:.

We had three. And i noticed that the Vigil in Rome also only had four. Kind of like the Roman Cannon. That is what having options create. :frowning:

A Blessed and Glorious Easter to All!

I wasn’t reading along with the OT readings in the missal, I didn’t get the missal out until after the gospel was read, but in our missal it showed 5 OT readings, which felt about right, and we also had the accompanying psalms to go with them. Our mass was suppose to start at 8, but I didn’t look to check. By the time I visited and got in the car after mass it was 10:30. We also had many baptisms. I didn’t bother counting, it was at least 3 pews of neophytes and 2 rows of catechumen and candidates. Although, the confirmations didn’t happen last night, they will happen in May. But it made me happy to see so many kids and adults getting their baptism last night. I live in a rural area. It’s the largest town in the county, the town is about 40-50,000. There are only 2 parishes in town. It’s wonderful to see so many entering the church.

Ours was like yours. Four OT readings. I was following along in the Missal (although it was difficult to see in the dark, haha), but there was a big paragraph explaining that although it was strongly recommended to do all seven, only three were required and one had to be Exodus 14.

While I would have had enjoyed all seven readings, I can understand the decision, since we had about 20 baptisms.

We had five OT + epistle + Gospel and the long form of the Exultet. Two being confirmed, no baptisms this year. Mass went around 2 hrs 45 min, and there’s a reception after (always–although I don’t know what would happen if we had neither baptisms nor confirmations), so all told we were there for about 3 hrs 45 minutes after Mass started (we were also there about 40 minutes before as oldest son is an usher and younger two sons were serving).

I love the Vigil, I’d be happy if we did all 7 readings (one of the Isaiah and the Baruch reading were the ones that were not read). Our fire lighting was in the gym because we had a pretty steady rain at that point in the evening (there’s a connector hall) which would’ve pretty much eliminated all chances of actually getting a fire going.

At our Cathedral parish, with the bishop as celebrant, we did every one of the seven readings, plus the epistle and the Gospel, of course, and the responsorial psalms and prayers in between the readings. Plus the long form of the Exulset, chanted by one of the deacons. We had six Baptisms/Confirmations, plus six others brought into the Church via Confirmation.

The bishop blessed the Paschal candle outside (in the dark–we started an hour after dark), lit it from our roaring fire, and the deacon processed in with the candle, chanting “Lumen Christi” as he stopped along the way. The Mass lasted just short of three hours.

Also, we would normally use four EMsHC along with the four ordinary ministers (bishop, priest, two deacons) for a crowd this size. But the rector said, why do we need EMsHC? We’re not in a hurry.

His thinking is that the people who come to the Mass of the Easter Vigil are either coming into the church or are liturgy geeks. The former don’t ever want the Mass to end and the latter are drinking in every detail.

There are plenty of places in this diocese to go to Easter Vigil if you want one or two readings, Mass done before dark, lousy music, and rush-em-out the door sacraments.You got your choice!

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