THE EASTER VIGIL MASS
The Easter Vigil is celebrated on the eve of the resurrection of our savior, Jesus Christ. Easter is the holiest and most important event in the Christian religion. The Easter Vigil Mass is celebrated in a deep, spiritual, solemn way. Although different Churches and Christian orders may have minute differences in some of the rituals during the mass, but the over all feeling in the Easter Vigil liturgy is of solemnity and holiness. The ceremony begins in almost complete darkness and is slowly lighted by the flames of the congregation's candles paralleling Jesus symbolically lighting the world we live in. Also all Easter Vigil liturgies include four parts, the Service of Lights, the Liturgy of the Word, Celebration of the Rites of Initiation, and Liturgy of the Eucharist. The Service of Light is composed of three parts. The Service of Light opens the Mass. The first part of this ceremony is the lighting of the Paschal Candle. The minister sprinkles the candle with holy water and blesses the fire. The minister carves the letter for the Greek word "Alpha" on the top of the cross, and the Greek letter for the word "Omega" below the cross. These letters symbolize the beginning and the end of the life of Christ. The Paschal Candle is then lit and brought to the front of the Church as the Catholics cry out in harmony, "The Light of Christ!" The harmony of the Christian community's hymns and songs illustrate the events we are celebrating. For example the "Exultet," proclaims the salvation that Christ rising from the dead brought about. From the lit Paschal Candle all the members of the congregation light smaller, individual candles. The lighting of the candles symbolizes Christians led by Jesus, the light, overcoming evil, which is represented by darkness. The Trinity overcoming darkness is represented by the Christian community overcoming the darkness that filled the Church. In this ritual of the Easter Vigil we...
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