O Night truly blessed, when heaven is wedded to earth and we are reconciled to God.
~ (Exsultet) ~
The grief and loss many of us are feeling because of the COVID10 requirements to self-isolate, from our faith, work, social communities, family and friends, and places of worship is very real and painful.
Easter is NOT cancelled. We can celebrate at home, whether we live alone, in a shared arrangement or as a family.
We can assemble around a bonfire. Its flames dispel the darkness and light up the night. The beauty of the fire, its warmth, and its light, draws us together. We bless a large Easter candle.
The large Easter candle, a “pillar of fire” symbolising the risen Christ who conquers suffering, sin, and death, from which all light their candles, leads a procession into the dark of night. It is in the light of the Easter candle that the Scriptures are read. They unfold the wonderful story of God’s work of creation and all the wonderful things God has done and can continue to do for us.
In Christian initiation, we are plunged into the waters of Jesus’ life, suffering, death and resurrection and are anointed by the Spirit. What happens to Christ happens to us. We renew our promises of baptism and gather at the table of the Lord. The presence of the risen Christ.
The Paschal Mystery, Christ passing over from life, suffering, and death to new life and spirit is also our paschal mystery.
Press Pause for Easter Vigil
Take a moment to recap on this Holiest of Weeks
Ritual at Home
The celebration begins with a service of light often associated with the early church tradition of lighting lamps for evening prayer and rejoicing in the light of Christ.
As you prepare an area for tonight’s prayer, you may wish to light a number of candles. If possible, people present might also have their own candle to hold.
“Accept this Easter candle…Let it mingle with the lights of heaven and continue bravely burning to dispel the darkness of this night!” (Exultet)
You might even have had time to make a Family Pascal Candle Click Here
Take a moment to watch the Vigil in five minutes to set the scene for your own liturgy
Begin in darkness
We gather this night to rejoice in Jesus Christ, the Light of the World,
the One no darkness can overcome,
the One death cannot destroy.
Light the candles:
We give you thanks, O God,
for the light that illumines our hearts and home,
for your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ,
a light so filled with glory and power,
a light undimmed by sin and death,
a light that guides peoples and nations.
May we welcome this light of Christ into our lives.
You may wish to read the Gospel and share with those you are with, or you may wish to listen to a reading of this gospel
Reading: Matthew 28:1-10
Litany of the Saints
Typically, this is the night where catechumens who have been preparing for Initiation are baptised, because of the COVID10 restrictions the catechumens will have to wait for a little while longer. We can pray for their journey as they continue to ponder and prepare to join the Catholic Church. As is also customary, we call on the intercession of those holy women and men who have walked before us and whose example guides us today. After each invocation, the response is: Pray for us.
As you pray this litany you can add your own favourite saints, the names of the members of your family and those you live with.
Holy Mary, Mother of God: Pray for us.
Saint Joseph: Pray for us
Saint John the Baptist: Pray for us.
Saint Peter and Saint Paul: Pray for us.
Saint Mary Magdalene. Pray for us.
Saint Felicity and Saint Perpetua. Pray for us.
Saint Benedict and Saint Scholastica: Pray for us.
All holy men and women: Pray for us.
You might wish to invite prayers from the hearts of those present at this time.
(You might consider prayers for the sick, the homeless, the refugees, the elderly, the lonely, those in self-isolation, and those in prison, the leaders of our church, our countries and our families)
Response: “Risen Christ, Light and Life, hear our prayer.”
The Lord’s Prayer
Gathering these prayers together, as well as those we hold in the silence of our hearts,
we pray in the words that Jesus taught us.
Our Father ……
Share a sign of Christ’s peace.
For Families with young children
Easter Vigil: We Wait! What Will We Do?
Holy Saturday brings us – at last – to the glorious rekindling of the Light of the World and the Paschal Candle.
Careful activities during this holy pause have prepared us to share Christ’s Light with one another and the world! Alleluia, indeed!
- As a Family Light your Easter Pascal Candle or any candle (even a battery operated one)
- Read a story that tells the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection in a child friendly way. Talk about what it means to you and your family.
- You might like to use this story to help explain the Gospel https://sermons4kids.com/empty.html
- Buy each child a balloon. Let them write “Jesus is alive!” or draw an empty tomb on it with markers. Go outside and on Easter Sunday and at the count of three, release the balloons as you all yell, “Jesus is alive!”
SYDNEY St Mary’s Cathedral
MELBOURNE St Patrick’s Cathedral