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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Easter Vigil

My dearest friends
Standing with me in this holy light
Join me in asking God for mercy...

I stood next to Joey, then Angel, then their mom in a pew tonight while Fr. Ed sang those words in St. Joe's, by candlelight, for Easter Vigil.

If you're a liturgical junkie like me, Easter Vigil is the coolest Mass of the year. First, you get to stand outside and light a fire. Then you get to see the priest light a five-foot tall candle from the fire, then everybody else passes that light from the big Paschal candle to each person's little candle, from one to another until everyone has a light. Then you all walk into the pitch-black church and sing, "Christ our Light" a few times. Then you hold the candles and let them flicker while Fr. Ed sings the Exsultet in his fine tenor. Then everyone in the pews blows their little candles out, leaving only the big Paschal candle up front.

"Now we're going to sit in the dark and hear stories," I whispered to Joey.

"Oh, cool," he whispered back. (Note to self--let's take a trip to the Dunes this summer and stay late enough to build a fire and tell ghost stories. He'd love that.)

Tonight we had Creation. Exodus. More. Beats me what happened after Exodus.

The full Easter Vigil has seven readings, often cut down to three or four, especially when there are people to be baptized, confirmed or given first Communion, as we had tonight. I know we cut back, and some were only read in Polish. Plus, I was babysitting Angelito so his mom could pray in peace for a few minutes. God knows she could use that.

Dawn put in an appearance about halfway through, but just to get keys so she could change clothes and go out to a party. At the time I thought she was changing clothes to come back to church. Silly me. Joey bailed out somewhere along the way, too.

I had Angel more or less up until the point when we sang "Alleluia" and all the lights come on at once. It's gorgeous. St. Joe's does it better than any place I've been since college. I know Joey was there for that part. His mom took Angel back after that and went back to the baptismal font with him, so she was in good position to watch the baptism and get soggy herself. Angel likes the font; he kept wanting to stick his hand in there, so we did that a few times while I was keeping him out of his mother's hair.

Ed does baptisms brilliantly. This was his last Easter Vigil at St. Joe's. We will miss him sorely here in the neighborhood, and I will miss his liturgies, his voice and his homilies.

Tonight he preached very simply on the resurrection. The resurrection is one of the hardest things to preach about, I think. The way he put it tonight was through a variation on Humpty Dumpty--let me see if I get it right:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
Only God had the ?????
To put Humpty Dumpty together again

Well, you get the point. Ed was very clear that as Christians, we believe Humpty will get put together again. Some days I can hang on to that idea, but tonight in that beautiful church with Julian in prison, Dawn just there to pick up keys, and Joey almost not coming and then bailing, I have to say I do wonder how even God could put that family back together. But hey, their mom made it to church and even got five minutes to pray on her own. I'd be the last one to knock that.

1 comment:

Anice said...

the theme of our vigil homily was "God is re-creating everywhere, all the time." and "People with hope live differently." At least, those were my take-aways, and very important for my life today.

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