The Triduum: Easter Vigil
By Steve Taranovich
At Pope Francis’ Easter Vigil Mass in Rome this year, his homily centered upon a challenge to us ‘not to stand speechless before the events of Holy Week, but to overcome our fears and to share in Jesus’ mission and message.’
The Easter Vigil is the climax of the Triduum. It began at St. Thomas More (STM) in darkness and silence outside the Church. This silence tends to remind us that the disciples were “speechless before the Cross” and did not speak out for their Master. Christ’s Resurrection broke that silence of death, giving us hope in the dark.
The new fire and the Pascal Candle were blessed outside the Church and carried into the Church to light our own individual candles in the congregation one-by-one as the Light of Christ broke the darkness.
From the Vatican website and the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
The readings of the Easter Vigil, the celebration of the new creation in Christ, begin with the creation account; likewise, in the Byzantine liturgy, the account of creation always constitutes the first reading at the vigils of the great feasts of the Lord. According to ancient witnesses the instruction of catechumens for Baptism followed the same itinerary.
In the liturgy of the Easter Vigil, during the blessing of the baptismal water, the Church solemnly commemorates the great events in salvation history that already prefigured the mystery of Baptism.
For all the baptized, children or adults, faith must grow after Baptism. For this reason, the Church celebrates each year at the Easter Vigil the renewal of baptismal promises. Preparation for Baptism leads only to the threshold of new life. Baptism is the source of that new life in Christ from which the entire Christian life springs forth.
This was my second experience of the Easter Vigil here at STM and again it touched me deeply as I experienced Father Jim enter into the large Baptismal font and each new candidate follow in to be baptized by Full Immersion, just as John the Baptist did in the river Jordan two thousand years ago. What a joyful and moving spiritual experience.
Full immersion baptism at St. Thomas More
When I witness the “neophyte” candidates choosing our rich Roman Catholic faith, it strengthens my faith. I was born into Catholicism, but they are choosing the faith from their own free will.
There were 18 “neophytes” this year—women, many with their small babies and young children who also received the sacrament. The adults and young children loudly, and proudly proclaimed their ‘Yes’ to Father Jim’s question asking them if they freely choose to be baptized into our Catholic faith.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says this about Baptism: Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons and daughters of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: “Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the Word.”
Christian initiation is accomplished by three sacraments together: Baptism which is the beginning of new life; Confirmation which is its strengthening; and the Eucharist which nourishes the disciple with Christ’s Body and Blood for his transformation in Christ.April 11, 2018