holy saturday is historically the day that people are baptized or catachumens are brought into the church during a service called the great easter vigil or the paschal vigil. held between sunset and sunrise, it is the first time we are allowed to sing the gloria (glory to god in the highest) or any alleluias since giving them up for the 50-day season of lent. ours was billed as the great easter vigil, a service of light, as we started in darkness and gradually re-introduced the light and the acclamations during the ceremony.
starting in the back of the church carrying candles, our usual group of saturday-night revelers proceeded down the aisle with candles, the pastor carrying the christ candle, praying some powerful prayers and speaking again our baptismal vow to continue steadfast in the faith and promise of that sacrament. as the pastor announces our new birth of water and the spirit, the bells ring, the lights come on, the acolytes light the candles at the altar, and we have our first celebration of easter 2011.
by far, this was the “easiest” service i played this week–3 hymns and a postlude–so i had time to think of my daughter, a catachumen that same day in a different time zone. these sacraments bind us together throughout time. Hallelujah!!