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The Radiance of Resurrection: A Night of Joy and Celebration of Life at Easter Vigil

Last night, we were fortunate to partake in a deeply meaningful and joyous commemoration of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ within the parish community of St. Anthony de Padua, whose patron saint guides and inspires its members. Although our official parish affiliation lies with the Shrine of Mary Help of Christians, we often attend Mass at St. Anthony’s due to its convenience and accessibility for us.

The Easter Vigil was a memorable celebration lasting approximately four hours, from 8 PM until 11 past, as parishioners gathered around the church yard. The festivities commenced with the blessing of the fire and the embedding of five studs or nails into the Paschal candle, each adorned with a grain of incense symbolizing the five wounds of our Lord Jesus Christ. Following this solemn ritual was a procession of parishioners and clergy into the dimly lit corridors of the Church, with lights switched off.

Blessing of fire and the embedding of grains of incense and lighting of the Paschal candle. San Antonio de Padua. My Useful Tips blog

The sight of parishioners’ candles being gradually lit, sourced from the flame of the imposing Paschal candle, was truly awe-inspiring. It felt as though everyone was granted a fresh opportunity to radiate and rediscover their inner beauty amidst the darkness.

Before the Liturgy of the Word, the priest sang the Exsultet, joined by the choir and parishioners holding candles. It was a moving experience to see parishioners donning white attire, swaying and participating in the chanting, their lighted candles seeming to dance as they praised and thanked God.

choir together with parishioners singing the Exsultet with great gusto and melodiously, with the officiating priest leading it.

Following this, approximately nine readings were presented, including those during the Holy Mass proper. These readings recounted salvation history, from the creation described in the Book of Genesis to the present moment of communal prayer, and onwards to the ultimate perfection in God’s love at the end of time. This segment comprised the majority of the four-hour celebration, with the scriptural readings being the longest among all Catholic Masses.

Within the framework of the Easter Vigil Mass, the sacred rites of Baptism and Confirmation for the Catechumens are solemnly conducted, alongside the renewal of Baptismal vows by the parishioners. This significant ceremony serves as a profound symbol of our annual spiritual rebirth as Catholic Christians, reaffirming our dedication to following the teachings of Christ.

Through the sacrament of Baptism, we experience the forgiveness of our sins and are spiritually united with Jesus Christ. This sacrament marks the beginning of our journey as bearers of His light, entrusted with the mission to share the love and life we receive from Him with others.

The renewal of Baptismal vows during Easter Vigil reminds us of our ongoing commitment to live out our faith daily, reflecting the transformative power of Christ’s resurrection in our lives. It serves as a poignant reminder of our identity as children of God and members of His family, called to spread His message of love, hope, and redemption to all those around us.

The Easter Vigil’s joyful experience inspires us to deepen our faith and become better Christians through forgiveness. Yet, it requires more than mere participation; it demands commitment and action. We’re called to share the flame of God’s love with others, spreading hope and dispelling darkness. Let’s nurture and share this precious gift generously.

In his Easter homily, Rev. Fr. Kevin Luther Crisostomo, the parish priest of San Antonio de Padua parish, emphasized the essence of Easter as a celebration of “LIFE”, coinciding with the blooming of nature during springtime. He shared four key lessons drawn from Easter:

(L) stands for Love Always Wins: True victory lies in the genuine love exemplified by God’s sacrifice on the Cross. St. Augustine distinguishes between self-love and love of God through others, emphasizing the importance of prioritizing the latter.

(I) Inspire to Leave Sins Behind: Easter inspires us to forsake sin, renewing our commitment to resist temptation and live virtuously.

(F) Faithful to His Promises: Just as God remains faithful to His promises, we’re encouraged to uphold our own commitments with unwavering faith, even in small matters.

(E) Evangelize by Your Life: Easter calls us to evangelize not only through words but also through our actions, reflecting the transformed lives we’ve embraced in Christ. As we share our renewed selves with others, we embody the true essence of Easter – a celebration of life and renewal of hearts.

parishioners donned in white attire for the Easter Vigil

Despite the scorching heat, we faithfully participated in the series of Holy Week activities from Palm Sunday to Easter Vigil, adhering to the guidelines set by the parish priest. We dressed accordingly: red for Palm Sunday, purple for Maundy Thursday, black for Good Friday, and white for Easter Vigil/Easter Sunday. Our commitment to observing these traditions was unwavering, and every effort made was deeply rewarding. Absolutely worth it in the end!

Red for Palm Sunday
Purple for Maundy Thursday (My Useful Tips photo)
Black for Good Friday (My Useful Tips photo)

Indeed, The Lord is Risen! Alleluia! Let’s rejoice and be glad!

May God grant us the eyes to see, and the ears to hear, but most especially a heart that is open to reach out to all. Happy Easter everyone!

Wishing you and your loved ones all the blessings of the Risen Lord! Note that this Easter (Lord’s resurrection) is the most important of all the feasts and solemnities celebrated by the Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (489) states that: The Resurrection of Jesus is the crowning truth of our faith in Christ, a faith believed and lived as the central truth by the first Christian community.

The Risen Savior gives us the genuine hope that we’re hoping for, the gift of eternal life. No matter what we go through, whatever challenges we may face, the Risen Christ is always there for us. He is our Hope and Savior.

Jesus, King of Mercy, we trust in You.

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