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New Catholics Welcomed into Faith at Easter Vigil: Parish Community Shares in Joyous Celebration

For the duration of Lent, we spent time preparing ourselves for Jesus’ resurrection at Easter. Emphasizing prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, we awaited the coming of Our Lord over 40 days. We entered into Holy Week and the Triduum, culminating with the Easter Vigil to mark the end of Lent.

The Easter Vigil is a sacred night for the Church. It is a significant event in the liturgical year for all Catholics, but especially for new members as they join our Church. Traditionally, the Easter Vigil has been the Mass during which candidates are received into the faith.

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“It goes back to the tradition of the early Church when new members were welcomed into the community by being baptized on Easter,” says Katie Allio.

This year at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, 27 youths, teens, and adults were initiated into our parish at the Easter Vigil on April 8.

“They began preparation in August,” Katie says. “Both adults and children attend weekly meetings, experience retreats, adoration, witness talks from parishioners, clergy, and ministry leaders of the parish.”

The Easter Vigil is significantly longer and different from an ordinary Sunday Mass celebration. Several elements set this celebration apart from the rest of the liturgical year.

“There are seven readings — seven from the Old Testament and two from the New Testament; including the Gospel — which recounts the history of salvation, each followed by a psalm, lighting of the new Paschal candle (the symbol of divine light), use of the catechumenate and chrism oils for the Baptisms and Confirmations,” Katie says.

The significance of the Easter Vigil is our participation as we have waited, keeping “vigil” for the newly risen Christ. The candidates were part of the igniting of the Church with light.

“They light their candles from the Paschal candle and then light the candles of the parishioners illuminating the dark church with the light of Christ,” Katie says. “They receive their Sacraments of Initiation — Baptism and Confirmation, culminating with them ‘eating at the Lord’s table’ for the first time in the Eucharist.”

The Easter Vigil wrapped up with a celebration in the parish hall for all new members of the Church.

We congratulate those who have made their journey into the Catholic faith, and extend the warmest welcome into our community!