The Easter Vigil proclaims the light of Christ

John M. Samaha SM

This article reveals the history and significance of light in the Easter Vigil, helping us to understand, appreciate, and live the Paschal Mystery. John M. Samaha SM is a member of the Marianist community in Cupertino, California.

From the outset the Easter Vigil, originally and more appropriately called the Paschal Vigil, has been celebrated at night. In the beginning it was a very plain ceremony ? an assembly that ended with the breaking of the bread and an agape. One or more days of fasting preceded the Easter Vigil.

Later, as the Easter Vigil developed in Rome and in places where the Roman rite was followed, this tradition added a baptismal rite, the ceremony of the lucernarium, blessing of the new fire, and a candlelight procession.

As it developed the Easter Vigil became more and more meaningful and focused.

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