What makes this night different from all other nights?

Michael H. Marchal

A reader responds to an article on the Easter Vigil. Michael H. Marchal is a retired teacher of English and philosophy and worships at Bellarmine Chapel, Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he has been involved with the Easter Vigil since 1970.

In the March-April 2018 issue of this magazine (Vol 14, issue 2), Professor Thomas O’Loughlin’s article ‘Fire and light: the chasm between theory and practice at the Easter Vigil’ was a cri de coeur by someone who passionately believes in the spiritual importance of the pivotal service of our liturgical year, yet finds its performance too frequently lacking. Whether it is the slipshod use of the symbol of light or the bellicose imagery applied to God in the reading from Exodus, too many actual services fall short of what they could and should be.

In many ways I share his assessment and his passion but would submit that viewing the problems that he cites through the lens of history might show us the path to something better or at least to a better understanding.

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