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I spent 3 or 4 hours on Holy Saturday practicing the Exsultet, the ancient and beautiful hymn sung during the Easter Vigil to the Risen Christ, symbolized by the Paschal Candle. It is musically complicated, but I wanted to give it my best shot this Easter – and then I found that the preparation was a fine way to live in the limbo-like space of this day of waiting, hoping and believing with Our Lady.
After sundown, my confreres with whom I serve here at HCFM home offices, Father Willy, Father Leo, Father Pinto, Father Jilson, and I gathered for a simple and profound observance of the ancient Vigil, the great Feast, the sacramental remembrance of the Paschal Mystery, in the quiet of our lovely chapel in the Museum of Family Prayer at the Father Peyton Center.
Ostensibly it was just us – but the Eucharist is never “just us.” As we proclaimed peacefully and slowly all the scripture readings of the Vigil we reviewed all of Salvation History and the successive Covenants God has made with his people. ALL OF YOU, EACH OF YOU, were with us. When I sang the Exsultet, it was the whole Church singing to the Lamb of God, her Spouse. As we blessed the Easter Water and celebrated the Liturgy of the Eucharist, we were truly mystically united with all the churches where the Vigil was being celebrated and with all believers – whether in a church, present online, or simply keeping in some way the Easter Vigil during this imposed vigil that the pandemic has brought on us.
Yes, this Easter has seemed strange to us – and it has been difficult for the Church, particularly for the faithful, unable to be physically present and to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord. Yet I say it has been unique and also very special. During this pandemic Christ has been carrying the Cross with His people, and they with Him.
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In a particularly concrete way, celebrating this Easter Vigil, Christ the Victim and the Priest, together with our Holy Mother and all the Church, made manifest the new and everlasting Covenant of love between God and His people. The grace of the Resurrection that brings new life HAS FLOODED our world today.
All of our CatholicMom community shares this. Together we are to be witnesses!
BLESSED EASTER TO ALL!
Copyright 2020 Fr. James Phalan, C.S.C.
About the Author
Father James Phalan, C.S.C. is a Catholic priest, member of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, and the National Director of Family Rosary. He served as a missionary for many years as part of the Family Rosary team, travelling the globe to help people come to Jesus through Mary. Now he is happy to be serving back at home in the USA!