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Each year the Church celebrates the new life Christ won for us by His Paschal Passover — His death and Resurrection — in solemn vigil. Archbishop O’Malley celebrated the Easter Vigil for the first time as archbishop of Boston in the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on April 10.
The Eucharist is the focal point of our faith, and each celebration of the Eucharist makes that Paschal mystery present for us “until the Lord comes again.” The solemnity of the Easter Vigil provides the occasion for us to enter into the mysteries of faith, into the very life of Christ.
The service of light calls Christ “the light,” and He illumines the Church — not only the building that is flooded with light from the Paschal Candle, but also every Christian, those already initiated and those to be initiated. The great prophecies, now fulfilled through Christ, are solemnly announced in the Easter Proclamation or the Exultet. The extended Liturgy of the Word recalls the events of salvation history that lead us to the accomplishment of that salvation in Christ. The Alleluia, silenced throughout Lent, rises again to greet the good news of the Gospel that “Christ is risen.” As in many parishes, so also in the cathedral church, the celebration of the Easter sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist form the core of the vigil.
This new life of Christ is shared with the catechumens and candidates through their reception of the sacraments of initiation and their first participation in the Eucharist. Those already initiated renew their own baptismal promises and by the Eucharist are strengthened to carry out the mission of announcing the goods news of the Resurrection. The Acts of the Apostles, which we read throughout the Easter season, encourages us to follow the example of the first disciples sharing this news with joy — with each other and with all who “have ears to hear.”