Easter Vigil – Our Passover Feast

“Exult, all creation around God’s throne! Jesus Christ, our King, is risen!” So are the words in the Exultet sung throughout Catholic Churches tonight. The words are meaningful, purposefully providing a catechesis on our salvation through the victory of Jesus and His Cross and Resurrection.

(the words to the exultet are below)

“This is the night…” the cantor sings. At Jewish Passover, the youngest asks, “What makes this night different from all others?” This question sets the stage for the retelling of how God has worked in the lives of the Jewish people throughout their history. The Easter Vigil is the Christian telling of their salvific history through God’s intervention.

Following the singing of the Exultet, there are six readings from the Old Testament, with corresponding Psalms sung in between:

Reading 1: Gn 1:1—2:2 or 1:1, 26-31a (Creation Story)

Reading 2:  Gn 22:1-18 or 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18 (The Sacrifice of Isaac – Abraham’s Test)

Reading 3: Ex 14:15—15:1 (The Parting of the Red Sea)

Reading 4: Is 54:5-14 (God in his mercy takes us back to himself)

Reading 5: Is 55:1-11 (God is bountiful)

Reading 6: Bar 3:9-15, 32C4:48 (God’s understanding)

Reading 7: Ez 36:16-17a, 18-28 (God washes us clean)

Epistle: Rom 6:3-11 (Baptized into Christ)

Gospel: Mt 28:1-10 (Resurrection)

Following the homily, the emphasis shifts to the Sacramental life of the Church – in particular the reception of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist. Tonight is the night the Church welcomes those who have been preparing to enter the Church, and will be received in full communion through baptism, confirmation and first holy communion.  It is also a time where converts to Catholicism are welcomed into full communion through confirmation and communion.

Why is this night different from all nights? It is a night of telling our salvation history, and proclaiming in faith our faith in God through our being baptized into Christ, living out His love through our sacramental life and our service.

Let us rejoice and exult! Jesus Christ, our King, is risen!

Blessed Easter!

Rejoice, heavenly powers!
Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God’s throne!
Jesus Christ, our King, is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!
Exsúltet iam angélica
turba cælórum:
exsúltent divína mystéria:
et pro tanti Regis victória
tuba ínsonet salutáris.
Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,
radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes for ever!
Gáudeat et tellus, tantis irradiáta fulgóribus:
et ætérni Regis splendóre illustráta,
tótius orbis se séntiat amisísse calíginem.
Rejoice, O Mother Church!
Exult in glory!
The risen Savior shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the mighty song
of all God’s people!
Lætétur et mater Ecclésia,
tanti lúminis adornáta fulgóribus:
et magnis populórum vócibus
hæc aula resúltet.
[My dearest friends,
standing with me in this holy light,
join me in asking God for mercy,
[Quaprópter astántes vos, fratres caríssimi, ad tam miram huius sancti lúminis claritátem,
una mecum, quæso,
Dei omnipoténtis misericórdiam invocáte.
that he may give his unworthy minister
grace to sing his Easter praises.]
Ut, qui me non meis méritis
intra Levitárum númerum dignátus est aggregáre,
lúminis sui claritátem infúndens,
cérei huius laudem implére perfíciat.]
V/: The Lord be with you.
R/: And also with you.
V/: Lift up your hearts.
R/: We lift them up to the Lord.
V/: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
R/: It is right to give him thanks and praise.
[V/ Dóminus vobíscum.
R/ Et cum spíritu tuo.]
V/ Sursum corda.
R/ Habémus ad Dóminum.
V/ Grátias agámus Dómino Deo nostro.
R/ Dignum et iustum est.
It is truly right
that with full hearts and minds and voices
we should praise the unseen God,
the all-powerful Father,
and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Vere dignum et iustum est,
invisíbilem Deum Patrem omnipoténtem
Filiúmque eius unigénitum,
Dóminum nostrum Iesum Christum,
toto cordis ac mentis afféctu et vocis ministério personáre.
For Christ has ransomed us
with his blood,
and paid for us the price of Adam’s sin to our eternal Father!
Qui pro nobis ætérno Patri Adæ débitum solvit,
et véteris piáculi cautiónem pio cruóre detérsit.
This is our passover feast,
when Christ, the true Lamb, is slain,
whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.
Hæc sunt enim festa paschália,
in quibus verus ille Agnus occíditur,
cuius sánguine postes fidélium consecrántur.
This is the night
when first you saved our fathers:
you freed the people of Israel from their slavery and led them dry-shod
through the sea.
Hæc nox est,
in qua primum patres nostros,
fílios Israel edúctos de Ægypto,
Mare Rubrum sicco vestígio transíre fecísti.
This is the night
when the pillar of fire destroyed
the darkness of sin!
Hæc ígitur nox est,
quæ peccatórum ténebras colúmnæ illuminatióne purgávit.
This is the night
when Christians everywhere,
washed clean of sin
and freed from all defilement,
are restored to grace
 and grow together in holiness.
Hæc nox est,
quæ hódie per univérsum mundum
in Christo credéntes,
a vítiis sæculi et calígine peccatórum segregátos,
reddit grátiæ, sóciat sanctitáti.
This is the night
when Jesus Christ broke
the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.
Hæc nox est,
in qua, destrúctis vínculis mortis,
Christus ab ínferis victor ascéndit.
What good would life have been to us,
had Christ not come as our Redeemer?
Father, how wonderful your care for us!
How boundless your merciful love!
Nihil enim nobis nasci prófuit,
nisi rédimi profuísset.
O mira circa nos tuæ pietátis dignátio!
O inæstimábilis diléctio caritátis:
ut servum redímeres, Fílium tradidísti!
To ransom a slave you gave away your Son.
O certe necessárium Adæ peccátum,
quod Christi morte delétum est!
O happy fault,
O necessary sin of Adam,
which gained for us so great a Redeemer!
O felix culpa,
quæ talem ac tantum méruit habére Redemptórem!
Most blessed of all nights,
chosen by God to see Christ
rising from the dead!
O vere beáta nox,
quæ sola méruit scire tempus et horam,
in qua Christus ab ínferis resurréxit!
Of this night scripture says:
“The night will be as clear as day:
it will become my light, my joy.”
Hæc nox est, de qua scriptum est:
Et nox sicut dies illuminábitur:
et nox illuminátio mea in delíciis meis.
The power of this holy night
dispels all evil,
washes guilt away, restores lost innocence,
brings mourners joy;
it casts out hatred, brings us peace,
and humbles earthly pride.
Huius ígitur sanctificátio noctis
fugat scélera, culpas lavat:
et reddit innocéntiam lapsis
et mæstis lætítiam.
Fugat ódia, concórdiam parat
et curvat impéria.
Night truly blessed
when heaven is wedded to earth
and man is reconciled with God!
O vere beáta nox,
in qua terrénis cæléstia,
humánis divína iungúntur!¹
Therefore, heavenly Father,
in the joy of this night,
receive our evening sacrifice of praise,
your Church’s solemn offering.
In huius ígitur noctis grátia, súscipe, sancte Pater,
laudis huius sacrifícium vespertínum,
quod tibi in hac cérei oblatióne solémni,
per ministrórum manus
de opéribus apum, sacrosáncta reddit Ecclésia.
Accept this Easter candle,
a flame divided but undimmed,
a pillar of fire that glows
to the honor of God.
Sed iam colúmnæ huius præcónia nóvimus,
quam in honórem Dei rútilans ignis accéndit.
Qui, lícet sit divísus in partes,
mutuáti tamen lúminis detrimenta non novit.
(For it is fed by the melting wax,
which the mother bee brought forth
to make this precious candle.)
Alitur enim liquántibus ceris,
quas in substántiam pretiósæ huius lámpadis
apis mater edúxit.
Let it mingle with the lights of heaven
and continue bravely burning
to dispel the darkness of this night!
Orámus ergo te, Dómine,
ut céreus iste in honórem tui nóminis consecrátus,
ad noctis huius calíginem destruéndam,
indefíciens persevéret.
Et in odórem suavitátis accéptus,
supérnis lumináribus misceátur.
May the Morning Star which never sets
find this flame still burning:
Christ, that Morning Star,
who came back from the dead,
and shed his peaceful light
on all mankind, your Son,
who lives and reigns
for ever and ever.
Flammas eius lúcifer matutínus invéniat:
ille, inquam, Lúcifer, qui nescit occásum.
Christus Fílius tuus,
qui, regréssus ab ínferis,
humáno géneri serénus illúxit,
et vivit et regnat in sæcula sæculórum.
(Roman Missal, 1970)
(Roman Missal, 1920)


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