Sacred Triduum. Easter. Easter. Easter.

It is fair to say that Easter is my favorite. It’s my favorite holiday, it’s my favorite teaching, it’s my favorite story.

I think I’m going to explode from excitement. 🙂

Holy Week is an immersion into the full human experience on the deepest levels: betrayal, sorrow, suffering…but then inexpressible hope and joy.

Oh, and the Son of God redeems humanity. You know, we can now enter HEAVEN. This is the big time.

Now, like good Catholics, if we come to party we come to party. We will not half-a$$ Easter. No. And where’s the best place to party at the Saturday Easter Vigil? A church called Christ the King…an hour from our house. BUT IT’S EASTER. So we party.

Patrick and Paul pose in pink. #aliteration
Patrick and Paul pose in pink. #aliteration

First, the pre-game. Tradition states that this be done at a local eatery. So, we meet with our friends, dressed in our Easter finest, gather, eat, share, and prepare.

My brother, David, and his wife Esther arrive in their Easter finery.
My brother, David, and his wife Esther arrive in their Easter finery. She said she asked him to buy a new shirt because I SAID SO ON MAH BLOG. Holla.
Also, we get pumped, for it is Easter and we are about to go to the Vigil mass.

The Vigil mass is one of those things you should attend at least once in your life–Catholic or not. If you’re Catholic, COME ON BRO, IT HAS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PRAYERS. If you’re not Catholic, it’s definitely a cultural experience.

But take a nap beforehand and eat dinner. You’re in for a good two hours at most parishes. At Christ the King the Vigil lasts four hours because they don’t skip any readings. IT’S EASTER. We can read all the readings.

Julia and I had our pre-game pep talk and it went something like this:

“I’m most looking forward to the readings.”
“I’m most looking forward to the Psalms…and the Litany of the Saints.”
“Oh! Me too! And the people receiving their sacraments!”
“Real talk. And the Exsultet. ‘Oh happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, that won for us so great a Redeemer’!”
“OHMIGOSH YEAH.”

And on from there.

The crowd gathers for dinner beforehand. Tradition.
The crowd gathers for dinner beforehand. There are changes throughout the years. Last year, there was another couple with us and she was very pregnant. This time, there was a newly engaged couple so we looked at the ring and heard the story and cooed and reconnected. Community, man.
We are not the only folks who know that this is where it's at...so we are required to show up before the doors open (which is, mind you, AN HOUR before the service starts) and wait in the Cedar-Pointe-style line...all snaking through the parking lot and what not.
We are not the only folks who know that this is where it’s at…so we are required to show up before the doors open (which is, mind you, AN HOUR before the service starts) and wait in the Cedar-Pointe-style line…all snaking through the parking lot and what not.
But, it's cool because we meet up with friends from many times and places and we all hug and exclaim because IT'S EASTER (almost...at sun down it shall be Easter).
But, it’s cool because we meet up with friends from many times and places and we all hug and exclaim because IT’S EASTER (almost…at sun down it shall be Easter).

Baby290Eventually the doors open and there is a MAD rush to find seats. But, wouldn’t you know it, with all those being baptized and joining the church, there are pieces of paper saying “seats reserved” everywhere.

But, we too have mad connections in the form of a priest so we scoot into a pew that is reserved for way less than we actually have. But, it’s cool. We’re all friends and it’s Easter.

Now, there is still an hour before the service begins at this moment. And the adrenaline has skyrocketed due to the mad rush for seats.

So, we sit and quiet down. Everyone chats quietly and eventually begin to pray to themselves. Silent your hearts, Oh people of God.

As a group we pray a rosary, different people taking different decades.
As a group we pray a rosary, different people taking different decades.
Julia tries to contain her excitement.
Julia tries to contain her excitement.
When the sun has set, the lights of the church remain extinguished. An ancient song, the Exsultet, is chanted reminding us of our God and our story of redemption. Outside, a fire is lit and a brand-spankin' new Easter candle is blessed, lit, and brought in to light the candles of all those in the church.
When the sun has set, the lights of the church remain extinguished. An ancient song, the Exsultet, is chanted reminding us of our God and our story or redemption. Outside, a fire is lit and a brand-spankin’ new Easter candle is blessed, lit, and brought in to light the candles of all those in the church.
After we listen and pray, we blow out the candles and listen as seven readings are read from the Old Testament--the stories of our God reaching out to His people. We hear of creation, of Abraham and Isaac, of the prophets. About the fifth reading in I realize that I want to be here forever: praising God with my dearest friends. This is the closest glimpse I've ever seen of heaven...and that is why I love the Easter Vigil.
After we listen and pray, we blow out the candles and listen as seven readings are read from the Old Testament–the stories of our God reaching out to His people. We hear of creation, of Abraham and Isaac, of the prophets. About the fifth reading in I realize that I want to be here forever: praising God with my dearest friends. This is the closest glimpse I’ve ever seen of heaven…and that is why I love the Easter Vigil.
More readings, songs, and a homily that shakes your heart. And then...the baptisms begin. There were six people being baptized that night, six people whom God has chosen for the light. Is that not a breath-taking thing? To sit and see people baptized into your family of faith makes us want to burst--and so we do, we burst with applause after each person is baptized. Welcome! Welcome! Welcome to more beauty than you know how to understand.
More readings, songs, and a homily that shakes your heart. And then…the baptisms begin. There were six people being baptized that night, six people whom God has chosen for the light. Is that not a breath-taking thing? To sit and see people baptized into your family of faith makes us want to burst–and so we do, we burst with applause after each person is baptized. Welcome! Welcome! Welcome to more beauty than you know how to understand!
We sing to the saints–asking them to pray for us, pray for us, pray for us.
Then, a group of people come to the front to be confirmed. One by one the priest anoints them with holy oil. One by one they say the name of the saint they have chosen, and some of them pick the saints I know and love and then I inwardly squeal because I’m like, “You have no idea what you’re getting yourself into…but it’s going to be more beautiful than you can imagine.”
We celebrate the Eucharist and sing and sing, and then we are blessed and the priest leaves but we sing some more because COME ON IT’S EASTER, and why not?
The service started at 8:30, and it’s now 12:30, but Christ has risen and everyone is smiling and ready to sing and dance and hug and catch up.
Thanks be to God.

***

butterlambsWe drive home. It’s Easter morning, and we’re tired…but I’m too tired to go to bed so Julia and I eat gluten-free snacks and talk about stuff until we can convince ourselves to get to bed.

On Easter Sunday we are going to go to my aunt’s house. Like the good Polish girl I am, I carried on the tradition of making butter lambs. Our neighbors receive some, but the special one from the NEW mold is coming with us.

My cousin's kitty-cat, Mila.
My cousin’s kitty-cat, Mila.
Christine chats with aunt Lynn and cousin Philip.
Christine chats with aunt Lynn and cousin Philip.
My relatives.
My relatives.
Kids table for life, man.
Kids table for life, man. We converted it into the dessert table, too. NOM NOM NOM SNACKS.

And that, my friends, is what went down.

Christ is risen from the dead! Oh, death, where is your sting? Oh, hell, where is your victory?


We mourn the fact that the world is is darkness…but we have more light than we know what to do with.
~From the Vigil’s homily.~

Happy Easter! May it fill your heart with hope, peace, and joy.
Happy Easter! May it fill your heart with hope, peace, and joy.

3 thoughts on “Sacred Triduum. Easter. Easter. Easter.

Add yours

  1. At our church it was about 2 and a half hoursish because we had latin stuff and Slovak songs etc. Callaghan sibs and co. had Mr. Callaghan go early to save us seats. And my candle melted on me but it was worth it!

    1. I love the epic fire-hazardness that is Holy Week.
      “I have an idea, let’s pack our churches…and give them all candles.”

      Living on the edge…it’s what faith is all about. 😉

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