Liturgical Year
Part 3 Easter

Chapter y37 Paschal Vigil

Preliminary Questions

Bibliography

Contemporary Pastoral Issues

Fabulous Easter Fires

To Think About

Preliminary Questions

 

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Bibliography

Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy. Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars.  The Liturgy Documentary Series Number 6.  Washington DC: Office of Publishing and Promotion Services, USCC, 1984.  USCC publication number 928.  $6.95 paper. Numbers 18 and 20, p. 16.

Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy. Lectionary for Mass.  The Liturgy Documentary Series Number 1.  Washington DC: Office of Publishing and Promotion Services, United States Catholic Conference, 1982.  USCC publication number 839.  $6.95 paper. Number 41, pp. 89-93.

Code of Canon Law. Book IV, Part III, Title II: Sacred Times (cc 1244-1253). Canons 1251-1253. CLSA Commentary, pp 853-855.

MacGregor, A. G. Fire and Light in the Western Triduum: Their Use at Tenebrae and at the Paschal Vigil. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press.

Martimort, A. G. (Editor). The Liturgy and Time, Volume IV of The Church at Prayer. New Edition. Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1986, pp 49-50, 54-55.

Nocent, Adrian. The Liturgical Year. Volume 3: The Easter Season. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1977. 98-145.

Parsch, Pius. The Church's Year of Grace. Vol. 2. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1953. 332-338.

Paul VI. Poenitemini. Apostolic Letter of February 17, 1966.

Second Vatican Council. Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. Sacrosanctum Concilium. Number 110, Para. 2.

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Contemporary Pastoral Issues

1.  Light / Darkness --  In order for the light themes of the vigil to be effective, you can't start before dark! (Watch also for the daylight saving time change when planning schedules.)

2.  A number of Catholics have become accustomed to going to Mass on Saturday afternoon or evening and do not have any Sunday religious observances. They will want their usual anticipated Sunday Mass on Holy Saturday afternoon or evening. Or, at least, they will want the vigil to start at 4:00 p.m. so that it will satisfy their Sunday obligation. What is the difference between the Solemn Paschal Vigil and an (anticipated) Sunday eucharist? See: BCL Newsletter, "The Time for the Celebration of the Easter Vigil," February 1986, p 8.

3.  In 2004 I celebrated Easter in Jerusalem. There is something wonderful about celebrating the Resurrection standing before the empty tomb. There are, of course, no baptisms (the baptisms would take place in the local parish). In the intervening years, I have spent considerable time reflecting on the experience. I have come to the conclusion that standing at the empty tomb gives emphasis to the historical origins of the celebration. But when I am celebrating in a parish with the RCIA, the emphasis is on the resurrection TODAY. These people -- here and now -- are dying with Christ in the baptismal tomb and are rising TODAY to new life in Christ emerging from the baptismal womb. As wonderful as it was standing at the place of the resurrection on Easter Sunday, it was difficult to avoid falling into historicism and forgetting anamnesis.

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Sacramentary--Mother of all vigils. This is the night of vigil for the Lord (Ex 12:42); have lamps burning ready (Lk 12:35) so that when the Lord returns he will find us wide awake and will seat us at table.

Light: GATHERING: fire, candle, song, light, Easter Proclamation

Word: STORY TELLING: Creation, Exodus, ... Resurrection. Sung responses, Gloria, Alleluia

Baptism: INITIATING: litany, intercessions, Berakah (Bless God over the Water), Statement of Faith, Vows, down into the tomb, Resurrection. Confirmation (sending to Eucharist)

Eucharist: MEAL SHARING: set the table, Berakah (Bless God over the Bread and Wine), meal Sharing.

Dismissal: COMMISSIONING

Lectionary

LITURGY OF THE WORD: The history of the community they are joining.

How can this story be made real to the parish?

How can we help them hear this story as their story?

Different voices, telling the story, reading, drama, children, visuals, etc.

Theology

Once Christ rose from the dead. This year, this parish, This Body of Christ, must experience Resurrection. Planning = how can we help them do that?

Our first and most radical experience of Death and Resurrection with Jesus was at our Baptism. The Vigil is essentially about Baptism--Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist. The focus is the catechumens / neophytes.

Symbol

Waiting

Light

Need light to read the story.

The story, the Word, is Christ, as is the Light.

Christ the light gradually illumines our lives until we see (experience) Resurrection.

How to help the parish experience the illumination of Christ now?

Most light: Gospel of Resurrection

Light--fire, candle, growing light, RESURRECTION.

HOW TO AVOID THE SYMBOL OF BLOWING OUT THE CANDLES?

Song--restoration of the ALLELUIA. Festive music. JOY.

Water--Womb, Creation (Adam and Eve), Flood (Noah, Exodus (Moses), Water in the desert, flowing from temple, Thirst, Birth: BAPTISM.

Bread and Wine--meal sharing, THEY RECOGNIZED HIM IN THE BREAKING OF THE BREAD.

 

Fabulous Easter Fires

OR

Better Liturgy through Chemistry

[Try this at your own risk! These directions were given to the class several years ago by a seminarian now priest who had been a chemist in a former life and was know for his love of fires at St. Meinrad.]

Helpful Hint #1: If you must have your Easter fire indoors, use acetone as your fuel source and there will be NO SOOT. Acetone is available from your hardware store in their paint thinner section. Use caution when using acetone because it is highly flammable (which is the reason you are using it). Also, acetone is very volatile (i.e., it evaporates easily). Therefore, keep the canister closed tightly when you are not using it. POUR THE ACETONE ON THE WOOD, OLD PALM BRANCHES, ETC., THEN LIGHT THE PILE; DO NOT POUR ACETONE (OR ANY OTHER FUEL) ONTO A FIRE!

Helpful Hint #2: If you would like your Easter fire to spontaneously combust, follow the instructions below. Note Carefully: This process should only be used out-of-doors and you must READ ALL DIRECTIONS THOROUGHLY BEFORE YOU BEGIN.

Theory: Mixing Potassium Permanganate and Glycerin produces an extremely exothermic reaction. That is, a great amount of heat is given off when these two chemicals are mixed. This heat is what ignites the olive oil (from the previous year's chrism mass) and the lighter fluid; this then lights the old palm branches and small branches which, in turn, lights the larger branches ... producing your Easter fire.

Materials Needed

1. Potassium permanganate (available either from your pharmacist (it has been used to treat foot fungi; I don't know if it is still used for this purpose) or from a water softener service such as Culligan; purchasing it from Culligan will be less costly than purchasing it from a pharmacy)

2. Glycerine, liquid (available from the over-the-counter section of your drug store)

3. Plastic foam cup

4. One small glass bottle with air-tight lid

5. Old oils and/or lighter fluid

6. Old palm branches and/or kindling for the fire

7. Medium and large size branches to keep the fire burning

Directions

1. Pour glycerin into the plastic foam cup about one centimeter deep.

2. Wearing rubber gloves, open the container of potassium permanganate and measure four (4) to five (5) heaping teaspoons of potassium permanganate into the small glass bottle. Tightly replace the air-tight Lids on both containers of Potassium Permanganate. Without removing the rubber gloves, rinse the rubber gloves and the teaspoon off under running water. While you still have the rubber gloves on, wet some paper towels and wipe the outside of both containers of Potassium Permanganate and dry them with a dry paper towel. Now you may remove the rubber gloves. Potassium Permanganate will NOT kill you if it touches your skin. However, it will stain your skin an ugly shade of brown (even though the crystals are deep purple) and you will not be able to wash the brown away; it will have to wear off.

3. Build the fire pile around the Plastic Foam Cup starting with the Old Palms and Kindling, then the Medium and Large Branches over the Kindling. Build the fire pile much like a doughnut where the Plastic Foam Cup fits closely to the fire pile but be sure that, once the fire pile is completed, you have full access to the opening of the Plastic Foam Cup yet you cannot see the Plastic Foam Cup unless you are standing directly over the fire pile. You may complete these first three steps any time on Saturday as long as the fire pile is kept dry and the wind does not blow the Plastic Foam Cup over and/or the fire pile apart.

4. Pour the Old Oils and/or Lighter Fluid on the fire pile. Avoid pouring the Oil and/or Lighter Fluid on or into the Plastic Foam Cup. Small amounts of Oil and/or Lighter fluid in the Glycerin will not be a problem later. However, the Lighter Fluid might dissolve the Plastic Foam Cup and this will be a problem when you go to "light" the fire. This fourth step can be completed as much as one half hour before the Easter vigil is to begin.

5. This last step is best completed by a competent acolyte or an adult other than the Presider so as not to draw attention to what is happening at the fire pile and is executed at the moment you want to begin the Easter vigil. When you are ready to "light" your Easter fire, check that you still have full access to the opening of the Plastic Foam Cup. Remove the lid from the small glass bottle and pour the Potassium Permanganate directly into the Plastic Foam Cup containing the Glycerin.  STAND BACK. The Potassium Permanganate and Glycerin will begin to react in as little as 10 to 15 seconds if the Potassium Permanganate is powdered; longer if it is in crystalline form.  Some spattering will take place (which is why this should only be attempted out-of-doors).  It will look like a flare is starting up inside the fire "without anyone starting it." The heat from this "flare" will ignite all of the other materials in the fire pile. The effect will be that your Easter fire "spontaneously combusted."

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To Think About

1.  A number of Catholics have become accustomed to going to Mass on Saturday afternoon or evening and do not have any Sunday religious observances. They will want their usual anticipated Sunday Mass on Holy Saturday afternoon or evening. Or, at least, they will want the vigil to start at 4:00 p.m. so that it will satisfy their Sunday obligation. What is the difference between the Solemn Paschal Vigil and an (anticipated) Sunday Eucharist? See: BCL Newsletter, "The Time for the Celebration of the Easter Vigil," February 1986, p 8.

2.  Parish project: Take the candles of the Advent Wreath and melt them into the Pascal candle.

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Copyright: Tom Richstatter, Franciscan Province of St. John the Baptist, Cincinnati Ohio, Order of Friars Minor. All Rights Reserved.  This page was created by Fr. Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M.  Every effort has been, and is being made, to acknowledge sources when the ideas are not my own.  Any failure to comply with the United States Copyright Act (Title 17, United States Code) will be corrected immediately should I become aware of it.  This site was updated on 09/22/10 .  Your comments on this site are welcome at trichstatter@franciscan.org