A sea of candlelight brought a comforting glow to those gathered in the darkened Cathedral of Saint Patrick, where an in-person Easter Vigil returned on Holy Saturday, April 3.
The Liturgy of Light (Lucernarium) began as Bishop Michael R. Cote and ministers proceeded in silence and darkness to the rear of the Cathedral. There, the Bishop read to the faithful about the meaning of the vigil before performing a blessing of the new fire, which is used to light the Paschal candle.
“On this most sacred night in which our Lord Jesus Christ passed over from death to life, the Church calls upon her sons and daughters scattered throughout the world to come together to watch and pray,” Bishop Cote said. “If we keep the memorial of the Lord’s Paschal solemnity in this way, listening to His word and celebrating His mysteries, then we shall have the sure hope of sharing His triumph over death and living with Him in God.”
The lighted candle was carried by Father Michael Bovino along the main aisle into the darkened Cathedral, and Fr. Michael stopped three times, singing “The Light of Christ” with congregants responding “Praise Be to God.”
Flame from the Paschal candle was spread to the smaller white candles held by parishioners, and the whole church soon was bathed in warm light. When the Easter candle arrived in the sanctuary, Father Peter Langevin chanted the Easter Proclamation, also called the Exsultet, from the Latin, “Rejoice.”
The Proclamation tells of the mystery of Easter and of Jesus’ death and resurrection to redeem man. Following readings during the Liturgy of the Word, Bishop Cote intoned, “Glory to God in the highest,” and the Cathedral bells and organ, mute since Holy Thursday, sounded again in fanfare.
The Diocese of Norwich welcomed five catechumens, those who have never been officially baptized into a church prior to entering the Catholic Church, at the holy liturgy.
In the Liturgy of Baptism, Bishop Cote blessed the Holy Water and baptized the five catechumens, who were accompanied by their sponsors. They are Ariana Jean Boss of Norwich, Carson Everett Hadley of Dayville, Heather Rose Kelly of Norwich, Heather Harris of Uncasville, and Aaron Priest McCoy, of Norwich.
In the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the catechumens took communion for the first time.
The catechumens were joined by three Candidates – non-Catholic Christians requesting entrance into the Catholic Church. They were Jamie Harris of Uncasville, Matthew John Howard of North Stonington, and Jessica Ruth Ruley of Norwich. Each made a profession of faith at the altar.
“In this faith you will be one with us for the first time, at the Eucharistic table of the Lord Jesus, the sign of the Church of unity,” Bishop Cote said.
Those who received the Sacrament of Confirmation, in addition to those listed above, were Francesca Mia Brown of Lisbon, Ellis Ruley of Norwich, and Courtney Irene Ruszczyk of Brooklyn.
“By your Baptism you have been born again in Christ, and you have become members of Christ and all his priestly people. Now you are to share in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit among us,” Bishop Cote told them.
By Ryan Blessing