Tempered Joy at the Vigil
Every year I look forward to the Easter Vigil. It is the most wonderful of liturgies. The initiation sacraments are the heart of the celebration. Young and old, individuals and families, with their unique and diverse life experience, are welcomed fully into the Church. Smiles and tears, hugs and kisses, photos and videos punctuate the most memorable of moments in the lives of the elect and candidates, their catechists, sponsors and families, as well as their parish community.
Of course, the annual Holy Saturday night celebration is for those who, after an inquiry phase, have persevered for a period of time in the Order of Christian Initiation for Adults (OCIA). The joy of the “full welcome” in some parishes can be dimmed by the sad reality that some inquirers don’t make it to the “Vigil of All Vigils” and the Easter sacraments. The experience of Christian initiation reveals a tension that many feel in the Church. That tension lives somewhere between two extremes: “all are welcome” and “members only.”
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