The Great Vigil of Easter:
An Introduction

The Great Vigil of Easter is the culmination of the sacred celebration of Holy Week and the beginning of the celebration of the Lord's Resurrection. It is the climax of the Christian Year, with the story of redemption unfolding in Scripture, psalm, Sacrament, liturgy and music. It begins in darkness and proceeds to a joyous burst of light. It begins in silence and proceeds to the glorious proclamation of the Paschal Alleluia.
It is the Christian Passover, for it celebrates the passing from death to life, from sin to grace. The story of the Exodus is central to the Liturgy of the Word. Baptism at the Vigil is one of the many traditions central to this service and to the core of our faith -- the full realization of redemption. The Holy Eucharist is the promise of the glory that shall be ours with our Risen Lord.

This liturgy moves with austere solemnity from one part to the next, as we watch and wait for the Lord's Resurrection. It is not to be rushed through, for time is suspended as we recount the story of creation, celebrate the glory of the New Creation in the waters of Baptism, and profess our faith in the perfection of all creation in the fullness of time, in the glory of God.

Of all the celebrations of the Church Year, the Great Vigil of Easter is preeminent, for it alone vividly and dramatically portrays all that was, that is, and that ever shall be in the drama of our redemption.

Christ yesterday and today, the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and Omega. His are the times and ages and to Him be glory and dominion through all ages of eternity. Amen.