So as I continue to discern becoming a Deacon, last night I was watching our deacon, Deacon Steve, during the Easter Vigil. At the Easter Vigil the Deacon has a major role. First off, he carries the Easter Candle, which is huge and unwieldy--and then you have to carry it in the dark! If I ever do this I'm going to have to work out for a few months! Deacon Steve is a firefighter and I could tell he was struggling. He humorously said that it's "getting harder and harder each year." I was praying that he wouldn't drop the candle (which was the hugest Paschal Candle I've ever seen!), but probably not as hard as Steve was!
Regardless, after the candle reaches the front and is placed in the holder, then the deacon has to chant a long seven minute poem called the Exsultet. It's a difficult chant for a seasoned singer, never mind those of us whose gift is not song. People are forgiving of chant though and moreover the church is filled with candles at that point so most people are being distracted and moved by the lights--as the church moves from darkness to light.
St Sebastian's was packed with people. Probably the most I've seen at the Easter Vigil. What was beautiful was the diversity of culture there--Koreans, Filipinos, HIspanics, Irish and Italians all praying together. Twelve people were baptized and if I remember right 34 more were confirmed. Msgr Hardiman noted that all seven sacraments were celebrated in some way that night. He anointed a dying man moments before the Vigil in the chapel. The baptisms and the confirmations led us all to the Eucharist. And while the formal sacraments of marriage and Holy Orders weren't celebrated the priests and deacons along with all the married couples there certainly felt re-affirmed in their vows. The Spirit was indeed hovering amongst us all.
I read "the voice of God" during the first reading (the story of Creation). I had to channel my "inner Bob Sheppard." I also read the prayer of the faithful.
A great night-he is truly risen. He is risen indeed.
Your humble blogger is Mike Hayes, a well-known expert in the world of young adult ministry (20s and 30s) in the Catholic Church. Mike is the author of Googling God (Paulist, 2007) where he explores both the chaotic world that young people live in and their religious reactions to that world. He also explores the age of instant gratification and how churches can respond to the needs of the young adult age by using technology alongside more traditional ministry methods.
Mike founded the award winning BustedHalo.com® in 2001 and continues to contribute to it as the editor of their catechetical section appropriately named Googling God.
Recently, he left BustedHalo® to focus on more direct ministry with young people at St Joseph University Parish as a Campus Minister for the South Campus at the University at Buffalo.
He has only two loves: his adorable wife, Marion and a nine pound chihuahua named Haze, who still find him amusing enough to let them live in their home.