THE EASTER VIGIL – The Mother of all Vigils – It is wonderful that the church celebrates Easter for so long.  The Easter Season seems to last forever.  And rightly so.  This gives us the time to savor the experience of the Easter Vigil – the anticipation of the resurrection of Jesus.  Each year the vigil is celebrated in the same way, but it never gets old.  It is celebrated as if it is a first time experience and it is for some.  I do believe that my favorite part is the lighting of the fire and the preparation of the Paschal Candle.  The candle is lit and carried into the church in procession and the people enter behind it.  The church is in darkness except for the light from the Paschal Candle, that one flame.  As often as I enter the church and think I know my way, when it is dark, I stumble and hold onto the pews to find my way until all of the candles held by the people are lit.  Then, we become secure again in our journey forward — the following the Light of Christ — Jesus, the light of the world.  Once in church, we hear the readings from the Old Testament which relate to us the saving power of God which moves us into the salvation story.  All that was “lost” during or Lenten journey — the holy wanter, the bells, the candles, the alleluias return during theis celebration.  This year, we were blessed to have 7 people receive the sacraments of initiation — Baptism, Confirmaion and Holy communion.  The community grows in number and our spirit is strengthened.  The Paschal Candle is now lit for all of our liturgies as a reminder to us that Jesus is alive and lives among us.  May we never lose the excitement experienced during this Vigil.