Holy Saturday and the Midnight Mass of Easter, in Images

Holy Saturday is the day of mourning and waiting. No Mass is offered, and the altar is laid bare as we mediate on the Passion and Death of the Lord and await His Resurrection.

Moving into the darkness of night, the Church moves towards the Resurrection, and the altar is prepared once again for Sacrifice.

The Easter Vigil begins with the sacred ministers gathered outside the church to bless the new fire. The new fire both signifies the Light of Christ, and serves to light the Pascal Candle and the candles of the altar and the laity within the church. Once lit and prepared, coals are taken from the fire and placed in the thurible, so that incense can be blessed and burnt, and the fire sanctified.

The Pascal Candle is then blessed and lit by the celebrant, being inscribed with a cross, the alpha and omega, and the year, lastly having five large grains of incense fixed to it to signify the five wounds of Christ upon the Cross. All candles within the church are extinguished as the sacred ministers and acolytes process into the Church. The Deacon processing in pronounces Lumen Christi (“The Light of Christ”) and then the candles of the faithful and altar are lit from the fire of the Pascal Candle.

The Exsultet, a hymn of praise to the Risen Christ, is then sung by the Deacon, followed by the final blessing of the Pascal Candle by the priest. The great lessons from the prophecies of the Old Testament are then offered, showing the great act of salvation history.

The great Litany is then offered in two parts. The first part is offered, the blessing of the Baptismal font is made, Baptismal promises are renewed, and then follows the conclusion of the Litany.

At or about midnight, the rites of the Easter Vigil concluded, the first Mass of Easter commences. What follows are images of Holy Saturday and midnight Mass in our apostolate in Sacramento, St. Stephen the First Martyr parish.

April 15, 2013