I was running a bit late last night as I drove to Mt. Irenaeus for the Easter Vigil. We had company and one of them needed maps for a trip back to Rochester. Several maps from Google were needed before I could leave home for the trip to the Mountain. As I drove down Route 16 and later Interstate 86 I thought that I might arrive in time for at least part of the service.
I arrived in very good order and got there in time for the procession from the campfire outside and procession into Holy Peace Chapel. It was 22 degrees Fahrenheit last night. It was a crisp, clear, moonlit night. The moon shone so large and bright that I really wanted to take a picture of it. Fr. Dan Riley, OFM led the procession into the chapel. He was carrying the Paschal candle and stopping periodically to sing, “Light of Christ.” Last night the light of Christ led us like the pillar of fire into the chapel. Like the Israelites thousands of years ago we were celebrating our release from the bondage of this world and looking forward to the next.
Dear friends in Christ: On this most holy night, in which our
Lord Jesus passed over from death to life, the Church invites
her members, dispersed throughout the world, to gather in
vigil and prayer. For this is the Passover of the Lord, in which,
by hearing his Word and celebrating his Sacraments, we share
in his victory over death.
On this most holy night I’m glad to be celebrating it here at Holy Peace. It’s easy to get caught up in ceremony and being naive and idealistic, I often do. As I entered the chapel, one of the little children there handed me a candle and it received its flame from the pillar of fire which was now safely in its base at the center of our chapel. Next came the half dozen or so readings that are part of the Vigil service. This is the part I love where our theological history is retraced from Genesis to the Resurrection. There were twenty-five souls who had made the very intentional trek to be at Mt. Irenaeus last night.
Fr. Dan’s homily followed up on the Gospel message which was taken from St. Matthew. Fr. Dan reminded us that resurrection message was to go to Galilee like Jesus. We’re to carry this message of light and redemption in our daily lives. St. Francis, our seraphic father, who made the imitation of Christ his life showed us how to preach the gospel everyday in a very practical way. Dan led us in a renewal of our baptismal vows and we celebrated the Eucharist.
This morning the sun is out. It’s very bright and though it’s only 18 degrees Fahrenheit here I’m happy to see Brother Sun. I’m happy to have lived another year and to have been a part of the Triduum. I’m glad too to be a Franciscan. I’m the least of the brothers and happy about that.