Tuesday, April 2, 2013

An Easter Vigil

Saturday was all Easter prep- as it should be. We dyed eggs, baked bunny rolls and attended High Mass.

Billy got to dye 18 Easter eggs. He liked the yellow ones. We made a lot of yellow eggs. Grandma helped us with the egg dyeing process. He got to sticker the dry eggs too. In hindsight, toddlers and stickers that don't stick well to eggs are a bad combination.

There was also some baking involved. Billy loves to cook, however he was relegated to just watching for this particular task.

In the evening we attended High Mass. This is the Easter Vigil, the most solemn and most beautiful of all of the Masses for the whole year.

If you have never been to the Easter Vigil, allow me to share what it is like. The Church is completely dark. It begins with a bonfire. This year the bonfire was in the courtyard outside. From that fire is lit the Pascal Candle. Everyone goes back into the completely dark Church. Then the Pascal Candle is slowly processed in. As it passes, each parishioner lights their own candle from the flame being passed through the crowd. A single flame becomes a thousand. The Church is lit solely by the candles of the parishioners and the Pascal Candle for the first part of the Mass. Then, the Gospel proclaims Jesus risen and the whole Church lights up and the choir rings out in song. It's very powerful symbolism.

Mass started right at Billy's bedtime, so we had no idea what to expect behavior-wise. He was grumpy most of the day from having a cold, so I wasn't sure we would make it very long.

He was fascinated by the bonfire and the part with the candles. Daddy gave him a candle to hold. It was Daddy's candle. Billy insisted. I wanted to take it away from him, but Billy insisted on holding onto it. I watched him like a hawk the whole candle part. He did fine, though. He was very proud of himself.

Then, almost shockingly, Billy sat quietly through the Mass. Now, most days he has difficulty sitting through a normal Mass- you know, the kind that run 45-1 hour. This was the Easter Vigil. We left right after the Eucharist (I know, I know...poor manners) which was 2.5 hours into the ceremony and there was still another half hour or longer to go. Yes, Billy was quiet and behaved for 2.5 hours in Church. Small miracle? We missed my favorite part, which is when the choir sings Handel's Messiah at the very end. But I doubted Billy was going to make it that long. I doubted I was going to make it that long. Next year we're going to rethink attending the Easter Vigil. Beautiful but too long for a little one.

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