The Easter Vigil Postgame

Just a few random thoughts before dashing off for the morning Masses.

1. I actually more or less like the new Exultet translation. “Let this holy building shake with joy” is just more vivid than “Let this place resound with joy,” and I like the way that the translation brings out more clearly that the Easter candle is a sacrificial offering to God — e.g. the phrase “the work of bees and of your servants’ hands” echoing the prayers at the preparation of the gifts.

2. The translation of the collects after the Old Testament readings are. . . well, pretty awful. I stopped listening after the first two. It’s a shame, since the theological content of the prayers is wonderful. If only we had a translation that allowed listeners access to that content.

3. This year we turned up the lights to full after the Exultet, rather than waiting for the Gloria, as in years past. I realize the rubric says the other lights in the Church (except the altar candles) are lighted prior to the Exultet, but the one time I experienced that (St. Peter’s in Rome) it was a real downer. I appreciate the theological point of doing it the way we did this year (i.e. the Old Testament readings are not “dim”), as well as the liturgical point (the OT and NT readings are part of a single integrated liturgy of the word), but the moment of the Gloria had a bit less oomph than in years past.

4. We had no baptisms this year, and it seemed like something was really missing from the Vigil. Got to get to work on that evangelization thing.

46 comments

  1. Fritz, I had a similar experience of the Collects. I was having a hard time being attentive because they were prayed so quickly. As for the Exsultet, I have mixed feelings. I have read through it and prayed with it a few times to prepare for last night, but I just wasn’t engaged with it as in years past. I did catch the bees though and looked around to see if others noticed.

  2. Up until last year I attended the Easter Vigil at the parish about a half hour away which always has excellent liturgies and sings the EP every Sunday. However their Easter Vigil is always packed. I would arrive an hour early to get my favorite seat. If you arrive only a half hour early it is getting to be standing room only.

    Last year and this year I went to the nearby parish, and discovered it has an excellent Vigil (except no sung EP). However, although a larger parish, its excellent Easter Vigil has far less attendance than the lesser attended regular Sunday Masses at the parish. Now the Easter Sunday Masses at both parishes are full of “Easter bunnies.”

    In the Liturgical Year and Average Church Attendance , sociologist Paul Olson argues
    http://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2010/07/19/the-liturgical-year-and-average-church-attendance/
    that Conservative Protestant Churches have higher average church attendance because
    1. the message that regular church attendance is expected and not just preferred.
    2. an equally high quality of service throughout the year (non-liturgical).

    Its excellent liturgies through out the year seem to advertise the one parish as the place to go if you want great liturgy and a great Easter Vigil. On the other hand the relatively mediocre weekly liturgies at the other parish fail to inspire people to attend their Easter Vigil even when they pull out all the stops for it (and promote it in the parish bulletin). I suspect people in this parish have been socialized to the prevailing notion that quality of the service varies with the importance of the feast rather than into expecting and desiring high quality liturgies all the time.

  3. Our diocese does not permit the Vigil to begin before 9:15pm. (It has to be completely dark) That means it is near midnight when it ends.

    I see the Lucenarium as a Vespers Service, and think that the Vigil should begin shortly after sunset (like about 8:15 or 8:30 since sunset was shortly before 8:00pm).

    At the local Easter Vigil they turned out the lights in the church and invited all the people to go outside for the lighting of the Candle from the fire. However a lot of the older people, myself included did not care to stumble arund in the dark, and so did not move from their pews. How much simpler it would have been if the whole thing was done in the fading evening light as it slowly is replaced by the light of Christ of the congregations candles. This light darkness thing can become far to theatrical. I think faces lit by candlelight are far better images of Christ.

    Anyway at home shortly after sunset, I brought my paschal candlestick from the basement upstairs, and lit its candle as I began to play my collection of Exultets while waiting for it to become completely dark and time to go to church.

    1. I wonder about attendance at the Vigil in a diocese where it does not begin until 9:15 PM. It seems strange to mandate something like that since it would result in much-decreased participation. Also, isn’t it already dark at 8:30 most place this time of year? Strange. Seems like many places are becoming more legalistic and less pastoral.

    2. The entire celebration of this Vigil must take place at night, so that it both begins after nightfall and ends before the dawn on the Sunday. 1

      1General Norms for the Liturgical Year and Calendar, paragraph 21.

      This rule is to be taken according to its strictest sense, thus, in the Diocese of Cleveland the earliest possible time for the Easter Vigil to begin in 2012 is 9:15 p.m. The Easter Vigil is not to be celebrated at the time of day that it is customary to celebrate anticipated Sunday Masses . 2

      2 The order of Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours and the Celebration of the Eucharist 2008 page 83.

      The world of astronomy defines various degrees of darkness. (For example “civil” refers to the degree of darkness at which a court of law acknowledges reduced visibility.) By the consensus of a number of people, “nautical twilight” best matches the meaning of “nightfall” as used in the Sacramentary for the earliest acceptable time to begin the celebration of the Easter Vigil. 3 Nautical twilight is defined when the center of the sun is geometrically 12 degrees below the horizon. General outlines of ground objects may be distinguishable, but detailed outdoor operations are not possible, and the horizon is indistinct.

      3 National Bulletin on Liturgy Number 171, Volume 35, Winter 2002 When Will It Be Dark Enough? Page 249.

      This approach to the Easter Vigil began under the last Bishop and his Chancellor and has continued with the new personnel.

      Of course Cleveland is now known world wide as the Diocese whose personnel were so incompetent that they were not able to figure out how to (as liturgists would say not only licitly but even validly) suppress parishes and turn over church buildings to non worship uses.

      This definitely comes from the legal personnel of the diocese not from the liturgical people. Obviously pastoral approaches are not in favor.

    3. We started at 8:45 PM [after sunset but not entirely dark as we are very far west in our time zone; we actually belong one zone west] and finished about 12:30 AM. About 60 initiates, at least half of them kiddie [only two infant] baptisms. As has been the case for the past two years, ‘circus’ is a good word, with more than a few children there who really, really belonged home in bed. I almost didn’t go this year, and probably won’t next year. It’s less bad than it was, in many respects, but then, those improvements are compensated by the new translation, so the net effect is about the same. Ick. I just wanted it to end so I could go home and get some sleep before coming back to sing again after daylight.

  4. Our Vigil began at 8:00 PM and concluded at 10:45 PM. We read all the Scriptures (the short form for the ones that allowed that). We began outside with the blessing of the fire and paschal candle, but did not light the other candles until the second Lumen Christi was chanted, by that point it was completely dark outside and in the Church and we had about 400 present, so the lighted candles were quite pleasing to the eye. I love the new Exultet and saw on Fr. Z’s blog a comparison of it with the old and the Latin version and I did not realize that I had never heard the complete piece, so it was nice hearing it completely for the first time ever for me. Our Polish parochial vicar chanted it flawlessly and in good English diction since neither of our two deacons can hold a note. I didn’t mind the revised prayers after the readings, in fact I find that these are easier to chant (all of the revised prayers) than to speak them, so maybe that is what these are for, to be chanted.
    We had 8 baptisms and 22 full communion candidates, then both groups were confirmed. At Communion time, these new Catholics came up into the sanctuary to receive Holy Communion. I found the revised Blessing of the Water easier to chant than what is in the RCIA book. I chanted the Epiclesis and words of institution for the Roman Canon and find the chant notation for it very difficult to do as it is noted differently than the words of institution in the other three Eucharistic prayers, which are more like the previous sacramentary. I don’t know why Eucharistic Prayer I has a different chant setting, but I reverted to the older chant setting for it at our morning Mass which I have basically memorized over the years.

  5. We had a wonderful Vigil with its share of human glitches. Our pastor was really enjoying himself. At the very end, he tried to read the final blessing, then gave up and gave us his own words. I don’t know if it was fine print or gobbledy-gook that did him in on reading the prayer!

  6. Chanted Eucharistic Prayer, chanted Blessing of the Water, lots of chant and well done.

    We lit the fire outside, then passed the light from the Paschal Candle to the rest inside, which let those who did not want to be outside, and return in the dark share in that spreading of light until the church glows.

    I was upfront and the scene as people streamed in was potent, as was the depth of the silence as we gathered.

    No baptisms or First Eucharist and I found I missed it as well.

  7. I understand what you are saying Fritz. At the Eucharist today, the priest laboured through the presidential prayers and the Eucharistic Prayer. I am all in favour of a better translation, but I would rather go back to what we had in the Sacramentary that what we have now.

    I also sigh when I see what was done between the 2008 drafts and the 2011 texts. Ah, example from the prayers Fritz was referring to. Will we ever find out who made the changes?

    2008 Collect after the first reading:

    Almighty everlasting God,
    who are marvelous in ordering all your works,
    let those you have redeemed
    understand that still more wonderful
    than the world’s creation in the beginning
    is that, at the end of the ages,
    Christ our Paschal Lamb has been sacrificed.
    Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

    What is in the 2011 Missal:

    Almighty ever-living God,
    who are wonderful in the ordering of all your works,
    may those you have redeemed understand
    that there exists nothing more marvelous
    than the world’s creation in the beginning
    except that, at the end of the ages,
    Christ our Passover has been sacrificed.
    Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

    Can we do an unofficial 2008 version, please! At least there is an attempt at being proclaimable and coherent.

    1. I’m not familiar with the whole history of all these changes and everything, but at least in this case I find the 2011 somewhat clearer than what you give for 2008. “In the ordering of all your works” is more understandable than “in ordering all your works”; “may those you have redeemed” is better than “let those you have redeemed,” because the latter sounds like it is asking for permission; the “still more wonderful than … is …” in the 2008 is a very high-register, literary type of construction.

    2. I looked at these earlier and had a hard time guessing which was worse. The only real difference I see is in how they handle the exception, ie 2008 signals that something is more wonderful than the creation while 2010 affirms “there exists nothing more marvelous than the world’s creation” and then tacks on the exception. 2010 iow completes a thought, and then adds a eeming afterthought, while 2008 is oriented toward the Cross from the beginning.

      Both wreck the parallel between creation and Christ’s sacrifice by paralleling the wonder of creation with the fact of Christ’s sacrifice instead of with the sacrifice itself. Maybe there is something in the Latin, but English normally says it more directly, as in:

      “still more wonderful than the world’s creation in the beginning is the sacrifice of Christ our Paschal Lamb at the end of the ages”
      or
      “there exists nothing more marvelous than the world’s creation in the beginning except the sacrifice of Christ our Passover at the end of the ages.”

      1. I prefer the 2008 version because of what you highlighted, that it signals something more wonderful that creation exists, whereas in the 2011 version is is tacked on at the end.

  8. I thought the new translation of the Exsultet was… fine. I appreciated the addition of the bees (and agree about the nice parallel with the preparation of gifts text), but someone coughed right when the cantor sang the word “bees”, so no one heard it, and the poor little insects didn’t get their due after all.

    I thought the musical setting was excellent; just enough extra melismatic action to keep it varied and interesting, creating some nice little rhythmic touches in the longer phrases. Well done, anonymous chant-writer.

    On the other hand, some of the phrases that were emphasized in the previous version have been weakened in the new text: e.g. since “let it mingle with the lights…” is now at the end of a sentence instead of the beginning, it gets forced into a cadence and completely loses its excitement. Unnecessary complexity gets in the way (as we’re getting used to these days) – “back from death’s do-MAIN” as opposed to “back from the DEAD” puts the emphasis on a word that, poetically at least, is quite unnecessary.

    The old version is a text I love and cherish. I suppose the fact that someone as partisan as me is even willing to appreciate the qualities of the new text means that it’s not too bad.

  9. Our Vigil began at 6:30, unfortunately it was still too light outside but dark enough in the church itself. The lights were off until the Gloria at about 7:50 or so, at which point is was very dark. It did make a dramatic effect when we turned from the font at the back of the church (we had 2 baptized) to face the altar and it was ablaze with candles as well as the lights of the church, with the bells in the tower ringing, and the celebrant ably dosing everyone with the newly blessed baptismal water during the return procession to the sanctuary. The choir sang Philip Stopford’s “Keble Missa Brevis,” Bairstow’s “Sing ye to the Lord” during the Offertory, and Nicolas Gombert’s astounding “Regina Coeli” during Communion. After the duple alleluia dismissal, a procession around the entire church to “Jesus Christ is Risen Today,” with a brief stop at our Lady’s shrine for incensation, ending with WIdor’s “Toccata” from Symphonie V. It was an amazing night.

  10. I guess I’m in the minority here . . . I did not think the new translation was that good, to me it sounded rather amateurish.

    In all honesty, what it reminded me of was one of those Japanese movies badly dubbed into English.

    Seriously, think about that, and read the VC2010 text again.

    I am not being snide, I am being totally serious. That’s what the new translation reminds me of.

    1. I wish I could remember the history behind the translation of the Exsultet, perhaps someone here who knows better could fill us in. I recall that someone was specifically commissioned to translate it having more of a literary quality than a literal quality.

  11. I found our Vigil very moving, though exhausting, in part because of the 7 readings – in years past we have had only 3.

    I agree with Fritz on badly translated prayers after the readings. One bonus was the lovely prayer after the 7th reading, which we have never had before. In Latin:

    Deus incommutabilis virtus et lumen aeternum,
    respice propitius ad totius Ecclesiae tuae sacramentum,
    et opus salutis humanae
    perpetuae dispositionis effectu tranquillus operare,
    totusque mundus experiatur et videat
    dejecta erigi, inveterata novari,
    et per ipsum redire omnia in integrum,
    a quo sumpsere principium.

    The new translation isn’t terrrible:

    O God of unchanging power and eternal light,
    look with favor on the wondrous mystery of the whole Church
    and serenely accomplish the work of human salvation,
    which you planned from all eternity;
    may the whole world know and see
    that what was cast down is raised up,
    what had become old is made new,
    and all things are restored to integrity through Christ,
    just as by him they came into being.
    Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

    They rendered sacramentum as ‘wondrous mystery’, perhaps because some texts (not the 2002 Missal) put mirabile in front of sacramentum.

    The prayer after the fifth reading seemed theologically odd in the final 2 lines:

    Almighty ever-living God,
    sole hope of the world,
    who by the preaching of your Prophets
    unveiled the mysteries of this present age.
    graciously increase the longing of your people,
    for only at the prompting of your grace
    do the faithful progress in any kind of virtue.

    The Latin is tangled:


    quia in nullo fidelium nisi ex tua inspiratione proveniunt
    quarumlibet incrementa virtutum.

    Is ‘virtue’ is a good translation of virtus here? Never mind. Trying to be exact in grammar and syntax (and inviting corrections):

    “Because in no way do any developments in the strengths of the faithful come about except by your inspiration.”

    Where are the Liturgiam Authenticam cops when you need them?

    Even so, it was all good. The liturgy outshines any darkness we bring to it. A happy Easter to all.

  12. I can’t say how the Vigil affected me, since towards the end of the Preface I was OVERCOME BY PASCHAL JOYS and took to my couch in the sacristy with the vapors … friends tell me that, along with every land and every people, strangely EVEN THE HEAVENLY POWERS rejoiced! Who knew they’d be happy about Christ’s resurrection?

    And we will be able to enjoy that erroneous, and frankly absurdly incorrect translation at the conclusion of every single Easter Preface, both Ascension Prefaces, and the Pentecost Preface – despite the fact that the errors and consequent absurdity were pointed out to the Congregation well over a year before the text went to the printers.

    Thank you, Vox Clara and CDW for your care for our worship. And thanks, too, to all of the English-speaking bishops, not one of whom had the courage to speak the truth about this.

  13. Chris, after the vigil someone said to me, rather ruefully, “Well, it sounds a bit better when you sing it.”

    I am starting to hear the new translation as a sort of third language, neither English nor Latin, where “even” doesn’t mean “even” and “many” doesn’t mean “many”.

    Perhaps if we think of it as dumbed down Latin rather than a tarted up English, it will be slightly more palatable.

    1. Perhaps if we think of it as dumbed down Latin rather than a tarted up English, it will be slightly more palatable.

      Maybe we could come up with some sort of special “Latin” accent that priests could use, to enhance the “Latinity” of the experience.

    2. There is actually a term bounced around here and there.

      It’s called: “Englatin”.

      I think it fits the bill quite nicely.

  14. Ah, the Easter Vigil…

    We started at 7:30–daylight well-faded but not quite gone in our neck of the woods.

    Our pastor sang the new Exsultet translation, honestly, better than he’s sung the old one for several years; perhaps this is a function of greater preparation than in many years of the same-old. (I did get a couple of “did he really sing that?” looks at the bees reference, but shrugged back, “Hey, I didn’t write it…”)

    As per local custom, we used three OT readings (#s 1, 3, and 5), along with psalm settings I composed some years ago and that are really feeling and sounding comfortable in the choir and assembly. Three readings is kind of skimpy, but the year we did all seven, there was such outcry!

    I *get* that the Vigil isn’t for everybody. That’s fine; though we are one universal church, there are different styles at different liturgies. (Hey, there are years that, if it weren’t my job to be there, I might have gone to a “simpler” Easter mass.) I wonder how to get a big suburban parish to embrace the reality that this vigil is going to take a looooong time–not just tolerate it but embrace it.

    Maybe put a ban on dressing up. Everybody come in comfortable clothes. (Skip the choir robes for a night?) Bring the kids in their footy pajamas if needbe. Make an announcement at the start reminding everyone that it is *all right* to step out for a bit and stretch your legs if you need to, use the loo, get a drink of water.

    Having just completed a six-month Bible study overview running from Genesis to Acts, I more than ever appreciate the bullet-points-of-salvation that we get in the Vigil’s nine readings. I wish there were a way to make it an experience we didn’t feel a need to rush through.

  15. One small matter in the new translation popped out: “And all his empty show”?

    Huh. “Empty promises” conveys more to me a connection to Genesis 3:4; “empty show” suggests, oh, I don’t know, a touring production of THE BOY FRIEND.

  16. Our liturgy office here in Seattle basically said “ignore the missal and turn the lights on after the Exsultet.”

    Our church is brand new so we have a excellent lighting system. It allowed us to have a tiny low spot on the ambo to aid the cantor during the Exsultet. After the Exsultet we turned probably on two-third or three-fourths of the church lights (mostly the down lights in the whole church and spots on the presiders chair). During the Gloria we turned the lights onto 100% (mostly spots on the altar, and on our Emmaus painting and other liturgical art).

    I think it balanced well the rubrics, the liturgical action, and (hopefully) didn’t convey a negative darkness during the Old Testament. However, even though prompted, most of the assembly left their candles light.

    PS. The lights are also dimmed at the end of the liturgies on Holy Thursday (after the Prayer after Communion) and Good Friday, with great success.

  17. friends tell me that, along with every land and every people, strangely EVEN THE HEAVENLY POWERS rejoiced! Who knew they’d be happy about Christ’s resurrection?
    Perhaps each of us, called by His Name, experience some sort of Emmaus encounter along each of our pilrimages? None the less-

    Out in Central California (Fresno Diocese) we were totally dark at 8pm start.
    We literally did not chant the final “Deo gratias, alleluia” until just before midnight, and that after only hearing three of the seven OT rdngs. (Gen., Ex., Ez.).
    Why so long? Something to do with over one hundred elect, converts and confirmandi received into the Body of Christ here locally perhaps!
    We banter a great deal here and elsewhere over contrived bouts between rubrical precision versus practical hospitality, or old tensions that entwined after V2, or even decorum versus semantics. Porque?
    If we ARE the Body of Christ as well as His hands and heart, we must integrate not divide. We who have our fingers on the pulse of His Church must decrease and subjugate our ego, become the branches again, so that He (the Elect) may increase.

    1. My point, Charles, as you well know, is that the paschal conclusion, used with all those Prefaces and hence heard almost daily throughout Paschaltide, is mistranslated. “Profusis” is NOT “overcome,” plain and simple, cut and dry, period. The text is mistranslated. “Sed et” does not have the sense of “even” in this text, connoting as it does “even THEY?” as if we’d hardly expect THEM to sing together in joyful praise.

      And these errors will be repeated day after day throughout the season.

      And it need not have been so, since people skilled in translation who love the Church pointed out these mistakes … not only were they ignored, two of them were dismissed for their honesty – as we gush over what did go right this past Vigil, let’s not forget how THIS part of the whole enterprise went wrong.

      For a full analysis of the multiple problems with the Easter Prefaces, see:
      http://www.praytellblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/A-Funny-Thing-Happened-Xavier-Rindfleisch2.pdf

  18. Point taken, Chris. No harm intended. Thank you for clarifying the thrust and aspect of that quote.
    A blessed Eastertide to you and yours. And allow me to say I loved the “retiring to the couch with the vapors” imagery! 😉

  19. My suggestion for celebrants would be that if they decide to have the fire inside the church, that they remember the need for adequate ventilation.

      1. Yep (although my perspective is as a parishioner, not a priest). It didn’t trip any smoke alarms (I’m not actually sure if the church has them), but it was very noticeable and smoky. Once the procession to the sanctuary occurred, there was a rush to open the back doors to get the smoke out. There were more people than normal who went outside to get some air during the service (compared to when just incense is used), and I noticed some people leaving extra early (as in, by the end of the first reading). When I got home, my clothes smelled strongly of smoke (I’d been sitting towards the back, near the fire).

        I think that because the Vigil service is only once a year, there are always some logistical struggles compared to the regular Sunday mass. Maybe somebody should compile a checklist or guide for celebrants and liturgical committees to refer to instead of their hazy memory of what happened the previous year.

    1. In the 1980s the pastor in one parish decided to light the fire in the unused choir loft, a nice very visible place, we just turned around and watched in amazement.

      It really flamed up in spectacular fashion, and he and all of us held our breaths until it died down and some brave ushers quickly ushered the fire out the door. Luckily it did not produce much smoke.

      “Safety first” as my workman father used to say; they probably do not teach that in seminaries. There are also probably some fire codes in many places about these things. And insurance companies may not be very happy.

  20. I disagree about the prayers after the readings. When they are chanted well according to the formula given in th Missal (the simple to seems to work better, and ironically it is more elaborate than the solemn tone) they are quite comphensible, musical and flowing.

  21. I would like to see Joshua 3:7-4:24 eventually added as an option among the Vigil readings; it’s a mystery to me why the end of the Exodus has been so overlooked.

  22. Regarding lights at the Vigil, I was always troubled by the Missal’s (and Sacramentary’s) direction that the church lights be lit before the Exsultet. I mean, we’ve just lit the Easter Candle and hundreds of little candles off of it, with all the symbolism that accompanies this ritual, and we’re really supposed to drown all this out by immediately turning on all the church lights? I do try to follow the rubrics as closely as possible, but this was always one instance in which pastoral advantage trumped the official rules; thus, we used partial lighting until the Gloria.

    I use the past tense because this past weekend, on Holy Saturday morning no less, the priest celebrant of our Vigil called me to tell me to buy some booklights for the readers and cantors; we were going to keep the church lights off through the entire Liturgy of the Word. I said, “Wait, I thought we agreed on partial lighting until the Gloria. And anyway, wouldn’t that be straying even farther from the rubrics?” He responded that the Missal isn’t talking about electric lights when it says that all the lights (except for the altar candles) are lit before the Exsultet – it’s referring to candles. Well, this was certainly news to me, especially since I’d taken a class the previous summer on the Triduum, and my professor, a well-regarded liturgical theologian, maintained that the Missal was referring to the regular church lights, even though she did admit that it didn’t really make sense.

    So does anyone have any knowledge of what the Missal is really referring to when it directs that after the Easter candle is placed in its holder, “the lights are lit throughout the church”?

    1. The Missal clearly indicates in rubric 22 of the Vigil that the people are to put aside their candles before the beginning of the Liturgy of the Word, conveying the idea that, save for altar candles, the fullness of light in the church arrives with the Service of Light. And this, happily, avoids the implication that the succession of Old Testament readings is a period of dimness, an implication with unfortunate resonances, shall we say. The Vigil is not a historical re-creation of the Resurrection, with the Old Testament readings proclaimed in advance of the moment of Resurrection, as it were. Yes, there remains a residue of the preconciliar structure of a Vigil followed by a Mass, where the Gloria represented the beginning of the Mass properly speaking, though that is no longer the structure of the current liturgy.

    2. I think the original medieval rubrics referred to the lighting of the candles at the consecration crosses. Turning on of electric lights would be quite a projection.

  23. There is also a rubric that incense but not lights are to be used with the Gospel. Does anyone know the origin of this? Or the purported symbolism?

    1. I think it has to do with the paschal candle being located next to the ambo and thus it is the “light” for the proclamation of the Gospel. At our Vigil, all the lights came on at the third “Light of Christ” or “Lumen Christi.” I asked everyone to extinguish their candles at the introduction to the Vigil of Scriptures. At the Gloria the bells were rung and the altar candles were lighted. (I think one could also unveil the statues at this time as well if it wasn’t done before the Vigil began.) The only time the congregation had their candles lighted a second time was after the elect were baptized and we sent the eight of them with their lighted candles given to them after they were given their white garments into the nave to light the congregation’s candles for their renewal of baptismal vows and then their sprinkling with the Easter Water.

    2. I would speculate that’s because the Paschal Candle is typically next to the ambo (rubric 17 says it would be next to the ambo or in the middle of the sanctuary, but the ambo placement is by far the more common choice, because placement in the middle of the sanctuary typically involves a high risk of being knocked over)

  24. The question of when to turn on the lights during the Easter Vigil is an old one although the missal is consistent since the council, saying after the third lumen christi. To be more precise though, it says the lights are LIT. And it says they are lit after the celebrant’s candle is lit (after 1st lumen Christi), and after the people’s candles are lit (after the 2nd lumen christi). These rubrics are older than electric lighting! So if you think ‘use no electric light (I like to call that ‘electric sunshine’), use only candles and oil lamps’ you can get an idea of what ancient Easter vigils were like when held during the night. Unfortunately, all Easter vigils I’ve been to have played around with the electric sunshine and generally kept it off till the Gloria but I’ve found no historical sources to support the practice. I imagine it’s just an obvious alternative high point to having electric sunshine too early. The Vatican basilica turn on their sunshine at the point directed by the rubrics: after the third lumen Christi and before the exultet. I admit it kills the atmosphere but we should follow the rubrics, especially since they express the meaning of the liturgy better than alternatives we can dream up. So how to get over the real difficulties of lights turned on seemingly too early? Don’t use electric sunshine!!!! Go candle light and oil light and see how well it really works!

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