Last night, I had the great blessing to attend the Easter Vigil at Saint Camillus Church in Silver Spring, Maryland. This multicultural parish, located right next to Holy Name College, is staffed by several of my Franciscan brothers and is the spiritual home of wide array of people from all over the world – from many African countries, South and Central America, Haiti, Bangladesh, and others. The sheer diversity of voices, prayers, cultures, and languages (I counted 8!) represented at this liturgy of the Lord’s Resurrection showed the breadth, beauty, and exuberance of the people of God! What a moving and joyful celebration of the most important day in the liturgical year, and the most important event in our salvation!
Beginning in darkness, we waited in joyful anticipation of the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Like the women who waited at the foot of the cross and who went to the tomb early in the morning, we sat in silence until the light of the Paschal Candle was brought forth into the Church. Little by little, one by one, the light of Christ spread throughout the Church and illuminated the building, just as it illuminates our hearts and our lives. With readings from the Book of Genesis, Exodus, Isaiah, Baruch, Ezekiel, and the New Testament, we traced the journey of the people of God. As the evening progressed, we journeyed from darkness into light, we welcomed new members into our faith community, and we reaffirmed our belief in and love of Christ.