The Easter Vigil is the most solemn and important liturgy in the Catholic Church, commemorating that Jesus who died is now risen.
“Cristo es vivo” resounded in the church of Dulce Nombre several times on Saturday evening.
I have no idea how many participated, but several women spent most of Saturday making 1300 tamales and there were only less than 100 left (and some people didn’t eat.)
The liturgy began in a football field about two kilometers from the church. When I arrived a fire was blazing and people were gathered around.
At about 6:45 pm, Padre German blessed the fire, then blessed the Easter Candle and shard the light with the crowd who walked to church.
I drove and waited since I had not been feeling all that well.
The liturgy proceeded with the singing of the Easer Proclamation. All the assigned readings were proclaimed with psalms sung.
Padre German began his sermon recalling what he had said the day before. There are five diabolical enclosures (cercos): poverty, ideological structures, classism, a feeling that there is no sense to life, and living without God. (He later told me that the loss of a sense of life and living without God were combined in his original homily on Friday and he had added another enclosure: the destruction of the environment.) The resurrection is God’s response.
After this the baptism began. About 60 mostly young people were baptized.
It was moving to watch the various reactions of those being baptized – some with hands at their sides or with one hand in a pocket, several with open hands joined together in front, one with his hands folded in prayer.
What I also noticed was the reaction on the faces of many of them. Perhaps it was because of the cold water, but I saw some smiles of joy as the last words of baptism were said over them.
The baptized were not confirmed, because the bishop here reserves confirmation to his visits to the parishes.
The baptized received their first communion.
The liturgy ended about 1:00 am. Though it was more than six hours, I did not have the sense that it was long.
Most people went home, though a few stayed overnight because they lived so far away.
There was one event that threw the shadow of the evil of violence over the celebration of the risen Christ. In Dulce Nombre a young woman about 20 years old was knifed by another young woman upset that the woman had been seen with the attacker’s boyfriend. The woman was taken to the hospital in Santa Rosa and the attacker was apprehended by the police and brought before the prosecutor on Monday. (Corrected April 21.)
But the signs of life abounded, even in the face of violence.
More photos of the Easter Vigil can be found in this set on my Flickr site.