The disappointment of not being able to celebrate Easter Mass in churches across the country this year might be most strongly felt by the thousands who planned to join the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil.
The vigil Mass – which starts in darkness and is brightened by an outdoor flame that spreads to the Paschal candle and individual candles – is rich in liturgical symbols about darkness and light, doubt and faith, old life and new. It highlights not only the resurrection of Jesus but also the new life experienced by believers that is visually demonstrated by the baptism of those joining the Church.
The Mass includes the baptism, confirmation and first Communion of catechumens joining the Church after preparing for several months through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, or RCIA. Candidates, those who are already baptised, receive confirmation and first Communion at the vigil to enter full communion with the Church.