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The Church celebrates the “mother of all vigils”

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The presider carrying the lighted paschal candle, leads the people into the darkened church after the service of the night, Sacred Heart Cathedral Mar 26.

KOTA KINABALU – The Church worldwide celebrated the Easter Vigil the “mother of all vigils” on Holy Saturday night, 26 March 2016.

By most ancient traditions, this is the night of keeping vigil for the Lord (Ex 12:42), in which, following the Gospel admonition (Lk 12:35-37), the faithful, carrying lighted lamps in their hands, should be like those looking for the Lord when he returns, so that at his coming he may find them awake and have them at his table.

This vigil is the greatest and most noble of all solemnities, the “mother of all vigils,” (General Norms 21).  It is divided into four parts: (1) a brief service of light and Easter Proclamation (Exsultet); (2) the liturgy of the word – the Church meditates on all the wonderful things God has done for his people from the beginning; (3) the liturgy of  baptism – as the day of resurrection approaches, new members of the Church are reborn in baptism; and all renew their baptismal promises; (4) the liturgy of the Eucharist – the whole Church is called to the table which the Lord prepared for his people through his death and resurrection.

According to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI: During the Easter Vigil, the Church reads the account of creation as a prophecy.  In the resurrection, we see the most sublime fulfillment of what this text describes as the beginning of all things.  God says once again: “Let there be light!”  The resurrection of Jesus is an eruption of light.  Death is conquered, the tomb is thrown open.  The Risen One himself is Light, the Light of the world.  With the resurrection, the Lord’s day enters the nights of history.  Beginning with the resurrection, God’s light spreads throughout the world and throughout history.  Day dawns.  This Light alone – Jesus Christ – is the true light, something more than the physical phenomenon of light.  He is pure Light: God himself, who causes a new creation to be born in the midst of the old, transforming chaos into cosmos.

Over a thousand entered the Church in Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese through baptism on this night and on Easter Sunday in the different parishes: adults and children.  But there was also the rite of reception of baptised Christians into the full communion of the Catholic Church.  This is the liturgical rite by which a person born and baptised in a separated ecclesial community is received, according to the Latin rite, into the full communion of the Catholic Church.

The children were baptised and anointed with chrism while the adults received the three sacraments of initiation – baptism, confirmation and holy eucharist.

At the Sacred Heart Cathedral Kota Kinabalu, 68 were baptised including 27 children at the Easter Vigil while three were received into full communion and 20 received confirmation.  On Easter Sunday, there were 33 who were baptised including 11 children during the Chinese Mass while four were received into full communion and ten received confirmation.  At the Bahasa Malaysia Mass 157 were baptised including 19 children while nine were received into full communion.

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