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The Catholic Defender: The Easter Vigil

The cross is the central symbol on the Paschal candle. For Christians, the Greek letters alpha and omega show that God is the beginning and the end.

During the Easter Vigil, the priest marks the candle during the candle’s blessing. The first marks begin making the sign of the cross. A vertical line first followed by the horizontal line makes the sign of the cross. The cross is the Christian symbol that reminds us death has been defeated, and for many believers, there is no greater symbol in Christianity than the cross. The second mark is recognizing Jesus is the same yesterday and today at the Beginning and the End. This is done with the Greek letters Alpha and Omega.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” The Alpha symbol is placed on top of the cross made earlier around the candle's center, and the Omega symbol is placed below the cross. Once the Alpha and Omega are finished, the priest then says, “all-time belongs to him, and all the ages, to him, be glory and power, through every age and forever. Amen.” while carving the year into the candle surrounding the cross.

After the recognition that Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the symbolic wounds of Christ are marked in the cross that was just carved at the appropriate places. The priest says, “By his holy and glorious wounds, may Christ the Lord guard us and protect us. Amen.” As the priest says, “By his holy,” he puts the first nail in the candle’s marked

cross, symbolizing the crown of thorns. As the priest says, “and glorious wounds,” he puts the second nail in the middle of the cross, representing the spear that pierced Jesus’s side. As the priest says, “may Christ the Lord,” he puts the third nail at the bottom of the cross, symbolizing the wounds in Jesus’s feet. As the priest says, “guard us,” he places the fourth nail in the right hand of Christ. Finally, as the priest says, “and protect us. Amen.” he places the fifth and final nail in the left hand of Christ. These nails represent the five wounds of Christ.

Holy Saturday, also called Easter Vigil, Christian religious observance that ends the Lenten season, falling on the day before Easter Sunday. The observance commemorates the final day of Christ's death, which is traditionally associated with his triumphant descent into hell.

The Easter Vigil is THE MOST important night for the church. It is the ultimate night of revival! Basically it is a night of preparation for Easter Sunday and for the whole next year of the church's mission. It takes TIME

The Easter Vigil, also known as the Paschal Vigil, is the primordial Catholic liturgical rite and celebrates the resurrection of Christ after his crucifixion. The Paschal Vigil is the oldest and most important Christian rite, dating back over a thousand years.

The day is also associated with the ancient tradition of the Harrowing of Hell, in which Jesus Christ is said to have descended into hell after his death on the cross. The Easter Vigil is the first celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and is marked by the lighting of the Paschal candle.

The next day, on Holy Saturday, there is no morning Mass before the Easter Vigil. The church remains empty, quiet and dark before the celebration of Christ's resurrection. Throughout the day, we await Christ's imminent Resurrection, resting with Him in the darkness.

Holy Father explains symbols of the Easter Vigil: light, water and the 'Alleluia'

On this holy night, the Church keeps watch, celebrating the resurrection of Christ in the sacraments and awaiting his return in glory. It is the turning point of the Triduum, the Passover of the new covenant, which marks Christ's passage from death to life.

A hallmark of any Catholic vigil is scripture readings, and the Easter Vigil does not disappoint. It has more scripture readings than any other liturgy in the Church's rites. The readings of the Easter Vigil highlight the entire history of the Old Testament leading up to Jesus' Resurrection.

Catholics to Welcome Thousands of New US Converts This Easter The Vatican yearbook, called the "Annuario Pontificio 2016," said that the number of baptized Catholics worldwide hit 1.27 billion people, making up 17.8 percent of the global population.

While the the number of Catholics, as well as Christians in general, has been decreasing in Europe over the past decade, it has been growing on almost every other continent.

The report said that the African continent has seen the highest growth of any region, with the Catholic population increasing by 41 percent. The Catholic community in Asia also grew by 20 percent.


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