Easter Vigil

This morning, I had to get up early and get a shower, then head over to SSJ. Drew went to the gym. We had confirmation practice at 11am for tonight’s Easter vigil. When my dad and I walked into church, Father J was there talking to some members. He broke away from them and hugged me and shook hands with my dad. He said, “Big night tonight!” My dad said, “I am ready.”

When BethAnn approached us, she escorted us outside to get the practice started. She explained there was going to be a big fire out here, and this is where we would gather around the fire, we would then process into the church with our candles lit, then we would take a seat in the first pew, with our candles still lit. Then Deacon Jim is going to sing a song about the pascal candle, then we can blow our candles out. She went through the whole process.

When we went inside, we took a seat in the pews and then we practiced the order of the baptismal rites for Karen and Mo. Father J talked to us about what is going to happen, be said, and the responses, as well as where to stand. At one point, one of the candidates was so concerned with when to genuflect, and when to bow to the tabernacle. Father J said, “don’t be concerned with that, you are going to have enough to focus on, just genuflect when you enter the pew and you will be good.” He looked at me and made a face, and rolled his eyes. We both shared a little laugh. There was still quite a connection there.

Next my dad, myself, Don, and his sponsor were called up to the altar, and we had to stand there next to our candidates, and put our right hand on their shoulder. We even practiced picture taking. While we were at the altar, BethAnn saw my black heels and tried to warn me to wear more comfortable shoes, because it is a long service. I got Father J checking out my heels, and looking at my tattoo. I said, “Oh I am wearing higher ones, tonight.” She laughed at me.

After practice, Father J hugged me again, and said to me, “I will see you tonight.” He shook my dad’s hand. Then I got in my car and went back to Moon. I got changed, and shortly after I got home, Drew came home and he got a shower and got ready. We took our time packing up the car with the food from the fridge, then we were off to my parents.

Once we got to my parents, I helped my mom a little getting things ready for company. Alene and Bob showed up first, then BB and Doug, and Carol & Fred. They were all coming to church, as well to see and support my dad become a Catholic. I was happy to see them all again.

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After dinner, Daddy and I left to go to church. We had to be there earlier, in order to get briefed by BethAnn. When we showed up, we gathered around the fire, and waited for everyone else to attend. Daddy was so nervous, but ready. Once the sun set, it was time. Everyone else arrived and went inside and took a seat in the pew. We stood around the fire, and father J said a prayer, and Deacon Jim brought the new pascal candle to be lit by the fire, he led the procession along with Father J. Once inside, we lit our candles, and processed to the front of the church. We took our seats in the first pew. Deacon Jim’s candle song took 45 minutes! My feet were killing me.

Once we sat down, there was a reading, then it was back up for a blessing from Father, then we had to sit back down again. This happened a total of 6 times, before the gospel! I texted my mom and told her no wonder why I only remember doing this once as a child. she laughed. Drew I am sure was dying of boredom.

Then Deacon Jim stood up and gave a homily, about his friend, who is going to shrink a few inches tonight, and that was the pascal candle. We all laughed so hard. We weren’t expecting his friend to be the pascal candle. After his homily it was time for the candidates, to be baptized, Karen and Mo. After their baptism, then we stood up and went to the altar, and Daddy was confirmed with holy oil on his head. I was so excited and happy for him. Then we took our seats, during the peace be with you. Father J came down from the altar, and approached me. He gave me a hug and shook my dad’s hand. He made his way down shaking hands. I was going to miss Father J.

After mass was over, we all stood up for a picture, and people clapped for us. Once the congregation cleared out, we went to the banquet hall and had a little champagne toast, veggies, crackers and cheese, and cupcakes to celebrate Easter, and the new members of the Catholic church. I sat down at at table with Drew while we munched on our snacks. Doretta, the music minister from the University of Pittsburgh, came over to our table, and talked to us about Pitt, and my dad becoming a Catholic. She was going to put me at the top of her prayer list. I was glad to talk to her.

When we left, I said goodbye to Father J. He gave me one last hug. He shook Andrew’s hand, and then we were on our way home. We couldn’t wait to go to bed. It was a long mass for him, and a long day for me.

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