On April 20, 1986, I made my first Communion as a second-grader at my home parish in Parma, Ohio at St. Anthony of Padua.
Thirty-three years later, here at my new hometown of Plymouth, Michigan, at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church I was blessed to attend our Easter Vigil and was honored to be a sponsor to an engaged couple. I also witnessed 31 other individuals (yes 33 people entered the Catholic Church at our parish; God is so good!) enter into full communion of the Catholic Church, after spending the past 8 months meeting every week for their RCIA classes.
This was only my second Easter Vigil and it was absolutely hands down, one of the most amazing experiences EVER.
The choir, the music, the decor, the baptisms, the readings, the rituals, the prayers, the homily, the candles, the fire, the crowd, the incense. As one of our teenage candidates said, “It didn’t feel like 4 hours.”
As soon as it was over I wanted to start it all over again! And as our pastor said to the newly initiated – They know more being Catholic than anyone else – because they made a point to learn, to ask questions, to seek the answers and it led them to the fullness of Truth.
33 years after making my first communion, I have a much deeper appreciation for our faith, due in large part to the friends I’ve made here who are converts, as well as taking the initiative to learn and study and ask questions. It’s been remarkable living here and attending this awesome parish for the past 21 months.
OLGC records everything so luckily, I’ve been able to re-live the entire Holy Week all over again. You can watch the Vigil in it’s entirety here, but before you click, allow me to share what I think, are some of the more moving and particularly special moments of the night:
- The Exultet – Starting at 40:00, written by our music minister Tom Oram and sung masterfully by a gentleman named Scott Piper as well as our Pastor.
- You may recognize a certain someone at 1:28:25 reading from Isaiah. 😉
- All of the Psalms were sung so well and every reader did tremendous so I wouldn’t be able to choose just one to highlight. Although I’m partial to my friend Karen who sang Psalm 19.
- Organ Thunder as the lights come on and we sing the Gloria
- The homily from Fr. John
- A full immersion baptism
- The newly baptized and confirmed making their entrance
- The candidates (already baptized, never confirmed) entering into full communion
- Finally, my favorite part – The Preparation of the Gifts as Is It Worthy is sung most beautifully by Tom and the Choir. Check out the first part of the song lyrics:
Do you feel the shadows deepen? (We do)
But do you know that all the dark won’t stop the light from getting through? (We do)
Do you wish that you could see it all made new? (We do)
Is a new creation coming? (It is)
Is the glory of the Lord to be the light within our midst? (It is)
Is it good that we remind ourselves of this? (It is)
Is anyone able to break the seal and open the scroll?
The Lion of Judah who conquered the grave
He is David’s root and the Lamb who died to ransom the slave
Of all blessing and honor and glory?
Is He worthy of this?
I’m still on a high from it all. I think when you witness such a grand event, when you truly start to “get it,” and understand what Jesus did on that cross, it brings you to tears.
As it should.
Happy Easter Season everyone!