Catholic Culture Solidarity
Catholic Culture Solidarity

Mother of All Vigils

By Mike Aquilina ( bio - articles - email ) | Mar 22, 2023 | In Way of the Fathers (Podcast)

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’Twas the night before Easter, and all through the Church every heart was stirring. The early Christians kept a Vigil that made a lasting impression. The symbols were elemental: fire, water, darkness, nakedness, music, dramatic preaching, surprising chalices, and more-than-marathon endurance. Prepare for your Easter Vigil by learning about theirs.


Melito of Sardis, Peri Pascha

Melito of Sardis, Peri Pascha (another translation)

Eusebius of Caesarea, On the Celebration of Easter

St. Augustine, Sermon 227

Mike Aquilina’s website

Mike Aquilina’s books

Theme music: Gaudeamus (Introit for the Feast of All Saints), sung by Jeff Ostrowski. Courtesy of Corpus Christi Watershed

Mike Aquilina is a popular author working in the area of Church history, especially patristics. He is executive vice-president and trustee of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, a contributing editor of Angelus (magazine) and general editor of the Reclaiming Catholic History Series from Ave Maria Press. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: Gramps - Apr. 05, 2023 10:48 PM ET USA

    The Easter Vigil could be slightly improved if the original celebration was more closely followed. In the early Church (up to the reformation) there were no "candidates" to be welcomed into full Communion......only Catechumens (un-Baptized). If the original plan ware followed, all Candidates could be welcomed at a Sunday Easter Mass, or at another time, as already provided. This would reduce the very-long Vigil, while complimenting Candidates with their "own" Mass of Acceptance.