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Catholic Dictionary




The ceremonies of Holy Saturday and the most solemn memorial of the liturgical year. They consist of four parts: Service of the Light, Liturgy of the Word, Liturgy of Baptism, and Liturgy of the Eucharist. The entire celebration takes place at night, and therefore it should not begin before nightfall and should end before dawn on Easter Sunday. In the early Church the night before Easter was celebrated by the Illumination of the churches and even of whole cities. The revised Easter Vigil services include ceremonies that go back to the first centuries of the Christian era and stress the Church's joy in commemorating the night that Christ rose from the dead.