Easter Vigil Recap
Ok, I've gotten my template fixed, pretty much, so I'm ready to talk about my Easter Vigil! (I totally cheated with my template, btw. I took one of the standard Blogger templates and did some tweaking to it to make it my own. But I think it should be a bit clearer to read than the old blog, plus it should look good in all browsers. Oh, and I got to use my nifty pic that I took in the blog header, which is way cool, too.)
So I slept all yesterday afternoon because I knew it was going to be a long Mass. Dan ironed my big purple gown, and we actually got to the Cathedral at a reasonable hour.
I was a ball of nerves. I was so wired, and I couldn't stop sweating. My RCIA teacher let Dan sit with me during the ceremony, so he had a primo seat in the front row in front of the baptismal font. At the Cathedral, they have AC vents on the floor, so I kept standing over them to cool down, but when I would my purple robe would billow out, and I would look a bit like Violet Beauregarde from "Willy Wonka".
I finally calmed down when I was able to talk to a seminarian named Christopher. I got my candle, and we took pictures, then we lined up to go into the church.
The fire was started by the time that we got lined up and in front of the Cathedral. The Bishop, the priests, and the deacons all came out to the Fire, and it was blessed and the Pascal Candal was lit. My husband said that when the ceremony started, the lights all went out, and then it sounded like God was addressing the crowd. Bishop Grahmann has a voice like that when he's got one of those Britney Spears headset mikes on.
The song that was sung when we entered the church was one of the most beautiful I have ever heard. We have an amazing cantor at the Cathedral who is a Junior vocal major at SMU. Standing there in the darkness, focusing on the candle, I was able to really understand about the light of the world, and what I was about to do.
Even though there were seven readings, to me they went by very quickly. I was reading along in my missal because the service was bilingual, so there was a LOT of Spanish. I'm thankful I had it. My husband had a missal, too, and we were able to follow along rather nicely.
Getting baptized was pretty nifty. The Liturgy of the Saints was great. When they got to the part about St. Mary Magdalene, one of my friends looked at me with a big smile, since that's my patron saint. When we were asked the questions by the Bishop, it was very hard to say "I Do" out loud because of how emotional that I was. My sponsor held my hand the entire time I was on the stage, which I really needed.
Our baptismal font is very big, probably about four feet wide, and two feet deep. I took three steps up and two steps down to get into the font. The water was very warm. The Bishop baptized me, and after getting out of the tub and slipping when I was getting into my shoes (no fall, thank goodness), I was able to get my footing and rush into the Grand Salon to change.
All the women were going to go into the kitchen and find closets, bathrooms and nooks to change in so we would have a little privacy. I walked into the kitchen, and saw a man, which surprised me considering that I was about to get nekked. I asked him politely to please leave for a moment, and then I stripped down, dried off, and put on my new white outfit. I looked and smelled pretty good, so I was happy.
We all lined up to get in line for our Confirmation. It was pretty incredible to look the Bishop in the eye as he confirmed me Mary Magdalene Jude. He lightly tapped me on the cheek as he said "Peace be with you" and I said "And also with you."
I sat down and enjoyed my newly Chrism-scented forehead. Then the big event came - the Eucharist. It was so humbling to see the Eucharist prepared knowing that for the first time as a Catholic, I was to receive. I was so nervous getting up there to receive, but I was able to figure out what I was supposed to do. When I got in line for the Eucharist, instead of simply bowing or crossing, I instinctively knelt before receiving. I received on the tongue, and then took a sip of the blood of Christ.
Kneeling there, after my first communion, was one of the most intense and beautiful moments of my life. I felt so surrounded by Christ. I could still taste the wine in my mouth, and my knees were achy from kneeling so long. I felt the cool water in my hair, and the smell of Easter Lilies and Chrism oil was very strong. The sacrament hymn sounded absolutely beautiful, and occasionally I would look up at the Cross and the lilies and the Pascal candle. All five senses were overwhelmed with the moment, and I was so happy that I got teary eyed. The only prayer I could pray that night was, "Thank you, Lord, for your sacrafice and for everything." It was amazing. Just writing about it is bringing back all those emotions and feelings.
After it was over, we went to Cafe Brazil and I ate the best migas on the planet. They were quite tasty.
And last night, I slept the most peaceful sleep I have had in a very long time.