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Catholic community observes Easter vigil

By EMN Updated: Apr 20, 2014 11:43 pm

Dimapur, April 20

The festum festorum (feast of feasts) Easter was celebrated on Saturday night at Holy Cross Parish, Dimapur, led by Rev. Dr. James Thoppil, Bishop of Kohima. The service began at 10 p.m. and ended at midnight. Rev. Fr. PJ Thomas, parish priest, Fr. Thomas Toretkiu, Bishop’s secretary, and many other priests co-celebrated with the Bishop.
The service has four parts – the service of the light, listening to the word of God, the blessing of the holy water and renewal of the baptismal promise and the Eucharist.
The service began with the blessing of new fire outside the Church symbolizing the divine life of Jesus which was not destroyed on the cross. The bishop explained the meaning of the symbols: the Paschal Candle, representing body of Christ and the Greek letters of Alpha and Omega, together with the year 2014 show that Christ is the Lord of all things, of all times, of all peoples. The five grains inserted on to the candle symbolizes the five wounds of Christ. The faithful, then, in procession proceeded to the Church led by Bishop with the lighted Paschal Candle, showing Christ as the new leader to lead all people to God. The great Easter Proclamation was sung, followed by three readings from the Old Testament and two from the New Testament. After the Old Testament readings, Gloria was sung, followed by lighting of the altar and ringing of the church bell symbolizing Christ’s Resurrection.
Bishop, in his homily, said that Resurrection is the key and core of Christian faith (cf. 1 Cor 15) and theme of apostolic preaching. He said Easter is the guarantee of our own resurrection and it reminds us that life is worth living adding that Resurrection is the power of God over all the forces that diminish and destroy life.
He said Easter powerfully proclaims that death is not the end of human life, but a door way to better and fuller life. According to him it tells us that no tomb can hold us down – the tomb of despair, discouragement, doubt or sin. Stating that every Good Friday in our life has also an Easter Sunday, he said we do not have to wait until death to share in the power of the resurrection. “In fact, Christ has been raised from the dead! He was not only raised from the dead to prove to us that He is God; He was raised to prove to us that we will not all die, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised, and we will be changed…When the perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death is your sting?'” (1 Cor. 15:52-5; Is. 25:8), the Bishop said in his sermon.
He said Easter is a day of joy because of the new life that we have received in Christ through the Sacrament of Baptism. It is a day of joy because we have new brothers and sisters in Christ who have come home by receiving the Sacrament of Baptism. It is a day of joy because it is the time of the year when many, after having been absent for some time, return to Jesus through the Sacraments of Confession and the Holy Eucharist. It is a day of joy when in the perfect unity of the Mystical Body of Christ, all the saints and angels of Heaven rejoice with us because “The Lord has risen indeed.” (Lk. 24:34).
After the homily, the Bishop blessed the water to signify purification of life thus reminding us of our baptism. He also administered the renewal of baptismal promises which was followed by the Eucharistic celebration.
After the Holy Mass, there was refreshment and the parish community greeted each other, “Happy Easter.”

By EMN Updated: Apr 20, 2014 11:43:19 pm