Sunday, February 05, 2006

What Time Can the Easter Vigil Begin?

The Easter Triduum this year is Thursday night to Sunday night, April 13 to 16, 2006.

The Easter Triduum is the culmination of the entire liturgical year. It begins with the Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper, reaches its high point in the Easter Vigil, and closes with evening prayer on Easter Sunday. Between the Mass of the Lord's Supper and the Easter Vigil, Mass is not celebrated.

The Sacramentary states:

The entire celebration of the Easter Vigil takes place at night. It should not begin before nightfall; it should end before daybreak on Sunday (Sacramentary, Easter Sunday, During the Night, The Easter Vigil, #3).
Therefore, the Easter Vigil must begin after nightfall. Ideally, it should be completely dark before the start of the Easter Vigil. Sunset begins on this day at 7:43 p.m. for San José. Thus Easter Vigil for 2006 may not begin before 8:15 p.m.

Further, the Sacramentary states:
In the United States, although it is never permitted to celebrate the entire Easter Vigil more than once in a given church or to anticipate the Mass of Easter before the vigil, in those places where the local Ordinary permits the anticipation of Sunday Masses on Saturday evening, for pastoral reasons an additional Mass may be celebrated after the Mass of the Easter Vigil. Such a Mass may follow the liturgy of the word of the Mass of the Easter Vigil and other texts of that Mass and should include the renewal of baptismal promise (Sacramentary, Easter Sunday, During the Night, Easter Vigil, #3).
Ideally, parishes celebrate only one Easter Vigil. So, on April 15, 2006, no Mass may be celebrated before the Easter Vigil, and, ideally, there should be only one Service of Light (blessing of fire, first lighting of Easter Candle, and exsultet) and one blessing of the baptismal font per parish. The initiation of Elect ideally takes place at the one parish Easter Vigil, though it may also be celebrated on Easter Sunday for pastoral reasons, and initiation sacraments are appropriately celebrated throughout the Easter season. Any additional Masses on the night of April 15, 2006, must be celebrated after the parish's one Easter Vigil and does not include the Service of Light or the blessing of the water in the baptismal font.


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