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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Monday, April 10, 2006

This Saturday 8:30 pm, St Mary Magdalen’s Church

According to a most ancient tradition, this night is 'one of vigil for the Lord' (Exodus 12 :42), and the Vigil celebrated during it, to commemorate that holy night when the Lord rose from the dead, is regarded as the 'mother of all holy vigils' (Saint Augustine, Sermo 219). For in that night, the Church keeps vigil, waiting for the resurrection of the Lord, and celebrates the sacraments of Christian initiation. The entire celebration of the Easter Vigil takes place at night.

The Passover Vigil, in which Hebrews kept watch for the Lord's Passover which was to free them from slavery to Pharaoh, is an annual commemoration. It prefigured the true PASCH of Christ that was to come, the night that is of true liberation, in which 'destroying the bonds of death, Christ rose as victor from the depths' (Roman Missal - The Easter Proclamation)
From the very outset, the Church has celebrated that annual PASCH, which is the solemnity of solemnities, above all by means of a night vigil. For the resurrection of Christ is the foundation of our faith and hope, and through baptism and confirmation, we are inserted into the Paschal mystery of Christ, dying, buried, and raised with him, we shall also reign.
The full meaning of Vigil is awaiting the coming of the Lord. Saint Augustine says : ‘We keep vigil on that night because the Lord rose from the dead; that life .. where there is no longer the sleep of death, began for us in his flesh; being thus risen, death will be no more nor have dominion... If we have kept vigil for the risen one, he will see that we shall reign with him for ever' (Sermo Guelferbitan).

Words taken from a 1988 Congregation for Divine Worship document.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:22 am