Presider’s Page for 20 April (The Easter Vigil)
Opening Comment (after the Service of Light and Exsultet)
We gather around the Easter candle, celebrating the Lord’s resurrection. With that light to illumine our way, we remember how God has cared for humanity from the dawn of time. These readings remind us what happened at the highpoints of our history.
Introduction to the Scripture Readings
Three Old Testament readings are chosen from these seven:
Genesis 1:1 to 2:2 The first chapter of the first book of the Bible gives the story of creation, the foundation of God’s care for all the world. This love for humanity was seen even more clearly in the death and resurrection of Jesus, which made us into a new creation through the mystery we celebrate this night.
Genesis 22:1-8 The heartbreaking story of Abraham offering up his only child Isaac teaches that true sacrifice is about faith and obedience rather than slaughter. The promise that Abraham would be the father of many nations was fulfilled when Jesus died and rose to life. All people can now share the new life by being baptised into God’s chosen people.
• Exodus 14 to 15:1 (not optional). God led his people from slavery to freedom through the Red Sea waters. Through the waters of baptism, God forms a new family of Christian people, set free from the slavery of sin. The psalm that follows is really a part of the reading: it’s a celebration of this triumph.
Isaiah 54:5-14 The love of God is everlasting, as sure as the love of husband and wife. Even if the mountains should fall, God’s love for all people will never fail. They will be as beautiful as the New Jerusalem, a city built of priceless jewels.
Isaiah 55:1-11 All are welcome to come to the water and be baptised: salvation is freely offered to every member of humanity.
Baruch 3:9-15, 32 to 4:4 God’s people are invited to return to the fountain of wisdom, where they can find knowledge, strength and understanding.The cleansing water of baptism is a new vision of this fountain, which brings all people to salvation.
Ezekiel 36:16-28 Through the waters of baptism, men and women discover a new heart and a new spirit. The heart of stone, cold from selfishness, is removed and a heart of flesh, full of warm compassion, is given in its place.
New Testament readings
Romans 6:3-11 Baptism is a way of dying with Christ. Entering the waters of baptism, people go into the tomb. And with Christ, we rise.
Luke 24:1-12 Mary Magdalene and the other women are the first witnesses of the resurrection: they spread the message to Peter and the apostles.
Introduction (by the Presider) My brothers and sisters in Christ, God’s love for us has no end! Let us bring our prayers to the Lord:
- That those who have been baptised around the world this Easter may always walk in the light of Christ (pause and pray for this…) Lord, hear us.
- That all Christians who celebrate the resurrection tonight may live in hope and love (pause and pray for this…) Lord, hear us.
- That we may have peace in Ireland and an end to terror (pause and pray for this…) Lord, hear us.
- That those in need of support and love may experience God’s care through Christians (pause and pray for this…) Lord, hear us.
- That people who are hungry in a world of plenty may receive the help they need (pause and pray for this…) Lord, hear us.
- That the poor and the homeless may feel the compassion of Christians (pause and pray for this…) Lord, hear us.
The Presider prays for the dead: That those who have died may share the glory of the resurrection: We remember especially those who died recently (N & N) and those whose anniversaries occur (N & N) and all those who passed away since last Easter (pause and pray for this…) Lord, hear us.
Conclusion (by the Presider) God of life and power, your love supports your people all through life and beyond: hear the prayers we make this holy night, through Jesus Christ, our risen Lord. Amen.
PRAYER OVER THE GIFTS
Receive, O Lord, the prayers and offerings of your people,
and grant that the healing work
which you have begun in the paschal mystery
may bring us to eternal salvation.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.
PREFACE (Easter I)
It is truly right and just,
our duty and our salvation,
that we should always sing your glory, Lord;
but we praise you with greater joy than ever
on this Easter night
when Christ became our paschal sacrifice.
He is the true Lamb who took away the sins of the world.
By dying he destroyed our death;
by rising he restored our life.
Therefore, the universe resounds with Easter joy,
and the choirs of angels sing the endless hymn of your glory: Holy, holy, holy….
Eucharist Prayer II (With Easter Vigil interpolation)
Lord, you are holy indeed,
and all creation rightly gives you praise.
All life, all holiness comes from you
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,
by the working of the Holy Spirit.
From age to age you gather a people to yourself,
so that from the rising of the sun to its setting
a pure offering may be made
to the glory of your name.
And so, Lord God, on this most sacred night,
we celebrate the glorious resurrection of your Son;
and, exulting in his mighty victory over death,
we humbly pray:
by the power of your Spirit sanctify these gifts
we have brought before you,
that they may become the body + and blood
of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
at whose command we celebrate this eucharist.
On the night he was handed over to death,
he took bread and gave you thanks and praise;
he broke the bread,
gave it to his disciples, and said:
TAKE THIS, ALL OF YOU, AND EAT IT:
THIS IS MY BODY, WHICH WILL BE GIVEN UP FOR YOU.
When supper was ended, he took the cup;
again he gave you thanks and praise,
gave the cup to his disciples, and said:
TAKE THIS, ALL OF YOU, AND DRINK FROM IT:
THIS IS THE CUP OF MY BLOOD,
THE BLOOD OF THE NEW AND EVERLASTING COVENANT.
IT WILL BE SHED FOR YOU AND FOR ALL,
SO THAT SINS MAY BE FORGIVEN.
DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME.
The mystery of faith…..
Calling to mind, Lord God
the death your Son endured for our salvation,
his glorious resurrection and ascension into heaven,
and eagerly awaiting the day of his return,
we offer you in thanksgiving this holy and living sacrifice.
Look with favour on your Church’s offering
and see the Victim by whose sacrifice
you were pleased to reconcile us to yourself.
Grant that we who are nourished by the body and blood of your Son
may be filled with his Holy Spirit
and become one body, one spirit in Christ.
Let him make us an everlasting gift to you,
that we may share in the inheritance of your saints,
with Mary, the virgin Mother of God,
with the apostles, the martyrs, and all your saints,
on whose constant intercession we rely for help.
Lord, may this sacrifice
which has made our peace with you
advance the peace and salvation of all the world.
Strengthen in faith and love your pilgrim Church on earth:
your servant Pope Francis, our Bishop N.,
all bishops, priests, and deacons,
all ministers of your Church,
and the entire people your Son has gained for you.
hear the prayers of the family you have gathered here before you,
and unite to yourself all your children
now scattered over the face of the earth.
Welcome into your kingdom our departed brothers and sisters
and all who have left this world in your friendship.
We hope to enjoy with them your everlasting glory,
through Christ our Lord,
through whom you give the world everything that is good.
Prayer after Communion
God of mercy,
pour forth upon us the spirit of your love,
to make one in mind and heart
those you have nourished by these Easter sacraments.
We ask this in the name of Jesus, the Lord.
On this solemn feast of Easter,
having followed the Lord Jesus in his suffering,
we celebrate the joy of his resurrection.
May God the almighty bless you
and mercifully protect you from the peril of sin.
May the God who restores you to eternal life
in the resurrection of Christ
complete in you the gift of immortality.
Through the grace of Christ
may God lead you
to the banquet of lasting joy.