|St. Mary Church|
"Easter (also called "Pascha" or some variant by most non-English speaking Christians) celebrates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, and it is the greatest and oldest feast of the Church.
"Even the term "Pascha" is borrowed from the Jewish word for "Passover," and Easter is calculated based on the lunar calendar (all other feasts are on the solar calendar). These facts show the ancient and likely Apostolic origins of Easter. A baptismal liturgy of Easter has even been discovered dating to the mid-third century.
"Traditionally, the Pascha celebration began with a lengthy vigil, the "mother of all vigils" according to St. Augustine. The whole history of salvation is retold during the vigil, through scripture and liturgy.
"At the Easter Vigil (in the West) three traditions developed: the baptism of new converts, lighting of the paschal candle, and the blessing of the new fire (taken from the Jewish blessing of the lamp on the eve of the Sabbath). The new fire is often processed into the Church to light the Paschal candle. Eucharist is then celebrated in the morning hours, being also the first Eucharist of new converts.
"In general, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican Vigil services consist of variants of this ancient model. The West also celebrates the octave of Easter. These eight days are all solemnities in the Western liturgical calendar. Actually, these days even take precedence over other solemnities that can fall within the Octave of Easter, including the Annunciation."
Prayer for Easter Sunday
God our Father,
by raising Christ your Son
you conquered the power of death
and opened for us the way to eternal life.
Let our celebration today raise us up
and renew our lives by the Spirit that is within us.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
International Committee on English in the Liturgy (ICEL)
- Iinformation above taken from: www.churchyear.net