BRIDGEPORT — Bishop Frank J. Caggiano in his Easter Vigil homily urged Catholics to take their faith outside the four walls of the church “to a world that does not want to proclaim Jesus for who he is — the Savior and Conquerer of all.”
“We have not come here, my friends, to keep our Catholic faith locked within these four walls,” he told the gathering of faithful at St. Augustine’s Cathedral. “Let us leave this church, singing the praises of Jesus not just one holy night but every day and night of our lives, for in Christ we have all things and without Christ we have nothing at all. So on this most holy night, let us give our Lord and Savior and King all praise and honor and glory and worship now and forever.”
He told the six adult catechumens awaiting their Baptism, “All the sins of your life will be washed clean in Jesus Christ in Baptism, and your life will become like the white garments you will be wearing — a new creation in Christ.” During the Vigil Mass, which was concelebrated with three priests and deacons, Bishop Caggiano administered the Sacraments of Initiation — Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist — to nine people.
Bishop Caggiano said, “On this holiest of all nights, Christ rose from the dead in his body in resurrected life that conquered death forever. This night, my friends, is holy because death died this night, but it is also the holiest of nights because Christ in his victory over death undid the knot of sin that was created by our parents Adam and Eve and passed on through the generations to us. This is the holy night when sin is washed away and forgiven in every heart that seeks new life in Christ. Therefore, we come to this Vigil to sing the praises of our Lord and Redeemer who has conquered both death and sin.”
He also reminded the congregation of the importance of practicing their Catholic faith in a world that can be hostile or indifferent to Christ: “We gather here to sing alleluia and praise to our Lord and King, but allow me to remind you that we have not come here so that we could leave this church and fall back into the darkness of ignorance and fall back into a world that does not want to proclaim Jesus for who he is — the Savior and Conquerer of all. We did not come here to sing the praises of the Lord and then revert back to the slavery of sin. We are free children and we are to remain children of God until we can see him face to face.”
The Easter Vigil liturgy, which is the first official celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus, began with “The Blessing of the Fire and Preparation of the Candle” at the entrance of the cathedral.
Then, the deacon, carried the new Paschal Candle into the darkened church, proclaiming “The Light of Christ,” following by the bishop and others who shared the light with the faithful until the cathedral was illuminated by several hundred candles, signifying the Light of Christ dispelling the darkness of sin and death.
The Liturgy of the Word followed with seven Old Testament readings from Genesis, Exodus and the Prophets that recall God’s saving deeds throughout salvation history. They were followed by St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans and the Luke’s Gospel account of the Resurrection. The readings were said in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.
After Bishop Caggiano blessed the baptismal water, six catechumens were baptized, and later a total of nine were confirmed and received Eucharist, thereby entering into full communion with the Church.
At the conclusion of the liturgy, the bishop thanked the assembled faithful for coming to the Easter Vigil liturgy and then thanked Father Michael Novajosky, pastor, “for the great work he has done at the Cathedral.” The Cathedral Parish includes St. Augustine’s and St. Patrick Church.