Carmel Bulletin, 8 May 2022

Service of Light at the Easter Vigil Mass, 2022

The Easter Vigil each year begins in darkness.  From this darkness, the evocative symbol of fire emerges, providing the flame that lights our new paschal candle.

This celebration of the resurrection – our ‘night of nights’ – and the power of the light of Christ breaking through the darkness is central to our faith.  To reflect this, and that this “torch so precious” is “hallowed to the honour of [God’s] name”, the symbol of the paschal candle has become a beautiful work of art over time.  The candle always includes the Greek letters alpha and omega, a cross and the year, and often includes other artistic features.

The Easter Proclamation, which follows the lighting of the candle and its procession into the church, speaks of the first Passover, where a pillar of fire led the Israelites out of slavery.  It also praises Christ’s Passover to new life; our own pillar of fire symbolising Jesus overcoming the darkness of sin.

For our paschal candle this year, we sought to reflect the importance of 2022 in our Wentworthville Catholic community.  Our parish primary school celebrates its centenary.  That also means that we celebrate the presence and involvement of the Sisters of Mercy in our community for at least 100 years, which included living in Wentworthville for several decades.

Our paschal candle at the Easter Vigil Mass, 2022

The cross on our candle, therefore, is the Mercy cross – the symbol of the Sisters that reflects their commitment to offer their lives to Jesus, both crucified and risen.  The Celtic knotwork bands around the candle acknowledge the Irish heritage of the Sisters of Mercy: Catherine McAuley was born, and founded the religious order in Dublin, and the Parramatta Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy began with a group of Sisters from Callan, County Kilkenny.

As this candle burns near the ambo throughout the Easter season, and at the font for baptisms and the coffin for funerals throughout the year, may it reflect how the light of Christ has shone through the life and ministry of the Sisters of Mercy in this community, and likewise challenge us to share the light of Christ with all.

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