Southwestern Indiana's Catholic Community Newspaper

Easter Vigil Proclaims 'the Message Of Alleluia'

Bishop Siegel lights the Paschal Candle as the Easter Vigil in the Holy Night begins on March 31. The Message photo by Tim Lilley

Cold rain fell in Evansville the evening of March 31, but it could not extinguish the flames Bishop Joseph M. Siegel used to light the Paschal Candle at St. Benedict Cathedral.

“May the light of Christ rising in glory dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds,” he said, lighting the candle as the Easter Vigil in the Holy Night began.

By its conclusion, the elect of St. Benedict Cathedral Parish came into full communion with the Church – as was the case across the Diocese of Evansville for dozens of other Catechumens and Candidates.

Before reading the Gospel, Deacon Thomas Kempf turned to the bishops and announced, “Most Reverend Father, I bring you a message of great joy, the message of Alleluia.”

During his homily, Bishop Siegel talked about the joy he has experienced during family reunions throughout his life; “telling family stories, hearing family histories.

“This holy night, we are gathered around the light of this Easter candle to hear the stories of our family of faith, of the Church, of the events of our salvation,” he said. From the moment of the fall, God prepared for that great moment of atonement that Jesus Christ would accomplish through his life, death and resurrection.

“Christ has paid Adam’s debt to the eternal Father, he continued. “By Christ’s cross and resurrection, we can be at peace with God, with one another … with ourselves.”

He talked about the rich, holy heritage the Catechumens and Candidates have prepared for throughout the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults in all the parishes of the diocese.

“This is the faith (the catechumens and candidates) will accept as their own as they make their profession of faith, he said.

He then focused on the truly joyous message of Easter.

“Whether we be Catholic or neophyte, the same good news is proclaimed to us this evening,” Bishop Siegel said. “Jesus is not dead. He has been raised up as he said. For that reason there is no cause for despair as we face the crosses, trials and challenges of life.

“With Jesus we are victors over suffering, injustice, fear and even death itself. Like the women at the tomb, let us carry this good news with us,” he said.

We leave this church with the light of the risen Christ. Let us carry his peace, his truth, his hope and his love into our homes and into our neighborhoods, touching all those we encounter in these Easter days.

“And so we proclaim this night, and every day … the Lord is risen. He is truly risen. Alleluia!”