Wednesday, April 12, 2006

When to turn church lights on at Easter Vigil?
Does anyone have any insight into what seems to be a custom (at least around Oklahoma) at the Easter Vigil to leave the church lights off or largely off throughout almost the entire Liturgy of the Word, turning the lights on finally during the singing of the Gloria as the sanctuary candles are lit? I ask this because growing up I remember that the lights remained off until the Gloria was sung (that comes after all of the Old Testament readings). However, now as a priest responsible for organizing the Vigil in my parish, I have found the direction from the Roman Missal indicates that the church lights are put on much earlier, after the Easter Candle is placed in its stand and before the Easter Proclamation (the Exultet) is sung. That directive would have the lights on in the church much earlier than the practice of which I am accustomed.

Does this extended time of darkness happen in your experience of the Easter Vigil (say in other parts of the USA or the world)? Or does your local practice follow the actual directive more closely?

Does anyone have any insights into why some places leave the lights out longer? Any kind suggestions for what I should do? Is there any harm in following the custom and the expectation from the people that the lights will be out during the readings? Just curious.

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