Blessed Easter – The Vigil from Chicago, by Pr. Rossow

April 24th, 2011 Post by

Each year our parish (Bethany - Naperville, Illinois) marks the Easter Vigil. It is an abbreviated service, about an hour and a half, not the entire night in vigil. It starts with a procession from a bonfire outside the church and into the dark sanctuary with each member and the men’s choir carrying candles. We also initiate the new paschal candle and as is traditional, confirm the adult catechumens.

We offer this example in support of BJS’s goal of promoting the historic liturgy. You may want to look into adding this to your Holy Week spiritual exercise. (We have several other video examples of the liturgy, including from Pastor Weedon that we hope to get to you in the weeks to come.)

Here is a portion of the service. We hope to get some other video of the bonfire and other potions of the service added later. (Don’t adjust your sets. It will be silent at first but after a few seconds you will hear the sound. If you look closely you will see through the windows the rest of the procession carrying their candles coming in from the bonfire. Very cool!)

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed, Alleluia!

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  1. Pastor Luke Boehringer
    April 24th, 2011 at 19:18 | #1

    He is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

    I presided over my first Vigil service. I found Benedicite, Omnia Opera (All You Works of the Lord) to be a particularly wonderful text with joyful music.

    We are a small church, so we only had a congregation of four, but this ancient service is a wise addition to the rhythm of Holy Week.

    Pr. Luke Boehringer
    Davenport, Iowa

  2. Janet
    April 24th, 2011 at 19:40 | #2

    I was able to attend my first Easter Vigil as a visitor to Emmanuel, Dearborn, and found it to be a wonderful service. I look forward to attending again next year, since I strongly doubt my home congregation will have one. It doesn’t hurt to ask, though!

  3. April 24th, 2011 at 19:53 | #3


    We do “All You Works of the Lord” as well. You’re right, it’s very fitting.


  4. mbw
    April 24th, 2011 at 20:24 | #4

    Only attended my first Easter Vigil last year. It was led by Rev. Burreson. A very beautiful and happy service that makes the sad time a little shorter!

  5. Rev. Mike Mathey
    April 24th, 2011 at 21:38 | #5

    I miss that service soooo much! I’m a few years away from trying to introduce that particular night here. I’ve had to re-introduce Maundy Thursday here in the past two years!

    (PS Brother Rossow, any chance you’re looking for an associate for next year’s Triduum?) j/k sort of! :)

  6. Oliver Young
    April 25th, 2011 at 14:56 | #6

    A blessed Easter at all!

    We too at University Lutheran Chapel (ULC), Minneapolis hold an Easter vigil. It is truly a wonderful service.

    Pr Kind conducts the service in a similar manner to that describe by Pr Rossow. We start with a procession from a brazier fire outside the church and into the dark sanctuary with each member holding a candle and processing behind Pr Kind and the new paschal candle. We also use “All You Works of the Lord.”

    This is just one example of how we at ULC, led by Pr Kind, continue to teach and reach out with the joys and richness of the historic liturgy.

    If your congregation does not hold an Easter vigil, ask your Pastor to consider doing so, or visit a congregation that do so next Easter – I suggest coming to ULC ;-)

    Oliver Young
    Elder, ULC

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