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Catholic News Herald

Serving Christ and Connecting Catholics in Western North Carolina

041617 easter vigil‘His resurrection is His answer to our cry for help’

CHARLOTTE — “The risen Christ says apply my victory to each one, and baptize them.”

This was the message proclaimed by Bishop Peter Jugis April 15 as he celebrated the Easter vigil Mass at St. Patrick Cathedral, which was filled with young and old at dusk to greet the Light of the World.

The liturgy began with the blessing of the Paschal fire and lighting of the Paschal candle at the Marian grotto outside the cathedral. Then hundreds of faithful processed behind Bishop Jugis – candles in hand – into the darkened cathedral to hear the Exsultet chanted.

After the Scripture readings and psalms, the cathedral’s lights were turned on and bells were rung as the faithful sang the Gloria.

“The resurrection of Jesus from the dead – easily the greatest of all the miracles that Jesus performed, raising Himself from the dead,” Bishop Jugis said in his homily. “The Gospel readings give us the eyewitness accounts of those who saw Jesus nailed on to the cross. And then saw Him die on the cross, breathe His last, and then saw Him buried.”

And then the Gospels go on to give the eyewitness accounts who saw the risen Christ with their own eyes, who not only saw Him but spoke with Him, carried on conversations with Him, touched Him with their own hands and ate with Him, Bishop Jugis said.

“The resurrection is real. The eyewitness accounts that we have verify Jesus is risen from the dead. Jesus came to our rescue and He saved us,” he continued in his homily. “We all know what it means to help someone, to come to someone’s rescue. When someone has been hurt or injured or maybe in distress of any kind. Possibly you’ve had that experience of coming to someone’s rescue.”

Jesus came to our rescue when the whole human race was crying out “Help us, help us. We’re lost. Rescue us from all this sin. Save us. Rescue us,” Bishop Jugis said.

“He did rescue us, and that is what we are celebrating this evening. He rescued us with His resurrection. He broke the stranglehold that sin and death had upon us, and He gave us new life. His resurrection is His answer to our cry for help. And here it is, the resurrection of Jesus and His promise of our own future resurrection from the dead.”

Christ’s victory over sin and death, through His resurrection, then is transmitted to each one of us through the grace He gives us in baptism.

“Why do we baptize? The answer really is quite simple: the risen Christ told us to. The risen Christ tells His disciples to go forth and teach all nations and baptize them in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” Bishop Jugis continued.

“The risen Jesus, having won the victory, then tells His disciples to apply this victory to the whole human race: Baptize them through those blessed waters which shall contain His grace.”

“A real cleansing from sin takes place through the grace of baptism,” he said before welcoming one catechumen at the vigil Mass, giving him the sacraments of initiation – baptism, confirmation and Holy Communion.
as we draw close to Him this evening, and may we remain close to Him throughout these holy days that are upon us.”

— Catholic News Herald Photos by John Cosmas, correspondent.

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