By Jessica Easthope
Fire burned bright in the darkness of St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral in Brooklyn. The Paschal candle was lit at the beginning of the Easter Vigil, symbolizing the Light of Christ as the last moments of sunlight peered through the stained-glass windows.
The solemn vigil starts the most joyous celebration of the liturgical year: Jesus’ Resurrection.
“Tonight is the vigil of all vigils, the Easter vigil. We celebrate the Resurrection in all the glory we have: music, lights, candles. It’s ‘pulling out all of the stops,’ as you might say,” said Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio.
Suddenly, the Co-Cathedral is illuminated. Then one of the most special parts of the vigil, which was canceled last year due to the pandemic, is celebrated: the welcoming in of newcomers to the Catholic faith.
On Saturday six people received confirmation and communion and four others received those sacraments and were baptized.
“I feel relieved. I feel like I let go of all my sins and like they said, I’m a new person,” said Milaidi Spencer, who received her confirmation and communion.
Milaidi said her son made her realize she needed to take that next step in her faith.
“My son goes to Catholic school and me seeing him make his communion was very emotional for me, and I wanted to take that next step and he motivated me.”
Emerson Wite received three sacraments, Saturday, taking his first steps as a Catholic. His journey also started in Catholic school. He says his education made him want to grow closer to his faith.
“It felt like I was starting a new journey, a new life,” said Emerson.
Emerson also says the ongoing health crisis solidified his commitment.
“It’s been a very hard year, and I’ve been lucky to not experience what a lot of people have with COVID. So I thank God every day for everything I have and I feel like this step has pushed me to be a more grateful person under God,” he explained.
Bishop DiMarzio says he admires their dedication, and that administering these sacraments has been one of the most joyous parts of his time as the leader of the Diocese of Brooklyn.
“It was great to see that we have people because it wasn’t easy this year for people to get together, doing some of it online or how they did it, but they did it so they’re ready,” he told Currents News.
At the end of the vigil, Monsignor Kieran Harrington asked parishioners to thank Bishop DiMarzio in light of his upcoming retirement. Saturday was likely his last Easter Vigil.