By Tim Harfmann
A single candle shined in the dark church as a dramatic demonstration of the Lord. “The Easter Candle symbolizes Christ, who is the Light of the World. So, we light that first from the new fire, then we bring it in procession up the aisle,” said Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio. At Saint John Vianney Church in Flushing, Bishop DiMarzio led the Easter Vigil Mass — the celebration that Christ is Risen! “The Easter Vigil reminds us of the Resurrection. We remember that the Lord — during this time from Good Friday to Easter Sunday — as we say in the Creed, ‘descended into Hell.’ He went to free all of the souls that had gone before Him, who were faithful, to give them the entrance into Heaven,” said Bishop DiMarzio.
The holiest of nights is also the joyous time when Bishop DiMarzio welcomes new Catholics into the Church. With holy water, he baptized nearly 50 men and women and three young children. Anointed with chrism oil, most are Confirmed into the faith and receive the Holy Spirit. All, except the children, receive Holy Communion. Across the Brooklyn diocese, over 550 are sacramentally initiated into Catholicism. Rachel Lin, now a parishioner at Saint John Vianney, explained why becoming Catholic is so important for her life; “Life is very precious and it’s very short. Just like Jesus wants us to use our life to do our best to love, it makes me have more faith.” Lin also wants to spread the Good News of the Risen Lord to those who have turned away from the Church; “If others are lost, we can talk to them [to] understand. It’s also to guide them to Jesus.”
Most of the new Catholics at Saint John Vianney are Chinese, the fastest growing Catholic community in the Brooklyn diocese.
Yiu Yu, another new Catholic, said the large gathering inspires him to learn more about Catholicism; “It makes you want to come to church more. It makes you want to educate yourself a lot more.”
In order to make Christ the center of their lives.