For the first time since 1987, mia_mcdavid and I went to the Easter Vigil. It had been a regular part of our life in the early and mid 1980’s at St. Luke’s in Evanston, but after the children were born it became impractical. It is not as common in Episcopal churches in Minnesota as in Illinois, and our current parish, St. Mary’s does not do a real vigil.
This year we decided to do something different. We went to the vigil at St. Mark’s, the Episcopal Cathedral near downtown Minneapolis. It was wonderful. The opening was spine-tingling. I had forgotten how great the Vigil is. There is something wonderfully haunting about all the traditional liturgies of Holy Week, and this is the climax.
It was very much like “home“. I thinking that very thought after we received communion, and I looked up and saw someone I remembered from St. Luke’s. A second later I saw her husband. We had a good time catching up with them after the liturgy.
Some other things. There was lots of incense, handled by a superb thurifer. Mia and I have both served in that liturgical role and appreciated her skill. The celebrant was the Dean of the Cathedral. First time I have heard a southern accent at a Minnesota altar!
We actually caught a piece of another Easter Vigil. We got to the neighborhood early to allow extra time for parking. We found a parking place in seconds and then had over half an hour before the service. So we walked across Loring Park to St. Mary’s Basilica, and found that they were just starting their Vigil, with the lighting of the new fire outside just off the Hennepin Avenue sidewalk. There was a huge crowd of the faithful, and they were in a perfect place to attract attention from those passing by. It would have been even better if they had started the vigil later, or if we were still on Standard Time. That fire would have been spectacular in the dark!