Genesis, Exodus, Isaiah, we heard it all, and in it, our own history of the Lord’s plan for our personal salvation in the death and resurrection of His son.
“The liturgy expressed the history of Israel” said 19 yr old Felix from Germany, “but also our own history. I was reminded of all the times where God has touched me in my life, in my own story, that He has been present throughout and has a plan for me.”
Father Arthur Waellert the CSL chaplain described this vigil mass as the "explosion of joy and praising of the joyful announcement of the light shining in the darkness."
He continued, explaining the link between the
Old and New testament, "we still have some light during the reading of the Old Testament, we had our candles alight" he said, "but it is a bit like John the Baptist shining as a light in the darkness, then afterwards you have the real light as we sing the Gloria, and we really enter into the full light, that is, when we welcome Jesus as the risen man."
Cecile, too, expressed the "beauty" in reading all the texts from the Old to the New Testament, "to see that the Lord was always there, and to see that from the beginning His plan was to save us" she said, "seeing how Jesus has risen in us, and even in all of our darkness we are reborn."
After the mass the young people stayed in front of the altar praising, with hands stretched high, filled with joy in the resurrected Christ, and in the new life that they have found with Him. In this Paschal retreat, they have died to their old selves, and through the Cross, the death and finally the resurrection of the Lord, they have entered into new life in Him.
"Right now we are just all completely full with joy!" exclaimed Cecile after the praise, "because the Lord has given everything to us; tonight we have entered into a fuller understanding of what that everything really means and the peace and joy and life that comes from it…Alleluia!"
Xenia from Kazakhstan described her experience of the retreat: "It was amazing; after the passion Jesus visited the dead people as well, so he also visited the dead part of ourselves as well, and I feel that much of me has been in need of healing, which I find in Him."
She continued: "So I have lived these days with this mystery of the Cross, and of suffering, and in this night of Easter God was really resurrected with us, and I really encountered Him. It is not just something in books or a movie, it is a real encounter!" she excalimed.
A hundred young people from all over the world have travelled to Rome in search of something…what did they find? True joy and true life in the resurrected Christ.
Top photo by © Sabrina Fusco
Bottom photos by © Carly Andrews