Homily by Bishop Larry Duffy at the celebration of the Easter Vigil

11 Apr 2020


The two great Holy Nights – Christmas and Easter – are celebrated in a way that avails of the powerful symbols of light and darkness.

At Christmas we welcome Christ, the Light of the World. The First Reading at the Midnight Mass announces:

The people that walked in darkness

have seen a great light.

On those who in a land of deep shadow

a light has shone. (Isaiah 9:1)

We celebrate that God knocks on the door of our world and in spite of many indifferences, he comes to live among us.

The shepherds, the poor and the powerless, they rejoice at his coming. Herod, among others, fears the light and chooses the way of darkness.

The Easter Vigil begins with the church building being covered in darkness. The Easter flame enters and reveals that even one candle can bring light into the deepest darkness. That darkness is dispelled as the light is passed on within family and community, seat by seat. The Exultet – the Easter Proclamation, a song of joy – announces:

This is the night,

when Christ broke the prison bars of death,

and rose victorious from the underworld.’

What a victory! What an event for humanity!

Our candles are again lit as we greet the Gospel and renew our baptismal calling. We join in the response “I do” when we are asked “Do you believe…in the forgiveness of sin, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting?’ I do!

In renewing our baptismal promises, we renounce Satan and the power of darkness. We proclaim that Jesus is our light and our way. He is our model, our hope, our resurrection. Receiving him in Holy Communion, we pray that his light will guide us safely home.

May the joy of Christ’s resurrection give hope to you and your family at this time and in the days ahead.

Christ is Risen, Alleluia!


Notes to Editors

  1. Bishop Larry Duffy is the Bishop of Clogher
  2. The Diocese of Clogher encompasses all of Co Monaghan, virtually all of Co Fermanagh along with portions of Counties Tyrone, Donegal, Louth and Cavan. It has 37 parishes and 85 churches, with 56 priests and 1 deacon in parish ministry. The Cathedral church is in Monaghan and St Macartan is the patron saint of the diocese.
  3. Liturgies in the Cathedral are livestreamed on https://www.mcnmedia.tv/camera/st-macartans-cathedral-monaghan