The Easter Vigil celebration at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Manteca will begin at 8 o’clock this evening.
All the traditional symbols and actions will be present, with the blessing of the fire outdoors ushering the solemn liturgy. Immediately following will be the preparation and lighting of the large Paschal Candle.
The Paschal Candle will be carried inside the darkened church in a procession. After the candle is placed in its prominent place in front of the altar, the church lights will be turned back on, and the Exsultet, the Easter Proclamation, will be intoned by lay cantor Gilbert Diaz.
Twenty-seven new members of the Catholic church will be baptized and confirmed as part of the celebration. The baptisms will be held in the baptismal font inside the front entrance to the church.
These highlights are celebrated year after year, not just at St. Anthony of Padua in Manteca but in every Catholic church throughout the world.
What is new about these highlights at St. Anthony is the incorporation of the latest technology into the service. For the first time, the congregation will not just hear what will be transpiring outside during the blessing of the new fire and the baptisms but will be witnessing and participating in the events as these are conducted by church pastor, Father Chad Wahl. These will be captured on video and then projected on the big walls behind the altar, thus allowing members of the congregation to watch and follow the traditional Easter Vigil rites.
The entire Mass dialogue, prayers, invocations, and lyrics of hymns sung during the service will be projected on the walls as well for the congregants to follow.
This is not the first time this technology doing away with the usual announcement of song numbers from hymnals in the pews by the cantor is being applied at St. Anthony. It started back in March by Father Wahl. By so doing, St. Anthony became just the latest in an ever-growing trend of Catholic churches singing hymns sans the book hymnals. Nearby parishes of St. Patrick’s in Ripon and Our Lady of Guadalupe in Lathrop have yet to institute these changes.
Installing the projectors, from the acquisition of computer hardware to the manpower needed for its construction, was pegged at about $50,000 maximum. However, the pastor was able to have everything completed and put in place entirely by volunteer services and donations.
Easter Sunday services will follow the regular schedule of Masses: 7 a.m., 8:45 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 12:30 p.m. (Spanish), and 6 p.m. in English.