Taper candles that were lit from the newly blessed Paschal fire illumine St. Anthony of Padua Church at the start of the Easter Vigil.
Taper candles that were lit from the newly blessed Paschal fire illumine St. Anthony of Padua Church at the start of the Easter Vigil.
The Easter Vigil Mass in St. Anthony of Padua Church, Red Bank, celebrated a “God of promises fulfilled, hopes realized and dreams come true.

“Today on this beautiful night, with joy in our hearts, we lay any disappointments and broken promises or heartbreaks at the foot of the Cross and then … run together to the empty tomb, to Jesus resurrected,” said Father Alberto Tamayo, pastor, and principal celebrant of the April 8 Mass.

PHOTO GALLERLY: Easter Vigil in St. Anthony of Padua Church, Red Bank

The Mass began outside in front of the church where the Paschal fire was blessed and the Paschal candle was lit. While carrying the Paschal candle, Brother Don Ronnig, a member of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri and a deacon in the parish, led the procession into the darkened church. The flame from the Paschal candle was used to light the taper candles the congregants were holding. 

“The procession of the candlelight into the dark church signifies the light Jesus brings to our darkness, to all of us,” explained Father Nicholas Dolan, parish parochial vicar, prior to the Vigil Mass.

In his homily, Father Tamayo reflected on the abundant gifts of God who sent “his only Son” to save the world. He urged those present not to despair when things don’t work out as hoped for because they are just things “from this passing world.

“There is one who never disappoints, there is one who not only delivers on his promises, but he surpasses what he promises, and we celebrate him today.”

During Mass Father Tamayo baptized 10 young parishioners. In addition, six adults who were already baptized Catholic were confirmed and another three adults were both confirmed and received First Eucharist.

Reina Escobar, who had been previously baptized and received First Eucharist, wanted to be confirmed as an adult because she wanted to deepen her relationship with God.

“I learned a lot and now I have a better understanding of God’s Word. Being a good Catholic is knowing that one doesn’t know everything and there is always a chance to learn something new,” said Escobar, who chose Caterina as her Confirmation name after St. Catherine of Siena because she defended the poor and the sick and never denied the love she felt for God.

Abel Gregorio Espidio, who also received Sacraments that night, said, “I am getting married in September and after talking to my fiancé we decided to do this to become closer with God in our new life.”

Espidio expressed his desire for his family to learn that you can do anything when God is with you. “My favorite lesson was the one about our soul receiving the final judgment when we leave this earth. This experience … has increased my faith and made me realize how blessed I am.”

Ester Maria Munoz, a lifelong parishioner whose son is an altar server, was inspired by the sense of community that can be felt throughout the Mass, “It is important to know that no one on earth will give us what God will give us, eternal life, the chance to be with God always.”

Maria Lazo, an RCIA team member, who helped in the preparation of the Mass, shared that the family members of the persons who received the Sacraments are encouraged to come to witness the celebration in hopes that this unites them in the faith as a family.