Easter Vigil Homily and Images

Easter Vigil 2023 – Ennis Cathedral – Saturday 8th of April

Occasionally a story or an incident from history captivates the mind with intriguing detail that hooks you in!  Over the past days I have been very taken by the story, a summary of which is in your newsletter this evening.   The event in question will be remembered here this day week with Mass in the Cathedral at 11.00 a.m. and a ceremony of prayer and commemoration in Drumcliff cemetery afterwards.

The event marks the 75th anniversary of the crash in Shannon of an American Pan Am aeroplane that tragically came down, getting into difficulties as it was landing.  Sadly, 30 people were killed, badly burnt to death after the plane crash landed.  Many were buried in Drumcliff cemetery and their graves are suitably marked and are now well cared for by kindly local parishioners.

Miraculously, of the 31 on board, one person survived.  As it happened, the wife of this one person, named Marc Worst happened to be waiting for him in Shannon airport.  When the crash happened – everyone in the airport was told that there were no survivors.  Just imagine the devastation, shock, horror of Mrs. Worst on hearing the terrible news of her husband’s demise, along with his fellow passengers.  Equally and surpassing that, just imagine the joy and exultation on her face and in her heart, when a short time later, Marc walked into the airport terminal still alive.  The sole survivor.  A miraculous resurrection as she saw it.  The miracle of being alive.

The Fall-out of Good Friday

Since mid-afternoon of yesterday, Good Friday we have been in a somewhat similar space of sadness, grief and loss marking the horrific torture and killing of Jesus.  Just imagine what it was like for Mary and the disciples on that day after the Crucifixion.

Jesus appears to Mary

Even though it is not recorded in scripture –

  • tradition has it,
  • it seems totally obvious
  • and St. Ignatius of Loyola clearly states it

that the first person that Jesus appeared to in his resurrected state was His mother Mary.  Just image the joy and exultation in Mary’s heart, like that of Mrs. Worst, upon seeing her son, risen from the dead.  We attempt to share and enter into some of that wonderful joy in the Resurrection on this holy and joyful night.

Vigil of Waiting for the Resurrection

There is something special about celebrating the Resurrection in this vigil as we do, just as night has fallen.

Night can be a graced time of encounter with God.

  • It was at night that that the great Exodus out of Egypt took place, Passover night.
  • It was at night that the Lord called the boy Samuel.
  • It was at night that the angel sang of the birth of Jesus.
  • It was before Dawn of Easter Sunday morning that the tomb was found to be empty.

During this vigil on this most sacred of nights, may we experience that

  • joy to defeat sadness,
  • light to dispel all darkness,
  • hope to conquer despair

and most of all may whatever stones of hesitancy in belief be cleared away and give way to the delight of the Resurrection this night and always.

The Lord has risen as he said he would!

Tá Mac na hÓighe slán!

Happy Easter to you and yours.