An unfortunate accident during the Easter Vigil at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church sent three people to the hospital with burns on Saturday night. All three local stations led off their late newscasts with the story. The injuries occurred during the Service of Light, which takes place outdoors with the congregation surrounding a blazing fire. The people who were burned were wearing robes and were probably standing fairly close. News reports indicate that one man was a deacon. The others could be catechumens, candidates or even altar servers.
Although the early details were sketchy, I thought about the similarities and differences between last night’s news and the Vigils I have attended over the years. The fire I saw at Holy Family this year was uneventful, if you don’t count the roar of the engines from the nearby 411 Motor Speedway.
It took two attempts to light the fire last year at Sacred Heart Cathedral. I remember being more nervous about the fires at St. Finbar in Burbank. One year they squirted lighter fluid on the already lit flames. Another year the wind whipped up some sparks that landed in my wife’s hair. She had been told to stand near the priest because she would always sing the Exultet since they didn’t have a deacon who could do it.
After the Easter Vigil, I offered to help Fr. Ragan Schriver fill plastic eggs with candy. He plans to have parishioners help him distribute them to the children today. Fr. Ragan was particularly amused by the camouflage eggs, which should be, in theory, impossible to find.