Holy Saturday - April 3rd

Holy Saturday - The Easter Liturgy

A warm welcome to this service

The Easter Liturgy is meant to be a real experience of new life, a passing from darkness to light, which offers hope to all the faithful.

The Vigil reminds us that from earliest times the Church would keep watch throughout the night and meditate on the mighty works of God.

The Service of Light proclaims the resurrection of Christ from the dead in word and action, in silence and sound. The Easter Candle symbolises Christ, the light of the world. The Liturgy of Initiation invites us to re-affirm our baptismal vows, a public declaration of our union with Christ in his death and resurrection. The celebration of the Eucharist is a proper climax to the Easter Liturgy, when we are sacramentally reunited with our risen Lord. 


The Service of Light

Welcome and Introduction                                 

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this most holy night, when our Lord Jesus Christ passed from death to life, the Church invites her children throughout the world to come together in vigil and prayer. This is the Passover of the Lord. We remember his death and resurrection by hearing his word and celebrating his mysteries, confident that we shall share his victory over death and live with him for ever in God.

Eternal God, who made this most holy night to shine with the brightness of your one true light: set us aflame with the fire of your love, and bring us to the radiance of your heavenly glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.              All    Amen.

Christ yesterday and today, the beginning and the end, Alpha and Omega, all time belongs to him, and all ages; to him be glory and power, through every age and for ever.                All    Amen.

By his holy and glorious wounds may Christ our Lord guard and keep us.                        All    Amen.


May the light of Christ, rising in glory, banish all darkness from our hearts and minds.

The light of Christ.                                     All     Thanks be to God.

This is repeated twice more.


The Exsultet (the Easter Song of Praise)

Sing, choirs of heaven! Let saints and angels sing!
Around God's throne exult in harmony!
Now Jesus Christ is risen from the grave!
Salute your King in glorious symphony!

Sing, choirs of earth! Behold, your light has come!
The glory of the Lord shines radiantly!
Lift up your hearts, for Christ has conquered death!
The night is past, the day of life is here!

Sing, Church of God! Exult with joy outpoured!
The gospel trumpets tell of victory won!
Your Saviour lives; he's with you evermore!
Let all God's people sound the long Amen!

The Lord be with you                                        All:    and also with you.

Lift up your hearts.                                            All:    We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.            All:   It is right to give thanks and praise.

It is truly right that with full hearts and minds and voices we should praise the unseen God, our all-powerful Father, and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ:

For Christ has ransomed us with his blood and paid for us the price of Adam’s sin to our eternal Father.
This is our Passover feast, when Christ, the true Lamb, is slain, whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.

This is the night when first you saved our fathers, you freed the people of Israel from their slavery and led them dry-shod through the sea.

This is the night when Christians everywhere, washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement, are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.

This is the night when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death and rose triumphant from the grave.

Father, how wonderful your care for us! How boundless your merciful love! To ransom a slave you gave away your Son. O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer!

The power of this holy night dispels all evil, washes guilt away, restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy: Night truly blessed when heaven is wedded to earth, and man is reconciled with God!

Therefore, heavenly Father, in the joy of this night, receive our evening sacrifice of praise, your Church’s solemn offering: accept this Easter Candle, a flame divided but undimmed, a pillar of fire that glows to the honour of God. Let it mingle with lights of heaven and continue bravely burning to dispel the darkness of this night!

May the Morning Star, which never sets, find this flame still burning, Christ, that Morning Star who came back from the dead, and shed his peaceful light on all mankind, your Son who lives and reigns, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Vigil

As we await the risen Christ, let us hear the record of God’s saving deeds in history, recalling how he saved his people in ages past and in the fullness of time sent his Son to be our Redeemer; and let us pray that through this Easter celebration God may bring to perfection in each of us the saving work he has begun.

First Old Testament reading (Genesis 22.1-18)

God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt-offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.’ So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt-offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away. Then Abraham said to his young men, ‘Stay here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship, and then we will come back to you.’ Abraham took the wood of the burnt-offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. Isaac said to his father Abraham, ‘Father!’ And he said, ‘Here I am, my son.’ He said, ‘The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt-offering?’ Abraham said, ‘God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt-offering, my son.’ So the two of them walked on together. When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill* his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.’ And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt-offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place ‘The Lord will provide’; as it is said to this day, ‘On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.’ The angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, ‘By myself I have sworn, says the Lord: Because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will indeed bless you, and I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of their enemies, and by your offspring shall all the nations of the earth gain blessing for themselves, because you have obeyed my voice.’

Between each of the three Old Testament readings, all sing once:

Bless the Lord, my soul, and bless God’s holy name. Bless the Lord, my soul, who leads me into life.

Second Old Testament reading (Exodus 14.10 - end, 15.20-21)

As Pharaoh drew near, the Israelites looked back, and there were the Egyptians advancing on them. In great fear the Israelites cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, ‘Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us, bringing us out of Egypt? Is this not the very thing we told you in Egypt, “Let us alone and let us serve the Egyptians”? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.’ But Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to keep still.’ Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Why do you cry out to me? Tell the Israelites to go forward. But you lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the Israelites may go into the sea on dry ground. Then I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and so I will gain glory for myself over Pharaoh and all his army, his chariots, and his chariot drivers. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gained glory for myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his chariot drivers.’ The angel of God who was going before the Israelite army moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and took its place behind them. It came between the army of Egypt and the army of Israel. And so the cloud was there with the darkness, and it lit up the night; one did not come near the other all night. Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided. The Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. The Egyptians pursued, and went into the sea after them, all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and chariot drivers. At the morning watch the Lord in the pillar of fire and cloud looked down upon the Egyptian army, and threw the Egyptian army into panic. He clogged* their chariot wheels so that they turned with difficulty. The Egyptians said, ‘Let us flee from the Israelites, for the Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.’ Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand over the sea, so that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and chariot drivers.’ So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at dawn the sea returned to its normal depth. As the Egyptians fled before it, the Lord tossed the Egyptians into the sea. The waters returned and covered the chariots and the chariot drivers, the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea; not one of them remained. But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. Israel saw the great work that the Lord did against the Egyptians. So the people feared the Lord and believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses.

Then the prophet Miriam, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dancing. And Miriam sang to them:‘ Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.’

Bless the Lord, my soul, and bless God’s holy name. Bless the Lord, my soul, who leads me into life.

Third Old Testament reading (Isaiah 15.1-11)

Because Ar is laid waste in a night, Moab is undone; because Kir is laid waste in a night, Moab is undone.
Dibon has gone up to the temple,    to the high places to weep; over Nebo and over Medeba  Moab wails.
On every head is baldness, every beard is shorn; in the streets they bind on sackcloth;
on the housetops and in the squares everyone wails and melts in tears.
Heshbon and Elealeh cry out, their voices are heard as far as Jahaz;
therefore the loins of Moab quiver; his soul trembles.
My heart cries out for Moab; his fugitives flee to Zoar, to Eglath-shelishiyah.
For at the ascent of Luhith they go up weeping; on the road to Horonaim they raise a cry of destruction;
the waters of Nimrim  are a desolation; the grass is withered, the new growth fails,  the verdure is no more.
Therefore the abundance they have gained and what they have laid up they carry away over the Wadi of the Willows.
For a cry has gone around the land of Moab; the wailing reaches to Eglaim, the wailing reaches to Beer-elim.
For the waters of Dibon are full of blood; yet I will bring upon Dibon even more—a lion for those of Moab who escape, for the remnant of the land.

Bless the Lord, my soul, and bless God’s holy name. Bless the Lord, my soul, who leads me into life.


The Easter Acclamation

The acclamation is made three times, the first time in a whisper, the second time a little louder and the third time in a great shout:

Alleluia. Christ is risen.                                                          All    He is risen indeed. Alleluia.

Peruvian Gloria

Glory to God, glory to God, glory to our maker.         All:   Glory to God, glory to God, glory to our maker.

To God be glory for ever.                                            All:    To God be glory for ever.


Alleluia, Amen!    All     Alleluia, Amen!    
Alleluia, Amen!    All     Alleluia, Amen!     
Alleluia, Amen!    All     Alleluia, Amen!

Glory to Christ, glory to Christ, glory to our brother.    All:   Glory to Christ, glory to Christ, glory to our brother.

To Christ be glory for ever.                                           All:    To Christ be glory forever.


Glory to God, glory to God, glory to the Spirit.              All:     Glory to God, glory to God, glory to the Spirit.

Give us your freedom for ever.                                      All:     Give us your freedom for ever.



The Collect

Let us pray that we may reign with the risen Christ in glory.

Lord of all life and power, who through the mighty resurrection of your Son overcame the old order of sin and death to make all things new in him: grant that we, being dead to sin and alive to you in Jesus Christ, may reign with him in glory; to whom with you and the Holy Spirit be praise and honour, glory and might, now and in all eternity.   All: Amen.

New Testament Reading     (Romans 6.3-11)

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.      For the word of the Lord    All     Thanks be to God.

Psalm 114                                                                   

 When Israel came out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of a strange tongue, Judah became his sanctuary,Israel his dominion.

All               Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

The sea saw that, and fled; Jordan was driven back. The mountains skipped like rams, the little hills like young sheep.

All              Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

What ailed you, O sea, that you fled? O Jordan, that you were driven back? You mountains, that you skipped like rams, you little hills like young sheep?

All              Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, who turns the hard rock into a pool of water, the flint-stone into a springing well.

All                Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Reading    (Mark 16.1-8)                                                    

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. I am the first and the last, says the Lord, and the living one; I was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore.

All              Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Lord be with you     All:    and also with you.

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark.

All              Glory to you, O Lord.

When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.  And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb.  They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’  When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back.  As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed.  But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.  He has been raised; he is not here.  Look, there is the place they laid him.  But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’  So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

This is the Gospel of the Lord.              All:     Praise to you, O Christ.

The Liturgy of Initiation

All are invited to renew their Baptismal Vows.

 As we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, we remember that through the paschal mystery we have died and been buried with him in baptism, so that we may rise with him to a new life within the family of his Church. Now that we have completed our observance of Lent, we renew the promises made at our baptism, affirming our allegiance to Christ, and our rejection of all that is evil.

Therefore I ask these questions:

Do you turn to Christ?              All  I turn to Christ.

Do you repent of your sins?     All  I repent of my sins. 

Do you renounce evil?              All  I renounce evil.

And now I ask you to make the profession of Christian faith into which you were baptized and in which you live and grow.

Do you believe and trust in God the Father, source of all being and life, the one for whom we exist?

All              I believe and trust in him.

Do you believe and trust in God the Son, who took our human nature, died for us and rose again?

All              I believe and trust in him.

Do you believe and trust in God the Holy Spirit, who gives life to the people of God and makes Christ known in the world?

All              I believe and trust in him.

This is the faith of the Church.

All              This is our faith. We believe and trust in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ was baptized in the river Jordan, we thank you for the gift of water to cleanse us and revive us.
Bless this water, that your servants may be made one with Christ in his death and in his resurrection, to be cleansed and delivered from all sin.

Almighty God, we thank you for our fellowship in the household of faith with all those who have been baptized in your name. Keep us faithful to our baptism, and so make us ready for that day when the whole creation shall be made perfect in your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.    All:     Amen.  


The Lord’s Prayer

Rejoicing in God's new creation, as our Saviour taught us, so we pray

All:    Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done,on earth as in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sinsas we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.



This is the night of new beginnings. This is the night when heaven meets earth. This is the night filled with God’s glory, promise of our new birth!


Christ , be our light! Shine in our hearts. Shine through the darkness. Christ, be out light! Shine in your church gathered today.

This is the night Christ our Redeemer rose from the grave triumphant and free, leaving the tomb of evil and darkness empty for all to see,


Now will the fire kindled in darkness burn to dispel the shadows of night. Star of the morning, Jesus our Saviour, you are the world’s true light!


Sing of the hope deeper than dying. Sing of the power stronger than death. Sing of the love endless as heaven, dawning throughout the earth.


Into this world morning is breaking. All of God’s people, lift up your voice. Cry out with joy, tell out the story, all of the earth, rejoice!


Bernadette Farrell (b.1957)


The Dismissal

Easter Blessing                                                      

God the Father, by whose love Christ was raised from the dead, open to you who believe the gate of everlasting life. All     Amen.                       

God the Son, who in bursting from the grave has won a glorious victory, give you joy as you share the Easter faith.    All     Amen.                     

God the Holy Spirit, who filled the disciples with the life of the risen Lord, empower you and fill you with Christ’s peace.   All    Amen.                      

And the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with you and with all those whom you love where ever they may be now and for all eternity.  All    Amen.

Surrexit Christus

(O Christ is risen, alleluia! Sing to the Lord, alleluia!)

All       O O O O surrexit Christus, alleluia! O O O O, cantate Domino, alleluia!

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,                              All    Surrexit Christus, alleluia!

For his love has no end.                                                      All    Cantate Domino, alleluia!

The Lord is my strength, the lord is my song.                     All    Surrexit Christus, alleluia!

He has been my Saviour                                                     All    Cantate Domino, alleluia!  

I shall not die, I shall live.                                                    All    Surrexit Christus, alleluia!

I shall live and recount his deeds.                                       All    Cantate Domino, alleluia!

All     O O O O surrexit Christus, alleluia! O O O O, cantate Domino, alleluia!


Easter Dismissal

With the risen life of Christ within you, go in the peace of Christ.  Alleluia! Alleluia!     All:    Thanks be to God.  Alleluia! Alleluia!