Archbishop José H. Gomez celebrated the Easter Vigil Mass April 20 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

The Mass, which celebrates Christ’s Resurrection from the dead, began outside with the blessing of the fire at the Easter Fire Hearth on the Plaza. 

The vigil consists of a brief candlelight service and a service of the Word. 

Dating from at least the mid-second century, this is one of the oldest Christian celebrations. 

The Vigil is a culmination of the entire Church year, an encapsulation of the Paschal Mystery and a rehearsal of salvation history in word and song.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles welcomed 1,560 new Catholics during the Easter Vigil. They received the Sacraments of Initiation at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels or at their respective parishes in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

While people can become Catholic at any time of the year, the Easter Vigil is a particularly appropriate moment for adult catechumens to be baptized and for already-baptized Christians to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church.

“The Church is God’s beautiful family and our Father gives each one of us a purpose, a duty, a part to play that no one else can play in his great story of salvation,” said Archbishop José H. Gomez. 

“My brothers and sisters, it is a beautiful thing to know the living God! Let us resolve again to walk with Jesus in friendship and in love, and every day let us share his love and tell others about him. This is our mission, just like the Apostles who became witnesses of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ!”