Fall's Resurrection Fest: The Autumn Easter



“Lite Up the Nite, Buffalo!” II

From the Church family that brought you the unique Our Lady’s Street Fair, comes a Catholic practice dating back to St Augustine, “Lite up the Nite, Buffalo!”  Early Christians visited cemeteries since the three Marys went to Jesus’ tomb on Easter Sunday.  Their visits didn’t stop on Easter.  They continued praying at the tombs of the holy ones, later the martyrs, and all believers. 


 Churches in the round for Mass were built almost exclusively over tombs.  St Augustine calls these memorial Eucharists “refreshment.”  Mass replaced pagan grave-picnics.  Still echoing in the First Eucharistic Prayer: “Grant them a place of refreshment, light, and peace.”  Latin’s original refrigerium, is  our cool, home refrigerator (!).


Oil lamps are lit today at Jesus’ Sepulchre in Jerusalem (above).  In this way the Eastern church remembers the “Three Marys” carrying essential oils to anoint Jesus’ body.  Songs commemorate their ancient tomb pilgrimage every Saturday (as Vigil of Resurrection) while lighting the evening gladsome light/lamp at vespers.  A most important Greek Orthodox souvenir from Jerusalem is a multi-tapered candle, emblazoned with a colored Risen Jesus, and lit at the Anastasis or Jesus’ Tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.



The Polish celebration of All Souls’ (Zaduszki), emerges from East melding with the West, Roman and Byzantine.  Poland’s history, scattered with graves fought by knights and soldiers, men and women of varied Christian faiths celebrates a day for people to pray; honor the ones they miss with ancient flames of resurrection, flower wreaths, mums, and Masses; and meet each other at cemeteries and church yards.  Older rural American churches were often built near the community cemeteries. 



In the last blog article, Sophie Hodorowicz touchingly opened the cherished treasures of active memorial and remembrance.  Cemeteries are often crammed with people witnessing to a living, outdoor, thanksgiving memorial of remembrance: of eternal, living, and supernatural source of perpetual light, the Risen Jesus.  The first days of November are often called, Autumn’s festival of Easter Resurrection.



While WNY autumn, outdoor worship may be precarious, on the evening of November 1, 2021, from 5:30pm-8:30pm at St Casimir Church, 160 Cable St, Buffalo 14206, four varied color-appropriate 5 Day vigil Candles will be made available for you to illuminate.  Green for healing and lit in the Baptistry where the oil of the sick is enshrined, Violet for forgiveness lit in the Divine Mercy Chapel, Gold for joyful thanksgiving lit in St John Paul’s Black Madonna Chapel, and Red for a remembrance flame in the Family Vine Memorial Chapel or for a Veteran at the outdoor Golgotha Memorial Shrine. 



 Participants may write names, requests, or prayers on labels to place on their candle.  Similar small vigils will be available for children.  The high, marble altar will be illuminated with four-hundred vigil lights (pic above) and front pews are roped off with flowers and candles commemorating the deceased.


The annual Mexican inspired Day of the Day of the Dead Table (Dia De Los Muertos) will welcome our family snap shots commemorating deceased loved ones (Seen Coco? Check below pic).  There will be an opportunity to add the names of your beloved dead to be called out loud by the priest during St Casimir’s all-November-long Remembrance Roll Call, beginning this night at 6:30pm.  In the tradition of St Augustine, a Mass of All Saints and service of Perpetual Light will begin at 7:15pm.  Anointing of the Sick and Confessions all evening.



Traditional British soul cakes, Polish Flame cakes, Arabic Christian memorial bread, Mexican Day of the Dead cookies, and hot chocolate (with ground red pepper, if you like) offered as traditional refreshments.  Reverent, quietly whispered tasting of sweets flows from a reverent celebration of the Lord’s Supper, extending Holy Communion into our families and homes.


Even if you only have a few minutes to stop by for a short prayer or candle lighting, you will surely discover this evening to be one of the most unique, annual, Catholic, faith celebrations of WNY. 


Light up the Nite, Buffalo! And let perpetual light shine upon them! 



NEXT BLOG: What do memorial candles, tables, refreshments, and roll calls have to do with social justice?


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