Happy Easter!

Posted on Thursday, April 9th, 2015 at 10:07 pm

Happy Easter, Feliz Pascua!!

Aqui estan las fotos de el fin de semana de Pascuas, cuando mi hermana Natalia fue bautizada en la fe Catolica, gracias a Dios!

We went down to LA this past weekend for Easter, to see my sister Natalia get baptized into the Catholic faith! This was a pretty amazing experience, and the perfect example of how God hears our prayers even if we do not get the answer right away. It took time, but praise God that Natalia heard the Lord knocking and answered the door. He always stands at the door and knocks but it is up to us to let him in. He will never force his way in or knock the door down. He is a gentle and loving presence who is always faithfully waiting for us to let him in.

On Saturday I went to a rehearsal at the church SS Peter and Paul where she was going to be baptized later that evening. My mom drove PJ and I over to the church and took care of the babe while we did the rehearsal. Nati was blessed with the oil of catechumins after the rehearsal and prayed over with the prayers of minor exorcism.  This in preparation for her to leave sin behind and start anew in her baptism.

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You can see Nati in this picture on the right side by the covered statue.

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Fr. Patrick gives a short homily on the Eucharist being the True Body of Christ.

 

After the rehearsal and blessing we were all set to enjoy a leisurely lunch together somewhere nice…but wait! Mom lost her keys!! We spent the next hour combing the church and the grounds for her lost key, but to no avail. So, instead, we sent Nati to buy take out and ended up have lunch in the courtyard while my Dad drove all the way from Montebello with the spare keys. It was a beautiful day out, the weather was perfect. And we got to spend time together, so it wasn’t exactly a hardship!

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Dad finally arrived and rescued us, so Mom drove us home to rest and change before the evening.

The Easter vigil Mass went very well. It is a beautiful Mass- it starts outside with a bonfire that is used to light the Easter Candle. Then everyone processes into the church following the priests and altar boys. In our case, we processed in with the Norbertine nuns and novices. They even let Ivy process in with us. Inside the church all the lights have been extinguished to symbolize the death of Jesus at the crucifixion. For 3 days the disciples were in darkness, and this is made present again in the darkness of the church.

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Natalia and Ivy with the sisters and novices before Mass

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Ivy and I in front of the pew that was  reserved for Nati and family

The priest stops 3 times as they process into the darkened church and chant “Lumen Christi!” (Light of Christ) and everyone responds “Deo Gratias!” (Thanks be to God) Then, in the center of the church they use the fire from the Easter candle to light up the candles that the people behind them are holding. Everyone holds their own candle. Slowly, one by one, the candlelight spreads throughout the church. It is beautiful to see. The light of Christ coming to each and every one of us in the form of the Resurrection.

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A brief glimpse of the people with their candles. I felt obtrusive taking a picture so I only got a quick little shot of the people nearest to us. You should have seen behind us into the back of the church, hundreds of candles glowing.

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Natalia holding her candle and following along in the Missal while the Exultet was chanted

The Easter Vigil Mass continues with 5-7 readings and several responsorial psalms. Its a 3 hour Mass when its all said and done. At the singing of the Gloria, the altar boys ring the bells continuously throughout the entire song. Its so festive and happy! Now we have the church brightly lit again, the beautiful spring flowers are covering the altar, and these beautiful bells are pealing as we sing Glory to God in the Highest!!! I love it. I had not been to an Easter Vigil Mass since my own baptism. I wished I could go but since I was pregnant with Ivy at my own baptism, that was the start of the babies and turning in early for the night. But now, of course, Ivy was old enough to come with us. She lasted quite a while but eventually laid her head down on my lap and fell asleep. I woke her up for the baptism part and for Holy Communion.

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Here is the poor girl after Mass, totally dead asleep on Iaia’s lap.

After the reading and the homily it was time for the baptism! In that moment, seeing her baptized, it was so crystal clear to me that God truly hears and answers our prayers. I have prayed for Nati’s conversion for years. I mean, YEARS. I prayed for her even when it seemed quite apparent that there was zero hope of her converting. And yet, here she was, receiving the cleansing waters of baptism! So, be forewarned. If you aren’t Catholic yet, my prayers are comin’ ta gitcha! Granted it may take a decade or so. But it’ll happen, you’ll see!

I could say so much more and go on and on about the evening and how beautiful and amazing it was. But in the interest of time, I will just give you some more pictures. One thing I will add though, is that I thought it was so wonderful that Natalia received the True Body of Christ kneeling and on the tongue, at the altar rails. It was so reverent, and she deserves (as do we all!) the opportunity to bend the knee at the Real Presence. So many churches these days look at you like a crazy person if you kneel for Holy Communion. But really, the crazy person is the one who does not acknowledge the Real Presence and simply stands there without giving due reverence by kneeling before the King of Kings!

Alright, here we go… pictures!

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Nati holding her baptismal certificate with her RCIA teacher Kathy (God bless her!)

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With Fr. Patrick

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Andrea and Natalia after Mass

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Natalia and Dad

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Selfie time!

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After the glorious Easter Vigil we had, the next day was Easter Sunday and we all got to hang out together as a family. First at Phillip’s sister Sara’s house and then later at my cousin Diane’s house. Here are the pictures from Sunday.

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Mercy Carter

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My Godson and nephew Henry Carter

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PJ was born on Easter of last year. Is he snazzy or what??

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Egg hunt at the Carter’s

 

 

 

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PJ con su abuelo

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Nati with Donaxi

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Andrea with Donaxi

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The girls with their cousins Patrick and Sarita

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The cousins

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My cousin Diane with her husband Santos

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Funny Bunny Rose

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Funny Bunny Phillip Jr.

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The Leal family, minus PJ who was napping!

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