For your imfornation and comments.
Dates referenced are for other years.
In the primitive Church Holy Saturday was known as Great, or Grand, Saturday, Holy Saturday, the Angelic Night, the Vigil of Easter, etc. It is no longer, like Maundy Thursday, a day of joy, but one of joy and sadness intermingled; it is the close of the season of Lent and penance, and the beginning of paschal time, which is one of rejoicing.
By a noteworthy exception, in the early Church this was the only Saturday on which fasting was permitted (Constit. Apost., VII, 23), and the fast was one of special severity. Dating from the time of St. Irenaeus, an absolute fast from every kind of food was observed for the forty hours preceding the feast of Easter, and although the moment assigned for breaking the fast at dawn on Sunday varied according to time and country, the abstinence from food on Holy Saturday was general.
The night of the vigil of Easter has undergone a strange displacement. During the first six or seven centuries, ceremonies were in progress throughout the entire night, so that the Alleluia coincided with the day and moment of the Resurrection. In the eighth century these same ceremonies were held on Saturday afternoon and, by a singular anachronism, were later on conducted on Saturday morning, thus the time for carrying out the solemnity was advanced almost a whole day. Thanks to this change, special services were now assigned to Holy Saturday whereas, beforehand, it had had none until the late hour of the vigil.
This vigil opened with the blessing of the new fire, the lighting of lamps and candles and of the paschal candle, ceremonies that have lost much of their symbolism by being anticipated and advanced from twilight to broad daylight. St. Cyril of Jerusalem spoke of this night that was as bright as day, and Constantine the Great added unprecedented splendour to its brilliancy by a profusion of lamps and enormous torches, so that not only basilicas, but private houses, streets, and public squares were resplendent with the light that was symbolic of the Risen Christ. The assembled faithful gave themselves up to common prayer, the singing of psalms and hymns, and the reading of the Scriptures commentated by the bishop or priests. The vigil of Easter was especially devoted to the baptism of catechumens who, in the more important churches, were very numerous. On the Holy Saturday following the deposition of St. John Chrysostom from the See of Constantinople, there were 3000 catechumens in this church alone. Such numbers were, of course, only encountered in large cities; nevertheless, as Holy Saturday and the vigil of Pentecost were the only days on which baptism was administered, even in smaller churches there was always a goodly number of catechumens. This meeting of people in the darkness of the night often occasioned abuses which the clergy felt powerless to prevent by active supervision unless by so anticipating the ceremonies that all of them could take place in daylight. Rabanus Maurus, an ecclesiastical writer of the ninth century (De cleric. Instit., II, 28), gives a detailed account of the ceremony of Holy Saturday. The congregation remained silent in the church awaiting the dawn of the Resurrection, joining at intervals in psalmody and chant and listening to the reading of the lessons. These rites were identical with those in the primitive Church and were solemnized at the same hours, as the faithful throughout the world had not yet consented to anticipate the Easter vigil and it was only during the Middle Ages that uniformity on this point was established.
Absolutely beautiful celebration!
Two weeks ago, the RCIA candidates from the Albany diocese were welcomed by the bishop at the Cathedral of the Immacualte Conception, where they signed their names to the register. I also found the following information at the diocese web site. It complements what you have already written.
OF SPECIAL NOTE: CONFIRMATION
Adults who come into the Church through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults receive Confirmation with Baptism and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil as administered by the priest. However, this opportunity is taken to respond to several inquiries regarding the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation in other circumstances. According to the liturgical laws of the Church, the ordinary minister of Confirmation is a bishop. However, at the Easter Vigil, on Pentecost Sunday, and at other times during the year, a priest may celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation, in virtue of faculties granted directly by canon law or by the Bishop (Canon 882) in the following situations:
1. To confirm an adult who was previously baptized in another Christian tradition, when that person is received into full communion with the Catholic Church (Canon 883.2 gives the faculty).
2. To confirm an adult who was previously baptized in the Catholic Church but who was raised in neither the Catholic faith nor any other faith tradition upon the person's reconciliation with the Church (Diocesan faculties granted by Bishop Hubbard on January 1, 1985)
3. To confirm an adult who was baptized in the Catholic Church but who had been brought up in or joined another non‑Catholic Christian religion, and now seeks full reception in the Catholic Church. The Confirmation would take place at the time of their reception. (Diocesan faculties granted by Bishop Hubbard on January 1, 1985).
N.B. Catholic Confirmation is never repeated, so, if a person joined another non‑Catholic Christian religion following Catholic Confirmation and now wishes to return, they would be received back into the Catholic Church, but not confirmed again. (Canon 845, 1)
HOWEVER, IT IS RESERVED TO THE BISHOP to confirm a person who was baptized in the Catholic Church and raised in the faith but had lapsed in the practice of their faith and then after a period of time (often many years) now desires to be confirmed and to actively involved in the life of the Church.
It is also reserved to the Bishop to confirm a person who was baptized in the Catholic Church and raised in the faith, but for some reason was never confirmed.
Often, for pastoral reasons, those previously baptized in the Catholic faith, but never confirmed join Catechumens and Candidates for Full Communion through the parish R.C.I.A. process. The faculty to confirm these adults must be requested, in each instance, from the bishop. This faculty is granted with the clear expectation that the appropriate catechetical preparation has been completed. PLEASE SEE THE ATTACHED FORM.