'The Risen Lord has made his home among us' 

Here is the Homily of Archbishop Leo Cushley from The Easter Vigil (30 March) at St Mary’s Metropolitan Cathedral, Edinburgh.

"My dear friends,

A very happy Easter to you all!  Tonight, we hear with the greatest joy the readings of our Vigil, and we listen to moments of salvation history and catch glimpses of the hand of God in human affairs, now gently, now strongly, bringing us towards the Incarnation, the birth of Christ and His saving death and resurrection.

Our first reading, from Genesis, is the ever-green, ever-beautiful story of the how we all came to be.

You and I all stand here because, in some way, in some impossibly far-off time, life was born in our world.

The inanimate became animate, matter became aware, and self-conscious, and learned to speak, to love, to remember and to build.

The very word, “animate” tells us of a soul being awakened within us and of the growth of something, someone, that was always intended to be worthy of the Creator, a creature that could love God in return for his or her very existence.

Genesis, unaware of future science, gives us instead a picture of relationships, of love and hate, of good and evil, of right and wrong.

It is eternally wise and inspiring, profound and thought provoking. And among its many lessons, it urges us to be better than we know ourselves to be.

All that we are longs to be in harmony with God and with his creation; and tonight, God puts all things right, restores all things, and welcomes us back.

The struggle for goodness and righteousness takes us past Abraham and Isaac and we then come to the story of the people of Israel crossing the Red Sea.

This story tells of Israel’s liberation, and it is used by Christians to see God’s hand in our own liberation from sin and death through the waters, not of the Red Sea, but of Baptism.

Make your way to the light.  Free yourselves and return to the Lord!

We always read it here, on this night, because tonight it becomes a reality for us, as we baptise people in the waters of death and new life.

The next reading we heard tonight is from the prophet Baruch.

It starts with a paragraph that is one big, long question: Why, Israel, are you still in the country of your enemies?  Why are you counted among those who prefer death? What have done with your freedom?

The Lord then says, Leave all that behind; learn instead “where knowledge is, where strength, where understanding, and so learn where length of days is, where life, where the light of the eyes, and where peace.”

Make your way to the light.  Free yourselves and return to the Lord!

We then listen to Paul reminding us what Baptism really means.

And it isn’t just about sin or washing off a little dirt. His opening line is, “When we were baptized, we were baptized into his […] death; in other words, when we were baptized, we went into the tomb with him and joined him in death, so that […] we might live a new life”.

This really is about life and death.

In Baptism, we become part of God’s plan to bring us back to him, back to life, back to a sense of gratitude, the gratitude and simple, good happiness of children for all the good things God has done for us, starting with the gifts of life and light and love.

And the key which unlocks the doors to new life, to a new relationship with God, with each other, with the whole of God’s good creation, starts with the rolling away of the stone at the Empty Tomb.

Be confident that the Lord and his Spirit will always accompany you.

The women go to the Tomb, the stone is rolled back, and a wonderful new chapter of creation’s story begins.

And where will we see this unfold today?

Do we have to go to Jerusalem to see it and experience it, or travel to the ends of the universe, or peer into telescopes for a glimpse of the beginning of time?

No, we’ll find it right here.  Here at this font.  Here in our faith in the risen Lord.  Here in our homes.

Not for nothing does the young man in white at the Empty Tomb tell the terrified women to go and tell Jesus’ disciples not to look for him in the Tomb.

He tells them, and he tells us, Jesus “is going before you to Galilee, it is there you will see him, just as he told you”.

Galilee is of course a real place, many of us have been there and seen it for ourselves.

But Galilee can also stand in the Gospels for home.

In contrast to Judea, a place of confrontation and hostility, and even of Jesus’ death, Galilee stands for the home of Jesus and his disciples.

It stands for a place where we are safe, a place where we will meet Jesus, if we would only go and look for him.

Jesus, the risen Lord, has made his home among us.

He walks among us, even in our most familiar paths. We ought to make a home for him in our own Galilee, in our own home, in our hearts.

Finally, to you who are about to become Catholic Christians, we pray that tonight you will be filled with joy.

Tonight, my friends, you are coming home, and the risen Lord will be there to welcome you.

As you enter into Life in Christ, learn to listen for the Lord’s voice, and learn to recognise him, especially in the places most familiar to you.

And be confident that the Lord and his Spirit will always accompany you.

A very happy Easter to you all!"

Easter Vigil: Church prepares to welcome new members

Claire Greig remembers the “clincher” moment when she decided to become Catholic.

It was during the first RCIA session that she and fiancé Simon Bryce attended at St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh to learn about Jesus and the Catholic Faith.

“One of the leaders, Kate, spoke about prayer and I started crying!” she said.

“That was the clincher for me. It just turned into this amazing thing. Everything that Fr Patrick Burke at the Cathedral said at the RCIA classes made sense – he is realistic about things and his knowledge and openness really helped.”

Claire (35) and Simon (44), above, of Ormiston in East Lothian, are part of a group of 19 Catechumens and Candidates being received into the Catholic Church at tonight’s Easter Vigil Mass at the Cathedral.

RCIA stands for Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. The RCIA group at the Cathedral meets throughout the year to help those interested in learning more about the Catholic faith, with a view to becoming members of the Church.

At the Cathedral the programme is led by Fr Patrick, Deacon Peter Traynor and volunteers Shirley, Lorna, Jackie, and Kate.

“It’s been an educational and enlightening journey for us so far and this is just the start.

Simon, a joiner to trade, said: “Once we started attending the RCIA meetings there was an instant love of the religion and the people, it felt natural to us both.

“The educational part of it has been important to me. The people in the group, especially those who run it – and a special mention for Fr Patrick – all played their part. It’s amazing that the volunteers give up their time to do that.”

Simon was familiar with the basics of Christianity and remembers prayers at assembly and grace before meals at the armed forces school he attended.

He believes the RCIA programme helped feed his desire to learn more about Catholicism.

“It’s been an educational and enlightening journey for us so far and this is just the start. It means everything to us now,” he said.

Claire and Simon will be married in St Mary’s Cathedral on 28 June 2025.

Flore Chantegros (27, above) will also become a Catholic at the Easter Vigil at the Cathedral tonight.

She is from Limoges in France and now lives and works in Edinburgh, with a job in Product Development for Nairn’s Oatcakes.

She said: “I went to a Catholic school and always felt Catholic, and was brought up with those values, but I never had an official Baptism.

“My mother was keen for me to choose later on in life.

“I always thought about becoming a Catholic and now felt like the right time. I got engaged last summer and I never saw myself getting married anywhere other than in the Church.

“I really enjoyed the RCIA group – there are people from different backgrounds and nationalities. It was interesting and enjoyable, and I learned so much.”

Shirley Grieve, one of the RCIA volunteers, said: “It’s wonderful to see the joy in people being received at Easter.

“It's also important that they know just how much this means to our parishioners, it really encourages them in their own faith."

At tonight's Mass Archbishop Leo Cushley will tell them: "We pray that tonight you will be filled with joy.

"Tonight, my friends, you are coming home, and the risen Lord will be there to welcome you.

"As you enter into Life in Christ, learn to listen for the Lord’s voice, and learn to recognise him, especially in the places most familiar to you.

"And be confident that the Lord and his Spirit will always accompany you."

The Easter Vigil takes place at St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh tonight (Saturday 30 March) at 7:00pm. To find out more about the RCIA programme at the Cathedral contact cathedralhouse@stmaryscathedral.co.uk

GALLERY: welcome to our new Catholics!

Congratulations to all who received the sacraments of Baptism, First Holy Communion or Confirmation at Easter Vigils across the Archdiocese last night (Saturday 16 April).

At St Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh, eight people were Baptized and received into the Church: Joanna, Jooyong, Shirlee, Maylis, Matthew, Nilesh, Rowen and Jean; and a further eight people received into the Church received Holy Communion and were Confirmed: Susannah, Naomi, Sherisse, Merran, Tony, An, Sebastian and Cathie.

An additional nine people were Confirmed: Paul, Nyasha, Amelia, Jone, Zilvinas, Pamela, Joseph, Dario and Myron.

Canon Patrick Burke, parish priest at the Cathedral, said: "This is the end of a long journey of faith for each of them. I know that you will make them very welcome as they make this step and I ask you to keep them all in your prayers as they participate in our parish community."

Read Archbishop Leo Cushley's Easter Vigil homily here. Full picture gallery here.


All pics: Benedicta Yi Xin Lin.