Twelve years ago I was received into the Church at Easter Vigil. It was the best night of my life. I can't even describe in words the longing I had for Eucharist or the joy of receiving it. My life since then has been full along every dimension -- I was welcomed into a community spanning peoples and classes and ages, a singularly vibrant parish comprised of devout Filipinos, Hispanics and Anglos; I have seen miracles; I have known great love; I have had my soul ripped apart in agony. I gave up tenure and a beautiful home to follow a calling to a new career -- which after seven years of labor and arid desert is finally bearing fruit. Everything changed. Becoming Catholic was the last thing I expected. I was a practicing Pagan with no use for organized religion. My Church is flawed, to put it mildly. But at the heart of the Church there is this incredible faith and love that is stunning. I know a woman who was abused and massively unsure of herself as a result, who felt called by the spirit to organize over fifty volunteers in six teams to offer a weekly sit-down dinner to over 150 homeless people so they could not only be fed, but dine with dignity. Table clothes, candles, and people to wait on them. I have neighbors raising four children on his income as a high school teacher who took in four more children when their parents went to jail on drug charges. I have seen a man with a horrendous wasting disease that is disintegrating his bones bit by bit in an endless agony, who meets each day with joy and concern for others. People are amazing. For a cynical child of the seventies it has been humbling in the extreme to realize that you really can just love other people with everything that you are. I have not missed an Easter Vigil since my conversion, and I pray God that I never will. There is a light in all that darkness, a promise in faith and hope and love that the light will swallow up the darkness, that in the end every tear will be wiped away. Happy Easter!!!