Washington Cardinal Wilton Gregory celebrated a joyful Easter Vigil on April 3, 2021 at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle.  During the vigil there, 16 people received the Sacraments of Initiation, becoming full members of the Catholic Church, including four people who were baptized and also received the sacraments of Confirmation and their First Eucharist as new Catholics.  (CS photos/Andrew Biraj)

Cardinal Gregory lights the Paschal candle as the Easter Vigil begins on April 3, 2021 at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington. (CS photos/Andrew Biraj)

One year earlier during the coronavirus pandemic that restricted public gatherings, then-Archbishop Gregory had celebrated the vigil without a congregation. At the 2021 Easter Vigil, a congregation wearing masks and maintaining social distances was able to participate in the holiest day of the church year, celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus and the new life that Christ brings to the world. 

Cardinal Gregory stands at the entrance of St. Matthew's Cathedral with the Paschal Candle, which after it was lit was used to light the small candles held by members of the congregation during the Easter Vigil on April 3 2021. (CS photos/Andrew Biraj)
Gayahtu Fahnbulleh, who received her First Communion and the sacrament of Confirmation at St. Matthew's Easter Vigil on April 3, holds a candle during the beginning of the Mass, when the cathedral was darkened except for the candle light, signifying that the risen Christ is the light of the world. (CS photo/Andrew Biraj)
A liturgical minister participating in the Easter Vigil stands near the brazier set up outside the entrance of St. Matthew's Cathedral, capturing flame that would be used to light the Paschal Candle. (CS photo/Andrew Brazier)
People attending the April 3 Easter Vigil at St. Matthew's Cathedral hold small candles in the darkened cathedral, symbolizing Christ's light. (CS photos/Andrew Biraj)

As the archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Gregory presided at the Easter Vigil at St. Matthew's Cathedral. During the vigil, Scripture readings tracing salvation history were read, culminating in a Gospel account of Jesus's resurrection, and the lights were turned on again to illuminate the cathedral.(CS photo/Andrew Biraj)
Cardinal Gregory gives his homily at the April 3 Easter Vigil at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, a landmark of faith in the nation's capital. (CS photo/Andrew Biraj)
Cardinal Gregory sprinkles holy water on the congregation during the April 3 Easter Vigil at St. Matthew's Cathedral. (CS photo/Andrew Biraj)
Washington Cardinal Wilton Gregory baptizes Jillian Shen at the Easter Vigil on April 3, 2021 at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. (CS Photo/Andrew Biraj)
Cardinal Gregory smiles after baptizing Roberto Rios during the April 3 Easter Vigil at the Cathedral of St. Matthew. (CS photo/Andrew Biraj
Roberto Rios prays after receiving first communion by Cardinal Gregory during the Easter Vigil on April 3 at St. Matthew's Cathedral. (CS Photo/Andrew Biraj)
A newly baptized woman, at left, holds a candle during the April 3 Easter Vigil at St. Matthew's Cathedra. (CS photo/Andrew Biraj)
Cardinal Gregory confirms a woman during the Easter Vigil at the cathedral. (CS photo/Andrew Biraj)
Jillian Shen receives her First Eucharist from Cardinal Gregory during the Easter Vigil at St. Matthew’s Cathedral. (CS photo/Andrew Biraj)

At the Easter Vigil that he celebrated on April 3, 2021 at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, Cardinal Gregory said, “We are enriched by our newest Catholics.” Those who were baptized and who received their First Communion and the sacrament of Confirmation at the cathedral that evening were among 830 people in parishes across the Archdiocese who became full members of the Catholic Church during the Easter Vigil.