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Eastchester Eagerly Awaits Easter Vigil, Bunny

TUCKAHOE, N.Y.  --  Easter preparations were under way Friday in Eastchester and Tuckahoe with some residents looking forward to the traditional Easter Vigil Mass at the Church of the Immaculate Conception Saturday evening and others decorating their homes in hopes of a visit by the Easter Bunny.

Julianna Portante, 12, said that while she was looking forward to celebrating the religious holiday traditionally with her family, it was the anticipation of gifts brought by the Easter bunny that prompted her and her 6-year-old brother, Joey, to help decorate the outside of their Columbus Avenue home.

“Coloring the eggs, hunting for the eggs and the candy is the best part,” Julianna said Friday while reviewing the heavily decorated front yard and door of their home, which sported bunnies tall and small, Easter egg decals and spring flower decorations.

“Chocolate eggs are the best,” Joey added.

Early afternoon on Good Friday, Robert Harvey, music director and organist at Immaculate Conception, practiced Gregorian chants and choral pieces by Mozart and Handel on the organ for the multiple Masses scheduled to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The Rev. Eric Raaser said church officials had been busy preparing for the 10 Masses scheduled at his church and the neighboring Church of the Assumption, beginning with the intricate and revered, 90-minute vigil at 8 p.m. Saturday at Immaculate Conception.

“We bless the new fire and light the new candle, which is brought into the darkened church, and everyone lights their candle off that, illuminating the entire church,” Raaser said.

Starting at 7:45 a.m. Sunday and including the 10:30 a.m. choral Mass at Immaculate Conception and noon Mass in Spanish at the Church of the Assumption, the staggered Masses allow “the faithful to rejoice that Christ has come back to Earth,” Raaser said.

“Easter is a day of great hope, despite the sadness, sufferings and hurt people today are feeling, from the economy and events around the world,” the pastor added. “A lot of people want to give up, but the joy of Easter is that it gives us hope.”

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