A Guide To The Easter Season

St. Ignatius of Loyola C.S.S (@LoyolaHawksOak) | Twitter

Even though parishes remain closed due to the coronavirus, we can still unite ourselves spiritually to God by continuing to make our homes a domestic church in this time of quarantine and isolation. 

We are providing you with this guide in order to help you understand the Easter Season. Following the church’s liturgical seasons with prayer is a helpful way to keep us connected with God and our faith during this time of uncertainty.  

In our Catholic faith, Easter is not just one day but an entire season when Christians celebrate Jesus’ victory over death, resurrection to new life, ascension into Heaven and giving of the Holy Spirit. We hope that this guide will help you to reflect and pray during this Easter Season.  

WHAT HAPPENED ON EASTER SUNDAY 

The entirety of the Catholic Christian faith rises or falls on the fact of the Resurrection. Jesus said He was God, and He proved it!  

 · The women went to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body.  

· They saw angels, who told them He wasn’t there.  

· They went to tell the apostles, who initially didn’t believe them. 

 · Peter and the beloved disciple, John, rushed to see the tomb and found it empty.  

· Mary Magdalene had an encounter with the risen Christ. 

 · So did the disciples on the road to Emmaus. 

 · So did Peter.  

· So did all the apostles except Thomas (who would have one later).  

· Jesus had risen from the dead!  

To read about the events in the New Testament, you can use these scripture passages: 

 · Matthew 28:1-15  

· Mark 16:1-20 

 · Luke 24:1-49  

· John 20:1-31 

HOW LONG IS THE LITURGICAL SEASON OF EASTER? 

Easter joy and celebration continues for fifty days until Pentecost as we delve into the richness of the Easter mysteries, Jesus’s Passion, Death, Resurrection, Ascension, and Glorification. 

 · The colour of Easter Time is white  

· The first eight days of the Easter celebration is referred to as the Octave of Easter. It highlights the beginning and growth of the Jesus communities after Pentecost. The dismissal Alleluia, Alleluia is used at this time 

· The Paschal candle is lit during Mass the entire Easter Time and the Paschal Candle represents Christ 

 · Given the joyous nature of Easter Time, there are often extra liturgies during this time such as first Holy Communion and Confirmation. 

WHAT IS DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY? 

The Divine Mercy Sunday is celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter Sunday during the Octave of Easter, so it takes place on the second Sunday of Easter. Mercy is at the centre of the Gospel yet is has a special manifestation on Divine Mercy Sunday through the teaching and example of Sr. Faustina. 

This year, Divine Mercy Sunday is on Sunday April 19, 2020. 

Since our parishes remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, here are the readings: 

1st Reading: Acts 2.42-47  

2nd Reading: 1 Peter 1.3-9  

Gospel: John 20.19-31 

WHAT IS THE ASCENSION OF THE LORD? 

According to St. Luke’s account Jesus ascended 40 days after Easter. That is a symbolic rather than historical number. The Ascension of the Lord is celebrated as a holy day of obligation on the 7th Sunday of Easter. The Ascension refers to our belief that, as a final act of our redemption begun with Christ’s death on Good Friday, followed by His resurrection on Easter Sunday, in the sight of His apostles, He ascended bodily into Heaven. The reality of Christ’s Ascension is so important that the creeds (the basic statements of belief) of Christianity all affirm, in the words of the Apostles’ Creed, that “…He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.”  

The Ascension also gives us the Great Commission where Jesus tells his disciples to “baptize all the nations” in the name of the Holy Trinity.    

This year, the Ascension of the Lord is on Sunday May 24, 2020. 

Since our parishes remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, here are the readings: 

1st Reading: Acts 1.1-11  

2nd Reading: Ephesians 1.17-23 

Gospel: Matthew 28.16-20 

WHAT IS THE PENTECOST?  

Pentecost occurred when the disciples received the gift of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday, they didn’t keep it to themselves, and they didn’t stay all locked up in a room. They burst out into the world and shared the good news about “God’s deeds of power.” God is at work through the ministry of the church today, and we won’t sit here and keep it to ourselves. Our gifts say that we mean to burst out into the world, full of the good news of God’s love and saving grace. 

Easter Time closes with the Solemnity of Pentecost and celebrates the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles.  

The Greek word for Pentecost (Pentekosté) means fiftieth and refers to the entire fifty days of Easter.  

· One of the most ancient feasts of the Church mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles (20:16) and St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians (16:8).   

· Occurs 50 days after Easter Sunday 

 · Concludes the season of Easter  

· Pentecost is also considered to be the Birthday of the Church 

 · Celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit  

· The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Blessed Trinity, along with God the Father and Jesus the Son  

· The Holy Spirit is the LOVE poured out for us from the Father and the Son 

 · It was a reminder that Jesus would always be with them  

· It emboldened the Apostles with a strength beyond themselves  

· The Apostles received from the Holy Spirit a special strength to witness so that they could continue Jesus’ work of building God’s kingdom on earth such as: 

  • Speaking in new languages 
  • Showing them that Jesus’s words were no longer meant just for Jerusalem but intended to be spread to the ends of the earth.  
  • Catholics celebrate the sacrament of Confirmation which empowers one with the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: (1) Wisdom, (2) Counsel (3) Understanding, (4) Courage, (5) Knowledge, (6) Piety, and (7) Fear of the Lord. 

· The color for Pentecost is red. One association for red is the Holy Spirit.  

· The dove is the traditional symbol for the Holy Spirit.  

· The Paschal candle is extinguished and returns to its regular location adjacent to the baptismal font.  

This year, Pentecost Sunday is on Sunday May 31, 2020. 

Since our parishes remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, here are the readings: 

1st Reading: Acts 2.1-11  

2nd Reading: 1 Corinthians 12.3b-7, 12-13  

Gospel: John 20.19-23 

Let us pray during this Easter Season. Only in faith will we recognize the risen Lord. It presupposes a belief in the resurrection. In the Christian faith, we see when believe.” Pope Francis 

Harkin, KandyA Guide To The Easter Season