Easter Season

Second Sunday of Easter
April 3, 2016

Origin of Divine Mercy Sunday

Jubilee Year of Mercy

Go in the Peace of Christ, Alleluia, Alleluia!
by Reverend Monsignor Charles E. Singler, D.Min.
Director of vocations and the Office of Divine Worship, Diocese of Toledo

© March 10, 2007

One of the unique liturgical traditions included during specific segments of the Roman Catholic celebration of Easter, its octave (eight days following) and the culminating solemnity of Pentecost, is the sung dismissal which incorporates a “double” alleluia. Reserved to the able voice of the assisting deacon, or in his absence by the priest-celebrant, this musical feature and its inclusion on these assigned days is intended to foster the joyous and celebratory heart of the Church commemorating our Lord’s passing from death to life.

Interestingly, while the rubrics for the celebration of Mass are pretty clear when the sung dismissal with double-alleluia is tobe included – 1) at the conclusion of the Easter Vigil, 2) Easter Sunday Mass, 3) the eight or “octave” days following Easter Sunday (which would be at the end of evening prayer on Divine Mercy Sunday or the Second Sunday of Easter) and 4) the Solemnity of Pentecost – some priest-celebrants or assisting deacons may take the liberty to include it during all Sundays of the Easter Season. Aside from the fact that there is no directive in the order of Mass on the Sundays during the Easter season that indicates the Easter dismissal must or may be included, the absence of such from any rubrical notation has a liturgical – theological rationale.

Many who include this feature during the entire Easter season do so because the Church is celebrating the joy of Easter for 50 days, but in actuality, the sense of sacred time and the celebration of liturgy within that context operate with an even more deeply rooted meaning spiritually. The calendar observances we commemorate during the liturgical year are designated by degree. The most important feasts are designated as solemnities, others as feasts of the Lord and finally those that usually commemorate the memory of the saints. These latter commemorations, called memorials, are designated either optional or obligatory by their inclusion.

The Easter Vigil, which commences our observance of the Lord’s resurrection and Pentecost fifty days following are hinge celebrations of the Easter mystery. Both are considered solemnities and are counted as principal days in the calendar, rather than “feasts” or “memorials.” The character of a solemnity is likewise applicable to the octave days following. We are reminded in General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar that, “The first eight days of the Easter season make up the octave of Easter and are celebrated as solemnities of the Lord.” Aside from prayer texts and hymnody sustaining great joy and solemnity, the liturgy celebrated on the octave days following Easter also includes the singing or recitation of the Gloria and, as mentioned above, the sung dismissal with double alleluia.

In place of the Easter dismissal during the third to seventh Sundays of Easter, the rubrical notes in the Sacramentary indicate the option of a solemn blessing text or prayer over the people. The point is not to neglect the joy of Easter for 50 days, but to emphasize more so the saving mystery of faith on the designated days we commemorate with greater solemnity. Listen for the sung Easter dismissal this year. It’s one of our liturgical treasures.

The Fifty Days of Easter
by Reverend Monsignor Charles E. Singler, D.Min.
Director of vocations and the Office of Divine Worship, Diocese of Toledo

© 2008

We read in the Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars that “the fifty days from Easter to Pentecost are celebrated in joyful exultation as one feast day, or better as one “great Sunday” (art. 22). Fifty days is a long time when we consider the sound-bite, keep-it-short attitude a good number of us experience in our daily life. This holy time following the feast of Easter should give us the opportunity to reflect on the ritual aspects that marked our observance of Holy Week and the culminating rites celebrated during the solemn Easter Vigil Mass.

In the early centuries of Christian history, great homiletic texts preached by the bishop of a territorial area provided a commentary on the ritual elements that comprised the celebration of the Easter Triduum (three days), and more importantly the mother of all liturgies, the Easter vigil. These came to be known as the great mystagogical homilies.

Those who have walked the journey of faith as catechumens and candidates for full communion with the Catholic Church and now share fully with us at the Lord’s table know this post-Easter time as the period of mystagogia. The word mystagogia refers to the mysteries of faith that were celebrated in the ritual of the Easter Vigil. Essentially, the “mysteries” are the core beliefs of the Catholic Christian faith that were ritualized during the solemn Easter Vigil; the premiere belief being the redemption brought about by Christ’s passing over from death to life.

We witnessed this very fact at the inception of the solemn vigil with the blessing of the Easter fire and the Easter candle. We heard this story of redemption in the selection of biblical readings from the very beginning of creation and how God’s love for humankind was never abandoned. We felt the life-giving water of new birth sprinkled on our bodies and the joyous smile on the faces of those brought forth for baptism. We shared the sacred meal, our Lord’s Body and Blood, as the on-going legacy of sacrifice that the whole world might live. These are the “mysteries” of the Easter vigil and the spiritual food for our thoughts these 50 days.

Whether one has shared the joy of the Catholic Christian faith for a life-time, or simply a matter of several weeks, the days following Easter are intended to evoke a joyful time of reflection for us all – the people of God. Fifty days may be a long time for many of us, but let us not forget the journey that brought us to this time. Our fasting and charitable works for the previous 40 days has given way to the promise given by Jesus, the risen one.

Novena to the Holy Spirit - English


Pentecost - The Importance of the Holy Spirit

Pentecost: The Church’s Birthday
by Rev. Lawrence Rice, CSP

For Your Marriage

Each year the Church celebrates 50 days of Easter, culminating at the feast of Pentecost. Pentecost marks the occasion of God’s sending the Holy Spirit upon Jesus’ disciples after his resurrection. Before Pentecost, the disciples were unsure of what they were to do next, and spent most of their time in hiding. After Pentecost, and the gift of the Holy Spirit, they understood their mission to spread the Good News of Jesus, and they had the courage to come out of hiding and speak openly about who Jesus was, and what he had accomplished by his dying and rising.

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