Easter Season 2017
"If Christ has not been raised, then empty is our preaching; empty, too, is your faith." (1 Cor 15:14)
The Easter Vigil is the "Mother of All Vigils." Easter Sunday, then, is the greatest of all Sundays, and Easter Time is the most important of all liturgical times. Easter is the celebration of the Lord's resurrection from the dead, culminating in his Ascension to the Father and sending of the Holy Spirit upon the Church.
There are 50 days of Easter from the first Sunday to Pentecost.
Not Just a Day
by Rev. Larry Rice, CSP
Most people think of Easter as a single day. It’s never had the commercial appeal of Christmas, and because it always falls on Sunday, most people don’t get an additional day off from work. But for Catholics, Easter isn’t just a day, it’s a whole season. This year, the Easter season stretches all the way to May 15th, the feast of Pentecost. Lent, which some times feels like it’s stretching on forever, is actually forty days long. Easter, on the other hand, is all of fifty days long.
At masses all through the Easter season, our usual practice of reading from the Old Testament is replaced by reading from the Acts of the Apostles. These readings tell the story of the Church’s earliest days, and the beginnings of our faith’s spreading throughout the ancient world. These stories of heroism, controversies, persecutions and miracles all testify to the continued presence of the Risen Christ in the world, through the lives of his disciples, and the actions of the Holy Spirit.
All of this should be an encouragement and a sign of hope for us today. Despite war, violence, personal struggles, and an under-performing economy, God has not abandoned us, nor left us to our own devices. The Risen Savior is still with us. These 50 days of Easter ask us to reflect on his presence, and—even in the face of danger or fear—to live with joy.
Divine Mercy Sunday - April 23
Christ's Ascension - May 28
The Ascension of Jesus can be defined as the transfer of his risen, glorious body to heaven, that is, to the world of the divine. In the Old Testament, God is described in some texts as "descending" from heaven to accomplish something on earth; he then "ascends" or returns to the world of the divine.
From catholiceducation.org. Click here to read the full article.
What is the Ascension
by Rev. Lawrence Rice, CSP
On the Feast of the Ascension, the church celebrates the return of Christ to the Father, his physical body leaving the earth behind. In John’s Gospel, Jesus makes it clear that his return to the Father is necessary so that the Holy Spirit can be given to his disciples.
For many years, this feast was celebrated as a Holy Day of Obligation on the Thursday after the Sixth Sunday of Easter. The precise date moved from year to year, as the date of Easter moved based on the lunar calendar. Not long ago, most of the dioceses in the United States moved the celebration of the Ascension to the Seventh Sunday of Easter.
Several university students asked me why the Ascension was important or necessary. Why couldn’t the risen Christ have simply stayed with us, guiding the Church on Earth for all time? I thought about it, and asked them to imagine what the world would look like today if Christ has not ascended. If Christ were still walking the earth, what would faith be? Where would our free will be?
My own opinion is that it was necessary for Christ to ascend and send the Holy Spirit so that our faith would matter, and our free will remain intact. God is still with us, and present to us, but in ways that allow us to freely choose to accept or reject his grace. Christ is present in the Eucharist, in the Word of God proclaimed, and in his Body the Church. The Holy Spirit is present to us, dwelling within us, received at our Baptism and sealed at our Confirmation. But these ways of remaining with us are not so concrete that our free will is collapsed. We have the ability to choose the good, and to choose to accept God’s grace, and he’s never going to do anything that makes that choice less meaningful.
So the feast of the Ascension is important to us, not because it’s a big “good-bye” to Jesus, but because it ushers in a new era in which Christ continues to be present to us, and in which the Holy Spirit dwells in the hearts of all believers.
Our Lady of Fatima Apparition - May 13
"Between May 13 and October 13, 1917, three Portuguese children received apparitions of Our Lady at Cova da Iria, near Fatima, a city 110 miles north of Lisbon. Mary asked the children to pray the rosary for world peace, for the end of World War I, for sinners and for the conversion of Russia. The third visionary, Lucia dos Santos, became a Carmelite nun and died in 2005 at the age of 97."
The Diocese of Marquette will hold a centennial celebration in honor of the first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima on May 13. The celebration will be held at St. Peter Cathedral, for more information or to register, click here.
From americancatholic.org. To discover the three secrets which Our Lady revealed to the children, click here.
For a full, indepth story about the apparition, the miracles that ocurred there, and the importance of them, please click here.
Pentecost Sunday - June 4
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.
Because Pentecost brought the disciples this clarity of mission, it is regarded as the founding feast of the Christian Church. Before Pentecost, the disciples of Jesus are tentative and disorganized. After Pentecost, they are a people with a mission, who perceive themselves as spiritually and sacramentally connected to the risen Christ. You can read the story of the Church’s first days in the Acts of the Apostles.
For prayers, devotions, and information on Pentecost, visit: EWTN - Pentecost