Living the Easter Season
"'Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.' The first element we encounter in the framework of the Easter events is the empty tomb... Its discovery by the disciples was the first step toward recognizing the very fact of the Resurrection. This was the case, first with the holy women, and then with Peter. The disciple 'whom Jesus loved' affirmed that when he entered the empty tomb and discovered 'the linen cloths lying there,' he saw and believed. This suggests that he realized from the empty tomb's condition that the absence of Jesus' body could not have been of human doing and that Jesus had not simply returned to earthly life as had been the case with Lazarus."
- Catechism of the Catholic Church #640
The purpose of Holy Week and Easter is to celebrate in a special way the Paschal mystery: the mystery of Christ's suffering, death, and Resurrection. When the disciples of Jesus went to his tomb on the third day following his death, they found it empty. But that wasn't the end of the story! Jesus himself appeared to them afterward to affirm that he had raised himself from the dead as he had said he would: "For this reason the Father loves me: because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one takes it from me: but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this charge I have received of my Father." (Jn 10: 17-18)
Below, we offer some resources that we hope will help you enter into and live fully the Easter season this year. We want you to know that God is calling you to something special - to share his blessed life with him for all eternity! Easter is a great time to get to know God and make steps toward answering his call.
Catholic Icing: Christian Easter Crafts for Kids (blog post) - Links to lots of fun games and activities designed to teach children about the meaning of the Easter season.
The Catholic Toolbox: Easter Activities (blog post) - Blog post from the Catholic Toolbox blog with more links to creative crafts and activities for kids.
CatholicCulture.org's "Easter Workshop" (website) - Section of the awesome CatholicCulture.org webpage that covers Easter prayers and activities, including ideas for family activities and teaching kids about the Easter season.
Holy Week in Two Minutes (video) - Busted Halo presents the basic meaning of the Holy Week liturgies in two minutes. (2:29)
How Does the Church Celebrate Easter Sunday? (video) - This short video from Rome Reports explains the symbolism behind the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday liturgies. (1:24)
The Lego Easter Story (video) - Fun video telling the story of Jesus' Passion, death, and Resurrection using Lego figures and stop motion photography. (5:03)
The Message of Divine Mercy (video) - Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC, explains the message of Divine Mercy, which we celebrate in a special way on Divine Mercy Sunday, the Sunday immediately following Easter Sunday. (19:27)
Dive into the Easter season by practicing some special prayers and devotions!
Divine Mercy Sunday is the Sunday immediately following Easter Sunday (this year it's April 8, 2018). Divine Mercy Sunday celebrates the modern message of God's Divine Mercy as revealed to St. Faustina. Many Catholics prayer the Divine Mercy Novena beginning on Good Friday and ending on Divine Mercy Sunday, but this powerful prayer may be offered at any time. You can find pamphlets with instructions and prayers for the Divine Mercy Novena outside the sacristy at St. John's.
Another favorite prayer for the Easter season is the Regina Caeli, which is usually said instead of the Angelus during the Easter season. It is a short prayer that anyone can offer at any time of the day, although traditionally it is said at 6am, noon, and/or 6pm.