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 The Easter Season
Most of us think of Easter as one day—a day when we eat lots of candy, visit relatives, and maybe even have an Easter egg hunt.
The Church wants us to celebrate Easter for 50 days, but not with continuous candy-eating and egg-hunting! The Church reminds
us that the whole Easter season is like one glorious Sunday, during which we celebrate that Jesus’ Resurrection has made it possible
for us to share his life forever. The Resurrection teaches us that our death, like Jesus’ Death, will not be the end. Instead, it will be the step into a new life that will go on forever. That’s the Easter message, and it’s such Good News for all of us that it deserves a lifetime of celebration.
The  rst eight days of Easter are called the Easter Octave. It begins with Easter Sunday and concludes with the end of the Second Sunday of Easter. These eight days are all considered solemnities— the highest of feast days. For that reason, no saints’ days are observed during this time. All our attention is on the Risen Jesus.
The 40th day of the Easter season celebrates Jesus’ Ascension. He
told the crowds and his disciples that he would return to the One
who sent him (see John 7:33), and so he does. But Jesus has also told his followers that even though he leaves them, he will not leave them alone (see John 16:5–11). He will send them the Holy Spirit, who will be their Advocate. (An advocate is someone who promotes and defends the cause of another. An attorney in a court of law acts as an advocate for his or her client.) In his Gospel, Luke tells us that after Jesus’ Ascension to his Father, Jesus’ disciples went joyfully to Jerusalem and praised God in the Temple.
In most places in the United States, we now celebrate Jesus’ Ascension on the Seventh Sunday of Easter (May 13 in 2018). However, in the archdioceses of Boston, Hartford, New York, Newark, Omaha, and Philadelphia, the feast is celebrated on Ascension Thursday (May 10 in 2018), which remains a holy day of obligation in these provinces.
The remaining nine days of Easter after Ascension Thursday are the original novena, which means a period of nine days. During this time, Jesus’ disciples and his mother, Mary, waited and prayed together for the the coming of the Advocate Jesus had promised. Finally, on the 50th and last day of Easter, which we call Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came to Jesus’ followers. You can read about it in Chapter 2 of the Acts of the Apostles.
No longer timid or fearful, the disciples went out to the streets to preach the Easter message of Jesus. By day’s end, they had baptized 3,000 new Christians. On this day, which brings the glorious Easter season to an end, the Church celebrates the birthday of Jesus’ Church.
A Service of
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Feasts of the Season Spring 2018

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