Holy Week is the time of year we experience in a deeper way many of the events we remember each time we pray the Holy Rosary. The Sorrowful Mysteries take us through Jesus’ Passion, from the emotional torments in the Garden of Gethsemane to the physical torments culminating at Calvary.
After we pass through the sorrows and sacrifices of Lent and Holy Week, Easter breaks forth as a great time of joy and celebration. It is the “Solemnity of solemnities” celebrated by the Church. This is the day our hope was made complete, the day Jesus conquered sin and death on our behalf in order to reconcile us back to God.
For Catholics, Easter isn’t just a single day of celebration—it’s an entire season where we celebrate our new life in Christ. The Easter season, or Easter-tide, begins with Resurrection Sunday and ends fifty days later on Pentecost Sunday. During this fifty days of Easter we relive the joyous events we remember as we pray the Glorious Mysteries of the Holy Rosary—The Resurrection, Ascension, and the coming of the Holy Spirit on Mary and the Apostles.
There are many ways you can make Easter-tide a very special time of year for you and your family. Here are three easy ways to make the most of the Easter season this year.
1. Spread the Easter Cheer: Get yourself in the Easter mood (and others too!) by sending out Easter cards this Easter-tide. This is an easy way to remind friends that Easter is an entire season, not just a single day! You can also spread the Easter cheer by surprising your family with Catholic Easter gifts in addition to chocolates and candy.
2. Decorate the House: Spring and the Resurrection go together! Fill your house with the lovely fragrance of freshly cut flowers. Keep a beautiful bouquet in the kitchen, on the dining room table, and in each bedroom. Give flowers to your loved ones to grace their homes as well (they would go great with an Easter card!).
You can also decorate your home by draping white sashes on all your crosses and crucifixes, reminding your family that the joy of this season goes beyond Easter Sunday. This is also the time of year when catechumens are baptized and received as new Christians into the Church. Renew your own baptisal promises by bringing Holy Water into your home.
3. Increase Your Devotion: The fifty days between Easter Sunday and Pentecost Sunday is a great time to pray for the Holy Spirit to pour into your own life just as it did on Mary and the Apostles. The beautiful, simple prayers of the novena to the Holy Spirit is a great way to pray in a special way with your family this Easter season.
The second Sunday of Easter is Divine Mercy Sunday, a great time to incorporate this amazing devotion into your prayer life. The Divine Mercy is a beautiful prayer calling upon God’s infinite mercy to pardon and heal us. There are many ways to make The Divine Mercy devotion a part of your life. In addition to the special Divine Mercy Feast day, there is also the Divine Mercy image, the Divine Mercy chaplet, and books about the Divine Mercy, such as the Diary of Faustina Kowalska, the visionary who brought this great devotion to the world.
With these simple ideas hopefully you can enjoy your fifty days of Easter-tide in a new and special way this year with your friends and family. Please share any other ideas on how to celebrate Easter, so we can all squeeze as much joy as possible out of this season!