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Liturgical Highlights: Octave Day of Easter through the Third Week of Easter

By Jennifer Gregory Miller ( bio - articles - email ) | Apr 05, 2024 | In The Liturgical Year

This is the day the Lord has made, Alleluia!
Let us rejoice and be glad in it, Alleluia!

My Easter break turned into rest and recuperation from sickness, but it isn’t dampening my Easter joy! He is risen, Alleluia! This is just some highlights of the next two weeks.

Friday in the Octave of Easter
Easter Friday is not a day of abstinence, because it is a solemnity (see Canon 1251 from the 1983 Code of Canon Law).

The Second Sunday of Easter
The Church closes the Octave of Easter this Sunday. The current “official” name is “The Octave Day of Easter or Sunday of Divine Mercy.” But the titles of this Sunday are quite numerous. In the current calendar, it is also the Second Sunday of Easter, and most popularly called Divine Mercy Sunday.

But in the former liturgical calendar, the counting of Sundays of Easter was different, so this would be the First Sunday after Easter. It was also called Low Sunday, Domenica in albis or White Sunday, for the baptismal garments of the baptized catechumens. Traditionally the newly baptized would wear their white garments through the Octave. Quasimodo Sunday, made famous by the Hunchback of Notre Dame, is named for the first word of the Introit in Latin. Many of the Sundays were named according to the Introit (such as Laetare and Gaudete).

Low Sunday is my least favorite title, as it implies that it is a lesser Sunday or feast, whereas every single day in an Octave is a repeat in stature of the first. So instead of coming to a decrescendo, the Octave ends with the same intensity as we celebrated Easter Sunday.

Every year the Gospel of John recounts the doubting apostle Thomas’ encounter with Christ and his reluctant belief in the Resurrection. We, too, need to recognize the unbelief in our own lives.

I have previously offered more detail about The Easter Octave.

April 8: Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord
The observation of the Solemnity of the Annunciation was transferred this year due to its falling during Holy Week. No feast overrides the Liturgy of Holy Week, the Triduum or the Easter Octave. The Solemnity is put on the Monday after the Octave of Easter.

I often feel that we do not really focus on the extreme importance and significance of this event of the Incarnation. Without the Incarnation none of the rest of Jesus’ work of Redemption could be possible.

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us: See my post The Solemnity of the Annunciation: the Moment of Incarnation in Our Lives.

April 8: Total Solar Eclipse
While not liturgical, the upcoming eclipse has almost eclipsed the media. There are safety factors to take into account, especially since I am on the East Coast where the timing is right around end of the school day. In Virginia will only see about 89-90% coverage, but it’s still very exciting to observe. I teach a little Nature and Science class on Mondays, and this is perfect for our class. We have our safety glasses, colanders and pinhole projectors. We are prepared to observe…here’s hoping we don’t have too much cloud coverage!

Here are a few links I found helpful in preparing:

Easter Season as Usual
You may have noticed that there are fewer saint days on the General Roman Calendar especially the second half of March and much of April. There are a few feast days for the Second Week of Easter, such as St. Stanislaus and St. Martin I, but the Third Week of Easter is completely blank.

One of the reasons for this is the primacy of the Lenten and Easter Liturgy. Since Easter is not a fixed date, that block of weeks for Holy Week and the Octave of Easter would “override” any feast on the Calendar. The calendar is “clear” for a full immersion into the holiest and highest time of the year.

I have been reflecting on how we celebrate the Easter season. It’s not like we should have a continual party for 50 days. And my waistline can’t handle translating celebration into all the extra desserts! How does Easter look in my life? Do I carry the joy of the Resurrection within my heart? Do I reflect in my daily life the triumph of Jesus over death? What does the Resurrection really mean to me? Can people see that I am among the “Easter people”?

May the risen Christ reign in our hearts!

Jennifer Gregory Miller is a wife, mother, homemaker, CGS catechist, and Montessori teacher. Specializing in living the liturgical year, or liturgical living, she is the primary developer of’s liturgical year section. See full bio.

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