Catholic Culture Liturgical Living
Catholic Culture Liturgical Living

Catholic Activity: Liturgy of Easter Sunday and the Octave of Easter



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An explanation of the liturgy of the Easter Masses.


Easter is the "Feast of feasts", the "Solemnity of solemnities" and the "Great Sunday". Festive solemnity should mark all the Masses celebrated on Easter Sunday, the supreme day of the Christian year. The Easter Masses, in addition to the Vigil, should be solemnly sung. There are few exceptions to the usual sections (Liturgy of the Word and the Eucharist) of the Mass during the Easter Octave. The Gloria is sung or recited each day. Instead of the Profession of Faith, the members of the congregation renew their baptismal promises.

Throughout the Easter Octave, the Easter Sequence may be sung or said before the Gospel.

Before the Gospel is proclaimed, the ancient sequence Victimae Paschali of Easter Sunday is read or sung. The Sequence (Sequentia) is the liturgical hymn of the Mass, which occurs on four feasts: Easter, Pentecost, Corpus Christi and Our Lady of Sorrows. This sequence, Victimae Paschali is attributed to Wipo of Burgundy, who was chaplain of the German Emperor Conrad II during the 11th century.

Christians, to the Paschal victim
Offer your thankful praises!

A Lamb the sheep redeems:
Christ, who only is sinless,
Reconciles sinners to the Father.

Death and life have contended
in that combat stupendous:
The Prince of life, who died,
reigns immortal.

Speak, Mary, declaring
What you saw, wayfaring.
"The tomb of Christ, who is living,
the glory of Jesus' resurrection;

"Bright angels attesting,
The shroud and napkin resting.
"Yes, Christ my hope is arisen;
To Galilee he goes before you."

Christ indeed
from death is risen,
our new life obtaining.
Have mercy, victor King,
ever reigning!
Amen. Alleluia!

See Easter Sequence, Victimae paschali laudes for the Latin version.


The Alleluia verse repeated throughout the Easter Octave:

"This is the day the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad, Alleluia."

Renewal of Baptismal Promises

On Easter Sunday Masses which are celebrated with a congregation, the rite of the Renewal of Baptismal Promises may take place after the Homily, according to the text used at the Easter Vigil. In that case the Creed is omitted.

Preface I of Easter: the Paschal Mystery

It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
at all times to acclaim you, O Lord, but on this day above all
to laud you yet more gloriously,
when Christ our Passover has been sacrificed.

For he is the true Lamb
who has taken away the sins of the world;
by dying he has destroyed our death,
and by rising, restored our life.

Therefore, overcome with paschal joy,
every land, every people exults in your praise
and even the heavenly Powers, with the angelic hosts,
sing together the unending hymn of your glory,
as they acclaim:

Roman Canon

And when the Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer I) is used, the special Easter forms of the Communicantes ("In union with the whole Church") is used:

In union of the whole Church
we celebrate that day (night)
when Jesus Christ, our Lord,
rose from the dead in his human body.

Hanc Igitur

There is also the special Hanc Igitur ("Father, accept this offering"):

Father, accept this offering
from your whole family
and from those born into the new life
of water and the Holy Spirit
with all their sins forgiven.
Grant us your peace in this life,
save us from final damnation,
and count us among those you have chosen.


Finally, at the dismissal, the deacon or priest sings or says:

Go in the peace of Christ, alleluia, alleluia.
The Mass is ended, go in peace, alleluia, alleluia.
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord, alleluia, alleluia.

Response: Thanks be to God, alleluia, alleluia.

Activity Source: Original Text (JGM) by Jennifer Gregory Miller, © Copyright 2003-2023 by Jennifer Gregory Miller