BRIGHT WEEK: The days from Easter until the following Sunday are known as the Octave of Easter. (Octave, as surely you can deduce from the Greek root oct, means “eight days.”) In Liturgy class in Saint Vincent Seminary we learned that this ENTIRE WEEK is meant to be celebrated as Easter Sunday. Why? Because the Resurrection is something that can’t be contained in a single 24 hour day. Thus we are called to celebrate that one day, that most glorious day, that MOST important of all days in the entire history of the cosmos, not for a mere 24 hours but for a full 92 hours. And after an eight day Easter “day” we continue celebrating until Pentecost; 50 days, nearly one seventh of the calendar year. Add in the 40-odd days of Lent that precede and one quarter of every year is specifically dedicated to the mystery of Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection. Of course that should NOT come as a surprise. The Paschal Mystery IS at the heart of our Christian faith after all!
In the Christianity that arose out of the ancient Patriarchal See of Constantinople (the Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic Churches) the days following Easter up to and including the following Sunday (named “Thomas Sunday” after the Gospel of “doubting Thomas” proclaimed in both East and West on that day) are collectively called Bright Week. I’m sure no explanation of that nomenclature is necessary, but just
in case, the term “bright” refers to the fact that the light of the Risen Lord has shone through the darkness of a world imprisoned in sin and death. And because of that BRIGHTNESS we celebrate and CELEBRATE and CELEBRATE! As an AD 692 Church Council in Constantinople decreed:
…from the holy day of the Resurrection of Christ our God until New Sunday [i.e. Thomas Sunday] for a whole week the faithful in the holy churches should continually be repeating psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs rejoicing and celebrating Christ, and attending to the reading of Divine Scripture and delighting in the Holy Mysteries [Mass]. For in this way shall we be exalted with Christ; raised up together with him.
So what does all this historical-slash-theological gibberish have to do with the Our Lady, Queen of the Yough community? Since Easter Week (as stated in the Wikipedia article “Octave of Easter” … I know, a GREAT theological resource) “is considered to be one continuous day” I have always insisted on “doing it up right.” The rest of the world might move on to the “next big thing” the next day, but - GOSH DARN IT! - in the Catholic churches here in Dunbar-Connellsville we are going to STOP and IMMERSE ourselves in Easter JOY!!!!!
In practice, this means that the celebration of Mass each morning for the entire week will be celebrated just like the Easter Mass with the entire panoply of smells, bells, and joy-filled song. In my dream world the attendance would likewise replicate Easter morning crowds, with all who are not otherwise engaged at 8am coming and “delighting in the Holy Mysteries” as the seventh century Council in Trullo envisioned.
Maybe YOU can help my dream world inch a bit closer to reality this year. If the 8am hour finds you free from work or family obligations, why NOT continue YOUR celebration of Yeshua’s Resurrection by “delighting in the Holy Mysteries”? And lest you be scared off by the length of Mass Easter morning, rest assured - the Bright Week liturgies will be well under an hour!
I want our Bright Week to be a united COMMUNITY celebration, thus there will be only ONE Mass each morning, at 8am, as follows (please note that there will be a Saturday morning Mass):
Monday - Saint Rita
Tuesday - Saint John
Wednesday - Saint Rita
Thursday - Immaculate Conception FRIDAY - SAINT ALOYSIUS
SATURDAY - IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
I pray that YOU will not cut short the JOY and let your Easter end today! He is Risen, Alleluia! Indeed He is Risen, Alleluia!
COVER PHOTO: Since I didn’t have any recent pic that was “just right” for the Easter cover I went searching through pics I had taken around Easters past. It didn’t take long be- fore I happened upon a - at least in my opinion - a PERFECT shot. This picture was taken in the back yard of Waters House on Easter Sunday 2017. Although it was taken in the evening as the sun was setting, with no directional clues present it could just as easily be early morning. (In fact, until I checked the photo’s time stamp I thought it was a morning shot.) The Lord’s tomb having been in a garden, the scene immediately brought to my mind the opening words of the Evangelist Mark’s Resurrection account.
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