Tag Archives: Octave of Easter

The Octave of Easter – Eight Days of Celebration

March 28, 2018


The Octave of EasterThe Octave of Easter is one of two octaves during the liturgical year. The other octave is the Octave of Christmas. An octave is an eight-day period set aside to celebrate the greatest mysteries of the Christian faith, the Resurrection and the Incarnation. Each mystery is so profound and momentous that it cannot be celebrated in a single day, so the celebration is extended for a full week after the actual date. It is a time of heightened jubilation and exaltation, when the joy within the Christian community is at a fever pitch. The Octave of Easter extends from Easter Sunday until the Second Sunday of Easter.

The joy and triumph of Easter is expressed in a number of special ways during the weekday liturgies of the Octave of Easter. The Gloria is sung or said at each Mass. Only Preface I of Easter is allowed during the Octave, not Easter Prefaces II through V. A double Alleluia is used for the dismissal at the end of each Octave Mass. The Easter Sequence may be used for any or all of the weekday Masses within the Octave. The Creed is not said.

The gospels during the Octave of Easter feature the appearances of Jesus after his Resurrection. The gospel on Monday is the account of Jesus’ appearance to a number of women who were returning from the tomb (Mt 28:8-15). Tuesday is his appearance to Mary Magdalene who was weeping beside the entrance to the tomb (Jn 20:11-18). Wednesday is his appearance to Cleopas and another disciple on the road to Emmaus (Lk 24:13-35). Thursday is his appearance to the disciples huddled together in the Upper Room in Jerusalem on Easter Sunday night (Lk 24:35-48). Friday is his appearance to his disciples on the shore of the Sea of Galilee (Jn 21:1-14). Saturday is an account of multiple appearances, first to Mary Magdalene, next to two men on the road to Emmaus, and then to the Eleven who were at table together (Mk 16:9-15). And finally, the Second Sunday of Easter is his appearance to the ten in the Upper Room on the first day of the week, and then seven days later, his subsequent appearance, not only to the ten, but also to Thomas (Jn 20:19-13).

The first readings during the weekdays of the Octave of Easter are taken from the Acts of the Apostles. These texts contain the initial preaching of the apostles with multiple references to the Resurrection. Monday is a portion of Peter’s Pentecost sermon in which he states that “God raised him [Jesus] up, releasing him from the throes of death” (Acts 2:24). Tuesday further explains how the crucified Jesus was “made both Lord and Messiah” (Acts 2:36). Wednesday is the cure of the beggar at the Beautiful Gate by the power of the risen Jesus (Acts 3:1-10). Thursday is another sermon by Peter in which he states that “God raised him from the dead” (Acts 3:15). Friday tells how Peter and John testified before the Sanhedrin that “God raised him [Jesus] from the dead” (Acts 4:10). Saturday is an acknowledgment that the miraculous deeds done by Peter and John were accomplished through the power of the risen Jesus (Acts 4:16).

The Octave of Easter provides believers an extended opportunity to celebrate the greatest single mystery of the Christian faith.

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