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A Sunday With Many Names

By Father Woods

The Sunday after Easter, that concludes the Octave (eight days) of Easter, has many names in addition to its current liturgical designation as the Second Sunday of Easter. Here are this day’s other names and the history behind them (with a little help from Wikipedia):

Dominica in albis – Latin for “Sunday in white”. This was the last day that the neophytes, those who had been baptized at the Easter Vigil, wore the white garments they had received at Baptism to Mass.

Low Sunday – after the highest of Sundays at Easter, this Sunday concludes the Octave and therefore resembles a lower feast than Easter Day itself.

Divine Mercy Sunday – the last day of the novena to the Divine Mercy of Jesus which begins on Good Friday. Saint Faustina, a Polish nun, gave this devotion to the Church through her diary in which she writes that those who participate in the Mass and receive the Sacrament of Penance on this day are assured of the total remission of their sins by the Lord Jesus. Saint John Paul II greatly promoted this devotion and designated the Sunday after Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday.

Quasimodo Sunday – from the Latin Introit (Entrance Chant) of the Mass for the Sunday after Easter: Quasi modo geniti infants… “As newborn babies…” (1 Peter 2:2) Literally, quasi modo means “as if just now” – the Sunday is almost Easter all over again, but not quite. This name is given to the lead character in The Hunchback of Notre Dame because his adoptive father, the archdeacon of the cathedral, “baptized his adoptive child and called him Quasimodo; whether it was that he chose thereby to commemorate the day when he had found him, or that he meant to mark by that name how incomplete and imperfectly molded the poor little creature was. Indeed, Quasimodo, one-eyed, hunchbacked, and bow-legged, could hardly be considered as anything more than an ‘almost”‘. (excerpt from The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo)

The Easter Season lasts a full fifty days – from Easter Sunday until Pentecost. The Church celebrates the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus from the dead throughout this period is also known as Mystagogy. Mystagogy is the Easter time of reflection by those who became Catholic at Easter. For fifty days they enter more deeply into the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection they experienced with Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Communion. During this time they become more comfortable living the Christian life as full members of the Catholic Church.

Those of us already baptized should really make this a time of joy! Try to establish traditions in your family that extend the Easter celebration. This is the perfect time for the parish’s First Holy Communion and Confirmation Masses. These are times to appreciate what we can do with the gift of life God gives us. Keep Easter candy and treats handy for the whole season. Whatever you do, rejoice! Alleluia!