News from San Antonio Church – March 31, 2024

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Weekly Bulletin March 31, 2024

by Terrie Evans

Buona Pasqua! On this Easter Sunday, we honor the feast of the Resurrection of Christ the high point of the Christian year and is a day of celebration, rebirth, and new life.  In some churches, the Easter service will begin with the Paschal greeting: “Christ is risen! With a response: “He is risen indeed. “Alleluia”.   According to St. Bede the Venerable, Easter derives its name from Eastre, the goddess of spring.  Easter is also referred to as Pascha or Resurrection Sunday described in the New Testament occurring on the third day of His burial following His Crucifixion by the Romans at Calvary, 30AD.  His triumph over death and the cross in His Resurrection, which in the Synoptic Gospels is associated with the Jewish Passover as both the Crucifixion and the Resurrection took place during the week of Passover.  In European languages, the Christian Easter and the Jewish Passover are referred to by the same name and in the old English versions of the Bible, the term Easter was used to translate Passover or Pasch. 

In Medieval times, the Pasch was considered as a symbolic type of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and the Eucharistic Sacrifice.  In the First Epistle of Peter, he declares that God has given those who believe “A new birth into a living hope through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”  The Risen Christ is seen as the “first fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor 15:20) and so is the model for the bodily resurrection of all the faithful on the last day.  It is believed that those who live and die with Christ and when Christ comes again, they will appear with Him in glory (Col 3:3-4).  It is believed that those who follow Jesus will be spiritually resurrected with Him, walk in a new way of life, receive eternal salvation, and with hope, dwell with Him in the Kingdom of Heaven.   

On this Sunday, we light the new Paschal Candle symbolizing the light of Christ rising in glory that rids the darkness of sin and death.  Our Paschal Candle has a Cross, Alpha, the beginning, and Omega the end, and the current year on it.  There are grains of incense and wax nails implanted at the ends of the crossbars and in the center of the cross.  The candle will be lit during the fifty days of the Easter Season until after Pentecost and then will be placed on the side of our altar and will only be lit for newly Baptized infants and for the Masses of Christian Burials.  On Easter Sunday many traditions or symbols are used every year such as decorating the altar with Easter lilies, or colored eggs, a custom that originated in the early Christian community of Mesopotamia.  Those eggs were stained red in memory of the blood of Christ that was shed at His Crucifixion, with the egg as a symbol of an empty tomb.  Easter Sunday is a public Holiday in Italy with many families waiting many hours to be a part of   Pope Francis’ Easter Mass at 10:15 AM in St. Peter’s Square.  After the Mass, the Pope will come out on the Central Loggia of St. Peter’s Square to deliver his blessing, saying, Urbi et Orbi “To the City and the World”.  The Pope gives this blessing only twice a year, at Christmas and Easter.  The main celebrations taking place in Rome for Easter are broadcast on the Vatican’s Official YouTube Channel Online. 

The week following Easter Sunday is referred to as Easter Week or the Octave of Easter, with each day, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday prefaced with Easter.  Easter Monday is called Pasquetta or Little Easter with the Pope making his Easter Monday address at noon on St. Peter’s Square.  Also called Luned dell Angelo “Monday of the Angel” part of the season of Eastertide or Paschaltide that begins on Easter Sunday and lasts until Pentecost Sunday, May 19th, 7 weeks later.  To determine a universal date for Easter, the Anglican Communion, Coptic Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, and the Roman Catholic Churches considered agreeing to simplify the calculation of that date for Easter choosing either the second or third Sunday in April as popular choices.  In 2022, there were conversations between the Patriarch of Constantinople, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Orthodox Churches to choose a common date for the celebration of Easter.  They are hopeful an agreement can be reached in 2025 for the 1700th Anniversary of the Council of Nicaea to be held that year.

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