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April Blog | Together We Will Rise | By Father Mark Neal

Catholics are really good at getting through and acknowledging Lent, but how about Easter? Lent is forty days long. Easter is fifty days! Try using this list of 8 things to do to fully celebrate our Risen Lord so that together, we will rise as well:

  1. After fasting in Lent comes feasting in Easter! Each tradition has a special, delicious menu. For instance, in Bermuda they eat codfish cakes and in parts of South America, it’s meat empanadas. I have had these in Bolivia….delicious! From Africa to Australia, many indulge in chocolate. Try the traditional hot cross buns. Or, Paraguayan chipa (Easter breakfast bread). Or, Britain’s Simnal cake. Or, Polish white borscht (Easter soup) Or, Eastertide Tart from Genoese, with traditionally 33 layers (one for each year of Christ’s life). I know in my family, it was like another Thanksgiving…and then some…turkey, ham, candy galore… Or, don’t just feast yourself–per Russian tradition, find a way to give to poor families, those who are hospitalized, or in prison, or to the homeless. 
  2. Listen to an Easter playlist to help you soak up all the Alleluias and joy!
  3. Change your phone wallpaper to something that helps you remember the joy of our faith  My own wallpaper is of the Holy Family alcove in our church.
  4. The beautiful, simple prayers of this novena are a great way to foster a devotion specifically to the Holy Spirit this Easter season. It’s particularly applicable since Pentecost closes out the fifty days. Or perhaps a novena to Novena to St. Joseph in the year of St Joseph.
  5. Read Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s book Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week, From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection. It’s really good!
  6. Read this well-loved Easter Homily of St. John Chrysostom! 
  7. For Easter, get a pot of outdoor flowers. When they start to wither and die every time you forget to water them, watch them miraculously rise again after getting watered! This will remind you of the Paschal mystery of Jesus dying and rising on the third day (and just be a beautiful thing to look at this spring.) Boesen’s has some nice ones to choose from.
  8. Continue your Lenten resolutions. Was it to pray for 20 minutes a day? Go to Mass more often? Go to confession more? Not complain about school? Why not continue doing it after Lent is over? Lent and Easter can be a springboard for us to grow in our faith and closer to the Lord, and we can do this by sticking to our commitments and developing habits that will help us increase in our relationship with Christ beyond the seven weeks of Easter. 

Hope you try at least one of these things this year. Happy Easter and ALLELUIA!