PDF Sharing the Easter Faith with Children: Helping Children Observe Lent and Celebrate Easter

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Christ is risen, and the demons are cast down. Christ is risen, and life is set free. Christ is risen, and the tomb is emptied of the dead.


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For Christ, having risen from the dead, is become the first-fruits for those who sleep. Easter is the principal feast of the ecclesiastical year. Leo I Sermo xlvii in Exodum calls it the greatest feast festum festorum , and says that Christmas is celebrated only in preparation for Easter.

Why do we give up things for Lent?

It is the centre of the greater part of the ecclesiastical year. The order of Sundays from Septuagesima to the last Sunday after Pentecost, the feast of the Ascension, Pentecost, Corpus Christi, and all other movable feasts, from that of the Prayer of Jesus in the Garden Tuesday after Septuagesima to the feast of the Sacred Heart Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi , depend upon the Easter date.


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  • Commemorating the slaying of the true Lamb of God and the Resurrection of Christ, the corner-stone upon which faith is built, it is also the oldest feast of the Christian Church, as old as Christianity, the connecting link between the Old and New Testaments. That the Apostolic Fathers do not mention it and that we first hear of it principally through the controversy of the Quartodecimans are purely accidental. The connection between the Jewish Passover and the Christian feast of Easter is real and ideal.

    Real, since Christ died on the first Jewish Easter Day; ideal, like the relation between type and reality, because Christ's death and Resurrection had its figures and types in the Old Law, particularly in the paschal lamb, which was eaten towards evening of the 14th of Nisan. In fact, the Jewish feast was taken over into the Christian Easter celebration; the liturgy Exsultet sings of the passing of Israel through the Red Sea, the paschal lamb, the column of fire, etc.

    Apart, however, from the Jewish feast, the Christians would have celebrated the anniversary of the death and the Resurrection of Christ. But for such a feast it was necessary to know the exact calendar date of Christ's death. To know this day was very simple for the Jews ; it was the day after the 14th of the first month, the 15th of Nisan of their calendar. But in other countries of the vast Roman Empire there were other systems of chronology. The Romans from 45 B. The foundation of the Jewish calendar was the lunar year of days, whilst the other systems depended on the solar year.

    In consequence the first days of the Jewish months and years did not coincide with any fixed days of the Roman solar year. Every fourth year of the Jewish system had an intercalary month. Since this month was inserted, not according to some scientific method or some definite rule, but arbitrarily, by command of the Sanhedrin, a distant Jewish date can never with certainty be transposed into the corresponding Julian or Gregorian date Ideler, Chronologie, I, sq. The connection between the Jewish and the Christian Pasch explains the movable character of this feast.

    Easter has no fixed date, like Christmas, because the 15th of Nisan of the Semitic calendar was shifting from date to date on the Julian calendar. Since Christ, the true Paschal Lamb, had been slain on the very day when the Jews, in celebration of their Passover, immolated the figurative lamb, the Jewish Christians in the Orient followed the Jewish method, and commemorated the death of Christ on the 15th of Nisan and His Resurrection on the 17th of Nisan, no matter on what day of the week they fell. For this observance they claimed the authority of St. John and St. In the rest of the empire another consideration predominated.

    Every Sunday of the year was a commemoration of the Resurrection of Christ , which had occurred on a Sunday. Because the Sunday after 14 Nisan was the historical day of the Resurrection, at Rome this Sunday became the Christian feast of Easter. Easter was celebrated in Rome and Alexandria on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox, and the Roman Church claimed for this observance the authority of Sts.

    Sharing the Easter Faith with Children: Helping Children Observe Lent and Celebrate Easter

    Peter and Paul. The spring equinox in Rome fell on 25 March; in Alexandria on 21 March. In Gaul a number of bishops, wishing to escape the difficulties of the paschal computation, seem to have assigned Easter to a fixed date of the Roman calendar, celebrating the death of Christ on 25 March, His Resurrection on 27 March Marinus Dumiensis in P. Lersch, Chronologie, II, This practice was of short duration. Many calendars in the Middle Ages contain these same dates 25 March, 27 March for purely historical, not liturgical, reasons Grotenfend, Zeitrechnung, II, 46, 60, 72, , , etc.

    The First Council of Nicaea decreed that the Roman practice should be observed throughout the Church. But even at Rome the Easter term was changed repeatedly. Those who continued to keep Easter with the Jews were called Quartodecimans 14 Nisan and were excluded from the Church.

    The computus paschalis , the method of determining the date of Easter and the dependent feasts, was of old considered so important that Durandus Rit. The movable character of Easter 22 March to 25 April gives rise to inconveniences, especially in modern times. For decades scientists and other people have worked in vain for a simplification of the computus, assigning Easter to the first Sunday in April or to the Sunday nearest the 7th of April. Some even wish to put every Sunday to a certain date of the month, e. Dueren in "Pastor bonus" Trier, ; C. Tondini, "L'Italia e la questione del Calendario" Florence, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent.

    It takes place 46 days before Easter Sunday. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in all four canonical Gospels On Palm Sunday, we celebrate the first joy of the season, as we celebrate Our Lord's triumphant entrance into Jerusalem where he was welcomed by Holy Thursday is the most complex and profound of all religious observances.

    It celebrates his last supper with the disciples, a celebration of Passover On Good Friday, each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption. In the solemn ceremonies of Holy Week Leo I calls it the greatest feast, and says that Christmas is celebrated only in preparation for Easter Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours or Passion of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion For most people the easiest practice to consistently fulfill will be the traditional one, to abstain from meat on all Fridays of the year.

    During Lent abstinence from meat on Fridays is obligatory in the From the humorous to the bizarre, people have had interesting Lenten experiences. Tell us about what you are going to give up for this Lenten Year The Ascension occurred on the 40th day of Easter, a Thursday Pentecost Sunday is one of the most ancient feasts of the Church, celebrated early enough to be mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles and Corinthians Everything answered from when does lent end, ashes, giving something up, stations of the cross and blessed palms.

    The key to understanding the meaning of Lent is simple In France, the people feasted on foods that would be given up during the forty days of Lent. Meats, eggs, and milk were finished off in one day, giving the holiday its French title of 'Mardi Gras' which means Fat Tuesday The Resurrection of Jesus is the crowning truth of our faith in Christ, a faith believed and lived as the central truth by the first Christian community He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.

    Choose a gift for someone special and celebrate the joy of Easter Chocolate bunnies and marshmallow Peeps have graced the shelves of U. We are invited to do that by living them in His The Easter Bunny is a symbol of Easter that is popular in western culture, especially with children.

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    According to folklore, the Easter Easter eggs are a traditional part of modern Easter celebrations, but their origins are shrouded in history, raising questions about their This Easter, make sure to take a moment with your family to thank Jesus for his amazing sacrifice. Advertise on Catholic Online Your ads on catholic.

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    Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited. Federal Tax Identification Number: Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law. Even after Christians had come to agree on a forty-day period of fasting before Easter, there was little uniformity in how churches counted the days. In Jerusalem Lent lasted eight weeks and people fasted Monday through Friday for a total of 40 fast days.

    Pin by Carlana Dunn on Holidays- Resurrection Sunday | Lent, Faith, Childrens sermons

    In other places people fasted for six weeks, six days a week, making 36 fast days. Many in medieval times pointed to this period of thirty-six days "as the spiritual tithing of the year, thirty-six days being approximately the tenth part of three hundred and sixty-five. Sundays have never been included as fast days, since celebration rather than fasting should characterize every Sunday--the day Jesus rose from the dead. Like much about Lent, what people give up and how often they abstain has varied throughout history and from person to person.

    For many years, Roman Catholics were called to fast six days a week. A fast was defined as eating only one full meal per day. Even during these meals they were to abstain from eating all animals except fish and animal products, such as milk, eggs, or fat. Today, Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 are instructed to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and to abstain from meat other than fish on all the Fridays of Lent. This helps explain McDonald's increased marketing for its Filet-O-Fish sandwich every Easter season, and why many restaurants in predominantly Catholic parts of the country hold a Fish Fry on Friday nights up until the mid-twentieth century, Catholics were instructed to abstain from meat every Friday of the year.

    While meat is the most common thing left out of one's diet, people choose to give up all kinds of things during Lent. For example, some choose to abstain from something they enjoy such as chocolate, sugar, coffee, or television for the entire Lenten season. Others choose to fast from all food one day a week in order to give themselves to prayer and meditation on the work of Christ.

    At the time of the Reformation the traditions surrounding Lent "were almost entirely swept away, as part of the Reformers' general rejection of the use of all ceremonies in worship that were at best not understood by ordinary people and at worst interpreted in a highly superstitious manner. Today it is commonly observed by Anglicans, Lutherans, Presbyterians and members of other mainline Protestant denominations. In recent years other Protestants such as Baptists and non-denominational congregations have begun to adopt the practice of fasting from something during Lent.

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    Bradshaw and Hoffman, Lawrence A. Accessed 6 Feb.