Now that Easter is over (although technically, it is not over until the Octave of Easter is over on Divine Mercy Sunday), there doesn’t appear to be anything else to look forward to until Easter. However, if you’re not part of the "lily and poinsettia crowd", you know that there are several Christian events still to look forward to. It is in this spirit that I give you:
13 Things to Look Forward to, from Easter until Christmas
- Divine Mercy Sunday – April 23rd – this is the last day of the Divine Mercy Novena, as well as a day brought to special attention by St. Faustina and Pope John Paul the Great
- The entire month of May – this is the month dedicated to our Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary, complete with the May crowning and hymns such as "Immaculate Mary" and "Salve Regina".
- Ascension Thursday – May 25th – A holy day of obligation, it is the celebration of Jesus rising into Heaven, body and soul, 40 days after Easter. Also the beginning of the Novena to the Holy Spirit (based on the days after the Ascension, during which the Apostles prayed and waited for the Holy Spirit)
- Pentecost Sunday – June 4th – the Jewish day of Pentecost ("50 days" after Passover), which coincided with the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary. This day is also known as the "Birth of the Church".
- Feast of Corpus Christi – June 15th – a day to celebrate the "Body of Christ", perpetually here for us on Earth in the Eucharist. It is highly recommended to celebrate this day, not only with the Mass, but also with Eucharistic Adoration, processions, and Benediction.
- Feast of the Assumption – August 15th – A holy day of obligation in which to show honor to Mary on the day her body was taken up into Heaven.
- Birth of the Virgin Mary – September 8th – At the halfway point to the birthday of Jesus, we have the birthday of Jesus’ Mother.
- Feast of the Archangels – September 29th – also known as the Feast of St. Michael (my patron saint – that’s why I put it on the list)
- Feast of Our Lady of Fatima – October 13th – also happens to be the day of the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II. He credited the saving of his life to his Holy Mother’s guidancee of the bullet away from every major organ.
- All Saints’ Day – November 1st – A holy day of obligation that reminds us of all the heroes of the faith. This is the true meaning of Halloween, the Vigil of All Saints. (May I suggest that your kids go trick-or-treating as monks, angels, and other saints?)
- All Souls’ Day – November 2nd – a dya for the rest of us (unlike Festivus), it is a day that we especially pray for our beloved deceased, that they may be released from the pains of Purgatory (the chief pain being delayed union with God while their souls are cleaned of any remnants of earthly sin).
- First Sunday of Advent – December 3rd – the official start of the Christmas (Advent) Season
- Feast of the Immaculate Conception – December 8th – A holy day of obligation in which to show honor to Mary. This is probably the most confusing feast day of the Church, because many think that the Immaculate Conception means Jesus – that is actually the Incarnation. The Immaculate Conception means that Mary, at the moment of her conception in the womb of her mother, St. Ann, was immaculate – without stain of original sin.
So, you see we’ve still got a busy schedule until Christmas. Don’t look at this time as a lull, but rather as a chance to stretch your spiritual muscles with more Mass attendance and attention to the liturgical calendar.