Why Does Easter Fall on a Different Day Each Year?
In the early days of our Church, just as today, there were many different beliefs. The society was very agricultural, and many religions used the seasons to celebrate special feasts. It was important, in teaching about Jesus, to have people connect the Gospel message to their daily lives. Since Jesus' resurrection was the beginning of a whole new life and occurred so near the spring feasts, it was determined that Easter would always be calculated as the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox (that is, the first day of spring).
The Sacred Triduum
Sundown on Holy Thursday to sundown on Easter Sunday is considered the most solemn part of the liturgical year. This three-day period is referred to as the Easter Triduum, also known as the Sacred Triduum, or Paschal Triduum.
The Sacred Triduum is one great festival recounting the last three days of Jesus’ life on earth, the events of his Passion and Resurrection, when the Lamb of God laid dow his life in atonement for our sins.
Sunday: Celebrating the Resurrection
The third commandment obliges us to keep holy the Sabbath, which is the seventh day of the week, the day on which God rested after creating the world. The first Christians rested and worshiped on Saturday, but gradually switched to Sunday. One reason was the desire to distinguish themselves from the Jewish community that did not accept Jesus as Messiah. But the main reason was the realization that the resurrection of Jesus had changed everything and was at the very center of the Christian faith. The Sabbath, which had focused on the past— resting from the labors of the week just ending—became for Christians a forward-looking celebration of new life. Easter Sunday morning was the dawn of a new life, and every Sunday Christians celebrate the renewal of humanity and of the entire universe that took place through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Divine Mercy Sunday: Celebrating God's Merciful Love
In the Jubilee Year 2000, Pope John Paul II proclaimed that from that year forward the Second Sunday of Easter would be celebrated as Divine Mercy Sunday. This was proclaimed at the Canonization Mass of St. Faustina Kawalska, who worked throughout her life to make all aware of the merciful love of God. St. Faustina (1905–1938) was born and raised in Poland. Following a vocation to religious life, she was accepted by the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. As a member of the Congregation, she worked as a cook, gardener, and porter. In her spiritual life, her contemplation on the Mercy of God led her to develop a childlike trust in God and deep love for her neighbor.
When celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday, the faithful are called to reflect more personally on the graces won through the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. In this way their hearts may be more fully aware of the mercy of God for them personally and for the sake of the world.
New York, 7 March. Slovenia is seeking special protection for a Slovenian Catholic church in New York under a 1996 bilateral agreement with the United States on the protection and preservation of certain cultural properties.
US Ambassador to Slovenia Brent Hartley visited the church on Tuesday in the company of Slovenian Ambassador to United Nations Darja Bavdaž Kuret and former ambassador to the US Božo Cerar, to get acquainted with Slovenia's efforts.
From left to right: Slovenian Ambassador to the UN Darja Bavdaž Kuret, the United States Ambassador to Slovenija Brent Hartley, p. Krizolog Cimerman, former Slovenian ambassador to the US Božo Cerar
Father Martin Krizolog showed the church, which is over 100 years old, and explained why it remains an important point for Slovenians. More than just a place of worship, it is a venue of cultural celebrations, receptions, exhibitions, concerts and other events focused around the Slovenian community in New York.
Cerar said Slovenia was hoping the US would grant the church the special status in agreement with the New York Archdiocese in order to preserve this unique heritage.
The visit comes after the Slovenian government formally endorsed the initiative to protect the church. This would be in accordance with the 1996 agreement, which stipulates that both countries would strive to to protect and preserve the cultural heritage of all national, religious, or ethnic groups that reside or resided in its territory and were the victims of genocide during WWII.
The agreement covers places of worship, sites of historical significance, monuments, cemeteries, and memorials to the dead, as well as related archival materials.
Under this agreement, Slovenia protected the medieval synagogue in Maribor, which was renovated in 2001.
For Slovenia, protection of the Church of St Cyril is the top priority.
Frančiškanski pater Martin Krizolog