Reflecting on 21 Centuries of Faith

Bright Week

The Resurrected Christ Appears to the Virgin Guercino (1591-1666)

“The eight-day week beginning with Easter and ending the following Sunday is one of the octaves kept by the Church.  It is traditional to consider the octave day as belonging to the feast, so that Easter would last eight days, including two Sundays: Easter itself (the high feast) and the following Sunday (the “low” one, thus low Sunday).  It was once common practice for those who had been baptized during the year, especially those initiated at the Easter Vigil, to wear white clothes to Mass during the octave.  In fact, this symbolic clothing of the neophytes inspired all members of the faith community to, clothed in Christ, to celebrate this grace by wearing new clothes at Easter.  With everyone called to rise and shine, it is no wonder that the Easter octave was called Bright Week.“[1]

In the Eastern Church, each day is considered “Bright” because of the luminous glory of the Christ’s resurrection.  During this week, the entire Psalter is prayed and the Liturgies are identical to Easter – with a few minor changes.

[1] Klein, Rev. Peter, The Catholic Source Book (Harcourt Religion Publishers, 2000) p. 341

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