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A complete guide to Celebrate Easter Sunday at home

La resurrection du Tintoret
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Here you have the prayers, readings, and everything else you need to celebrate with God’s Word.

In order to worthily sanctify the Easter festivities,
Aleteia proposes this celebration of the Word of God at home.  

In collaboration with Magnificat magazine


General Instructions:

  • This celebration requires the presence of at least two people.
  • If you’re alone, it is better to simply read the readings and prayers of the Mass of the day in your missal.
  • Choose the schedule that most suits you, whether in the morning or in the afternoon.
  • This celebration is particularly suitable for use with family. In order to respect quarantine measures, you should refrain from inviting others from outside your household. If anyone in your house is ill, make sure they remain in isolation to ensure that all safety guidelines are strictly followed.
  • Set up the needed number of chairs in front of a prayer corner, respecting distance between them.
  • Put all the prayer corner decorations you removed for Good Friday back in place: statues, images, icons, candles, flowers, etc. To increase the festive character, you can include children’s drawings, paper flowers, decorated eggs, etc.; and you can even add—why not—beautiful golden Christmas garlands.
  • A simple cross or crucifix must always be visible in the background.
  • Designate a person to lead the prayer.
  • The leader will also direct the preparation of the celebration, during which he or she will mark the length of the periods of silence.
  • Designate readers for the readings.
  • Prepare petitions for the Prayers of the Faithful or Universal Prayer. In case that is not possible, a standard list of petitions is provided here for use during the course of the celebration.
  • Suitable hymns may be prepared as well.

 EASTER SUNDAY

Christ is truly risen, alleluia.”

The leader of the celebration reads:

Brothers and sisters,
Easter is the definitive victor of unarmed Love
over the powerfully armed forces of evil and death.
Thus, God our Father’s plan as our creator, undermined by sin,
is restored through his only-begotten Son’s offering of his life
for us, his brothers and sisters, and for our salvation.

Let us rejoice, brothers and sisters!

Our life shall know no end,
and after our earthly pilgrimage, it will continue forever,
because it will be adopted, out of love, into the very bosom of divine Life,
to our immeasurable happiness.

This is why the Church invites all its children to gather
to offer God our Father the only thanksgiving he accepts:
our life, offered out of love, in communion with the Eucharist
of his only Son, Jesus Christ,
our brother and our Savior.

Sadly, on this holy Day,
we are impeded from gathering
to participate in the celebration of the Eucharist.

Nevertheless, we know that when
we gather to pray in his name,
Christ is very present among us,
and we believe that when we read his Word in the Church,
it is the Word of God himself speaking to us.

His word is then true nourishment for our lives.
That is why we are going to commemorate together
the Lord’s Resurrection, listening to his Word of Life.

We’re going to do this
in the hope of sharing in his triumph over death.
and living with him forever in God.

Pause

In communion of heart and spirit with the whole Church,
let us celebrate the Light of Christ
and let us listen to his saving Word. 

After a moment of silence, all rise and make the Sign of the Cross, saying:

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. 

The leader continues:

To prepare ourselves to receive God’s Word
and in order for it to heal us,
we recognize ourselves as sinners.

The penitential rite is then said:

Have mercy on us, O Lord.
For we have sinned against you.
Show us, O Lord, your mercy.
And grant us your salvation.

May Almighty God have mercy on us;
forgive us our sins,
And bring us to everlasting life.
Amen.

The following is said or sung:

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

The Gloria is then said or sung:

Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to people of good will.
We praise you, we bless you,
we adore you, we glorify you,
we give you thanks for your great glory.
Lord God, heavenly King, O God, almighty Father.
Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son,
Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,
you take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us;
you take away the sins of the world,
receive our prayer;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father,
have mercy on us.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father.
Amen.

Glória in excélsis Deo
et in terra pax homínibus bonae voluntátis.
Laudámus te, benedícimus te,
adoramus te, glorificámus te,
gratias agimus tibi propter magnam glóriam tuam,
Dómine Deus, Rex cæléstis, Deus Pater omnípotens.
Dómine Fili Unigénite, Jesu Christe,
Dómine Deus, Agnus Dei, Fílius Patris,
qui tollis peccáta mundi, miserére nobis;
qui tollis peccáta mundi, suscipe deprecationem nostram.
Qui sedes ad déxteram Patris, miserére nobis.
Quóniam tu solus Sanctus, tu solus Dóminus,
tu solus Altíssimus, Jesu Christe,
cum Sancto + Spíritu : in glória Dei Patris.
Amen.

PRAYER

The leader says the opening prayer:

O God, who on this day,
through your Only Begotten Son,
have conquered death
and unlocked for us the path to eternity,
grant, we pray, that we who keep
the solemnity of the Lord’s Resurrection
may, through the renewal brought by your Spirit,
rise up in the light of life.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity
of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

All sit down.

FIRST READING (Acts 10:34a,37-43)

A reading from the Acts of the Apostles.

Peter proceeded to speak and said:

“You know what has happened all over Judea,
beginning in Galilee after the baptism
that John preached,
how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth
with the Holy Spirit and power.

He went about doing good
and healing all those oppressed by the devil,
for God was with him.

We are witnesses of all that he did
both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem.
They put him to death by hanging him on a tree.
This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible,
not to all the people, but to us,
the witnesses chosen by God in advance,
who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.

He commissioned us to preach to the people
and testify that he is the one appointed by God
as judge of the living and the dead.

To him all the prophets bear witness,
that everyone who believes in him
will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.”

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

PSALM (Ps 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23)

R/ This is the day the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad! 

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
Let the house of Israel say,
“His mercy endures forever.”

R/ This is the day the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad! 

“The right hand of the LORD has struck with power;
the right hand of the LORD is exalted.
I shall not die, but live,
and declare the works of the LORD.”

R/ This is the day the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad! 

The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.

R/ This is the day the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad! 

SECOND READING (Col 3:1-4)

A reading from the letter of St. Paul to the Colossians.

Brothers and sisters:
If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ your life appears,
then you too will appear with him in glory.

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

SEQUENCE

All recite the Victimae paschali in two alternating groups.

Christians, to the Paschal Victim
Offer your thankful praises!

A Lamb the sheep redeems;
Christ, who only is sinless,
Reconciles sinners to the Father.

Death and life have contended
in that combat stupendous:
The Prince of life, who died, reigns immortal.

Speak, Mary, declaring
What you saw, wayfaring.

“The tomb of Christ, who is living,
The glory of Jesus’ resurrection;

bright angels attesting,
The shroud and napkin resting.

Yes, Christ my hope is arisen;
to Galilee he goes before you.”

Christ indeed from death is risen,
our new life obtaining.

Have mercy, victor King, ever reigning!
Amen. Alleluia.

GOSPEL (Jn 20:1-9)

For the gospel acclamation, all sing a triumphant Alleluia.

Alleluia ! Alleluia ! Alleluia !
Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed;
let us then feast with joy in the Lord.
Alleluia ! Alleluia ! Alleluia !

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John.

On the first day of the week,
Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.

So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,

“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don’t know where they put him.”

So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.

They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter
and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.

When Simon Peter arrived after him,
he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,
and the cloth that had covered his head,
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.

Then the other disciple also went in,
the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
and he saw and believed.

For they did not yet understand the Scripture
that he had to rise from the dead.

At the end of the Gospel, all sing or say again the joy of the Resurrection:

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

All sit down.

The leader repeats slowly, as if it were a deep and far-off echo:

“He is truly risen.
Alleluia, Alleluia.”

All observe three minutes of silence for silent personal meditation.

All then stand to profess the faith of the Church
saying the Apostles’ Creed:

I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried;
he descended into hell;
on the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty;
from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting. Amen.

UNIVERSAL PRAYER

All remain standing for the prayers of the faithful, as prepared ahead of time. The following intercessions may be used instead, separating the intentions with an intervening moment of silence.
The leader of the prayer says:

On this day of celebration,
when the Risen Jesus brings tenderness, consolation,
grace, and joy to the entire world,
let us pray to him:

All say the refrain:

R/ Son of God, hear us!

O Christ, our brother and our God,

  • pour out your Spirit upon those who have
    been immersed in the living water of new life; R/
  • make your forgiveness known
    to those who do not yet experienced this joy; R/
  • nourish hope and tenderness
    in families who are confined; R/
  • give joy to all those who suffer
    from loneliness; R/
  • sustain the courage and self-sacrifice
    of all those who work caring for the sick
    and seeking to find a cure for them; R/
  • come to the aid of people who are hospitalized
    and their families; R/
  • open the gates of eternal happiness to our deceased. R/

The people present may add, in turn, their own intentions. At the end of each of them, all repeat the refrain together:

R/ Son of God, hear us!

The leader introduces to the Lord’s Prayer:

United in the Spirit and in the communion of the Church,
we dare to pray as the Lord Jesus himself
taught us:

All say or sing the Our Father:

Our Father …
Continuing immediately with:
For the kingdom …

Then the leader invites those present to share a sign of peace:

We have just joined our voices
with that of the Lord Jesus to pray to the Father.
We are sons and daughters in the Son.
In the love that unites us with one another,
renewed by the word of God,
we can exchange a gesture of peace,
a sign of the communion
we receive from the Lord.

All then exchange a greeting of peace from a distance: for example, by bowing deeply towards each other in turn;
or, as a family, by blowing each other a kiss.

All sit down.

SPIRITUAL COMMUNION

The leader says:

When we cannot receive sacramental communion
for lack of a Mass, Pope Francis
urges us to practice spiritual communion,
also called “communion of desire.”

The Council of Trent reminds us that this
“consists in an ardent desire to feed on the Heavenly Bread,
with a living faith that acts through charity
and that makes us participants in the fruits and graces of the Sacrament.”

The value of our spiritual communion
depends therefore on our faith in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist
as a source of life, love and unity,
and our desire to receive Communion
in spite of our inability to do so.

In this spirit, I invite you now to bow your head,
and close your eyes to focus on Christ.

Silence

Deep in our hearts,
let us allow the burning desire to unite ourselves
with Jesus in sacramental communion
to rise within us,
and then may we bring his love into our lives,
by loving others as he loved us.

All remain in silence for five minutes for a heart-to-heart conversation with Jesus Christ.

You may optionally stand and say or sing a beautiful Alleluia once more:

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

All remain standing, turning to face the Cross of Christ. With hands joined in prayer, the prayer leader, in the name of all, says the prayer of blessing:

FINAL BLESSING

May almighty God bless us
through today’s Easter Solemnity
and, in his compassion,
defend us from every assault of sin. Amen.

And may he, who restores us to eternal life
in the Resurrection of his Only Begotten Son,
endow us with the prize of immortality. Amen.

Now that the days of the Lord’s Passion have drawn to a close,
may we who celebrate the gladness of the Paschal Feast
come with Christ’s help, and exulting in spirit,
to those feasts that are celebrated in eternal joy. Amen.

All together, each with hands joined in prayer:

And may the blessing of almighty God,
come down on us and remain with us for ever. Amen.

All make the Sign of the Cross. Then parents may trace the Sign of the Cross on their children’s foreheads.

To conclude the celebration, you may sing the Regina Caeli,
or some other well-known joyful Marian hymn.

Regína caéli, lætáre, Allelúia!
Quia quem meruísti portáre, Allelúia!
Resurréxit, sicut dixit, Allelúia!
Ora pro nóbis Déum, Allelúia!

O Queen of heaven rejoice! Alleluia!
For He whom thou didst merit to bear, Alleluia!
Hath arisen as he said, Alleluia!
Pray for us to God, Alleluia!

*

*       *

Starting on Easter Monday, we will propose daily guides for celebrations at home, to help you continue to sanctify the Easter season, despite any obstacles, for the glory of God and the salvation of the world.

You can also find other resources for free on the Magnificat website.

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