April is a holy month in the Catholic Church, as it marks the season of Easter and the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. During this time, Catholics engage in various devotions and practices that help them deepen their faith and connect with their spiritual beliefs. Here are five things you should know about Catholic devotion during the holy month of April.
1. The Lenten Season Culminates in Holy Week
The season of Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday, lasts for forty days and is a time of fasting, prayer, and reflection. This season of penance and self-denial culminates in Holy Week, which is the week leading up to Easter Sunday. During Holy Week, Catholics engage in various religious practices and rituals that help them focus on the sacrifice of Christ and the message of salvation.
One of the most significant Holy Week practices is the Stations of the Cross, which is a devotion that involves meditating on the fourteen events that occurred during the final hours of Jesus’ life. This devotion is often accompanied by a procession, where Catholics move from one station to another while praying and reflecting on each event.
2. Easter Sunday Celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
Easter Sunday is the most important day in the Catholic Church as it marks the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. This event is central to the Christian faith and signifies the triumph of life over death, and good over evil. On Easter Sunday, Catholics attend Mass, sing hymns, and exchange greetings of “Christ is risen” and “Alleluia.”
The celebration of Easter Sunday also extends beyond the day itself, as the Easter season lasts for fifty days. During this time, Catholics continue to engage in various religious practices and devotions that celebrate the Resurrection and the joy it brings.
3. Divine Mercy Sunday Offers the Opportunity for Grace
Divine Mercy Sunday is celebrated on the Sunday following Easter Sunday and is a devotion that centers on the mercy of God. This devotion was popularized by St. Faustina Kowalska, who received messages from Jesus in the 1930s regarding His Divine Mercy. The devotion involves praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, which is a prayer that asks for God’s mercy and forgiveness.
Divine Mercy Sunday is also a day where Catholics can receive special graces and blessings. According to the diary of St. Faustina, those who receive Holy Communion on Divine Mercy Sunday and confess their sins within eight days before or after the day can obtain a plenary indulgence, which removes all temporal punishment due to sin.
4. The Feast Days of St. Mark, St. George, and St. Catherine of Siena are Celebrated in April
In addition to Easter Sunday and Divine Mercy Sunday, April is also a month that celebrates the lives of several saints. Three notable feast days in April include:
- St. Mark the Evangelist, whose feast day is celebrated on April 25th. He is the author of the Gospel of Mark and is considered one of the four evangelists who wrote the New Testament.
- St. George, whose feast day is celebrated on April 23rd. He is the patron saint of England and is known for his courage and martyrdom.
- St. Catherine of Siena, whose feast day is celebrated on April 29th. She was a mystic, theologian, and doctor of the Church who played a significant role in the papacy during the 14th century.
On these feast days, Catholics often attend Mass and participate in various devotions that honor the lives and contributions of these saints.
5. The Month of April is Dedicated to the Holy Eucharist
The month of April is also dedicated to the Holy Eucharist, which is the sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ. The Eucharist is central to the Catholic faith, as it represents the real presence of Christ in the world. During the month of April, Catholics are encouraged to deepen their devotion to the Eucharist through various practices, such as attending Eucharistic Adoration and participating in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Eucharistic Adoration is a practice that involves spending time in prayer and contemplation in front of the Blessed Sacrament, which is a consecrated host that represents the real presence of Christ. This practice allows Catholics to deepen their relationship with Christ and express their love and gratitude for His sacrifice.
In addition to Eucharistic Adoration, Catholics can also participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which is a commemoration of the Last Supper and the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. During Mass, Catholics receive the Eucharist, the real presence of Christ, His body and blood, and is a powerful reminder of His love and sacrifice for all humanity.
The holy month of April is a time for Catholics to deepen their devotion and connect with their spiritual beliefs. From the culmination of the Lenten season in Holy Week to the celebration of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday, and the devotion to Divine Mercy and the Eucharist, April offers a variety of opportunities for Catholics to reflect on their faith and grow in their relationship with Christ. By participating in these devotions and practices, Catholics can deepen their understanding of their spiritual beliefs and connect with the central tenets of the Catholic faith.