The Solemnity of Easter, in which we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, is such an important day that the Church not only celebrates a season of Easter for 50 days, but observes an octave (8 days) in which, we celebrate each day as if it were Easter Sunday. The Sunday after Easter Sunday is the eighth day and brings the Octave of Easter to its conclusion. This Sunday has, throughout the Church’s history, been known by various names. It has been called Dominica in albis (Sunday in white). At the Easter Vigil, the newly baptized are given white garments to symbolize their new life in Christ. Traditionally they would wear this garment for the Octave of Easter and then, on this Sunday, set them aside for the first time.
This Sunday has also been known as Quasimodo Sunday. No, the name does not come from the character in the Victor Hugo novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Actually, the character in the novel was left at the doorstep of the Cathedral of Notre Dame on that Sunday and so was named Quasimodo. The term Quasimodo comes from the Introit, or Entrance Antiphon, for the day which, in Latin, reads: “Quasi modo genti infantes….” This is taken from 1Peter 2:2 which reads in English: “Like newborn infants, you must long for the pure, spiritual milk, that in him you may grow to salvation.”
More recently, this Sunday has become known as Divine Mercy Sunday. Pope St. John Paul II officially declared this title for the Sunday in April of 2000, while at the same time canonizing St. Faustina Kowalska. In personal revelations to St. Faustina, our Lord conveyed his desire to have this Sunday dedicated to his infinite mercy so that all might realize how the readings and prayers speak to his infinite mercy and that all might have recourse to his mercy in their lives. So, Happy Easter. Happy Divine Mercy Sunday. Happy Quasimodo Sunday! Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!