By Estefania Aguirre
Catholic News Agency
The Easter season that began March 31 continues with the octave of Easter and extends for seven weeks - or roughly 50 days - past Easter Sunday, according to the Catholic liturgical calendar.
"Beginning with the Easter Triduum as its source of light, the new age of the Resurrection fills the whole liturgical year with its brilliance," the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches (1168).
The season concludes with the feast of Pentecost, when the Church remembers the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles after the ascension of Jesus into heaven and celebrates that event as the beginning of the new "age of the Church," when Christ lives and acts in and with His Church (1076).
Eastertide offers the Catholic faithful a time to intentionally celebrate the resurrection of Christ and to allow the implications of the resurrection to inform their thinking and actions.
The Pope told a crowd gathered in Saint Peter's Square for the Regina Coeli that the grace from the sacraments received at Easter can renew relationships.
"The grace contained in Easter Sacraments has a huge potential for renewal in personal life, family life and social relations," Pope Francis said April 1 to a packed Saint Peter's Square.
He noted that "everything passes through the human heart," and the sacraments allow people to "receive the grace of the risen Christ," which gives them the freedom to change those faults that "can hurt me and others."
The Pope underscored that this "allows the victory of Christ to remain in my life and broaden its beneficial action."
"Without grace we can do nothing, and with the grace of Baptism and Holy Communion, we can become an instrument of God's mercy," he said.
"Expressing in life the sacrament we have received here, dear brothers and sisters, is our daily work, but I would say it is also our daily joy," the Holy Father added.
The pope referenced the Apostle Peter preaching on Jesus' resurrection to crowds in Jerusalem.
He called on the power of the resurrection of Christ to reach everyone, the Pope recalled, "especially those who suffer" and those in "all situations in need of confidence and hope."
Christ has conquered evil "fully and definitively," he said, but "it is up to us to welcome this victory in our lives and in the realities of history and society."
Chuckles were heard across Saint Peter's Square after the Pope concluded the gathering by saying, "thank you all and have a great lunch."
He then waved a final goodbye, while the crowd waved back at him.
The Regina Coeli is sung or recited in place of the Angelus at 12:00 p.m., from Easter Saturday until Pentecost Sunday. At the April 1 gathering, the Pope recited the prayer and delivered his remarks in Italian.
The Vatican press office director, Father Federico Lombardi, said at a March 29 press conference that he thinks Pope Francis does not sing during liturgies because has a certain amount of tone deafness.
George Rigazzi, director of the Office of Family Life for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, said he encourages families to internalize the words of the pope.
“One of the most important tasks of parenting is being the primary educators in the faith for our children,” Rigazzi said. “In a world that is seemingly less interested in the joy of the Resurrection, our mandate is to be witnesses to the love of Christ. Introducing our families to the unique and wonderful rites and prayers of the Church especially during this season is paramount. From Easter Sunday until Pentecost, the beauty of the liturgy seems to intensify. Some of the most beautiful music was written for this season. Our tradition is rich.”
The staff of the Sooner Catholic contributed to this report.