White Sunday

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Joh 20,19-29  EU as daily gospel in catholic and evangelical worship: Jesus and Thomas on the eighth day after the resurrection (around 1527; fresco by Thomas von Villach , parish church Thörl-Maglern )

The White Sunday ( Latin Dominica in Albis , Sunday in white [garments] '), as since 2000 Feast of Divine Mercy committed is the Sunday after Easter and thus the second Sunday of Easter . The Easter octave ends on White Sunday , the eight days from Easter Sunday on which, according to the Catholic liturgy, are all celebrated as solemn feast and with Gloria in Mass and Te Deum in the Liturgy of the Hours . The date is variable depending on the year; the earliest date of White Sunday is March 29th, the latest date is May 2nd.


The origin of the name White Sunday is not certain. It is probably related to the white baptismal robes worn in the early church by those baptized on Easter vigil at services in the days after Easter. They took off these robes on the last day of the Easter octave, which is why it was called Dies Dominica post alba “Sunday after the white robes”; at times the casting took place on the Saturday after Easter ( sabbath in albis ). In the Missale Romanum of 1970 the Sunday is called Dominica secunda paschae "Second Sunday of Easter", but in the German-speaking area the name White Sunday is due to its roots in popular piety, and so on. a. as a traditional day of first communion , still common.

In the evangelical liturgy, after the first words of the introit quasi modo geniti infantes "like newborn children", Sunday is called quasimodogeniti ( like the newborn ); the entrance takes up the motif of the Christian being born again through baptism .

Reading order

In the Catholic reading order, Joh 20,19–29  EU is provided as the Gospel in all three reading years . There the appearances of Jesus to his apostles and especially to the apostle Thomas are reported, which took place on the first and eighth day after Jesus' resurrection. The first readings Acts 2.42–47  EU (reading year A), Acts 4.32–35  EU (reading year B) and Acts 5.12–16 EU (reading year C) tell of life in the early  church. The second readings 1 Petr 1,3–9  EU (A), 1 Joh 5,1–6  EU (B) and Rev 1,9–11a.12f.17–19  EU (C) emphasize the hope that is in the Overcoming death through Christ lies for believers. The daily prayer begins with Deus misericordiae sempiternae .

According to the evangelical pericope order , the Old Testament reading of the Sunday Quasimodogeniti ( Isa 40,26–31  LUT ) emphasizes the hope that God gives. The epistle ( 1 Petr 1,3–9  LUT ) and the Sunday Gospel ( Jn 20,19–29  LUT ) are the same as in the Catholic liturgy; Here, too, it is about the mission and the absolute power of the disciples as a result of the endowment with the Holy Spirit as well as overcoming the religious doubts of the disciple Thomas.

First communion day

Traditional day of first communion: White Sunday 1957 in Grünstadt , entry of the first communicants into the church

In the Catholic Church , White Sunday is traditionally the day for the solemn first communion of the children. The practice emerged after the Council of Trent from the 17th century, after in earlier centuries communion was received for the first time together with baptism, as is customary today for baptisms of young people and adults. From the 19th century the date became binding for the entire Catholic Church, since the Second Vatican Council other dates have also been possible during Easter.

Mercy Sunday

On April 30, 2000, Pope John Paul II stipulated that the Sunday after Easter should be celebrated in the entire Roman Catholic Church as the Sunday of Mercy (also Sunday for Divine Mercy , Feast of Divine Mercy). With the introduction of this theme Sundays or idea feast he fulfilled a wish of the nun Faustina Kowalska , whom he on that day canonized . Sister Faustyna referred to visions in which Jesus Christ told her that he wanted to celebrate such a festival. In connection with confession and communion , a perfect indulgence can be gained on this day .

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI. , who was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as Joseph Ratzinger at the time of the establishment of the feast , reported in a letter in May 2020 that there had been a disagreement between John Paul II and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith about the date of the feast; the congregation had refused the appointment twice so that the traditional day of the Easter octave would not be superimposed with a new message. Ultimately, however, there was an agreement to combine both occasions.

Web links

Wiktionary: White Sunday  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. In English, however , the translated term Whitsunday has a different meaning, namely Pentecost
  2. Guido Muff: White Sunday . In: Walter Kasper (Ed.): Lexicon for Theology and Church . 3. Edition. tape 10 . Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 2001, Sp. 1052 f .
  3. Bruno Kleinheyer : Sacramental Celebrations I. The celebrations of integration into the church. Verlag Friedrich Pustet, Regensburg 1989 (Church service. Handbook of liturgical science, part 7.1), p. 73.
  4. Guido Muff: White Sunday . In: Walter Kasper (Ed.): Lexicon for Theology and Church . 3. Edition. tape 10 . Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 2001, Sp. 1052 f .
  5. ^ Manfred Becker-Huberti : Celebrations, festivities, seasons. Living customs all year round. Herder Verlag, Freiburg, special edition 2001, ISBN 3-451-27702-6 , p. 323.
  6. John Paul II: Sermon for the canonization of Maria Faustyna Kowalska. In: vatican.va. Libreria Editrice Vaticana, April 30, 2000, accessed April 26, 2019 .
  7. Background: The Sunday of Divine Mercy and its mystical origin. In: catholicnewsagency.com. CNA Deutsch / EWTN , April 8, 2018, accessed April 26, 2019 .
  8. Diego Lopez Marina: Seven Things Everyone Should Know About Mercy Sunday. In: catholicnewsagency.com. CNA Deutsch / EWTN , April 8, 2018, accessed April 26, 2019 .
  9. The Feast of Mercy. In: faustyna.pl. Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, accessed April 26, 2019 .
  10. Benedict XVI. calls John Paul II "liberating innovator". Letter to the Polish Bishops' Conference. In: domradio.de , May 15, 2020 online