Easter is just over two weeks away, and many of us are deep into praying through the To the End Lent Journal. You might be wondering what’s next once Lent ends and Easter gloriously arrives. After such a prayerful Lent, how do we carry the spirit of prayer and virtue into the joy of the Easter season?
With this in mind, Blessed is She devotional writer, Laura Kelly Fanucci, created a beautiful new book for our community. Risen: 50 Ways to Live Easter is designed to take you through each day of the Easter season with real, practical ways to live it out.
How to Fully Celebrate Easter with Laura Kelly Fanucci
We sat down with Laura to discuss the heart and inspiration behind this project, what each day looks like, and what she hopes women take from this book year after year.
Q1: Many Catholics aren’t aware of the length of the Easter season (I wasn’t until I was an adult!). Can you tell us a bit about how long the Easter season actually lasts and what that looks like for the Church liturgically?
In the Catholic Church, Easter lasts for 50 days: from Easter Sunday through Pentecost. It’s actually the longest liturgical season in our Church year.
But it’s not uncommon for many Catholics not to realize that Easter isn’t just one high holy feast of Easter Sunday. (There have been years in my life when I’ve frankly been surprised to find that we are still celebrating Easter, weeks later!)
Ironically, it’s hard to sustain joy and celebration for weeks and weeks. And we don’t have the same kind of traditional practices for the Easter season that we do for Lent (with prayer, fasting, and almsgiving) or Advent (with Advent calendars and wreathes).
In conversations with friends, I found that many of us felt the same. We didn’t know how to live Easter well—or for a full fifty days. So I wanted to jump into this deep season of joy and see what it might look like to live it in out in small ways each day.
Q2: What served as your inspiration for Risen?
Honestly, I wanted a book like this to exist for myself! For years I have wanted to live Easter more intentionally—to think about what it would be like to enter into the Easter season with more thoughtful practice and focused prayer. When I live Lent well (and more often, when I don’t), I’m hungry for Holy Week by the time Easter appears on the horizon. But I find myself wondering what to do with what comes next.
So last year during the Easter season, I kept a running list of short, concrete ideas for how to live out the spirit of the season in small ways every day. As the list grew, I started to see the idea for a book take shape.
I love devotional books that are realistic but deeply thoughtful—enough Scripture to chew on for the day, but not daunting in length or practice. So I wove together these elements: Scripture, reflection, prayer, and action.
I also love the Resurrection stories in the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, and I wanted to immerse myself in them. I’m amazed at how they have transformed my understanding of the Resurrection and the mission we are given as disciples to carry this good news into our corners of the world.
As I wrote, I kept this question in mind: how could I make this book offer readers a beautiful, joyful practice to take up each day in Easter?
Q3: How is Risen formatted? Could this be done as a family or in a small group?
For each day of the Easter season, Risen gives you:
- a short Scripture passage (from the Easter stories in the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles)
- a fresh perspective on the day’s Scripture
- a prayer to reflect on your own life
- a short action to live out Easter
You could absolutely read through Risen with your family! The reflections are short, the prayers are simple, and the action for each day is easily adaptable to any age or lifestyle. I could see a family reading it around the dinner table or as morning/evening prayer together.
Risen would be great for a small group, too. I’d love to get together with friends during each week of Easter and share what we’re learning from reflecting on the Easter stories. You could easily do a weekly check-in by reading one of the Scripture passages from the past week and share how you’re living out the season through the prayers and action items.
Q4: How is Risen different from other Advent and Lent Journals?
Advent and Lent are natural times for journaling as we reflect on our relationship with God, do penance, and prepare for the high feasts of Christmas and Easter. But I know many of us get exhausted by the end of these seasons of deep reflection. We just can’t journal anymore!
So I wanted to do something fresh and different with this book. There’s no journaling (although you could certainly use it with a journal if you wanted to write as you go). It’s simply a companion for prayer, reflection, and action.
I wanted to get creative in imagining how we could live out Easter in our daily lives. The action items are some of my favorite parts of the book (so I don’t want to give too much away!). But I gathered ideas in Risen that range from what you could eat or wear during Easter to lively ways that you could bring the Easter spirit of joy to your interactions with friends, family, coworkers, and anyone you meet!
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Q5: The heart of Advent is anticipation, penance, and hope. The heart of Lent is repentance, sacrifice, and salvation. What would you say is the heart of Easter?
The heart of Easter is resurrection, celebration, and joy. It fulfills the hope of Advent and leads us to the fullness of salvation promised in Lent. It’s the culmination of everything we believe as Catholics.The heart of Easter is resurrection, celebration, and joy. It fulfills the hope of Advent and leads us to the fullness of salvation promised in Lent. It’s the culmination of everything we believe as Catholics. Click To Tweet
Yet it can be challenging to feast and celebrate for 50 full days, especially when the rest of the world pulls down the Easter decorations on Monday morning. So I wanted to help us sustain the joy, deepen our reflection on resurrection, and let our lives be transformed by the power of Christ’s victory over sin and death.
Q6: What do you hope people take away from reading through and living out Risen?
Fun fact: Risen isn’t written just for women! I wrote it for a wide audience because I found that there wasn’t any book out there for Catholics who wanted to “practice” Easter in an intentional, prayerful way. I figured many loyal BIS readers might have friends, coworkers, sons, fathers, husbands, or boyfriends who’d enjoy picking up a book like this too! I also imagined it could be a great gift for new Catholics who have just entered the Church at Easter Vigil.
So I hope that any reader finds Risen to be a helpful, realistic, easy, and encouraging way to journey through the Easter season. I hope readers discover the joy and hope at the heart of this season, and that they are able to marvel and wonder at the ways God is transforming their own lives through the Resurrection.
One cool feature of Risen is that it can be used every Easter. So it’s a book you can pull out each year and dip into again. I hope it will be a beautiful resource for readers to return to next Easter and find how God is doing a brand-new thing in their lives all over again through the 50 days of this rich season.
As we all celebrate the upcoming Easter season together, let’s encourage one another in our prayer and action! We are doing a Blessed is She community-wide challenge during Easter, showing one another how we’re celebrating Easter more fully this year. Once you have your copy of Risen and begin to journey through Easter with it, feel free to share photos of how you’re living that day’s action items on social media using the hashtag #risenchallenge. We can’t wait to be inspired and encouraged by our community at large!
Will you be using Risen to help you more fully celebrate Easter?
How to More Fully Celebrate Easter #BISblog // Click To Tweet
Laura Kelly Fanucci is a mother, writer, and director of a theological project on vocation. She and her husband are raising four sons and wrote a book together on grieving the loss of children, “Grieving Together: A Couple’s Journey through Miscarriage.” She is the author of seven books including “Everyday Sacrament: The Messy Grace of Parenting” and “Living Your Discipleship: 7 Ways to Express Your Deepest Calling.” You can find out more about her here. She is the author of the Blessed Conversations Mystery: Behold study found here.