Liturgical Calendar

The seasons of the Church follow one universal liturgical calendar. The order of the year is as follows:

Advent

Advent marks the beginning of the liturgical calendar. It consists of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas.  The liturgical color is purple anticipating the coming of our King. On the third Sunday, we wear rose representing joy.

Christmas

In the Catholic Church, Christmas is more than one day – it is a season that begins on Christmas Eve (Dec. 24), continues through the Feast of the Epiphany and includes the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God . Christmastide concludes with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord in January.  The liturgical color is white with gold recognizing the presence of our King.

Lent

The forty days of Lent is reminiscent of Jesus’ forty days in the desert. Lent is a season of repentance and renewal in solidarity with those preparing for the Sacraments of Initiation to be received at Easter. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and continues until the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday.  The liturgical color is purple, this time anticipating the coming of the crowning of our King in glory at Easter. We wear rose on the 4th Sunday reminding ourselves of the joy that is coming.

Triduum (or Holy Week)

The Triduum is the most important three days in the liturgical year. Holy Thursday (which commemorates the Last Supper), Good Friday (which commemorates Jesus’ crucifixion and death on the cross), and Holy Saturday (where the Church pauses to commemorate the Lord’s burial). The Easter Vigil is celebrated on Holy Saturday night when new members of the faith receive the Sacraments of Initiation and are welcomed into the Church.

Easter

Alleluia – He is Risen! The Easter season celebrates Christ’s resurrection from the dead, his victory over death. Christ’s Ascension into heaven is celebrated on the 7th Sunday after Easter. Eastertide concludes at Pentecost, where Jesus sends the Holy Spirit upon the apostles to spread the Gospel to all nations.  The liturgical color is again white, our sins have been forgiven we have arisen with Christ.

Ordinary Time

The season of Ordinary Time explores Christ’s mission and message through the Gospels. This season includes Trinity Sunday (which celebrates God’s self revelation as a Trinity of Persons) and Corpus Christi (which celebrates the Body and Blood of Jesus in the Eucharist). Ordinary Time concludes with the Solemnity of Christ the King which brings the liturgical year to a close.  The liturgical color is green in recognition that we are living, breathing, creations of our loving God.

During the year, in addition to the Sunday worship, the Church also celebrates Solemnities, Feasts, and Memorials which may be on any day of the week. These occur during the year to commemorate special events or persons that are highly revered by the Catholic Church.  The liturgical colors change to reflect the celebration.  For instance Red for the Spirit or for martyrs or white for Saints.  You might even see blue for a Marian Feast.