Seasons of the Liturgical Year

 

liturg calendar

ADVENT

The Advent season is a time to prepare for the birth of Jesus Christ. The word Advent originated from the Latin word "venio" meaning to come. The season starts four Sundays prior to Christmas day. The beginning of the Advent season is also considered the start of the liturgical year.

Advent is a time of expectant waiting when we reflect on the coming of Jesus. The faithful prepares with great anticipation and solemnity. We are reminded that we are receiving the great gift of Christ. The liturgical colour used during this period is purple symbolizing penance except on the Third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete or Rejoice Sunday) when the color pink is used to symbolize joy.

Recommended readings on Advent:

  1. Catholic traditions for Advent and Christmas
    www.catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0372.htm
  2. Celebrate Advent with your family
    www.stcharleschurch.org/faith/prayer/advent-family.htm
  3. Why is Advent Important?
    www.catholic.org/clife/advent/index.php?id=6

CHRISTMAS SEASON

The Christmas season begins at the sunset of Christmas Eve and ends on the Solemnity of the Epiphany. Christmas came from the word the Old English word, Cristes Maesse or Christ’s Mass. It has become known as The Twelve Days of Christmas because there are twelve days in this season. The Church celebrates God’s embodiment as a human being through Jesus Christ. As the Son of God, Jesus was born on earth to save us.

The liturgical colours at this time are white or gold. It symbolizes purity and joy.

Recommended readings on Christmas:

  1. Christmastide
    www.holytrinitygerman.org/xmastide.html
  2. The schema of Christmastide
    www.holytrinitygerman.org/xmasschema.html
  3. Christmas FAQs
    www.americancatholic.org/Features/Christmas/faqs.asp

ORDINARY TIME

The Catholic Church observes Ordinary Time starting from the Lord’s Baptism to Ash Wednesday and from Pentecost Monday continuing to the first Sunday of Advent. The term ‘Ordinary’ is used to describe the numbered Sundays in this season.

The gospel readings of Matthew, Mark and Luke are read to reflect on Jesus’ life, his teachings and ministry. The liturgical color used is green, symbolizing hope.

Many solemnities and feast days are celebrated during Ordinary Time. Among them, the Most Holy Trinity, Corpus Christi, the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Annunciation and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

To know more about feast days of saints, click here

LENT

The Lenten Season is a forty-day period of reflection, penance and fasting before Easter Sunday. The word ‘Lent’ originated from the Latin word Quadragesima, meaning forty days. The season starts on Ash Wednesday. Marking the foreheads with ashes reminds the faithful the virtue of humility and the transient nature of life on Earth.

Holy Week, or the last week of Lent, is a time to venerate and reflect on Jesus’ suffering, crucifixion and death. Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week. It celebrates the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.

For explanations on Lenten customs, click here.

 

Stations of the Cross (Way of the Cross)

station2

The Stations of the Cross are the fourteen images marked with a cross on the church’s walls. These depict the sequence of events from the arrest of Jesus until His death. Praying the Stations of the Cross is similar to pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The faithful recite a devotional text; meditate in front of the station then proceeds to the next station.

To learn more about the Stations of the Cross and how to pray it, click here.

Seven Last Words

  • First word: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.
  • Second word: Amen, I say to you, this day you shall be with me in paradise.
  • Third word: Woman, behold your son. Son, behold your Mother.
  • Fourth word: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.
  • Fifth word: I thirst.
  • Sixth word: It is finished.
  • Seventh word: Father into your hands, I commend my spirit.

To listen to the last words of Jesus with a resurrection heart, click here.

Recommended readings on Lent:

  1. Frequently asked questions about Lent
    http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/lent/faqs.asp
  2. Embracing Lent as a family
    http://www.catholicmom.com/lent_family.htm
  3. Teaching Holy Week to your kids
    http://www.sundayschoollessons.com/holyweek.htm
  4. Lenten traditions within the home
    http://www.cuf.org/Faithfacts/details_view.asp?ffID=91
  5. Different Lenten customs
    http://www.americancatholic.org/newsletters/CU/ac0302.asp

EASTER TRIDUUM

Celebrate the suffering, death and resurrection of the Lord and is the high point of the liturgical year.

The celebration of the Easter Triduum opens with the evening Mass of the Lord's Supper, remembers the death of Jesus on Good Friday, reaches its climax in the Easter Vigil (celebrating the risen Lord) and closes on Easter Sunday.

EASTER

Easter season is a seven week period beginning on Easter Sunday and concluding on Pentecost. During the Easter season, we focus on the new life we have received in the resurrection of the Lord. It is a time of thanksgiving and joy and symbolized by the color of white illustrating new life, triumph and glory.

There are two major feast days in this season: The Ascension of the Lord and Pentecost. On Pentecost, the Church commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles fifty days after the resurrection of Christ.

Further readings on Seasons of the Liturgical Year:

  1. The Liturgical Calendar
    http://www.wf-f.org/LiturgicalCalendar-info.html
  2. Seasons of the Liturgical Year
    http://www.catholicculture.org/lit/calendar/season.cfm
  3. Church Seasons: Mark Your (Liturgical) Calendar
    http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/YU/ay1299.asp
  4. Meaning of Liturgical Colors
    http://www.catholic.org/clife/lcolors.php