The Liturgical Year is “The celebration throughout the year of the mysteries of the Lord’s birth, life, death, and Resurrection in such a way that the entire year becomes a ‘year of the Lord’s grace.’ Thus the cycle of the liturgical year and the great feasts constitutes the basic rhythm of the Christian’s life of prayer, with its focal point at Easter” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1168). Each liturgical season is distinguished by its own mood, theological emphasis, mode of prayer, vestments for clergy, and readings for the Mass, each of which help the faithful enter more deeply into the life of Christ. Our goal is to center our life around the rhythms of the liturgical year, prayer and acts of service.
Advent is the season in which we mark the beginning of a new liturgical year and prepare for the coming of our Lord at Christmas. It begins four Sundays before Christmas.
Holy Days of Obligation: December 8 – Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Christmas is the season which follows Advent. The Christmas season lasts for 12 days, beginning with Christmas day and ending with the Epiphany. Epiphany is celebrated until the Baptism of the Lord.
Holy Days of Obligation: December 25 – Solemnity of the birth of the Lord, January 1 – Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God.
In the Church’s liturgical year there are two periods of Ordinary Time. The first is between Epiphany and Ash Wednesday, and the second is between Pentecost and the first Sunday of Advent.
Holy Days of Obligation: August 15 – Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, November 1 – Solemnity of All Saints.
Lent is the period between Ash Wednesday and Holy Thursday. It is the period in which we commemorate the forty days Jesus spent praying and fasting in the desert before he began his public ministry. Lent is a time of solemn spiritual and physical preparation for our own acceptance of salvation through Christ’s sacrifice.
The Holy Triduum
The Holy Triduum is Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. These are the three holiest days of the liturgical year. In them we celebrate Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection and each of the liturgies celebrated on these days are rich with teaching on the life of Christ.
Easter is celebrated for fifty days following Easter Sunday. This season is the most joyful season of the liturgical year. In it we celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection and victory over death. The Easter season ends with the celebration of Pentecost (which means 50th), in which we celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles.
Holy Days of Obligation: Easter Sunday, Thursday before Pentecost – Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord.