The Linked Parishes of Pope John XXIII & Christ The King
2020-21 Faith Formation Program
Session 4 - The Church Year
INFO SQUARE from Mass Communication
Like “normal” years, the Church Year is divided into Seasons - there are 6 different kinds.
Some are long, another only lasts 3 days, and another is actually in two parts!
Each Season has its own meaning.
Let's take a quick look at the entire calendar before we break it down
The seasons help us celebrate the life of Jesus throughout the entire year.
Did you notice that each Season has its own color too?
Colors are symbols that give us clues about the lessons we will hear in the Mass readings. The priest wears vestments that match the season and the lessons.
We covered Advent pretty thoroughly in the December Lesson
Some Hi-lights are:
Advent marks the beginning of the Church Year
It begins 4 Sundays before Christmas
It is a time of preparing for Christ’s coming
2. CHRISTMAS SEASON
...celebrates Jesus’ coming to be with us. Christmas Time began on Christmas Day and lasts through the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord Jesus (which was celebrated on January 10 this year).
During this season we have other special celebrations:
the Solemnity of Mary (Jan 1)
(recognizing her as the Mother of God)
The Holy Family (Dec. 27)
(Jesus, Mary & Joseph),
Epiphany (Jan 6)
(the visit of the Wise Men, proclaiming Jesus was here for all mankind)
3. ORDINARY TIME
Because the term ordinary usually describes things that aren’t special, many people think that Ordinary Time refers to parts of the Church calendar that are unimportant. That’s not true!
Ordinary Time is called "ordinary" because the weeks of Ordinary Time are numbered - like the word ordinals, that describes numbers in a series.
Ordinary Time is divided into 2 parts with the first part falling between Christmas and Lent. It could be anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks long. The length is different every year because the date of Easter is different every year. This year it will be 4 ½ weeks long.
Lent is a six-week period to prepare for Easter . During Lent, we try to become more like Jesus through prayer, fasting and alms-giving.
During Advent, we anxiously waited to celebrate the birth of Jesus. During Lent, we contemplate his sacrifice before celebrating his resurrection
Advent was a time to prepare for Jesus’ coming into the world - Lent is a time when we try to become more like Jesus.
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and continues until Holy Thursday
The shortest season is called the TRIDUUM - a Latin word meaning three days. It ends Holy Week (that begins on Palm Sunday) and takes us to Easter.
These are considered the holiest "Three Days" of the Church's year, where the Christian people recall the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
It begins with evening Mass on Holy Thursday and continues through Easter Sunday.
6. EASTER SEASON
After the celebration of Easter Sunday, we enjoy 50 days of joyful celebration of the Lord's resurrection from the dead and his sending forth of the Holy Spirit.
The last day of this season is a celebration day called Pentecost (from the Greek word meaning 50th) and we consider it the “birthday’ of the Church!
The Holy Spirit came and filled the disciples with courage and faith, so they could go out and share the Good News of Jesus with others.
ORDINARY TIME (part 2)
After Pentecost, we begin the second part of Ordinary Time. We continue counting the weeks picking up where we left off.
During Ordinary Times we focus on Jesus' teachings and works among his people. Since we are learning and growing during this time, the color green seems fitting.
This second part of Ordinary Time takes us all the way back to the first Sunday of Advent - when we start all over again with a new Church Year!!!
A few additional important points about our Calendar Year
Each season contains celebration and observance days that help us learn about Jesus and his great gift to us!
The most important are considered Holy Days of Obligation.
They are the days other than Sundays on which we celebrate the great things God has done for us through Jesus and the saints. On Holy Days of Obligation, Catholics attend Mass.
Six Holy Days of Obligation are celebrated in the United States.
January 1—Mary, Mother of God
Fortieth day after Easter—Ascension
August 15—Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
November 1—All Saints
December 8—Immaculate Conception
December 25—Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Why don't ALL of our special Holy Days fall on the same date every year?
We can "blame" that on the date of Easter.
Jesus rose from the dead on the first Sunday following the feast of Passover. So Easter is ALWAYS on a Sunday, but not the same date.
Easter follows the first full moon after the spring equinox. (The spring equinox is the day on which the sun crosses the equator, making day and night the same length everywhere.) That is the first full moon on or after March 21. Easter thus always falls between March 22 and April 25.
Now, to find Palm Sunday (the sixth Sunday of Lent) you start with the date of Easter and back up one week: It is the Sunday before Easter Sunday.
To find Ash Wednesday, you start with the date of Easter Sunday, back up six weeks (that gives you the first Sunday of Lent), and then back up four more days: Ash Wednesday is the Wednesday before the first Sunday of Lent.
Now wasn't that easy!?.....NOT