The Liturgical Year
"Holy Mother Church believes that she should celebrate the saving work of her divine Spouse in a sacred commemoration on certain days throughout the course of the year. Once each week, on the day which she has called the Lord's Day, she keeps the memory of the Lord's resurrection. She also celebrates it once every year, together with his blessed Passion, at Easter, that most solemn of all feasts. In the course of the year, moreover, she unfolds the whole mystery of Christ. . . . Thus recalling the mysteries of the redemption, she opens up to the faithful the riches of her Lord's powers and merits, so that these are in some way made present in every age; the faithful lay hold of them and are filled with saving grace." (CCC 1163)
The liturgical year is made up of six seasons:
- Advent - four weeks of preparation before the celebration of Jesus' birth;
- Christmas - recalling the Nativity of Jesus Christ and his manifestation to the peoples of the world;
- Lent - a six-week period of reconciliation before Easter that begins with Ash Wednesday;
- Sacred Paschal Triduum - the holiest "Three Days" of the Church's year, where the Christian people recall the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus;
- Easter - 50 days of joyful celebration of the Lord's resurrection from the dead and his sending forth of the Holy Spirit;
- Ordinary Time - divided into two sections (one span of 4-8 weeks after Christmas Time and another lasting about six months after Easter Time), wherein the faithful consider the fullness of Jesus' teachings and works among his people.
The Liturgical Calendar
Each year, the Secretariat of Divine Worship of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops publishes the Liturgical Calendar for the Dioceses of the United States of America. This calendar is used by authors of ordines and other liturgical aids published to foster the celebration of the liturgy in our country.
The calendar is based upon the General Roman Calendar, promulgated by Pope Paul VI on February 14, 1969, subsequently amended by the Holy See, and the Proper Calendar for the Dioceses of the United States of America, approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and confirmed by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
The Liturgical Calendar (USCCB)