Seasons of the Church Year
Advent is the
beginning of our church year. The word
"Advent" means "coming." It is a four-week
season of expectant waiting and preparation
arrival of the Christ child on Christmas day.
Christmas is the season when we celebrate the
birth of Christ. It is not just a single day; it is the
12-day period that takes place
between sunset on Christmas Eve and
continues through January 5 (the eve of the
Epiphany of our Lord).
This time period is also commonly known as the
Twelve Days of Christmas.
On the day of Epiphany (January 6), the church celebrates the revelation
of Christ to all nations, as represented by the
magi who come to worship Jesus. The season of
Epiphany starts on January 6 and continues until
the last Sunday before Ash Wednesday, which is
celebrated as the Transfiguration of our Lord.
The Lenten season begins on
Ash Wednesday, lasts for 40 days and ends at
Easter. The forty days of Lent recall the 40 day
fast of Jesus in the wilderness after his
baptism (Matthew 4:2, Luke 4:1-2) and Moses' 40
day fast on Mount Sinai (Exodus 34:28).
traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation
of the believer through prayer, repentance,
alms-giving and self-denial.
Holy Week is
last week of Lent and, also,
the week before Easter. These
special days observe the events in
the life of Jesus from His entry into Jerusalem
through His crucifixion and burial.
Holy Week begins with Palm
Sunday, which commemorates the triumphant entry
of Jesus into Jerusalem. It is called Palm
Sunday because the crowds, who were in Jerusalem
for Passover, waved palm branches and proclaimed
that Jesus was the Messiah.
Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last
Supper of Jesus with his Twelve Apostles, where
Jesus first performed what we now call the
Eucharist (Holy Communion), where He washed the
feet of His disciples and where He gave them the
new command to "love one another."
Good Friday commemorates
Jesusí arrest, trial, crucifixion, suffering,
death and burial.
Holy Saturday is the last day
of Holy Week and commemorates the day that
Jesus' body lay in the tomb. Holy Saturday
lasts until dusk, after which the Easter Vigil
is celebrated, marking the official start of the
Easter Sunday is the day we celebrate the
resurrection of Jesus Christ, the final
conquering of death.
The season of Easter (Eastertide) begins on
Easter Sunday and lasts for seven weeks (50
days) - until
the Day of Pentecost.
The Ascension (which
is always on a Thursday)
commemorates when the resurrected Jesus
was taken up to heaven in his resurrected body,
in the presence of eleven of his disciples,
occurring 40 days after the resurrection.
During the Ascension, an angel tells the
watching disciples that Jesus' second coming
will take place in the same manner as his
commemorates the outpouring of the Holy Spirit
upon the group of about 120 people (the twelve
disciples and Jesus' other followers) in the
"Upper Room", as described in
Acts 2:1-31. Pentecost is
celebrated seven weeks (50 days) after Easter
Sunday, hence its name.
During Pentecost we
celebrate Godís continued presence in our lives
in the form of his Spirit. Since about
3,000 people were baptized and became disciples
of Jesus on that day, Pentecost has also become
a traditional day to perform baptisms and to
bring new members into the Church. The
season of Pentecost continues
through to the Saturday before Trinity Sunday.
|Trinity Sunday (the First
Sunday after Pentecost) marks the beginning of
through the Saturday before Advent.
Ordinary Time gets its
name from the word "ordinal" - meaning
"numbered", e.g., first,
second, third, etc. Some of the
Festival Days celebrated during Ordinary Time
are Reformation Sunday, All Saints Sunday, the
Jesus and Christ the King Sunday.
Back to What's New!