Catholic Liturgical Calendar
Every year there are certain holidays and significant events or dates that we celebrate throughout the year like birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Ground Hog’s Day, etc. We are very familiar with the idea of a calendar as a way of marking time.
As Christians we believe that all time belongs to God. Because of this, the Church has its own way of keeping time throughout the year
– a liturgical calendar.
From the very beginning of the Church, Easter was the most important celebration. Christians would gather on Sunday because it was the day of the Resurrection. Then on Easter Sunday they had a special celebration. Easter is a moveable feast. This is how the date of Easter is decided each year. All four Gospels place Jesus’ death and Resurrection within the time frame of the celebration of the Jewish Passover. Passover occurs at the first full moon of spring in the Hebrew month named Nisan. (Exodus 12:1-20) Thus, Easter is celebrated on the Sunday after the first full moon of spring. The date of Easter then determines the dates of Ash Wednesday (40 days before Easter), Ascension (40 days after Easter) and Pentecost (50 days after Easter). As the Christians began to understand the full meaning of Jesus’ life, death, Resurrection, and Ascension they came together to remember the Last Supper on Holy Thursday and Jesus’ death on Good Friday. The entire week became known as Holy Week. Then the Christians began to prepare for Easter by fasting for 40 days as Jesus had done in the desert. This period became known as the season of Lent. With the 40-day fast before Easter, it made sense to celebrate the Ascension 40 days after Easter and to celebrate Pentecost 50 days after Easter. The Christmas season was added so that Jesus’ entire life would be celebrated.
The Church year, or liturgical year, begins not on January 1st, but on the first Sunday of Advent. The liturgical year even has its own seasons: Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, and Ordinary Time. These seasons mark the passage of time and engage us in the celebration of the mystery of Christ’s life. Just as our regular calendar has special celebrations, the Church calendar has its feast days and holy day celebrations.
Advent, the beginning of our liturgical year, was added as a way to prepare for the Christmas season.
The rest of the year is celebrated as Ordinary Time. Ordinary comes from the Latin word ordinal, which means “counted time”. So the Sundays of Ordinary Times are those that are counted from the celebration of Trinity Sunday to the feast of Christ the King.
That is how we arrived at our liturgical year, the calendar of feasts celebrating the major events of the Paschal Mystery. Over the centuries the Church added celebrations of the feast days of the major saints, recognizing that they intercede for us before God in heaven.
Information obtained from Finding God Celebrating Church.
It is our intention to have all the information to every event on our
Liturgical Calendar completed.
However, some areas are currently not completed.
Thank you for your patience.