Happy New Year! I mean, Happy New Liturgical Year! Advent, which begins this year on November 28, ushers in the new liturgical year in the Church, and offers each of us an opportunity to start fresh, recommit to our faith-life, and deepen our relationship with God.
The rhythms of the liturgical year can act as a guide for us. Each new season gives us an opportunity to understand our faith a little better. Our Church gives us opportunities to celebrate and to repent. Like the changing of seasons in the calendar year, the change of seasons in the liturgical calendar offers different traditions, celebrations and opportunities to pause, reflect and reset. Each liturgical season in the Church can be recognized through subtle and not so subtle ways – colors of vestments, church decorations, different music, prayers, saints and scripture readings that help us prepare and celebrate whatever the season may be.
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
Lent – a six-week period of penance before Easter
Triduum – the holiest three days of the Church’s year, where we recall the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus
Easter – 50 days of joyful celebration of the Lord’s resurrection
Ordinary Time – divided into two sections (one span of 4-8 weeks after Christmas Time and another lasting about six months after Easter Time), when we consider the fullness of Jesus’ teachings and works among his people
As we observe Advent and the church’s new year begins, think about what ways you want to observe and celebrate the seasons and feasts.
Happy New Liturgical Year and blessings to you!