The liturgical year is an adventure in bringing the Christian life to fullness, the heart to alert, the soul to focus. It does not concern itself with questions of how to make a living. It concerns itself with how to make a life.
– Sister Joan Chittister, OSB
The Church keeps track of time and seasons with a calendar that is different from the familiar calendar of months. Instead of months such as January and seasons such as spring, the Church divides the year into seven liturgical seasons–Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, and the Season after Pentecost. The liturgical year is a journey that forms our souls, helping us practice waiting, celebrating, noticing, living, and the renewal of life after death. The liturgical seasons move us through the life of Jesus, from birth to ministry to death and resurrection, shaping a life of faith.
LITURGICAL CALENDAR WHEEL
The liturgical year is often presented in a circle like the face of an analog clock. This reminds us that as one year ends with the last days in the Season after Pentecost, we begin again with Advent.
Print these liturgical calendars for members of your congregation.
Each season has its own colors, which we often mark visibly with church decorations – the colors of cloth placed on the table where we break bread; the garments worn by the priest when leading worship, the bands of cloth draped across the shoulders of clergy; the banners processed into church.
- Blue or purple for Advent reminds us that we are waiting for royalty – Christ our King. It also reminds us that Advent is a time to prepare to receive our King by looking at ways in which our lives are filled with darkness and considering ways to return to God’s loving presence.
- Yellow, gold or white for Christmas mark’s the light that has entered the world.
- Green during Epiphany reminds us that as we meet Jesus in the gospels we are growing in Christ and hearing the call to spread God’s Word throughout the world.
- Blue or purple for Lent, as in Advent, is the color of repenting when we take stock of our lives and seek ways to return to God.
- White for Easter is a color of celebration, when we know that Christ has risen. The 50 days of Easter is a time of great joy.
- Red for the Day of Pentecost reminds us that God has given us the Holy Spirit. We are on fire, ready to go out into the world to tell what we have seen.
- The green for the Sundays after Pentecost is the longest season. Green reminds us that it’s time to grow in Christ – to do the hard work of following Jesus.