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The Liturgical Year

We are in the Liturgical Season of Ordinary Time

 

August 27th - 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

The start of a new liturgical year, beginning with the first Sunday of Advent, also marks the transition from one readings cycle (A, B, or C) to the next.  These cycles are a result of the Second Vatican Council, which ordered a change in the Sunday readings at Mass so that Catholics would become more familiar with the text of the Bible. As a result we now have a three-year cycle of readings built around readings from the three synoptic Gospels—Matthew (Year A), Mark (Year B), and Luke (Year C).  By the three cycles of readings, we also see a fuller view of the different characteristics of Christ's ministry that he is inviting us into.

Liturgical Year Readings Cycles

2015 - Cycle B       2016 - Cycle C

2017 - Cycle A       2018 - Cycle B

2019 - Cycle C       2020 - Cycle A

The Liturgical Calendar from the USCCB (Unites States Conference of Catholic Bishops)

The liturgical year is made up of six seasons: Advent, Christmas Time, Lent, Sacred Paschal Triduum, Easter Time, and Ordinary Time.

Advent- four weeks of preparation before the celebration of Jesus' birth.

Christmas Time - recalling the Nativity of Jesus Christ and his manifestation to the peoples of the world.

Christmas - The liturgical season of Christmas begins with the vigil Masses on Christmas Eve and concludes on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

Lent - a six-week period of prayer, penance, sacrifice, and good works before Easter.

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 Time - 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 mystery of Christ, unfolded through the cycle of the year, calls us to live his mystery in our own lives.  This call is best illustrated in the lives of Mary and the Saints, celebrated by the Church throughout the year.  There is no tension between the mystery of Christ and the celebration of the saints, but rather a marvelous harmony.  The Blessed Virgin Mary is joined by an inseparable bond to the saving work of her Son, and the feasts of all the Saints proclaim the wonderful works of Christ in his servants and offer the faithful fitting examples for their imitation.  In the feasts of the Saints the Paschal Mystery of Christ is proclaimed and renewed.

Seasons, saints, and celebrations during the liturgical year are laid out in a yearly liturgical calendar.

Holy Days of Obligation as presribed by the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) states in part:

"On December 13, 1991 the members of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops of the United States of America made the following general decree concerning holy days of obligation for Latin Rite Catholics:

In addition to Sunday, the days to be observed as holy days of obligation in the Latin Rite dioceses of the United States of America, in conformity with canon 1246, are as follows:

January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter, the solemnity of the Ascension
August 15, the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
November 1, the solemnity of All Saints
December 8, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
December 25, the solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Whenever January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, or August 15, the solemnity of the Assumption, or November 1, the solemnity of All Saints, falls on a Saturday or on a Monday, the precept to attend Mass is abrogated."

 

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