What is the Liturgical Year?

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The Catholic liturgical year is the cycle of seasons in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church. Each year, the cycle is repeated. It determines when feast days are celebrated and what Bible readings are included in each Mass. 

The liturgical year starts with the first Sunday of Advent, our Catholic “new year” as it were. It ends on the feast day of Christ the King, the last Sunday of the liturgical year. There are six seasons in the liturgical year:

Advent – the four weeks before Christmas, a time of preparation for the coming of the Lord and the birth of Jesus

Christmas – the Nativity of Jesus Christ plus the Epiphany and Presentation of Jesus in the Temple

Lent – the six weeks before Easter, a time of preparation and penace

Paschal Triduum – the three holiest days of the year, from Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday, when we recall the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus

Easter – the time after the Resurrection through Pentecost

Ordinary Time – two periods, one after Christmas and another for the six months after the Easter season, when we learn of the teachings and miracles of Jesus

There are also many special feast days throughout the year, including the Annunciation, Assumption, All Saints, Immaculate Conception, Baptism of Jesus, Solemnity of Mary, and many more. The liturgical year allows us to walk with Christ and His Blessed Mother through the year as we pray along with the Church’s liturgy and devotions. 

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