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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

The Liturgical Year

The liturgical year of the Roman Catholic church is often referred to as the Year of Grace, meaning that people should celebrate their unbounded love of God at all times in all places.

The year begins with the first Sunday of Advent – four weeks before Christmas. These four weeks are dedicated to preparing spiritually for the birth of Jesus into human existence as both God and man. The liturgical year is made up of six times and seasons:

  • Advent - four weeks of preparation before the celebration of Jesus' birth
  • Christmas - recalling the Nativity of Jesus Christ and his manifestation to the peoples of the world
  • Lent - a six-week period of penance 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. There are no build.plant.grow lesson plans for these sacred days because classes are not held during this time.
  • Easter - 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 calendar dates of the liturgical times and seasons vary from year to year and are published by the church in the ORDO -- an annual calendar that gives directions for each day's Mass.  

The Liturgical Calendar is best illustrated in cyclic form to convey the infinite celebration of God’s love.



Liturgical Year Graph