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The Seasons of the Church Year

"Holy Mother Church is conscious that she must celebrate the saving work of her divine Spouse... Within the cycle of a year, she unfolds the whole mystery of Christ, from the incarnation and birth until the ascension, the day of Pentecost, and the expectation of blessed hope and of the coming of the Lord." Second Vatican Council, Sacrosanctum Concilium, 1963

See also, Congregation for Divine Worship, The Liturgical Year and Popular Piety, 2001

The Church sets seasons each year to recall and celebrate various events in the life of Jesus Christ. The liturgical year begins with Advent, the time of preparation for both the celebration of Jesus' birth, and his expected second coming at the end of time. This season lasts until Christmas Eve.

The Christmas Season follows, beginning Christmas Eve and ending with the feast of the Baptism of Jesus.

Lent is the period of purification and penance which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Thursday. The Holy Thursday evening Mass of the Lord's Supper marks the beginning of the Easter Triduum which includes Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday. These days recall Jesus' Last Supper with his disciples, death on the cross, burial and resurrection.

The seven-week liturgical season of Easter immediately follows the Triduum, concluding with the Solemnity of Pentecost. This last feast recalls the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus' disciples after the Ascension of Jesus.

The rest of the liturgical year is commonly known as Ordinary Time

For music and notes on the Vatican's seasonal celebrations see the Vatican Website. Take a moment to review the various Vestment Colors used in the Church Year.

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