Seasons of the Church Year

The Church follows a Liturgical Year starting four weeks before Christmas with Advent and running through to Pentecost, six weeks after Easter. Each season has a liturgical colour used for the altar hangings and the preists vestments.

 

Advent - violet

The four weeks of Advent are a penitential season, in other words we spend some time looking at the way we live and trying to be more open to God.

 

Each week has a theme represented by the lighting of an Advent Candle. The first week is in honour of the Patriarchs - Abaraham, Isaac and Jacob. These are Old Testament characters who received special promises from God, known as a Covenant. Christians trace the roots of their faith back through Judaism to Abraham.

  

 

 Christmas.- gold and white

In the commercial world Christmas starts early! But for Christians Christmas Eve is the beginning of the Christmas season. There is a Crib Service and of course Midnight Mass.

Christmas traditionally lasts until Twelth Night, January 6th.

 

 

 

Epiphany - white

Twelth Night, January 6th, is the Feast of the Epiphany. Eastern Christians give their Christmas presents on this day rather than Christmas Day because Epiphany celebrates the arrivle of the Magi - the Wise Men - to worship Jesus

 

The significance of this is that Jesus shown (the menaing of 'epiphany') to the wider world.

 

The season of Epiphany lasts until Candlemas, February 2nd. Candlemas is the Feast of the Presentation when Jesus is brought by Mary and Joseph to the Temple in Jerusalem.

 

 

Lent - purple

This is the main penitential season in the Christian Year. It last for forty days (plus six Sundays) from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday.

Christians put aside extra time for prayer and use the discipline of fasting and charitable giving to open themselves to God's love in the world.

 

The last period of Lent is Holy Week - from Palm Sunday to Easter Day. There are normally services every day including: Maundy Thursday, to celebrate the last Supper; Good Friday, the day of Jesus' crucifixion; and Holy Saturday, when Jesus' body lay in the tomb (Jesus himself was 'harrowing hell' - releasing the souls of the dead from imprisonment). The liturgical colour for Holy Weerk is red with white for Maundy Thursday.

 

 

 

Easter - gold and white

Easter begins with the Vigil Mass either afer dark on Holy Saturday or early Easter Sunday morning. This is the celebration of the resurrection - Jesus rising from the dead, the foundation of all Christian belief.

 

The Easter Season runs for for seven weeks through Ascension (when Jesus retuirned to heaven) to Pentecost (when the Holy Spirit filled the disciples). The lirurgical colour of Pentecost is red.

 

 

Ordinary Time - green

The rest of the year is known as Ordinary Time. The liturgical colour is green unless there is a saints day or special festival.

 Advent Wreath
 Christmas Crib
 The Magi (Wise Men)
Ash Wednesday - the beginning of Lent
The Easter Garden