The Liturgical Seasons

The Christian liturgical observance grew out of Jewish worship. The earliest Christians continue to observe the Jewish Law and to keep the Sabbath but the soon the Lord's Day as it was called replaced the older observance. Sunday is the heart of Christian worship. Liturgy comes from the word that means "work of the people." The work being that the faithful gather to contemplate the life of Jesus from his birth to his Resurrection. The results of our work influences how we use our time. Time takes on a deeper meaning moving from a chronological movement to a God filled moment. Many of the the liturgical seasons like Shrovetide are not observed as much as Lent but these seasons help to inform us that there is rhythm in which are a part of.

Advent

Advent means arrival. Ever since human beings have looked up to the starry skies, they have longed for the arrival of a child to bring us a better future. All of us share this deep longing. The four weeks of Advent give it a Christian expression.

Christmas

At Christmas, Christians celebrate the birthday of the Prince of Peace. Yet throughout history Christians and others have perpetuated war and violence. This day invites all of us to pledge anew to make peace in ourselves and in the world.

Epiphany

Christians celebrate today Christ’s Epiphany -- his shining-forth in the world. We can all celebrate the many ways in which divine light and truth shines forth in different religious traditions and in the events of our own life.

Shrovetide

This period is also known as the pre-Lenten season. The days are getting longer. As the light increases the shadow of the Cross becomes prominent. Our focus shifts from the manifestation of Jesus to our individual response to follow the call of God. Springtime begins. A time to thaw and make a decision. A time to mask and unmask.

"The best you can do with your life is having a good time and get by the best you can. The way I see it, that's it—divine fate. Whether we feast or fast, it's up to God." — Ecclesiastes 2:24

Lent

The word "Lent" originally meant "Springtime." Because the church season always fell at that time of year, the name came to apply to it as well. Even after the word "Lent" was no longer used for spring, it was still used by the church to describe the season before Easter.

The early church celebrated Lent only for a few days before Easter. Over the centuries, the length of the season grew until it was several weeks long. In the seventh century, the church set the period of Lent at forty days (excluding Sundays) in order to remind people of the duration of Jesus' temptation in the wilderness. Sunday is always a celebration of Jesus' victory over sin and death. Even during Lent, Sunday is "a little Easter."

Passiontide

The last two weeks of Lent, when the readings and prayers of the liturgy focus on the Passion of Our Lord. The word "passion", in the Christian sense, does not mean an intense emotion; it refers to the historical events of Jesus' suffering and death.

The Triduum

In the Triduum, or Three Days, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday ,the Church gives us a singularly dramatic, intense and richly symbolic expression of the very heart of Christian belief. Even in our unspiritual time and culture, the Triduum and Easter reaffirm the essence of the Church's central beliefs in the strongest possible way a way which penetrates the deepest recesses of the human heart, and calls forth a response from all, young and old, rich and poor, and in every state of life.

Good Friday

The entire Church fixes its gaze on the Cross at Calvary. Each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption. In the solemn ceremonies of Good Friday, in the Adoration of the Cross, in the reading of the Passion, and in receiving the pre-consecrated Host, we unite ourselves to our Savior, and we contemplate our own death to sin in the Death of our Lord.

The Church — stripped of its ornaments, the altar bare, and with the door of the empty tabernacle standing open — is as if in mourning. In the fourth century the Apostolic Constitutions described this day as a "day of mourning, not a day of festive joy", and this day was called the "Pasch (passage) of the Crucifixion".

Easter

The great 50 Days of Easter ends on the Feast of Pentecost.

There is no Confession of Sin. The privilege of standing no kneeling during the Great Thanksgiving of the 50 Days dates back to the Council of Nicaea. No fasting or abstinence.

Rogationtide

This event asks God’s blessing on the fields, gardens, orchards, seeds, etc. to be used in food production that season.

Rogation Day Processions trace their roots to the church of Fifth-Century France when special prayers were offered just before the Feast of the Ascension because of earthquake and poor harvests. The early Roman church celebrated Rogation Days with a Christian procession around the fields on the Feast of St. Mark (April 25) to suppress the ancient pagan roman celebrations honoring the god "Mildew" and the goddess "Rust".

The word "rogation" is from the Latin verb, rogo, "I ask." They come at this point in the year because they are a time of special prayer that God may bless us in this season of planting and blessing of the land.

Ascension tide

The 40th day of the 50 days of Easter rejoicing.The Ascension of Jesus the Christian teaching found in the New Testament that the resurrected Jesus was taken up to heaven in his resurrected body, in the presence of eleven of his apostles, occurring 40 days after the resurrection. The Pentecost Novena begins. A time of prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Pentecost

The word "Pentecost" means "fiftieth day." In most Christian traditions, Pentecost Sunday occurs 50 days following Easter Sunday (counting Easter Sunday since it is the first day of the week). Those 50 days span seven Sundays after Easter, so Pentecost is the seventh Sunday after Easter (7 weeks times 7 days = 49 days, plus Pentecost Sunday).

Pentecost Day is also known as Whitsunday. The name is a contraction of "White Sunday". According to one interpretation, the name derives from the white garments worn by catechumens those expecting to be baptized on that Sunday.

Ordinary Time

Most of the Seasons of the Christian Church Year are organized around the two major festivals that mark sacred time: Christmas and Easter. The rest of the year following Epiphany and Pentecost is known as Ordinary Time. Rather than meaning "common"or "mundane," this term comes from the word "ordinal," which simply means counted time (First Sunday after Pentecost, etc.), which is probably a better way to think of this time of the year. Counted time after Pentecost always begins with Trinity Sunday (the first Sunday after Pentecost) and ends with Christ the King Sunday or the Reign of Christ the King (last Sunday before the beginning of Advent). The sanctuary color for Ordinary Time is green, although other shades of green are commonly used. Green has traditionally been associated with new life and growth. Even in Hebrew in the Old Testament, the same word for the color "green" also means "young." In Christian tradition, green came to symbolize the life of the church following Pentecost, as well as symbolizing the hope of new life in the resurrection.

Lammastide

The festival of the wheat harvest, and is the first harvest festival of the year. On this day it was customary to bring to church a loaf made from the new crop. The blessing of new fruits was performed annually in both the Eastern and Western Churches on the first or the sixth of August (the latter being the feast of the Transfiguration of Christ.

Creation Season

Creation Time in the Season of Pentecost begins the Sunday before Labor Day and ends on Reformation Sunday. It is not a church season, but a period in which congregations celebrate the fact that creation is an integral part of the whole Christian year.

Hallowmas

All Saints, All Souls, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving. Events that are suited for autumn. As we draw to the end of the agricultural year, we celebrate God’s great harvest of all people throughout history who have shown love, joy and service to others. All creation is united in the Spirit. We link arms with all people of every time and place. We look forward to when the creation will be transformed.

Christ the King / Reign of Christ

At the conclusion of the Christian year, the church gives thanks and praise for sovereignty of Christ, who is Lord of all creation and is coming again in glory to reign (see Revelation 1:4-8). This festival was established in 1925 by decree of Pope Pius XI. Originally it took place on the last Sunday in October, just prior to All Saints’ Day. Now it is celebrated on the last Sunday of the Christian year, a week before the season of Advent begins. The festival of Christ the King (or Reign of Christ) ends our marking of Ordinary Time after the Day of Pentecost, and moves us to the threshold of Advent, the season of hope for Christ’s coming again at the end of time.

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