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The End

The End . . .

The end of the year that is.  Our liturgical year is drawing to close.  Our secular calendar always begins a new year on January 1st.  Our church year ends around the end of November.  Why does the end of our liturgical year vary and end in November rather than January 1st?

Our liturgical year in the Catholic Church is determined by the two most important dates in Christianity, Christmas and Easter.  Of course, Christmas is always December 25th.  The first Christmas marked the beginning of a new Christian era.  As a new beginning, the start of our liturgical year is determined by how Christmas falls in the week but Christmas itself is not the beginning of the year.  Before we celebrate Christmas, we celebrate the season of Advent as a time of preparation for the coming of Christ into the world (both his first coming that we celebrate at Christmas and his coming at the end times).  Advent always has four Sundays counting back from Christmas, resulting in the First Sunday of Advent always falling in late November.

After Christmas day, we celebrate the Christmas season with Holy Family Sunday celebrated the first Sunday after Christmas.  On January 1st we celebrate Mary’s role as Mother of God.  On or near January 6th, we celebrate Epiphany.  The Christmas season ends on the Baptism of the Lord.

Easter Sunday is always the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox.  The dates of Lent are then determined by counting backwards from Easter.   After Easter Sunday, the Easter season lasts for fifty days until Pentecost. 

Any part of the year not included in Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter are ordinary time.

All that said our liturgical year draws to a close on November 27th this year.  As I said before Advent is a season of preparation for the coming of Christ.  What do you need to do to get ready?

Peace,

Fr. Jeff

2 Comments

  1. Bonnie says:

    Father Jeff,
    This is my first visit to your blog…it includes,suprisingly,much more than I expected! I’ve enjoyed the time spent here very much and have been enriched. Thank you!

  2. Darlene says:

    Father, I like this essay. You have totally explained the church seasons in a simple and clear way. Thanks so much! Have a great week.

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