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Understanding Our Catholic Faith

The Role of Community in Sacraments: The Church Year

The Church Year



"Rejoice in the Lord always.... Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Philippians 4:4, 6

Unfolding a Mystery

Saint Paul called on the Philippians to be ever joyful and with grateful hearts to call upon God in prayer. Today, God's people rejoice and call on God in and through the saving actions of Jesus in the liturgy. In and through the sacramental celebrations, particularly the Eucharist, they take part in the Incarnation, life, death, Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus. In addition, the Church celebrates the Paschal Mystery in and through the seasons of the liturgical year, as it slowly unfolds to reveal the message, mission, and meaning of Jesus Christ.

Reflect for a moment on the last time you truly rejoiced at a family celebration. Think about those who took part in it. Whether it was a birthday party or a wedding reception, the celebration most likely included festive decorations, music, and enthusiastic participation. The liturgical year celebrations are similar to family celebrations.

Church Seasons

Celebration is the foundation of the Church year. Its six seasons—Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time, Lent, Triduum, and Easter—celebrate the mystery of Jesus Christ. Readings at Mass center on events in the life of Jesus that are appropriate to the season, and many of the hymns echo his words. The church environment also reflects the seasons, using liturgical colors of purple, white, red, or green that are seen in vestments and banners proclaiming the season. The next time you are in church take note of the signs of Church season being celebrated.

Reflect

  • What daily events do you celebrate on a regular basis?
  • In what ways does celebrating the feasts and seasons of the Church year strengthen your faith?
  • How do you celebrate the seasons of the Church year?

Prayer

Lord God, fashion me to be a person who celebrates your presence at all times and in all places. Amen. 

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