The beautiful Season of Advent has begun. It marks the beginning of a new Church Year. The Church Year revolves around the most significant events in the life of Jesus and leads us always more deeply into a sharing in that life. The two most central feasts of the Church Year are Christmas and Easter.
Each of these feasts is marked by a period of intense spiritual preparation. The four weeks of Advent prepare us for Christmas and the six weeks of Lent prepare us for Easter.
Because Christmas and Easter are such monumental feasts, they cannot possibly be celebrated in a signal day and so they are followed by an ‘octave’. The octave is a week long period in which each day of the octave is seen as a continuation of Christmas Day or Easter Sunday. We Catholics love to celebrate!
The octaves are followed by an entire season of celebrating. The Christmas Season officially draws to a close on the Monday after the Baptism of the Lord which falls on January 14 this year. Contrary to popular belief, Christmas is not over on December 26! The Easter Season concludes with the celebration of Pentecost.
The weeks outside of Advent, Lent, Christmas, Easter and their octaves and the Christmas Season and Easter Season are numbered and called Ordinary Time. There are 34 weeks in Ordinary Time. The Church Year draws to a close on the 34th Sunday of Ordinary Time which is the great Feast of Christ the King. See the Entire Liturgical Calendar on p. 4.
With the beginning of a new Church Year, by God’s grace, we have the opportunity to follow Jesus anew with greater generosity and greater commitment. Let us pray for one another that we will use well the gift of time that this new Church Year affords us for time is not an endless series of sunrises and sunsets, but is leading to that supreme moment when Jesus will return and God will be all in all and human history as we know it will reach its culmination.
See you at Mass!