We remember important dates and events through the use of calendars. Birthdays, anniversaries (better not forget the birthday of your spouse), meetings, important events that we must not miss etc are recorded into our PDAs, filofax, calendars and mobile devices to help us plan and prepare for what is to come.
Likewise in the Roman Catholic Church, there is also a way to remember all that is about to happen known as the liturgical calendar. This is to guide the faithful in the rythmn of their prayer life. To prepare and participate in tandem to the various celebrations that happens during the various seasons in the liturgical year.
Liturgical Year / Seasons
Unlike the Gregorian calendar, which we use, that begins from 1st Jan to 31st Dec, the period spanning a liturgical year is somewhat different. The liturgical year is marked with various seasons:- Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time I, Lent, Easter / Easter Triduum, Ordinary Time II. The First Sunday of Advent (four Sundays before Christmas) marks the beginning of a liturgical year and proceed into the various seasons. The liturgical year ends with the Feast of Christ the King. This span of period is known as a cycle in a liturgical year.Each liturgical season has a special theme and meaning for worship and are marked by liturgical colours. This is seen by the sacred vestments worn by the celebrant during Holy Mass that provides a visual reminder to the faithful as to the celebrations for that season.
Advent - Purple colour. On the Third Sunday of Advent (“Gaudete Sunday”), Rose colour is used.
Christmas – White or Gold colour.
Lent – Purple colour. On the 4th Sunday of Lent (“Laetare Sunday”), Rose colour is used. Red colour on Passion/Palm Sunday.
Easter Triduum – White or Gold colour on Holy Thursday and at the Easter Vigil. Red colour on Good Friday.
Easter Season – White or Gold colour. Red colour for Pentecost Sunday.
Ordinary Time – Green colour except for special colors on particular feasts or occasions, as follows:- White – Solemnities of the Lord and the Saints; major local feasts; funeral liturgies (Black colour is also used). Red colour – Feasts of the Apostles, Martyrs, or the Holy Spirit.
The Lectionary follows a Sunday and Weekday Cycle. The Sunday Cycle is 3-yearly and denoted by the letters A, B and C. Each year follows through one of the Gospels: A-Matthew, B-Mark, C-Luke. The Gospel of John is proclaimed on particular Sundays in each of the years.
Weekdays in Ordinary Time follow a 2 year cycle numbered I and II. Year I is read in odd number years: year II in even ones.