The Church calendar is different from the calendars we look at on our walls or in Google. Sometimes is coincides with the calendar we follow every day and other times it stands in conflict with it. At Christ the King, we follow the Church calendar to help form our lives as disciples, prepare us for faithful daily living, and open us to rich experiences of the Church’s festivals and seasons.
The yearly cycle is unchanging, but some of the seasons vary in length, so some dates are consistent with the regular calendar and some are moveable. Christmas, for instance, is always December 25 but Easter may fall anywhere between late March and late April.
The Church’s calendar looks like this:Advent is the four Sundays (and the weekdays in between) before Christmas; it is a time of preparing for the infant Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. The Sunday readings are therefore messages from the prophets that are longing for redemption from God and foretelling the Messiah’s arrival.
Christmas is twelve days of celebrating Jesus’ birth (December 25 – January 5)
Epiphany is a season focused on the revealing (epiphany) of Jesus to the world. It begins with the celebration of the Visit of the Magi on January 6, and can last from four to nine weeks.
Lent is the 40 days (not including Sundays, which are “mini-festivals”) from Ash Wednesday until Easter. It is a time of spiritual discipline (fasting, prayer, works of mercy) and preparation for the celebration of the Resurrection.
Easter lasts 50 days (including Sundays) and celebrates Christ’s resurrection from the dead.
Pentecost is the longest season of the Church year (23-28 weeks) and begins on the 50th day after Easter with the Festival of Pentecost. It is a season centered on the growth of the Church from that first Pentecost with the disciples in Jerusalem through the end of time.