Praying the Liturgical Seasons

  • Liturgical Year Seasons
  • Advent
  • Lent

Seasons of the Liturgical Year

The Liturgical Year:

Unfolding the Mysteries of our Salvation in Jesus Christ

The central mystery that gives meaning to the Christian life is the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection: The Paschal Mystery (“paschal”= passage = from death into life).  This central event in the life of a Christian gives the focus and “theme” for the whole liturgical year. It is the only theme at the heart of every Sunday and weekday celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

This saving event unfolds throughout our everyday lives: with the rising and setting of the sun, with the signs of growth and life in God’s creation, through the offering of ourselves and our work in union with the One Sacrifice of Love… every Sunday…

The Heart of the Liturgical Year


The Season of Advent marks the beginning of a new Liturgical Year in the Church.  It focuses on the joyful expectation of the coming of God in the flesh, incarnate to be one like us:  Jesus Christ. It is the time now to prepare the way, to stay awake, to rejoice, to be quiet, to be still, to give, to pray, and to love, more than ever!

The Advent Wreath in the midst of our church, helps us mark the passing of time in the next four weeks of Advent.  Each Week of Advent there will be a lighted candle; one for each week.  The Wreath itself will remind us of the eternity of God’s love and the passage of time that never ends.  God’s time is not our time; it never ends!

The color Purple will remind us that is also a time for conversion and reconciliation.  A time to turn away from anything that interferes with our ability and determination to love as God calls us to love and live in the way that we are called to live in Christ Jesus.

We prepare as a family, as the Body of Christ, as individuals, and as disciples of Christ.  We wait in joyful expectation for the coming of our Lord:  the gift of God wrapped in flesh!


The central mystery that gives meaning to the Christian life is the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection: The Paschal Mystery (“paschal”= passage = from death into life).  This central event in the life of a Christian gives the focus and “theme” for the whole liturgical year. It is the only theme at the heart of every Sunday and weekday celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

The Season of Lent and Easter, is the annual celebration of this Paschal Mystery and as such we immerse ourselves in a profound and rich experience of God’s saving grace.  The entire Paschal Season begins with Ash Wednesday and ends with Pentecost.  

The mystery of our salvation unfolds visibly and spiritually as we respond to God’s call to renew and enliven our faith through reconciliation, forgiveness, and discipleship.  This a time to look face to face at our own final death and at the call “to die” or to “give of ourselves” every day, with the joyful assurance of God’s loving mercy and hope of resurrection.

Ash Wednesday Mass Schedule

Duration of the Lenten Season (Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday)

Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Thursday evening before the Celebration of the Lord’s Supper.  During this time we are called to repentance, and to strengthen our baptismal commitment.  It is a 40-day retreat in preparation for the experience of Easter. During Lent we recall that the Baptism of Jesus is connected with his journey into the  desert for 40 days.  He entered the desert to fast and pray and to prepare for his mission to bring God’s compassionate love to us, especially through his cross and resurrection. Fasting, Prayer, and Almsgiving are traditionally the central disciplines asked of us to begin our journey into the Easter experience.  Although we fast in these forty days from the Alleluia and Gloria, Lent is still a time to rejoice because we have the opportunity to open ourselves to the glory of God’s mercy and we begin to taste the promise of hope for the resurrection.

The Three Disciplines of Lent

Lent gives us three disciplines to practice which correspond to the three fundamental relationships:  fasting, prayer, andalmsgivingPrayer expresses our relationship with God.  Fasting expresses our relationship with the world.  Almsgiving expresses our relationship with others through merciful or compassionate giving.  We are frequently tempted to neglect these fundamental relationships in our lives.  As Christians we must die, with Christ’s power, to such temptations and to sin.  We are called to rise above this to practice the love of God, “poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit given to us.”  (Romans 5:5)


To pray always  keeps us  in communication with God!
  • The center of all prayer:  attending & participating at Sunday Mass, every Sunday
  • Stations of the Cross on Fridays of Lent (12 noon or 6 pm)
  • Increase daily prayer setting up specific time
  • Read and pray the scriptures, including the psalms & the Daily Mass and Sunday readings.
  • Recite memorized prayers:  Rosary, Novenas, others
  • The Jesus Prayer:  “Jesus, Son of the living God, have mercy on me a sinner.” (shorter version:  “Jesus, have mercy”)
  • Just converse with God:  petition and thanks
  • with own words


Fasting is an act of selflessness; a symbol of surrender to the love of God.
  • Fasting from food involves eating less.  The two required fast days of the Church are Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.  Abstinence from meat is required on all Fridays during Lent.
  • Fasting from other things that are “too much” is worth considering:  too much TV, computer time, shopping, etc.
  • A good Lenten practice:  reduce over-consumption of food and other goods as encouraged by our “consumer-oriented society”


Compassionate giving turns us outwards and keeps us away from self-centeredness.
  • The most traditional ways of almsgiving is to give money, clothing, and food for the poor. Our parish provides ways to do this.  Get involved!
  • Consider giving away some material good each day during Lent.  You may collect it in one place in your home to be taken to the Church or to other charity of your choice.
  • Acts of kindness:  Compassionate giving also includes showing kindness to others.

Additional Resources for Lent