The Liturgical Year (Nov. 1)


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Theological Question

How is God present in time? How does God’s intervention into history transform the meaning and purpose of time?


Students will understand the way in which all time is transformed in the paschal mystery and how that transformation is celebrated ritually in an annual cycle.


Students will learn the role of “Sunday” in the liturgical year and how the entire liturgical year is “remembered” in each Sunday celebration.


(after the class has been completed)

Idea starters

  • What do you celebrate this time of year in your home or with your family? Why is the celebration important?
  • Think about two or three annual traditions you have. Why do you do these things year in and year out? In what ways has the meaning of these traditions changed over time?

Read (in preparation for Nov. 8)

 Posted by at 1:15 pm
  • Christopher Pacifico

    We had volunteered in the RCIA program at our church for 3 years. The first year we were just shadowing. What my wife and I were really seeking was to know more about our religion. Then someone recommended that we join the ILM through our parish. We had never witnessed a Triduum ceremony before or even knew what Triduum is. The extent of our Holy week observation was going to church for the passion of Jesus on Good Friday, fasting on Fridays during Lent season, going to confession, visiting the Stations of the Cross and Easter Sunday. It wasn’t until we shadowed RCIA that we learned and observed Triduum.

    Through ILM that we learned a whole lot more. It is like connecting dots and through
    connecting dots that we saw the bigger picture. I am sure that we will connect more dots as we continue to learn.

    I did not know that there were many shapes of baptismal fonts and that each shape of font has symbolism. I only knew and understand what symbolism our parish uses. As I have mentioned in the class, our parish uses three steps into the font. The catechumens are informed of the symbolism of these three steps. These three steps is the symbol of Jesus dying and rising in three days and that by going down into the font, the catechumen dies of ones old self and rises up as a new person. Another symbolism that our parish uses is the
    removal of the water of the baptismal font. Unfortunately, I do not remember what this symbol means.

    There were more insights that I got from the discussion, insights such as Sunday being the peak or the climax of the week and Easter as the peak or the climax of the Liturgical year, etc. and I learned two new words: Anamnesis (remembering of what God has done for us) and Prolepsis (remembering what God will do for us – basically the fullness of God’s promise).

  • Gina Pacifico

    I’ve learned so much from our class discussion in Liturgical Year last week. I like Diana’s analogy of us being Kairus, the ones who are running around being distracted of the
    worldly things not focus and not paying attention to God’s words. While we are busy being earthly people God is patiently trying to grab us to make us stop and pay attention to his words so that we may be united with him. We are like the lost sheep and God is trying to find us.

    I also like the connection of the new words I learned last week (Anamnesis, Prolepsis, and Eschaton) to the mystery of our faith (Christ has died, Christ has risen and Christ will come again.) Anamnesis which means remembering what God has done for us – Christ has died for us. Prolepsis which means remembering what God will do for us – Christ will come again. Eschaton which means when we come face to face with God, the fullness of time or the completeness of God’s promise – our salvation.

    I see it clearly now that it is in the Eucharistic celebration that we celebration Jesus Christ death and resurrection which is why the official title of Sunday is the “Lord’s Day”. But that it is also called the first day and the eight day. I love the explanation as to why it is called the eight day, because the eight day is a day of beyond perfection – a super natural perfection. It is only fitting that it is called that because of Christ’s divinity – He is beyond perfect.

  • Katherine Cottingham

    “Time” has been a perplexity to me since I was a young girl…. I can recall one of my very first conversations, sitting on the swingset with my little friend, Teri, as we pondered infinity and we were both totally blown away by the concept. Today sometimes I still try to twist my mind around “time” –how does it even exist within all of infinity? What is “time” all about? Is there other “times” elsewhere in the universe? Could be! I picked up a Science magazine on Time just last week as I was waiting to pay for my groceries–I hope I can find the time to eventually read it!

    The term “Kairos” (a time lapse, a moment of indeterminate time in which everything happens) which was introduced to us last Wednesday was completely new to me. As Diane explained it, that as we “enter time out of time” through “Anamnesis” (past, present, future: Christ has died. Christ has risen, Christ will come again), we remember the great Sacrifice of Christ for our freedom from slavery and for our salvation by “lifting the veil to see what God will do” (“Prolepsis”–that fullness/completion of God’s Word for creation), and that all happens “now!” Okay, it all still blows my simple mind. But essentially what I take from all this is that this is exactly what happens at each and every Mass celebrated within the Militant Church, and yet during each Mass we are united as one Church with the Triumphant Church of Heaven, no division, one united Body of Christ in the Dance of the Infinite Trinity.

    Another interesting point that I take away from our class is that Christ is both the Infant and the Adult, and that maybe this summer (or sometime in the future) I might read the book Diane mentioned by Raymond Brown, “Adult Christ at Christmas.” The thought of the the “Sacrifice of Christmas” I’m pretty certain,
    is certainly not what the average person in the pews is thinking at our Christmas Day liturgies! But I’d imagine most of class will be pondering that to some degree this December 25th.

    There was a lot in this last class… the “Eighth Day” was also a new concept for me. Thank you for a wonderful class. Once again, I apologize, because I have missed the Monday deadline… Yes, I do have a problem with “time!” I need infinity. We all do, right?

  • Christine Tran

    A concept of “Time” from the last class was again a new knowledge to me especially because it made a whole explanation on why and how our church created foundation for liturgy calendar. It is when we currently celebrate God’s present and love, we are “in memoriam” of what happened in salvation history as well as “in hope” of being face to face again with our creator in the fullness of time which “reflect back “ to our present, making “past – present – future” occurs at the very same moment !
    A lever is such a vivid image of God’s intervention into history transforming the meaning and purpose of Time: Jesus death and resurrection was symbolically represented as a pivot so that our mortal sins were lifted up, making the ‘before’ and ‘after’ of our lives the 2 different worlds: from darkness & slavery into light & freedom as children of God.
    This also shed new light into my personal spiritual calendar . I look at present situation as not only a result of whatever formed in the past but also as God’s calling for newness in future so that each challenge already includes in it a salvation, an Easter Sunday!
    The story of Kairos is a powerful in a way that it reminds me of how perfect opportunity is in God if I let Him grabbing my attention and pulling me to His presence.

  • Bella Arnaldo

    My siblings and I ( 4 sisters and 2 brothers) grew up in a teeny, tiny house. You couldn’t stay mad at each other for too long because you’re bound to run into each other anywhere you go in the house. When we finally grew up, had families of our own and moved away, my mom’s request was to not move so far away that you could never come home for the Holidays or important family events. All of us live within an hour of each other, even today. Traditionally, we gather together during the holidays and quarterly to celebrate birthdays. It has kept us a tight knit bunch. Over the years as our families grew, our kids paved their own paths in life, started their own families and some moved away and we’ve lost loved ones over the years, it changed our tradition somehow. In order to preserve and continue that tradition for example, we all gather together on weekend immediately after the Holiday, to allow extended families (in-laws) to preserve their own traditions as well. The celebrations are just as joyful and memorable as always, because we are all gathered again, still carrying on the tradition, remembering the good memories and importance of staying connected through this experience.
    In the same way, God’s message of love for us is timeless. God’s words transcends time. It has been handed down to us through the generations through firstly, by word of mouth, then though writing and then through celebration of the mass. Each time we participate in the Eucharistic prayer, we continue the tradition of gathering together to ask God to once again save us from the bonds of sins that enslave us (epiclesis), and remembering His great love for us by sacrifing His only begotten son as ransom for that freedom (anamnesis).Although there had been changes to the tradition of how we celebrate mass, the essence of its purpose and message have not changed over time and that God’s love for us is the same more than two thousand years ago as when Jesus first preached it, to today. Our need for that love and salvation is true then, today and will be in the future for we continue to be humans, subject to our own frailties and in constant need of God’s forgiveness and assurance of His love.

  • Jeanette

    “Celebrating” is just getting cranked up in our neighborhood; it is very big on Halloween. However, our street was made into a cul-de-sac about 15 years ago, so the kids no longer
    come down this dark and dreary street.

    That is such a change from when my kids were kids and we lived on Post in a “housing area” and none of the residents were older than 40 and literly everyone had kids! It was a time of lots of fun, kids running freely door-to-door, and housing area to housing area. Ahem, a long time ago, but not in my memory. The children we now accompany are the youngest grandchildren of our youngest children. The “olders” are in college, doing the celebrating away from us.

    I loved Halloween because it was the “kick-off” of celebrations, followed by All Saints & All Souls days, Thanksgiving and of course Christmas.

    Since we had “marching orders” and moved often with the military, it was keeping those traditions that gave our kids roots. Halloween was celebrated with a pillow case full of candy and tons of friends and since All Saints & All Souls day was right on it’s heels, everyone was tired but we spent dinner time talking about family they hardly knew, rarely saw but could remember with fondness and warmth. A conversation we tried to sustain throughout the holiday season. It was a must, since when we did get together with family it was always too short a visit with cramming in as many memories to keep us sustained until we met again.

    Thanksgiving and Christmas were not just a family time for us, but also days we had young soldiers in our home. Once, in Germany, I think we had 6 or 7 young fellas who could not go home for the holiday or leave the area. A few of them joined us at morning Mass, and they showed up in force by 11:0am and helped get the turkey and fixings made, set the table, entertained our four “kinders” and helped wash up plates after dinner! I think that was the only Thanksgiving I felt as if the angels had come to dinner! No clean up!

    As our children grew up our traditions began morphing from going to mass in the morning on Christmas day, to Midnight Mass. We began opening gifts at 2:00am after a “midnight” breakfast. For a few years we stayed up all night partying and went to bed at 6:00am! But that did not last too long as the “kids” began, one-by-one leaving for college and leaving to get married.

    We began having Cioppino on Christmas for “dinner” in memory of my mother after she died. Not that she served it on Christmas, but she loved it. The kids loved it but the third year our son brought his girlfriend to dinner and she did not eat fish. But she did eat the Cioppino. The next year when she asked what I was going to have for Christmas dinner, I told her, maybe a rib roast. She was devastated! She was hoping for Cioppino! So, for the last 20 years we have had Cioppino and our now daughter-in-law never misses an opportunity to take some home for leftovers! What a blessing she is in our lives!!!!

    We let our traditions “morph” so as to keep them “up-to-date” with the growth and movement of our family. So that we could all continue to gather, to share out “family-ness”, our love for each other, to be with each other, and build those memories that strengthen our roots. Things came out of our flexibility that we never planned, that our children would come to include single friends in all their family events, they would open their doors and their hearts to a friend of a friend. That they would begin their traditions and we would be perfectly happy to be on the receiving end and feel such peace and gratitude to God for our family.

  • Luis Urias

    In our class on Liturgy of the Calendar, we discussed a number of liturgical celebrations that occur throughout the liturgical year.

    We learned that the liturgical year is composed of six liturgical seasons, that being (Advent,
    Christmas, Ordinary Time after Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Ordinary Time after Pentecost). In Ordinary time, Christ is the center of the celebration.

    I particularly found interesting various numbers associated with events, like 52 Sundays in the
    year; 40 days of cleansing as purification before baptism and days of Jesus in the desert. Other numbers that Nick mentioned were 7 and 8, in that 7 is a perfect number as it applies to the number of days related to Creation in Genesis 1:1-2:3, by adding one more to 7 that being the God or Christ element, we see not the number repeat but instead the element of perfection. This has to do with the 8th day being the perfect day and the Christ day.

    Other words of wisdom I took away from the class were that we need to adjust our methods of communication based on who/group we are talking to; and that God and Christ are the face of
    mercy, in that we need to let them do the heavy lifting (with their mercy) and we are called to do the light lifting (with the tools that Christ gave us, like compassion and action inspired by the Holy Spirit).

  • Nick Wagner

    Hi Jeanette. This is a terrific story of how the traditions of the year have shaped and strengthened your family. This is all so Catholic. It incorporates symbol, family, the seasons, and life. Thanks for sharing.

  • Patricia

    God and Time. God always was and always will be. He lives in a dimension outside of time. His “Word” created the universe and all of creation. Humankind through disobedience and sin turned away from God and as a result they were turned away from God’s kingdom and sent
    to a place where time exists, a place where everything has a beginning and an end or death.

    We were cast into a different dimension, but our Creator did not forget us. Because of God’s magnanimous love for us, He intervened in our world by sending His Son to a world where He was destined to die. His Son’s mission was to suffer and to die a most ignominious death for humankind, for the forgiveness of our sins and for our salvation.

    Even though God lives outside of time he intervenes in our lives if we invite him in. He has given us the gift of the seven sacraments, instituted by Christ, where we receive Divine graces and blessings and we are strengthened in our faith. Baptism frees us from original sin and we become adopted children of God. Through the Sacrament of Penance, our sins are forgiven by Divine mercy. The Holy Eucharist is offered to us every day through the miracle of the mass. Every day we can recall the life, death and Paschal mystery of our Savior Jesus Christ. At every mass we transcend the limitations of this world and become witnesses, like the apostles, to the Last Supper. We are there with Jesus. We receive the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Without God’s intervention, we would not have been saved from original sin, we would be
    living in a hopeless society, a life of darkness and doom, and then dying.

    Thankfully, God has intervened in our life through the sacraments. As a result, we have a much richer and fuller life. We are strengthened in our faith, have the promise of the Second Coming and hope for a new life in the world to come. Our lives have meaning and purpose. We try to live as Jesus did, loving one another not because we deserve to be loved but because we are God’s creation and He loves us. It is God’s love for us that makes us all worthy to be loved. God is present in our life every day, we just need to invite him in.

  • Nick Wagner

    Hi Bella. I love how your mom asked you not to move too far away so the family could still gather. And I also like how to tied in the need for us to be forgiving because God has forgiven us. That is exactly the message Pope Francis is proclaiming in his announcement of the Jubilee Year. Great insights.

  • Nick Wagner

    Hi Luis. I like how you contrast the heavy and light lifting. Sometimes we (I) think that being merciful to others is such a burden. When we remember God is doing the heavy lifting, it seems much easier. Thanks for giving us something to think about.

  • Nick Wagner

    Hi Patricia. Thanks for a great reflection. I really like the part about our lives having meaning. I think that is a huge part of what it means to be created in God’s image. Our lives mean something, both for ourselves and for others. And, amazingly, our lives mean something for God. As I’ve mentioned, I work a lot with catechumens. That is one of the important things I try to get across to them about our faith.

  • Klarissa dela Fuente

    Last Wednesday, Nick introduced to us the concept of Jesus Christ as the “fulcrum of history”. I was highly intrigued and decided to reflect on it more. I found that St. John Paul II wrote in Dies Domini that “…in commemorating the day of Christ’s Resurrection not just once a year but every Sunday, the Church seeks to indicate to every generation the true fulcrum of history, to which the mystery of the world’s origin and its final destiny leads.” A fulcrum is a point in which a lever rests and on which it pivots, thus Sundays mark the pivotal event of world history: the resurrection of Jesus Christ more than 2,000 years ago after being crucified to a cross.

    This is a concept I am still reflecting on today and will reflect on in the days to come. For now, I can liken it to my wedding day. That was a pivotal moment that changed my life forever – a day when I remembered where I came from yet also looked forward to where I was heading. On Sundays, we reflect on our origin, history, and eschaton, as we simultaneously celebrate the death, resurrection, and coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

  • Laura Barker

    Pope Francis states that “Time is greater than space.” I am still mulling this one over and when I posed this idea to a physicist friend of mine it caused him to pause in contemplation. The idea is a lot more complex than it seems. To God, time is infinite, the full meaning of which we are not able to grasp.

    Growing up on the East Coast time was often marked by the changing seasons. Summer was marked by hot, sticky nights and fireflies. Fall was a time for raking leaves, celebrating birthdays and Thanksgiving. Snow falls and long cold nights marked what seemed an endless winter and Spring was a time of hope and renewal as flowers came into bloom. I still find it difficult to grasp time living here in California because we seem to live in a place of perpetual sunshine and temperate climate. Holidays are suddenly upon us without any apparent changes in the weather.

    For us as Catholics, however, time has a rhythm marked by the seasons of the Church. As a relative newcomer to the faith, my family and I are only beginning to celebrate certain traditions. When our family went through the RCIA process is was wonderful to explore all of the different ways the church celebrates the seasons. Though we had always enjoyed celebrating Christmas it was wonderful to really put Christ at the center of the holiday. We all love going to mass on Xmas eve in Tahoe.

    My favorite season is Lent. I love the discipline, austerity and penitential nature of the season. It helps me to draw closer to Christ and to those who are less fortunate. It reminds me to be grounded in the faith and to love and serve others. I look forward to the Wednesday night Lenten soup suppers at church after experiencing the Stations of the Cross. I also enjoy going to mass more often, especially confession. It helps prepare my body and soul for the most joyous occasion, Easter.

  • Luis Estrada

    I understood Nick’s example of the fulcrum, as Jesus using it to propel our time forward to place us closer to our resurrection.
    Then I started thinking on how I can use the concept of
    fulcrum, and lever to illustrate the Trinity, and our relationship with it.

    I came to imagine that if we live a Christ-Centered life, Jesus would be the fulcrum, then we have God the Father, as the lever, The Holy Spirit as the effort on one side of the lever,
    and we “the fourth element” would be the load.
    Therefore, our relationship to advancing more into our spiritual growth would depend on how heavy we are as the load, and the effort we allow the Holy Spirit to apply when we let her/him to act into our lives. The lighter we are, the easier it is for the Holy Spirit to propel us closer to
    our Resurrection.
    Also, the lighter we are, in the sense of being receptive, and fully participating of the Paschal Mystery at every Liturgy (our real time); the further we advance (God’s time) to reach everyone around us Resurrection as a communal effort.
    The Liturgical Calendar, helps us to live the Paschal Mystery in a refreshing way through the year.
    I was also nourished on how we, as liturgical aids, should look for ways to prepare the community through the different liturgical seasons so that everyone can fully understand and participate in the Paschal Mystery each Sunday with the refreshing emphasis of the season
    we are in. (i.e. What can I do to help the community to prepare for Christmas?,
    How can I help them see Jesus, the face of mercy? How our death leads to life…progressive
    conversion, as Lent is progressive). Also how to connect the symbols of the
    seasons (Advent Wreath, Water as a Baptismal symbol during Lent).

    The Liturgical Year events help us to live in Community.

  • Anai

    During this time of year I am beginning to take down my “Dia de los Muertos” altar, which was celebrated on November 2 (All Souls Day.) I take the altar down little by little, one because I don’t have a big chunk of time to do it all at once and two it gives me time to be prayerful and thankful to those people that were my life. Its a tradition that isn’t celebrated through out the world and even depending of the region of Mexico it is celebrated differently. Contrary to what people may think, to me its not about celebrating death but celebrating life and remembering who those souls and that they are still very much loved. It’s not something we did as much at home when I was little, I’m guessing it was because there wasn’t anyone dear to us that passed away. But since I’ve been doing it, the rest of my family seems to get interested in it. They aren’t setting up their own alters at home but enjoy helping me with mine, either making a sugar skull or giving me a picture of someone that has recently passed.
    In mass this pasted Sunday we celebrated All Saints Day and being the first Sunday of the month it was also the children’s mass. There was a skit for the homily and it was a scene from the first reading, were in the dream there was an important man surrounded many angels and so on. It was done very nicely, the smaller children were dressed in white, with halos and wings, the confirmation students also helped and held images of saints around the altar and some of the parents also participated by “entering in to heaven” and each received a different sized heart. Anyway… Fr. G said that everyone enters heaven no matter who the were while living their hearts are just a different size. If they loved much while here on earth, they would receive a huge heart and if they didn’t they would get a heart according to how much they loved, which in turn would allow them to experience God’s love. Those who didn’t love or did wrongs while living would find it harder to experience God’s love and kind of be left out of the party. Long story short, on All Souls Day, we pray for all those who departed. We pray for them so that just in case for whatever reason they didn’t get a “big heart,” they can be able to experience God’s love.
    For the kid we asked them to do there best with what Jesus asked us to do and that is to love God with all our heart, mind and soul and to love their neighbor as they love their selves. As adults we should too…..

  • Daniel Lesieutre

    I just returned home at 3pm today (Wednesday, November 4th) after a twelve day business trip, so I missed the class on the Liturgical Year. My last post discussed my impression of the four Eucharistic prayers and some thoughts were shared regarding which ones might be appropriate for different season of the liturgical year. I have includes some impression from liturgies I attended on the road below.

    A tradition my family has is celebrating our Baptism anniversary – our birthdays into the church. This is a great tradition for several reasons. We remember our Baptism days in addition to our birthdays. This is memorable to all, and our children will remember it when they have children. Our celebrations focus around family and close friends. We use the blessing prayers from the book of Catholic Blessings and Prayers, and we give a religious gift or book. We share dinner and a dessert, usually cake and ice cream. We have continued this tradition even after our children have gone off to college; sending a care package and calling them.

    A few thoughts on liturgies I attended on my business trip.

    On Saturday, October 25th, I attended the 4:30pm Mass at St. Paul’s Parish which serves as the Newman Center for Wichita State University. The environment was warm and welcoming. There were several young families and older people and not as many students as I anticipated. The Sunday evening Mass may serve the students’ needs better. The Mass was very reverent with a solemn tone. Only the Body of Christ was offered; the cup was not. Someone in class mentioned that this was the case in the heartland. The organ was used and the music selection was familiar to those present. The organ volume could have been lower for the church size. We prayed.

    On Sunday, November 1st, I attended Mass at Holy Rosary Church in Cleveland, Ohio. It is in the “Little Italy” section of town near Case Western Reserve University where my daughter is a senior. We attended the 11am Sunday Mass on All Saints Day. Holy Rosary is older, medium size church that is well maintained and renovated. The stained glass windows are exceptional as well as the pipe organ. The greeters were very welcoming, and the priest also directly addressed the students present in his comments. The homily was relevant to all and engaging – from the center aisle without notes. The music was first rate: the pipe organ, the violinist was exceptional (can be a distraction if not), and there were several opera quality voices in the choir. One sung the Psalm from the Ambo. Father used Eucharistic Prayer 1, and it was appropriate for the feast. My previous thoughts from last week may need modification. It is one thing to meditate on the prayers and another to hear them prayed well in community. Jesus was offered under both species. Great environment; we prayed and were changed.

  • Karen Pelosi

    I so enjoyed our class on the Liturgical Year. I have been on the Environment Committee in our parish the past two years and began to understand the different colors, symbols and plants, which we chose depending on the church calendar year and what we were celebrating. I knew what to use, but, until now, I didn’t really understand why. I am going to make it a point to talk about it with everyone working on the environment with me. I am wondering how much everyone else really knows?

    Being from a large family (10 siblings) you can get lost in a crowd. One thing my parents always did was celebrate our milestones, our birthdays and all of the holidays. We always knew on Easter, we would get a new hat. We always felt special at Mass on Easter. Even though children don’t really understand what is going on, giving them an experience of feeling good at Mass and church, makes being at church special. That keeps children wanting that experience in their lives. Christmas seemed to last forever. My Mother never took the tree down until the Epiphany. I never new why, even though I did the same thing. My kids would tell me the tree was completely dead and I would tell them It couldn’t be taken down until the Epiphany. So it went. We had the yearly traditions; now I am understanding why. As I have become older, I truly enjoy Lent. I take part in everything. Even though it is a sad time of year, to me it is a time of renewal. A time of starting over. We spend the Liturgical Year walking through Christ’s life. He has experienced everything in his life, good and bad, that each of us have experienced. But, Christ died on the cross for us. Going through the Lenten experience and then His resurrection, leaves us so full of joy and renewal. He gave his life for our salvation, a place in Heaven with his Father.

    My mother passed away at the end of September. She was a true believer. She never worried about dying. She knew she would be with God. Even though I am still learning, I am so grateful to my parents for giving us our Catholic faith. I love the traditions, the theology, the history and how far we have come over the years. I find myself wanting to learn as much as I can. This may go on forever…..

  • Luis Cardoso

    Making it necessary to be grateful. During class last Wednesday, Nick Wagner said, “The Liturgical Calendar is a very Catholic thing.” So true, and how I am grateful for it. Often I want to thank the Church for what she has set up, and through the ages, preserved. The liturgical year brings to my attention all the great things holy men and women have done for us so that we may not forget the inestimable sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
    During the liturgical year, time itself–each hour, day, week–is sanctified, as it should be, since every second is a gift from God.
    “During the different periods of the liturgical year, in accord with traditional discipline, the Church completes the education of the faithful by means of both spiritual and bodily devotional practices, instruction, prayer, works of penance, and work os mercy.” (Universal Norms on the Liturgical Year . . . . , No. 2).

  • Jocelyn

    Last Wednesday, we discussed about the Liturgical Year. Liturgical year differs from the calendar year as it begins in Advent which is the Sunday that is closest to November 30 or the Sunday after Christ the King. Advent has a twofold character, for it is the time of preparation from the Solemnities of Christmas and also it is a time of looking forward to the Christ’s Second Coming at the end of time. Advent is a period of devout and expectant delight. This year Advent starts on November 29. In line with the period of preparation for Christmas, our parish, have “Simbang Gabi” or dawn masses for 9 days before Christmas. This is a tradition that we have in the Philippines and was brought here in the United States. It is usually held early in the morning of December 16 until December 24, however, our parish held the masses at 7:00 p.m. from December 15 to December 23. Simbang gabi is very well attended and is always followed by fellowship at the hall. I would also like to mention that we have “parols” or star-shaped lanterns hanged inside the church. Christmas time is a very joyous celebration that begins with the sing of carols on Christmas Eve.

    Like Advent, Lent also has two themes which are baptismal and penitential. As we have discussed in the class, we are noticing that during Lent, there is more focus on the penitential theme. It is very important to note that we should also give attention to the baptismal theme of Lent, thus the removal of the holy water during Lent is discouraged. As lengthy is our preparation for Christmas, so is our preparation for the Easter Season. Our Triduum choir prepares as early as two months before because there are a lot of songs to learn especially on Easter Vigil. I can say that I enjoy the Easter Vigil the most, even though it can last up to three hours.
    Here is a glimpse of the Sundays of the Liturgical Year:
    Sundays of Advent 1st – 4th
    Christmas Time
    The Nativity of the Lord
    The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
    The Octave of the Nativity of the Lord/Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God
    The Epiphany of the Lord
    The Baptism of the Lord
    Ordinary Time
    Sundays in Ordinary Time – 2nd to 6th
    Ash Wednesday
    Sundays of Lent 1st-5th
    Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord
    Paschal Triduum
    Holy Thursday: Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper
    Friday of the Passion of the Lord
    Holy Saturday: Easter Vigil
    Easter Time
    Easter Sunday of the Resurrection
    7 Sundays of Easter
    Pentecost Sunday
    Ordinary Time
    The Most Holy Trinity
    The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
    Sunday in Ordinary Time – 7th – 33rd
    Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

  • Bella arnaldo

    Last Sunday was All Saints Day and Monday was All Souls Day. Since Monday was a work day, my family gathered at my parents gravesite to start our own tradition of laying flowers, praying and even singing songs to commemorate and our loved ones, since we just recently lost my mom 2 years ago and my dad, last year. The cemetery was full of people, in one way or another was doing the same things. Everyone had flowers, some had chairs, shade and even a barbecue grill in what looks like the makings of a picnic! I think we will be following the same tradition, minus the barbecue and picnic. In spite of the minor differences in these traditions, we are trying to accomplish the same things-to commemorate and honor our loved ones that have gone before us. This is also our way of staying connected to them.
    It reminded me of our Sunday celebration. Every time we celebrate mass, we commemorate the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, so much so that we remember His last supper, we intone the prayers ” do this in memory of me” His Passion is the core of our Christian religion. Every time we do this ritual every Sunday, we remember, honor and strengthen our bond with Christ and our Heavenly Father. In this way, Christ’s Passion and sacrifice becomes a timeless gift for us that only serves to strengthen our bonds with him every time we celebrate mass.

  • Semi Gurbiel

    How do I celebrate “El Día de Muertos”?

    I just recently started celebrating “El Día de los Muertos” here in the United States. The passing of my father initiated the celebration. The first time I celebrated, my mother was here and she was the one commenced it. Since we did not have a lot of time and some of the decorations used could not be found here, we did not decorated the same way as in Mexico. The altar consisted of only candles, food, and the prayer of the rosary. On October 31st we celebrate the day of the children, recognizing the souls of all the dead children. On the altar we place the meals children used to like when they were alive. We also place sweets, fruits, toys, and candles that are colored. The house entrances are decorated with marigold flowers scattered on the floor. When we pray the rosary, in each mystery we call the name of one of the dead, afterwards the whole rosary is recited and the litany is done. Then all the names of the other dead are called followed by an Our Father and a Hail Mary, until all the names are called. The last prayers of the rosary are recited and the rosary is ended.

    On November first we celebrate the dead adults. We do the same process as for the children, but the altar is set up differently. We still have food, fruits, and sweets, but the candles are changed to regular candles. In some altars liquor is added. The process of the rosary is the same. On November second most people go to the cemetery, clean the tombs, put flowers and candles and wait for the priest to come and celebrate mass there. This is the only time mass is celebrated in the cemetery.

    Just as the Christmas season has an octave, the feast of the Holy Family, in Yucatan the day of the dead also has an octave. The same process as the previous week is done, but this time the food is more traditional. On the day of the children tamales are made and set on the table. The following day is the day of the adults, a food called “pib” is cooked and placed on the table.
    Unfortunately, here I don’t have the time to celebrate the same way as in Mexico. However I try to do it as close as possible. I make the altar with food on the table and pray the rosary with my family. Due to my work schedule I do not have time to celebrate both days. Instead I only honor one day. I wish I could observe the days like in Mexico but I cannot. I hope one day the whole family could go to Mexico and celebrate the tradition there.

    I just would like to add some facts and myths about “El Día de Muertos.”

    This tradition has been celebrated even before the Spanish conquest.

    The origin of the “catrina” comes from the Aztec mythology. The “Catrina” is the person in charge of taking care of the bones of the dead. She is the “Señora of the Mictlan or Mictecacihualt”, the underworld lady.

    The Cenpasúchil (marigold) flowers are used because of the belief that the aroma will guide the souls to heaven.

    For an offering to be complete, four elements need to be included: Water, Fire, earth, and wind. The arch, this is where the offerings is traditionally placed, represents the entrance of the dead to the beyond.
    This is the reason why you find all these things on the altars.

  • John

    Being an extremely structured and organized person, I absolutely appreciate the Liturgical Calendar. However, understanding the Liturgical Calendar and knowing its history brings me new meaning to me. The overall theme I gathered from my root understanding of the Liturgical Calendar is that it is a memorial of our faith in Jesus Christ starting from the memorial of the Last Supper. We build on top of celebrating our memorial on the Liturgical Calendar through the Optional Memorials, Memorials, Marian Days, Feasts, Obligatory Memorials, Solemnities, and Feasts of the Lord carried from the Universal Church to our local home parish.

    From my readings, one of the biggest insights that I gained from this entire class was the greater and loving appreciation of Ordinary Time. As mentioned in my January 25th posting (, one of the areas that stood out to me was when Marcy Golebiewski pointed out that awfully confusion section in the “Lectionary for Mass” #68. From my understanding, the Sunday Mass during Ordinary Time is not meant to have a “theme” per se to facilitate the homilies. Rather, the Ordinary Time is a “genuine conception of liturgical celebration, which is always the celebration of the mystery of Christ” to organically allow the Presider to proclaim a homily meeting the needs of today and the community. That’s why I appreciate the fact that we have 33 or 34 weeks of Ordinary Time to allow every priest, every parish, every community to grow from the richness and ambiguity of the readings through the Holy Spirit.

    Lastly, one tradition I would love to have but I am still investigating is celebrating my baptismal date. I’m still on the hunt to figure it out so I can remember when I entered in the Universal Church and fully recognized as the Child of God. I pray that I find that opportunity soon so I can celebrate every year.

  • Greg Ripa

    I came across this quote and love it a lot:

    “Our time and the way we move through time are guided not just by our human-made inventions of calendars, clocks, and PDAs, but also by the passing of seasons and the movement of the cosmos. In wonderful Catholic fashion, even our time is both/and: solar and lunar, constant and moveable, made by human hands and God-given. Every act of worship is always first a response in obedience to God’s call. The call to worship is not commanded by our day timer, like an appointment on our “to do” list. It is our response to God who created time by separating the light from the darkness and placing lights in the dome to mark the fixed times, the days, and the years (Gn 1:14). To worship God is to submit our control of time to the one to whom all time belongs. To worship is to submit ourselves to relationship with God and with what God has created. [The Triduum and the Easter Vigil are] both timeless and filled with all of time. It is the ultimate experience of God’s time, kairos, that we can have in this earthly life.”

    – Diana Macalintal (

    Note: this isn’t my “required” writing/ posting but it was too good not to share.

  • Greg Ripa

    I’ve mostly been pondering how to integrate “flow” into the church environment from Ordinary Time into Lent into Passion Sunday through the Triduum and into Easter. So far, it’s generally been the same every year: stark transitions from one season to another, removing the water from the font during Lent (against the Environment Team’s wishes btw), changes every day of the Triduum, and a glorious Easter environment. But that doesn’t really FLOW.

    So I’d like to work this year on creating better flow and more gradual transitions between seasons. Perhaps a barren winter tree might persist into Lent helping with the “penitential” character. But also having some greenery around a full and flowing font during Lent could help with the “baptismal” character. Transitioning fabric colors would be good too: perhaps retain some of the green for the first two weeks of Lent. Then, as Passion Sunday arrives, add red over the violet as well as cut and potted palms to the existing greenery (and remove the last of the “penitential” environment). Potted palms and the red fabrics could be kept into the Triduum and overlayed with white on Holy Thursday. Then, for Good Friday, keep some of the white from Holy Thursday. For the Easter Vigil, keep some smaller amounts of red, but add gold to the white colors; the cross venerated on Good Friday should be visible within the church, perhaps in the vestibule; and the pitchers and towels from Holy Thursday could be kept near the font. And lastly, make sure there are enough flowers to last all 50 days of the Easter season!

    Those are just a few initial thoughts that I’d like to bring up to others at the parish and see what they think. It may not all happen this year, but we’ll see.

  • Mariann

    On last Wednesday, I had work with my partner what we choose a question to learn about Liturgy in the book, my partner and I talked about lent and learned that ” The Scrutinies are celebrated on Third, Fourth, and Fifth Sundays of Lent. Lent is the time of purification and enlightenment for the elect. Violet or purple is the color of the Lent Season. However, on Lent Season, I saw my parish cover all status with purple color in the Church when begin the Lent while other church is not, I knew that Lent Season, but I did not know why they cover all for whole Lent, but I did not see in the book.
    I enjoyed the class that we discussed about the Liturgy Yea and learn the Liturgical calendar. I understand more the Liturgy Calendar that Nick show us that it is a memorial of our faith in Jesus Christ starting from the memorial of the Last Supper and Dianna help us to see three parts on table of Liturgy days: Solemnities ( I), Feast of the Lord (II); and Memorials (III). Our memorial on the Liturgical Calendar through the Optional memorials, Memorials, Marian Days, Feasts, Solemnities, and Feasts of the Lord. Working in our local parish, so I sometimes saw the differ in the Liturgy from the different parish, I was really looking forward to understand more the Liturgy Calendar and Liturgy year, so I learned something new about Liturgy Year and help me to understand what Nick’s explanation about Liturgy in class. Thank you very much.

  • Jane

    Our discussion on the Liturgical Year was an aha session for me. I thought I understood the Liturgical Calendar but this session made me aware of so much I didn’t know. Here are a few:
    * Ordinary Time (#43, page 214): the UNLY definition opened my heart to Ordinary Time. It isn’t just ordinary and it isn’t just ordinal as it tracks time/weeks. It is the time where “the mystery of Christ itself is honored in its fullness, especially on Sundays.” What a beautiful definition. My participation in Mass during Ordinary Time will have a deeper meaning for me now, honoring Christ and his gift of eternal life in a deeper way.
    * Rogation Days and Ember Days (UNLY #45-47, page 215): Rogation Days pertain usually to harvest which we don’t really have here in the bay area but Ember Days are to pray for something specific (i.e. peace). Ember Days are named by the Bishop. We’ve have these requests from the Bishop in the past, I just didn’t know the what’s and why’s of his request. A Mass for Various Needs should be used with these days.
    * Table of Liturgical Days (UNLY page 218-219): Nick and Diana spent some time talking about the different days we celebrate in our church (Feasts, Solemnities, Memorials, etc). Thank goodness for this table that provides the hierarchy of days and which can take priority over which.
    Overriding all is that the Liturgical Calendar is entirely anamnestic. Christians are remembering, memorializing and carrying forward as we celebrate the paschal mystery and honor Christ every Sunday one season to the next.

  • Lee Campbell

    Nick, I enjoyed this session as well. With each week it seems I become more aware of the Liturgy and how important it is to practice this and participate in it well. The flow we talked about in earlier sessions. I am more aware of the constant prayer and I try to bring it into my ministries as well.
    I find when I am sacristan the flow can be distracting because I am concerned about little things that I may have forgotten during the mass and it gets in the way of the liturgy. My focus and prayer seem to be off. It’s almost like I need to attend another mass (I probably should).
    When you explained Kairos time vs. Kronos time the example you gave was enlightening. Kairos was described ” as a fast nymph with a tuft of hair and if you can grab it you are in Kairos time, a special time.” How true that is. Sunday is a day of mystery a day of Kairos.
    I participate in a prison ministry that is called Kairos. I’ve heard it explained in several ways, but your example made more sense to me. It’s a moment in time when you realize something special happened. It is just like that when we are with these men who are in prison and they just want to feel a part of group without any hang ups or restrictions. They desire to be treated like human beings. So when this change takes place and we never know when it will occur over the 4 days it is incredible. I’ve seen men from different races, creeds, cultures and religions become loving brothers towards each other with no prejudice.
    That our practices go back to ancient times. That Christianity is always looking backwards and remembering what Jesus did. We do our best to recreate this in the six seasons of the Church. And by so doing we have a greater connection with Our Lord. A better understanding of our faith. Liturgy continuing to tell the story of The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. Truly the light we need in our lives.

  • Marcy Golebiewski

    Answering the idea starter questions in this post. February contains multiple celebrations. my youngest brother was born on February 13th and my mother was born on February 15th with St. Valentine’s Day sandwiched in the middle. All there are precursors of Ash Wednesday and the commencement of the Lenton of preparation before the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord celebrated on Easter. Having grown up in Pennsylvania, the mid-February “holidays” were something to look forward in the cold of winter. In California, winter does not quite have that war sense of never ending dreariness and in fact the warmth of spring shows it’s signs of reappearance. Ash Wednesday is around the corner to launch the liturgical solemn preparation in the form of prayer, penance, repentance, almagiving and selflessness.

  • Anthony Ordona

    Another good class, as this class continues, i realize that i had a lot of gaps regarding liturgy and really wanted to learn the theology regarding the different parts of the mass. This class has helped greatly. Enjoyed learning what Rogation and ember days were about and how individual dioceses had flexibility their specific days. I also appreciated the explanation on how the scripture readings and gospels were determined in both the mass and the Divine Office. Was surprised to find out they have not changed since the second Vatican Council. Learning in detail the liturgical calendar was very helpful especially the defintions for feast days, Easter, Christmas, Lent , Advent and Ordinary time and the importance of the Easter tridium as the highlight of the liturgical year. I loved the explanation on the emphasis on memorialization and how our faith develops through seeing the reenactment of Christ’s gifts.

  • Paty R.

    Las class was very interesting, the focus was the Liturgical Year. I fight a little with myself because every time I read or heard something, my brain was jumping from one situation to another that I lived related to the Liturgical Calendar; from the Liturgy Ministers complaining about why he was not told to wear red on Palm Sunday, or the lady telling us that we were using the wrong shade of purple for the season to my childhood memories with my grandma talking about the “Church calendar”.
    With all these experiences, I truly believe that Liturgy give as the best framework to catechize, as Nick said, and we do not emphasize enough the understanding of the Liturgical Year; even though colors in the church “decoration” keep changing during the year, its mentioned in the bulletin or in the welcoming to mass. As a result, not many people are aware that we, Christians, have a Liturgical Calendar and its importance to us.
    It is important because the Liturgical Calendar marks the life, death and Resurrection of Christ, so the celebration each Sunday, season after season, allow us, as Diana said, going into a spiral and deepening the understanding of our faith, therefore deepening our relationship with God. As people of faith this shape us and makes sense of our lives.
    About “Ordinary Time” I think it is important to emphasize that it is everything but ordinary, because it is when we follow the steps of Jesus Christ in his public life and the teachings to his disciples (catechesis) so, during this time, He is among us transforming our lives!
    Regarding the traditions, we have the “unofficially” closing of the Christmas Season on February 2nd. The Presentation of the Lord or “Día de la Candelaria” (Candlemas). It links the Nativity of the Lord, the Epiphany and the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple.
    This is an old pre-Vatican II tradition. The meaning, as I was taught, God become one of us when Baby Jesus was born. We, like the Three Wise Men, adore him on the Epiphany. Children receive gifts form the Magi that day– the most important part for kids- then the “rosca de reyes” a bread with a little doll representing Baby Jesus inside is cut. Getting Baby Jesus in your piece of bread is very special… you are chosen by God to grow with, and along. with Baby Jesus, so you become a godparent of him. Then it is your responsibility to present the Baby Jesus (the one in the Nativity Scene in the house) to the Temple on February 2nd. There is a big celebration with tamales. You take care of him, the image and one inside you. Then everything Christmas is put away except Baby Jesus who is place in a special place in the house until next Christmas Eve.
    Nowadays the meaning has been totally changed. It is mainly an excuse to have a party, and no one wants to be the “chosen one”. In the bread, there are more than one doll so I ask in the bakery why they doing that, the answer, people asked for more so they can they can afford a big party. So sad to miss the real meaning.

  • Phan Nguyen

    The more I understand about the Liturgy the more I love it. I often feel an urge to attend daily mass. The Words of God, the prayers and the homily tell a story and each day there is a different message. At Queen of Apostles, our daily mass is offered in a small chapel. People sit in a U shape around the altar and the first row of seats is only a few feet from the altar. The room can hold about 50 people and is packed at 9:30 am daily mass. This arrangement gives a sense of intimacy with the Lord Jesus and a sense of close friendship with other worshipers. There is a joy to be with Jesus and with all the friends during mass. Our pastor often asks us questions about the readings during his homily. We share our thoughts and our understandings of the Words of God. Every day I learn something new from the priest and from other fellow parishioners. To me the timing and the atmosphere are ideal; it is a perfect way to start a day.
    How the liturgy calendar was created is amazing as we learned from last Wednesday class. Designing it is an enormous task. All the readings and prayers of the Sunday masses have been selected and laid out very carefully. They have to be appropriate to the season but most importantly, they enable the faithful to walk with the Lord Jesus throughout his life from his birth to his death and resurrection during the year. If you have a chance to attend mass every day you can have a feeling of living Jesus’ life. Every day I encounter God in a different way; it could be a reading passage that reveals new meaning. The new meaning can come from the priest or another fellow churchgoer. God talks to us in many different forms and ways. God’s love is infinite and always pouring out to us especially in the Eucharist, and we need only to open our hearts to receive it. One thing I learned from a retreat offered by the Jesuit priests is God never betrays us. So we can confidently put all our trust in Him.

  • Stella Lal

    Learning the Liturgical Calendar was very interesting and exciting. As a regular church goer, I had a decent understanding of the different seasons, the readings for the year and the relationship between the readings. However, this helped solidify this understanding.

    The most exciting part for me was when Nick explained the history of the development of the Liturgical Year. It really helps not only for us to understand but also to explain to others how we celebrate the Eucharistic liturgies and why we do what we do; its significance and relevance to our lives.

  • Nick Wagner

    Hi John. I’m glad you highlighted the focus on Ordinary Time being the celebration of the mystery of Christ. Liturgy planners often want to focus on themes, which sometimes distract from the centrality of the paschal mystery. Thanks for sharing another great insight.

  • Nick Wagner

    Great quote Greg. I especially like this line: “To worship God is to submit our control of time to the one to whom all time belongs.”

  • Nick Wagner

    I think these are all really great ideas. I do think that once you start down this path, it will just make sense to the community. So it might not all happen this year, but if you can introduce some of it, I think you will be able to evolve your concepts over time.

  • Nick Wagner

    Hi Jane. I’m glad you zeroed in on the focus of Ordinary Time being about the mystery of Christ. I think if we could make this one concept clear in our parishes, we would deepen parish spirituality and increase participation in the liturgy. Also, I hope we didn’t overwhelm everyone with the hierarchy of days stuff. It can get a little wonky!

  • Nick Wagner

    Hi Lee. I know what you mean about being distracted. I’ve finally just given up and consider my worrying over little things to be part of the prayer experience. That turns out to be more prayerful for me than struggling to “turn off” that part of my brain during Mass. Also, I really like your description of kairos and your connection to prison ministry. Very spirit-filled. Thanks.

  • Nick Wagner

    HI Mariann. The veiling of statues is optional, so one parish may do it and another not. However, if a parish does choose to veil the statues, they can only be veiled from the Fifth Sunday of Lent until the end of Good Friday. (Diana wrote a blog post about this several years ago: ) I don’t think the practice is all that helpful, so if given a choice, I wouldn’t do it. I’m glad the discussion about the rank of liturgical days was helpful. Thanks very much for sharing your thoughts.

  • Nick Wagner

    Wow, Marcy, February really is jam packed for you and your family. It must have been fun to have all the celebration going on as you were growing up. I grew up in St. Louis, so I know what a winter February can be like. I much prefer California! Thanks for chiming in.

  • Jane

    Hi Nick- yes, wonky is a good word to use. I just keep thinking that Christ didn’t mean it to be so complicated and as long I a do my bests to follow the rules and otherwise my best to serv, praise, and worship him I’m good. If I’m good enough for Jesus I’m good enough.

    And Happy Valentines Day to you and Diana. I hope it is a special day for you.

  • Nick Wagner

    Hi Anthony. I’m glad to hear you are gaining so much from the class. In our age of instant access, it can seem like the stability of the lectionary since Vatican II is quite a long time. Before that however, the previous time there was a major change in the prayers and readings of the Mass was at the Council of Trent in the mid-1500s. From then until Vatican II, everything in liturgy was pretty much the same. I don’t think we will ever go that long again without a major reform, but 50 years or so is a blink of an eye in church time! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • Nick Wagner

    Hi Paty. I’m glad to see your emphasis on the liturgical year celebrating the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. And I agree, Diana’s image of a spiral is very helpful. Thanks also for sharing with us some of your Christmas season traditions from Mexico. I think the loss of meaning of our traditions is a reality across cultures. But if we can keep the central aspects of them alive in our own hearts, perhaps we can pass something on to the next generation.

  • Nick Wagner

    Hi Phan. Thanks for sharing your thoughtful and spiritual reflection on the way you interact with the readings, your pastor, and the parishioners at Queen of Apostles. it is inspiring to read about your devotion. I am grateful for your comments.

  • Nick Wagner

    Hi Stella. I’m glad you are excited about the history of the liturgical year. Sometimes I feel like a church geek and that I’m the only one who really gets into stuff like this. It’s always nice to find a fellow traveler. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • John

    Oh Jane! You picked up on the Ordinary Time too!

  • miguel guzman

    Hi Nick, another great class. We talked about Liturgy of the Year, as precedence, among Liturgical Days as regards to their celebration is governed by the Table of Liturgical Days. Because of the many Vigils, Feasts and Festivals, they became distracted by the Faithful. In order to remedy the problem, there was a Reform of the Liturgical Calendar by the Second Vatican Council in 1964. There is a Restoration of Proper Time = Means that the weekly celebration on Sunday takes precedence. The precedence of Sunday is maintained for much of the year, and the Sundays of Advent, Lent, Easter, and Christmas have precedence over all ‘Feasts of the Lord. More Saints days have been added to the Liturgical Calendar. Special Days assigned locally were Rogation Days and Embers. They were to celebrate the Fruits of the Earth, and for Human Labor. Colors are used as themes for the different Holidays or celebrations through the Year. They were for the Blessing of the Crops and the Harvest.The Whole Mystery of Christ is revealed every Sunday. The celebration of the Saints and in particular the Blessed Virgin Mary is integral to the Roman Rite. The Bible is read through the Liturgical through the Liturgical Year. Mathew, Mark, and Luke are read on Sundays through the year. We remember and memorialize the Last Supper. Generations passed on the stories of Jesus, and the Bible before they were written in Text. The Disciples had sense of time = Death of Christ, Resurrection. Kronos = is Time, Moment when we should be, in the Now, we’re present in the Future. During Easter,the Tridium is the climax = Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday. The Rite of sending Catechumenates for Election, and Candidates for Recognition by the Bishop is celebrated on the First Sunday of Lent. During Easter Vigil, the Rite of sending the Adult Catechumenates is celebrated on the First Sunday of Lent. Blessings, Mike Guzman

  • Annette Mo

    Every New Year on December 31st, my family has dinner together, and through the night, we play games and catch up on each other’s lives. Then we wait up until midnight to ring in the new year. Then hugs and gifts are given all around. We have been brought up with this tradition to remind us that as a family, we welcome the new year, and whatever the new year brings, we are one, and are there for each other.

    Traditions tell a story about a family. It provides a source of identity. It can create a bond that comes from feeling that one is part of something unique and special. It can offer comfort to have a few constants in our lives.

    Just as we have traditions in our families, our study of the liturgical calendar makes me realize that our religious life also has a tradition. The liturgical calendar utilized by the church takes us through the life of Jesus Christ from his birth and incarnation until his ascension. It is a tool the church offers us for our spiritual enrichment and renewal.

    It goes through different seasons, Advent, Lent, and Ordinary time. The church assigns appropriate scriptural readings for each season bringing to reality the love and life of the Father through Jesus. These readings from the Old and New Testaments are a constant reminder for us of God’s promise and faithfulness.

    The life of our liturgical year is best celebrated through the Eucharist, the summit of our Christian prayer, where we receive God’s grace through Jesus’ presence, and with the Holy Spirit who enables us to live as one family of God.

  • Yolanda C Garcia In the readings of last week, I was most interested in the article on Removing Holy Water from the Baptismal Font during Lent. I recall from my very early years that my parish and the sanctuary were always prepared in such a barren fashion during Lent, including no water in the baptismal font and the display of symbols such as fruitless vines, cactus and other plants devoid of flowers or other blooms. Everything seemed so empty and hopeless. I was glad to learn that the Vatican committee responded in far contrast of days of old. Lent says two things to me: to recall my baptism (and the water is that symbol), and to participate in the sacrament of reconciliation like never before. In Jn. 3:5, Jesus answered, “Amen, amen I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit”. During Lent, especially, I bless myself with the holy water when I enter the church. The water signifies my baptism and they go hand-in-hand like the sun and the light of day. You can’t have one without the other, and during the season of Lent, the baptismal font should not be turned off as that committee wrote. The flowing water reminds me of my baptism so that I can continue to cultivate my faith through the celebration of the liturgy. Today, in my parish when I walk into the church, I hear the waters flowing and see the constant flow of the waterfall in the baptismal font. The sound of the water gives me hope and fulfillment. The water will flow until we enter the Sacred Triduum just before Easter so that new water can be blessed. I realize that I thirst not for the actual water alone, but what is means to live out my baptism in my Catholic faith especially during Lent.
    [P.S. Nick: here is a picture of our new ambo at Transfiguration as you requested (sorry, a little blurry); forgot to take a picture the week before; it fits so well in our church.]

  • Tim Logan

    Thanksgiving has always been a important tradition in my family. Mother would spend a week shopping for all the stuff, several days preparing, and start cooking the night before. She would get up every couple of hours to base the turkey, until it was golden brown. As our late lunch Thanksgiving Day feast approached, there was plenty of food to snack on. Yet in the midst of all of this, came the moment when my father would say grace. Everything stopped, suddenly what was a festive occasion became a solemn one. A remembrance of why we are gathered together from near and far, why mother fussed so much over the food, why we were grateful. In it’s very essences we see the same in our Eucharist celebration, above all a thanksgiving for the grace of God’s present through his Son’s desire to do his Father’s will, done anamnesis of Jesus’s promise and our calling to be present and fulfilling what he taught us.