|Catholic Liturgical Calendar to Color|
Catholic friends always knew what he meant: The first Sunday of Advent also starts off the new liturgical season. (Everyone else just looked at him in bemusement.)
As Catholics, we begin our new year in the spirit of "preparation that directs our hearts and minds to Christ’s second coming at the end of time and also to the anniversary of the Lord’s birth on Christmas."
This year, December 3 launches us into a whole new year of Catholic feasts and fasts, celebrations that ask us to pray more and hope harder, to draw closer and deeper into our relationship with Jesus Christ ... and we Catholics unite in the prayers and feasts of the season, no matter where we are, all around the world.
When my husband was in RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) years ago, he was astonished that all Catholics followed the same calendar of celebration. "Everyone has the same Mass readings every day?" he asked in surprise. "And everyone in the whole world is listening to the same Gospel and prayers?"
That wonder he felt many years ago still resides in our home ... in me, in our children. It especially shines during Advent, when we excitedly put together our Advent wreath, fill up our little tabletop basket with the beautiful Magnificat Advent prayer books our parish gives our community, and place ourselves along the long journey of St. Joseph and Mary toward Bethlehem.
Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time, Lent, Easter, Ordinary Time again ... then a new year begins once more on the first Sunday of Advent.
"Holy Mother Church believes that she should celebrate the saving work of her divine Spouse in a sacred commemoration on certain days throughout the course of the year. Once each week, on the day which she has called the Lord's Day, she keeps the memory of the Lord's resurrection. She also celebrates it once every year, together with his blessed Passion, at Easter, that most solemn of all feasts. In the course of the year, moreover, she unfolds the whole mystery of Christ. . . . Thus recalling the mysteries of the redemption, she opens up to the faithful the riches of her Lord's powers and merits, so that these are in some way made present in every age; the faithful lay hold of them and are filled with saving grace." (Catechism of the Catholic Church)In preparation of the new liturgical year, I put together a downloadable (and affordable) Catholic Liturgical Calendar to Color 2018.
You may also want to grab this free Catholic feast day planning printable.
And remember to wish your Catholic friends a happy new year on December 3, 2017!