The Church year begins each year with Advent, the season of awaiting Christ’s coming, and ends with the final Saturday of Ordinary Time. Within the standard calendar year, the Church year starts in early December (or sometimes the end of November) and goes through the following November. The Church year consists of six liturgical seasons: Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time after Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Ordinary Time after Pentecost.

Advent: First Sunday of Advent through December 24th. Advent begins the Sunday closest to the feast of St. Andrew, which is November 30th. Therefore Advent always falls sometime between November 28th and December 3rd, and lasts until the Nativity of the Lord. The liturgical colours of Advent are Purple and Rose, with Rose being used only on the third Sunday of Advent.

Christmas: December 25th  through The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. The Christmas season begins with the celebration of the birth of Jesus, Christmas Day, or as a vigil on Christmas Eve. The Feast of Christmas lasts 12 days, until Epiphany. However, the time from Epiphany until the Baptism of the Lord is also included in the Christmas season.

Ordinary Time after the Baptism: Monday after the Feast of the Baptism through Shrove Tuesday. After the celebration of the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Ordinary Time begins. Ordinary does not mean plain. The name comes from “ordinalis” meaning “showing order, denoting an order of succession.” The liturgical color of Ordinary Time is green; however, as in all seasons, other appropriate colors are worn on particular feast days.

Lent:  The season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and lasts until the final Saturday before Easter, Holy Saturday. The liturgical colours of Lent are violet or purple, traditionally more of a red-violet colour than the deep purple of Advent. Rose may also be used, where it is the custom, on Laetare Sunday (Fourth Sunday during Lent). On Passion Sunday (Palm Sunday) and on Good Friday (which has no Mass but a service remembering Christ’s passion) the colour is red. White or violet is worn on Holy Thursday and Holy Saturday (once again, there is no Mass but there are other Services on Holy Saturday).

Easter: The Easter season begins with the Easter Vigil. The season of Easter begins with celebrating Christ’s resurrection and ends by celebrating the descent of the Holy Spirit, the Pentecost. The Liturgical colours of Easter are white, for most days, and red for Pentecost.

Ordinary Time after Pentecost: Ordinary Time resumes after Pentecost and runs until the final Saturday before Advent. The final Sunday in Ordinary Time is the Feast of Christ the King; the Saturday after this feast is the final day of Ordinary time.