The Liturgical Year is an annual cycle of seasons and feasts that celebrates the Paschal Mystery, especially focusing on Christ’s Death and Resurrection (Easter Cycle), and Birth (Christmas Cycle). The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “In the Liturgical Year the various aspects of the one Paschal mystery unfold. This is also the case with the cycle of feasts surrounding the mystery of the incarnation (Annunciation, Christmas, Epiphany). They commemorate the beginning of our salvation and communicate to us the first fruits of the Paschal mystery.” (CCC 1171)
The celebration of the Liturgical Year is meant to draw the Catholic faithful into the Mystery of Christ, helping them to experience His divine life more fully and deeply. This includes remembering and celebrating the lives of the saints, especially Mary, the Mother of God: “By keeping the memorials of the saints – first of all the holy Mother of God, then the apostles, the martyrs, and other saints – on fixed days of the Liturgical Year, the Church on earth shows that she is united with the liturgy of heaven. She gives glory to Christ for having accomplished his salvation in his glorified members; their example encourages her on her way to the Father.” (CCC 1195)
The Western and Eastern rites of the Catholic Church hold the major feast days and seasons in common, but differ on many of the solemnities and feasts.
“Fashioner of all creation, you fixed times and seasons by Your own authority, bless the crown of the year, O Lord, with your goodness, preserving our nation and your city in peace, and save us through the prayers of the Mother of God.” (Troparion of the New Year, 1/14 September)
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