The Liturgical Year

The Liturgical Year consists of three essential elements:

  • Incarnation Cycle (Advent – Christmas)
  • Paschal Cycle (Lent – Pentecost)
  • Ordinary Time (Everything else)

The Liturgical Seasons

  • ADVENT IS THE FIRST SEASON. It is a time of waiting for the birth of the Messiah. There are four Sundays in Advent. You will notice at Mass that the colours used for vestments and altar cloths during Advent are purple, with pink on the Third Sunday of Advent to symbolise hope. The readings and the music during Advent reflect this spirit of anticipation and longing for the coming of the Lord.
  • CHRISTMAS EVE MARKS THE BEGINNING OF THE CHRISTMAS SEASON IN THE CHURCH, which lasts until the feast of the Baptism of the Lord in January. White or gold are the colours used for vestments and altar cloths. The readings, the music and the decorations in the church project joy and a sense of celebration.
  • ORDINARY TIME FOLLOWS THE CHRISTMAS SEASON. It begins on the Monday after the feast of the Baptism of the Lord and ends when Lent begins. A second period of Ordinary Time follows Pentecost and continues until the beginning of Advent. The colour green, a symbol of hope, is used for vestments and altar cloths during Ordinary Time. Throughout Ordinary Time, the story of Jesus’ life and ministry continues to unfold.
  • LENT IS AN IMPORTANT SEASON IN THE LITURGICAL YEAR. It is a 40-day period of fasting, abstinence and repentance that begins on Ash Wednesday. No meat is eaten on Fridays during Lent. The season of Lent culminates with the liturgies of Holy Week, which recall the passion and death of Jesus. Purple is used for vestments and altar cloths during Lent. The Gloria is omitted during Lent and the word “alleluia” is not said or sung.
  • EASTER IS THE MOST IMPORTANT CELEBRATION IN THE LITURGICAL YEAR. The Easter season begins with the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus and continues for the next 50 days, until the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. The colour of the Easter season is white, representing Christ’s victory over death. At the celebration of Mass on the day of Pentecost, the priest will wear red vestments. The music is filled with joyful alleluias.

What is the Extra-Ordo-Nary?

Extra-Ordo-Nary takes its name from the Diocesan Ordo. This document acts like a calendar for each diocese; helping people to know what season, feast day or celebration takes place on each day.

The Nottingham Diocese Catholic Youth Service (NDCYS) have created a special version for young people and coupled each week of the year with a different theme, linked to the liturgical season, to help connect and inspire your prayer and liturgy.

Each week is also accompanied by a video on the NDCYS YouTube channel that takes you through the important days in the week and brings the resource to life.

Nottingham Diocese Liturgical Year Events 2022-23