Printable Activity: The Church Year

By James E. Scarborough – Own work, CC0,

A liturgical calendar and monthly calendar for students to complete and color.

By Doris Murphy

Celebrating the liturgical or church year is one of the ways Christians have to make “time” holy or sacred. The events of the liturgical year tell the entire story of the life of Jesus and remind us that Jesus is still with us. As with the calendar year, the liturgical year is a way we can measure time.

The most important feast of the church year is Easter, which is preceded by the Triduum (three days), which begins on Holy Thursday and ends with Easter. On Easter we celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord. The colors of Easter are white or gold, and the priest’s clothing (vestments) reflect this.

We prepare for Easter throughout the forty days of Lent and the color for this season is purple, a sign of penance.

The Easter season lasts for fifty days and ends with Pentecost, the feast on which we celebrate the presence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and in our church. The color for Pentecost is red.

Another important feast is Christmas, when we remember and celebrate the birth of Jesus. The priest wears white or gold for this celebration.

We prepare for Christmas throughout the four weeks of Advent. Advent is a time of waiting for Jesus who is our Emmanuel: God-with-us. Here the color is purple.

The time between these seasons is called Ordinary Time. On the Sundays of Ordinary Time, we learn from the gospel stories about Jesus and what he taught. The color for this season is green.

During the liturgical year we also celebrate the feasts of saints — those who followed the gospel and were close to God during their lives.

The following symbols are used during the liturgical year:

Advent: a wreath with four candles — three are purple, one is pink
Christmas: star and crib — white
Lent: cross — purple
Easter: lily or white cloth — white or gold
Pentecost: dove or flames — red
Ordinary Time: vine and branches — green

Download and print this Activity Page: The Church Year.

Excerpted from Learning Centers for Advent and Lent by Doris Murphy. Copyright 2008. Published by Twenty-Third Publications ( Used with permission. All rights reserved.
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