The Church year is divided into five seasons beginning with Advent and ending in ordinary time. During each of these seasons or feasts, the priest and deacon wear vestments of the liturgical color of that season. Below is a short explanation of these Church seasons.
Advent – the beginning of the liturgical year and lasts between three and four weeks. It is a season filled with tremendous hope and anticipation as we await expectantly the Second Coming of the Lord and the celebration of His birthday. It is also a penitential season in which we repent for our sins and reform our lives so that we are ready to meet Him when He comes. Liturgical color – purple.
Christmas – we celebrate the birth of Christ our Savior and the events of his early childhood. We ponder the greatest event in human history, the moment that Divine Love assumed the form of a human being. Liturgical color – white.
Lent – the period of 40 days that precedes the holiest days of the year (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter). It is a time of preparation, of renewed repentance for our sins, and a new turning to God. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fasting (we make a significant sacrifice in the amount of food we eat) and abstinence (we do not eat meat). Fridays during Lent are also days of abstinence. Liturgical color – purple.
Easter – we relive the miraculous events of the first Easter Sunday – Christ has risen from the dead, conquering it. It is because of the Resurrection of Christ that we need no longer fear death. Forty days after Easter we celebrate His Ascension into Heaven. Ten days later, we commemorate the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Liturgical color – white (red for Pentecost).
Ordinary Time – there are 34 weeks of ordinary time during which we remember God’s plan in salvation history and His covenant with His people. Liturgical color – green.
Holy Days of Obligation – special days that commemorate Christian mysteries of profound and universal importance and attending Mass on these days is required. They are:
January 1 – Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God
August 15 – Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
November 1 – Solemnity of All Saints
December 8 – Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
December 25 – Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord