Rev. Dr. Jim Waters, PhD Chancellor   [email protected]

   E-Book of "Celebrating Eucharist" by Bosco Peters

Celebrating Eucharist  

Here is an electronic copy of Celebrating Eucharist by Bosco Peters - FREE NO CATCH. Click on the link to view or download a chapter.   

This material and these resources may be used if attributed "From Celebrating Eucharist by Bosco Peters (".   


Contents  Foreword & Preface  Introduction 

 1 Liturgy 

 2 Leading Worship 

 3 Ceremonial Action

  4 The Worship Environment 

 5 Preparation

  6 The Gathering of the Community 

 7 The Proclamation 

 8 The Prayers of the People 

 9 The Peace 

10 The Preparation of the Gifts

  11 The Great Thanksgiving 

 12 The Breaking of the Bread  

13 The Communion  

14 Prayer after Communion 

 15 The Dismissal of the Community 

 16 Celebrating Baptism at a Eucharist 

 17 Celebrating other services with a Eucharist 

 18 Children at the Eucharist 

 19 Service of the Word with Holy Communion  

20 Some Resources for the Church Year 

 21 Additional Eucharistic Prayers 

 22 Services for a New Beginning (Catechumenate)

  23 A Service of Institution and Welcoming

 24 Examples of Prayers of the People 

 25 The Calendar  Short List of Further Resources   

PDF files versions:  Contents  Foreword & Preface  Introduction  

1 Liturgy

  2 Leading Worship  

3 Ceremonial Action 

 4 The Worship Environment 

 5 Preparation

  6 The Gathering of the Community 

 7 The Proclamation

  8 The Prayers of the People 

 9 The Peace 

 10 The Preparation of the Gifts 

 11 The Great Thanksgiving 

 12 The Breaking of the Bread 

 13 The Communion 

 14 Prayer after Communion 

 15 The Dismissal of the Community

  16 Celebrating Baptism at a Eucharist

  17 Celebrating other services with a Eucharist 

 18 Children at the Eucharist

  19 Service of the Word with Holy Communion 

 20 Some Resources for the Church Year 

 21 Additional Eucharistic Prayers 

 22 Services for a New Beginning (Catechumenate)

  23 A Service of Institution and Welcoming 

 24 Examples of Prayers of the People 

 25 The Calendar  Short List of Further Resources 

                      Rediscovering the Power of Ritual 1st Century Worship
by Dom. Donald Weeks, OSB 
 A Liturgy in Celebration by Fr. Jim Waters, FBS
     Ecumenical site of resources and reflections               for liturgy, spirituality, & worship

General Liturgy and spirituality Resources

a virtual chapel with daily updated resources for prayer and reflection.
Alternative Great Thanksgiving / Eucharistic Prayers
Lectio Divina Scripture and Prayer - "Listening Prayer"
Silent Prayer - akin to Centering Prayer; Christian Meditation
Carthusian (Monastic) spirituality
Ignatian Spirituality

Top online free BIBLE RESOURCES
iPod Touch iPhone apps for Christians

Anglican Liturgy
The Eucharist and mission
• The Liturgy of the Hours (Daily Prayer)CelC

Celebrating the Holy Eucharist, list of special Internet Sites for study and Use.

Celebrating Eucharist

Here is an electronic copy of Celebrating Eucharist by Bosco Peters - FREE NO CATCH. Click on the link to view or download a chapter.

This material and these resources may be used if attributed "From Celebrating Eucharist by Bosco Peters (".

The book was initially published by DEFT and is now available from bookshops and produced by the Council for Christian Nurture PO Box 37 242 Auckland 1033 (New Zealand).

The book is available here online either as web pages or as PDF files
First follow web pages, and below that are the PDF versions

Foreword & Preface
1 Liturgy
2 Leading Worship
3 Ceremonial Action
4 The Worship Environment
5 Preparation
6 The Gathering of the Community
7 The Proclamation
8 The Prayers of the People
9 The Peace
10 The Preparation of the Gifts
11 The Great Thanksgiving
12 The Breaking of the Bread
13 The Communion
14 Prayer after Communion
15 The Dismissal of the Community
16 Celebrating Baptism at a Eucharist
17 Celebrating other services with a Eucharist
18 Children at the Eucharist
19 Service of the Word with Holy Communion
20 Some Resources for the Church Year
21 Additional Eucharistic Prayers
22 Services for a New Beginning (Catechumenate)
23 A Service of Institution and Welcoming
24 Examples of Prayers of the People
25 The Calendar
Short List of Further Resources

PDF files versions:
Foreword & Preface
1 Liturgy
2 Leading Worship
3 Ceremonial Action
4 The Worship Environment
5 Preparation
6 The Gathering of the Community
7 The Proclamation
8 The Prayers of the People
9 The Peace
10 The Preparation of the Gifts
11 The Great Thanksgiving
12 The Breaking of the Bread
13 The Communion
14 Prayer after Communion
15 The Dismissal of the Community
16 Celebrating Baptism at a Eucharist
17 Celebrating other services with a Eucharist
18 Children at the Eucharist
19 Service of the Word with Holy Communion
20 Some Resources for the Church Year
21 Additional Eucharistic Prayers
22 Services for a New Beginning (Catechumenate)
23 A Service of Institution and Welcoming
24 Examples of Prayers of the People
25 The Calendar
Short List of Further Resources
                      The Rite of Exorcism

        Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom
                     Lima Liturgy in Full


Upon recommendation by the Commission on Christian Worship, the 1986 synod commended the Lima Eucharistic Liturgy to the churches “as a provisional form for occasional use” (MGS 1986, R-1, p. 168). The ima Eucharistic Liturgy is recommended for occasional use by churches, presumably in ecumenical settings
and within the context of a particular congregation’s worship when the RCA’s relationship to the universal hristian church is emphasized. Therefore, approval of this liturgy for use by RCA congregations hould not be understood to imply regular use or adoption of the form.

P = Presiding Minister
C = Congregation
O = Another Celebrant
Liturgy of the Eucharist

O. Blessed are you, Lord God of the universe, you are the giver of this bread, fruit of the earth and of uman labour, let it become the bread of Life.
C. Blessed be God, now and for ever!

O. Blessed are you, Lord God of the universe, you are the giver of this wine, fruit of the vine and of uman labour, let it become the wine of the eternal Kingdom.

C. Blessed be God, now and for ever!

O. As the grain once scattered in the fields and the grapes once dispersed on the hillside are now reunited n this table in bread and wine, so, Lord, may your whole Church soon be gathered together rom the corners of the earth into your Kingdom.

C. Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!


P. The Lord be with you.
C. And also with you.
P. Lift up your hearts.
C. We lift them to the Lord.
P. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
C. It is right to give him thanks and praise.


P. Truly it is right and good to glorify you, at all times and in all places, to offer you our thanksgiving
O Lord, Holy Father, Almighty and Everlasting God.
Through your livingWord you created all things, and pronounced them good.You made human beings
in your own image, to share your life and reflect your glory.When the time had fully come, you
gave Christ to us as theWay, the Truth and the Life. He accepted baptism and consecration as your
Servant to announce the good news to the poor.
At the last supper Christ bequeathed to us the eucharist, that we should celebrate the memorial of
the cross and resurrection, and receive his presence as food. To all the redeemed Christ gave the royal
priesthood and, in loving his brothers and sisters, chooses those who share in the ministry, that they
may feed the Church with yourWord and enable it to live by your Sacraments.
Wherefore, Lord, with the angels and all the saints, we proclaim and sing your glory:


C. Holy, Holy, Holy…


P. O God, Lord of the universe, you are holy and your glory is beyond measure. Upon your eucharist
send the life-giving Spirit, who spoke by Moses and the prophets, who overshadowed the Virgin
Mary with grace, who descended upon Jesus in the river Jordan and upon the Apostles on the day
of Pentecost.
May the outpouring of this Spirit of Fire transfigure this thanksgiving meal that this bread and wine
may become for us the body and blood of Christ.
C. Veni Creator Spiritus!


P. May this Creator Spirit accomplish the words of your beloved Son, who, in the night in which he
was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks to you, broke it and gave it to his disciples,
saying: Take, eat: this is my body, which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.After
supper he took the cup and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them and said: Drink this, all of
you: this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness
of sins. Do this for the remembrance of me. Great is the mystery of faith.
C. Your death, Lord Jesus, we proclaim!
Your resurrection we celebrate!
Your coming in glory we await!


P. Wherefore, Lord, we celebrate today the memorial of our redemption: we recall the birth and life
of your Son among us, his baptism by John, his last meal with the apostles, his death and descent
to the abode of the dead; we proclaim Christ’s resurrection and ascension in glory, where as our
Great High Priest he ever intercedes for all people; and we look for his coming at the last. United
in Christ’s priesthood, we present to you this memorial: Remember the sacrifice of your Son and
grant to people everywhere the benefits of Christ’s redemptive work.
C. Maranatha, the Lord comes!


P. Behold, Lord, this eucharist which you yourself gave to the Church and graciously receive it, as
you accept the offering of your Son whereby we are reinstated in your Covenant. As we partake of
Christ’s body and blood, fill us with the Holy Spirit that we may be one single body and one single
spirit in Christ, a living sacrifice to the praise of your glory.
C. Veni Creator Spiritus!


O. Remember, Lord, your one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, redeemed by the blood of Christ.
Reveal its unity, guard its faith, and preserve it in peace.
Remember, Lord, all the servants of your Church: bishops, presbyters, deacons, and all to whom you
have given special gifts of ministry.
(Remember especially…)
Remember also all our sisters and brothers who have died in the peace of Christ, and those whose
faith is known to you alone: guide them to the joyful feast prepared for all peoples in your presence,
with the blessed Virgin Mary, with the patriarchs and prophets, the apostles and martyrs…
and all the saints for whom your friendship was life.
With all these we sing your praise and await the happiness of your Kingdom where with the whole
creation, finally delivered from sin and death, we shall be enabled to glorify you through Christ our
C. Maranatha, the Lord comes!


P. Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ, all honour and glory is yours, Almighty God and Father,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, now and for ever.
C. Amen.

O. United by one baptism in the same Holy Spirit and the same Body of Christ, we pray as God’s sons
and daughters:
C. Our Father,…


O. Lord Jesus Christ, you told your apostles: Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. Look not
on our sins but on the faith of your Church; in order that your will be done, grant us always this peace
and guide us toward the perfect unity of your Kingdom for ever.
C. Amen.
P. The peace of the Lord be with you always.
C. And also with you.
O. Let us give one another a sign of reconciliation and peace.
P. The bread which we break is the communion of the Body of Christ, the cup of blessing for which
we give thanks is the communion in the Blood of Christ.
C. Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, grant us peace.
P. In peace let us pray to the Lord: O Lord our God, we give you thanks for uniting us by baptism in
the Body of Christ and for filling us with joy in the eucharist. Lead us towards the full visible unity
of your Church and help us to treasure all the signs of reconciliation you have granted us. Now that
we have tasted of the banquet you have prepared for us in the world to come, may we all one day
share together the inheritance of the saints in the life of your heavenly city, through Jesus Christ, your
Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world
without end.
C. Amen.




P. The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine on you and be gracious to you.
The Lord look upon you with favour and give you peace. Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy
Spirit, bless you now and forever.
C. Amen.

                       The Liturgical Year

The liturgical year, also known as the church year, consists of the cycle of liturgical seasons in Christian churches which determines when feast days, including celebrations of saints, are to be observed, and which portions of Scripture are to be read. Distinct liturgical colours may appear in connection with different seasons of the liturgical year. The dates of the festivals vary somewhat between the different churches, though the sequence and logic is largely the same.

In both East and West, the dates of many feasts vary from year to year, usually in line with the variation in the date of Easter, with which most other moveable feasts are associated. The extent to which feasts and festivals are celebrated also varies between churches; in general, Protestant churches observe far fewer than Catholic and Orthodox, in particular with regard to feasts of the Virgin Mary and the other Saints.



Liturgical cycle

The liturgical cycle divides the year into a series of seasons, each with their own mood, theological emphases, and modes of prayer, which can be signified by different ways of decorating churches, colors of Paraments and Vestments for clergy, scriptural readings, themes for preaching and even different traditions and practices often observed personally or in the home. In churches that follow the liturgical year, the scripture passages for each Sunday (and even each day of the year in some traditions) are specified by a list called a lectionary.

Among non-Catholic Western Christians, Anglicans and Lutherans have traditionally followed the lectionary since the days of the Protestant Reformation. Following the Roman Catholic liturgical reform of the Roman Rite instituted by Pope Paul VI in 1969, the adoption and use of lectionaries in other Protestant churches (Methodist, Reformed, United, etc.) increased. In particular, the growing influence of the Revised Common Lectionary led to a greater awareness of the Christian year among Protestants in the later decades of the 20th century, especially among mainline denominations.

Biblical calendars

Scholars are not in agreement about whether the calendars used by the Jews before the Babylonian captivity were solar (based on the return of the same relative position between the sun and the earth) or lunisolar (based on months that corresponded to the cycle of the moon, with periodic additional months to bring the calendar back into agreement with the solar cycle) like the present-day Hebrew calendar.[1] ` The first month of the year was called אביב (Aviv),[2] meaning the month of green ears of grain.[3] It thus occurred in the spring.

At about the time of the Babylonian captivity, the Jews adopted as the name for the month the term ניסן (Nisan),[4] based on the Babylonian name Nisanu.[5] Thomas J Talley says that the adoption of the Babylonian term occurred even before the captivity.[6]

In the earlier calendar, most of the months were simply called by a number (such as "the fifth month"). The Babylonian-derived names of the months are:

  1. Nisan (March-April)
  2. Iyar (April-May)
  3. Sivan (May-June)
  4. Tammuz (June-July)
  5. Av (July-August)
  6. Elul (August-September)
  7. Tishrei (September-October)
  8. Cheshvan (October-November)
  9. Kislev (November-December)
  10. Tevet (December-January)
  11. Shevat (January-February)
  12. Adar (February-March)

In Biblical times, the following Jewish religious feasts were celebrated :

Western liturgical calendar

The month of October from a liturgical calendar for Abbotsbury Abbey. 13th c. manuscript (British Library, Cotton MS Cleopatra B IX, folio 59r).

Western Christian liturgical calendars are based on the cycle of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, including Lutheran, Anglican, and other Protestant calendars since this cycle pre-dates the Reformation. Generally, the liturgical seasons in western Christianity are Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time (Time after Epiphany), Lent, Easter, and Ordinary Time (Time after Pentecost).

Catholic Church liturgical year

The Catholic Church sets aside certain days and seasons of each year to recall and celebrate various events in the life of Christ. In its Roman Rite the liturgical year begins with Advent, the time of preparation for both the celebration of Jesus' birth, and his expected second coming at the end of time. This season lasts until 24 December (Christmas Eve). Christmastide follows, beginning with First Vespers of Christmas on the evening of 24 December and ending with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Lent is the period of purification and penance which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Thursday. The Holy Thursday evening Mass of the Lord's Supper marks the beginning of the Easter Triduum, which includes Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday. These days recall Jesus' Last Supper with his disciples, death on the cross, burial, and resurrection. The seven-week liturgical season of Easter immediately follows the Triduum, climaxing at Pentecost. This last feast recalls the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus' disciples after the Ascension of Jesus. The rest of the liturgical year is commonly known as Ordinary Time.[7]

There are many forms of liturgy in the Catholic Church. Even putting aside the many Eastern rites in use, the Latin liturgical rites alone include the Ambrosian Rite, the Mozarabic Rite, and the Cistercian Rite, as well as other forms that have been largely abandoned in favour of adopting the Roman Rite. Of this rite, what is now the "ordinary" or, to use a word employed in the Letter of Pope Benedict XVI accompanying the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, the "normal" form is that which developed from the Second Vatican Council to the present day, while the form in force in 1962 is authorized as an extraordinary form of the Roman Rite without restriction in private celebrations and under certain conditions in public celebrations. The liturgical calendar in that form of the Roman Rite (see General Roman Calendar of 1962) differs in some respects from that of the present ordinary form, as will be noted below, and also from the earlier General Roman Calendar of Pope Pius XII, the still earlier General Roman Calendar of 1954 and the original Tridentine Calendar. These articles can be consulted with regard to the Roman-Rite liturgical year before 1962.


From the Latin adventus, "arrival" or "coming", the first season of the liturgical year begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. Traditionally observed as a "fast", its purpose focuses on preparation for the coming of Christ. Although often conceived as awaiting the coming of the Christ-child at Christmas, the modern Lectionary points the season more toward eschatological themes—awaiting the final coming of Christ, when "the wolf shall live with the lamb" (Isaiah 11:6) and when God will have "brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly" (The Magnificat, Luke 1:52)—particularly in the earlier half of the season. This period of waiting is often marked by the Advent Wreath, a garland of evergreens with four candles. Although the main symbolism of the advent wreath is simply marking the progression of time, many churches attach themes to each candle, most often 'hope', 'faith', 'joy', and 'love'.

Color: Violet, but on the third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday, Rose may be used instead. Blue vestments were used in some places before the Council of Trent and are still in the Sarum Rite, but their use was subsequently confined to the Spanish empire for Marian feasts, of which only the Immaculate Conception falls within Advent. Some parts of former New Spain still retain this indulgence[citation needed].

During this season, the Roman Catholic Church typically omits the "Gloria in Excelsis" except for Masses celebrating a feast day. The word "Alleluia" is not banned, as in Lent, but in the pre-1970 form of the Roman Rite a Gradual is used instead of an Alleluia and verse, except on Sunday.


The Christmas season immediately follows Advent. The traditional Twelve Days of Christmas begin with Christmas Eve on the evening of December 24 and continue until the feast of Epiphany. The actual Christmas season continues until the Feast of the Baptism of Christ, which in the present form of the Roman Rite is celebrated on the Sunday after 6 January. In the pre-1970 form, this feast is celebrated on 13 January, unless 13 January is a Sunday, in which case the feast of the Holy Family is celebrated instead.[8] Until the suppression of the Octave of the Epiphany in the 1960 reforms, 13 January was the Octave day of the Epiphany, providing the date for the end of the season.

Color: White or Gold.

Rok liturgiczny - Liturgical year.jpg

Ordinary Time or Time after Epiphany

"Ordinary" comes from the same root as our word "ordinal", and in this sense means "the counted weeks". In the Roman Catholic Church and in some Protestant traditions, these are the common weeks which do not belong to a proper season. In Latin, these seasons are called the weeks per annum, or "through the year".

In the current form of the Roman Rite adopted following the Second Vatican Council, Ordinary Time consists of 33 or 34 Sundays and is divided into two sections. The first portion extends from the day following the Feast of the Baptism of Christ until the day before Ash Wednesday (the beginning of Lent). It contains anywhere from three to eight Sundays, depending on how early or late Easter falls. The main focus in the readings of the Mass is Christ's earthly ministry, rather than any one particular event. The counting of the Sundays resumes following Eastertide, however, two Sundays are replaced by Pentecost and Trinity Sunday, and depending on whether the year has 52 or 53 weeks, one may be omitted.

In the pre-1970 form of the Roman Rite, the Time after Epiphany has anywhere from one to six Sundays. As in the current form of the rite, the season mainly concerns Christ's preaching and ministry, with many of his parables read as the Gospel readings. The season begins on 14 January[9] and ends on the Saturday before Septuagesima Sunday. Omitted Sundays after Epiphany are transferred to Time after Pentecost and celebrated between the Twenty-Third and the Last Sunday after Pentecost according to an order indicated in the Code of Rubrics, 18, with complete omission of any for which there is no Sunday available in the current year.[10] Before the 1960 revisions, the omitted Sunday would be celebrated on the Saturday before Septuagesima Sunday[11], or, in the case of the Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost, on the Saturday before the Last Sunday after Pentecost[12].

Color: Green


Septuagesima (from the Latin word for "seventieth") is a two-and-a-half-week period before Lent. This pre-Lent season is present in the pre-1970 form of the Roman Rite and in some Protestant calendars. It is a transition from the first part of the season per annum[13] to the season of Lent, and a preparation for the fasting and penance which begin on Ash Wednesday. Although most of the Divine Office remains the same as during the season per annum, certain customs of Lent are adopted, including the suppression of the "Alleluia", the replacement of the Alleluia at Mass with the Tract and the Gloria is no longer said on Sundays.

In the 1969 reform of the Roman Rite, this intermediate season was removed, with these weeks becoming part of Ordinary Time.

Color: Violet

Lent and Passiontide

Lent is a major penitential season of preparation for Easter. It begins on Ash Wednesday and, if the penitential days of Good Friday and Holy Saturday are included, lasts for forty days, since the six Sundays within the season are not counted.

In the Roman Rite the Gloria in Excelsis Deo and the Te Deum are not used in the Mass and Liturgy of the Hours respectively, except on Solemnities and Feasts, and the Alleluia and verse that usually precede the reading of the Gospel is either omitted or replaced with another acclamation.

Lutheran churches make these same omissions.

As in Advent, the deacon and subdeacon of the pre-1970 form of the Roman Rite do not wear their habitual dalmatic and tunicle (signs of joy) in Masses of the season during Lent; instead they wear "folded chasubles", in accordance with the ancient custom.

In the pre-1970 form of the Roman Rite, the two weeks before Easter form the season of Passiontide, a subsection of the Lenten season that begins with Matins of Ash Wednesday and ends immediately before the Mass of the Easter Vigil.[14] In this form, what previously was officially called Passion Sunday,[15] has the official name of the First Sunday in Passiontide,[16] and Palm Sunday has the additional name of the Second Sunday in Passiontide.[17]. In Sunday and ferial Masses (but not on feasts celebrated in the first of these two weeks) the Gloria Patri is omitted at the Entrance Antiphon<[18] and at the Lavabo,[19] as well as in the responds in the Divine Office.

In the post-1969 form of the Roman Rite, "Passion Sunday" and "Palm Sunday" are both names for the Sunday before Easter, officially called "Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion". The former Passion Sunday became a fifth Sunday of Lent. The earlier form reads Matthew's account on Sunday, Mark's on Tuesday, and Luke's on Wednesday, while the post-1969 form reads the Passion only on Palm Sunday (with the three Synoptic Gospels arranged in a three-year cycle) and on Good Friday, when it reads the Passion according to John, as also do earlier forms of the Roman Rite.

The veiling of crucifixes and images of the saints with violet cloth, which was obligatory before 1970, is left to the decision of the national bishops' conferences. In the United States, it is permitted but not required, at the discretion of the pastor.[20] In all forms, the readings concern the events leading up to the Last Supper and the betrayal, Passion, and death of Christ.

The week before Easter is called Holy Week.

In the Roman Rite, feasts that fall within that week are simply omitted, unless they have the rank of Solemnity, in which case they are transferred to another date. The only solemnities inscribed in the General Calendar that can fall within that week are those of St. Joseph and the Annunciation.

Color: violet. In some traditions, rose may be used on the 4th Sunday of Lent, called Laetare Sunday in the Roman Rite. Red is used for Palm Sunday in this rite (but only for the blessing of the palms in its 1955-1969 form). In the traditional form of the Palm Sunday liturgy, before the reforms of 1955, violet was used in the Roman rite both for the blessing of palms and procession and for the subsequent Mass.

Easter Triduum

The Easter Triduum consists of Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday.[21] Each of these days begins liturgically not with the morning but with the preceding evening.

The triduum begins on the evening before Good Friday with Mass of the Lord's Supper, celebrated with white vestments,[22] and often includes a ritual of ceremonial footwashing. It is customary on this night for a vigil involving private prayer to take place, beginning after the evening service and continuing until midnight. This vigil is occasionally renewed at dawn, continuing until the Good Friday liturgy.

During the day of Good Friday Mass is not celebrated in the Catholic Church. Instead a Celebration of the Passion of the Lord is held in the afternoon or evening. It consists of three parts: a Liturgy of the Word that includes the reading of the account of the Passion by John the Evangelist and concludes with a solemn Universal Prayer. Other churches also have their Good Friday commemoration of the Passion. The color of vestments varies: no color, red, or black are used in different traditions. Colored hangings may be removed. Lutheran churches often either remove colorful adornments and icons, or veil them with drab cloth. The service is usually plain with somber music, ending with the congregation leaving in silence. In the Roman Catholic, some Lutheran, and High Anglican rites, a crucifix (not necessarily the one which stands on or near the altar on other days of the year) is ceremoniously unveiled. Other crucifixes are unveiled, without ceremony, after the service.

Holy Saturday commemorates the day during which Christ lay in the tomb. In the Roman Catholic Church, there is no Mass on this day; the Easter Vigil Mass, which, though celebrated properly at the following midnight, is often celebrated in the evening, is an Easter Mass. With no liturgical celebration, there is no question of a liturgical color.

The Easter Vigil is held in the night between Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday, to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. See also Paschal candle. The liturgical color is white, often together with gold. In the Roman Rite, during the "Gloria in Excelsis Deo" the organ and bells are used in the liturgy for the first time in 2 days, and the statues, which have been veiled during Passiontide (at least in the Roman Rite through the 1962 version), are unveiled. In Lutheran churches, colors and icons are re-displayed as well.

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Easter season

Easter is the celebration of Jesus' resurrection. The date of Easter varies from year to year, according to a lunar-calendar dating system (see computus for details). In the Roman Rite, the Easter season extends from the Easter Vigil through PentecostOctave of Pentecost, so Eastertide lasts until None of the following Saturday. Sunday. In the pre-1970 form of the rite, this season includes also the

In the Roman Rite, the Easter octave allows no other feasts to be celebrated or commemorated during it; a solemnity, such as the Annunciation, falling within it is transferred to the following Monday. If Easter Sunday or Easter Monday falls on 25 April, the Greater Litanies, which in the pre-1970 form of the Roman Rite are on that day, are transferred to the following Tuesday.[23]

By a decree of 5 May 2000, the Second Sunday of Easter (the Sunday after Easter Day itself), is known also in the Roman Rite as Divine Mercy Sunday.[24]

Ascension Thursday, which celebrates the return of Jesus to heaven following his resurrection, is the fortieth day of Easter, but, in places where it is not observed as a Holy Day of Obligation, the post-1969 form of the Roman rite transfers it to the following Sunday.[25]

Pentecost is the fiftieth and last day of the Easter season. It celebrates the sending of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, which traditionally marks the birth of the Church, see also Apostolic Age.

Color: Gold or white, except on Pentecost, on which the color is Red.

Ordinary Time, Time after Pentecost, Time after Trinity, or Kingdomtide

This season, under various names, follows the Easter season and the feasts of Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost. In the post-1969 form of the Roman rite, Ordinary Time resumes on Pentecost Monday, omitting the Sunday which would have fallen on Pentecost. In the earler form, where Pentecost is celebrated with an octave, the Time after Pentecost begins at Vespers on the Saturday after Pentecost. It ends on the Saturday before the First Sunday of Advent. The Sundays resume their numbering at the point that will make the Sunday before Advent the thirty-fourth, omitting any weeks for which there is no room (present-day form of the Roman Rite) or are numbered as "Sundays after Pentecost" (pre-1970 Roman Rite, Eastern Orthodoxy and some Protestants) or as "Sundays after Trinity" (some Protestants).

Feasts during this season include:

  • Trinity Sunday, the first Sunday after Pentecost.
  • Corpus Christi (Roman Rite and some Anglican and Lutheran traditions), Thursday of the second week after Pentecost, often celebrated on the following Sunday.
  • Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Roman Rite), Friday in the third week after Pentecost.
  • Feast of Christ the King, last Sunday before Advent (Roman Rite, Lutherans, Anglicans) or last Sunday in October (1925-1969 form of the Roman Rite).

In the final few weeks of Ordinary Time, many churches direct attention to the coming of the Kingdom of God, thus ending the liturgical year with an eschatologicalMatthew 24:15-35 and in the later form of that rite all the last three Sundays have similar themes. theme that is one of the predominant themes of the season of Advent that began the liturgical year. For instance, in the pre-1970 form of the Roman Rite, the Gospel of the Last Sunday is

While the Roman Rite adopts no special designation for this final part of Ordinary Time, some denominations do, and may also change the liturgical colour. The Church of England uses the term "Sundays before Advent" for the final four Sundays and permits red vestments as an alternative. Other denominations, including the United Methodist Church and the Christian Church - Synod of Saint Timothy, speak of "Kingdomtide". The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS) uses the term "Period of End Times" and assigns red vestments to the first and second Sundays.

Calendar of saints

Hierarchy of feast days

There are degrees of solemnity of the office of the feast days of saints. In the thirteenth century, the Roman Rite distinguished three ranks: simple, semidouble and double, with consequent differences in the recitation of the Divine Office or Breviary. The simple feast commenced with the chapter (capitulum) of First Vespers, and ended with None. It had three lessons and took the psalms of Matins from the ferial office; the rest of the office was like the semidouble. The semidouble feast had two Vespers, nine lessons in Matins, and ended with Compline. The antiphons before the psalms were only intoned. In the Mass, the semidouble had always at least three "orationes" or collects. On a double feast the antiphons were sung in their entirety, before and after the psalms. In Lauds and Vespers there were no suffragia of the saints, and the Mass had only one "oratio" (if no commemoration was prescribed). If ordinary double feasts (referred to also as lesser doubles) occurred with feasts of a higher rank, they could be simplified, except the octave days of some feasts and the feasts of the Doctors of the Church, which were transferred. To the existing distinction between major and ordinary or minor doubles, Pope Clement VIII added two more ranks, those of first-class or second-class doubles. Some of these two classes were kept with octaves. This was still the situation when the 1907 article Ecclesiastical Feasts in the Catholic Encyclopedia was written. In accordance with the rules then in force, feast days of any form of double, if impeded by "occurrence" (falling on the same day)[26] with a feast day of higher class, were transferred to another day.

Pope Pius X simplified matters considerably in his 1911 reform of the Roman Breviary. In the case of occurrence the lower-ranking feast day could become a commemoration within the celebration of the higher-ranking one. Until then, ordinary doubles took precedence over most of the semidouble Sundays, resulting in many of the Sunday Masses rarely being said. While retaining the semidouble rite for Sundays, Pius X's reform permitted only the most important feast days to be celebrated on Sunday, although commemorations were still made until Pope John XXIII's reform of 1960.

The division into doubles (of various kinds) semidoubles and simples continued until 1955, when Pope Pius XII abolished the rank of semidouble, making all the previous semidoubles simples, and reducing the previous simples to a mere commemoration in the Mass of another feast day or of the feria on which they fell (see General Roman Calendar of Pope Pius XII).

Then, in 1960, Pope John XXIII issued the Code of Rubrics, completely ending the ranking of feast days by doubles etc., and replacing it by a ranking, applied not only to feast days but to all liturgical days, as I, II, III, and IV class days.

The 1969 revision by Pope Paul VI (see Roman Catholic calendar of saints) divided feast days into "solemnities", "feasts" and "memorials", corresponding approximately to Pope John XXIII's I, II and III class feast days. Commemorations were abolished. While some of the memorials are considered obligatory, others are optional, permitting a choice on some days between two or three memorials, or between one or more memorials and the celebration of the feria. On a day to which no obligatory celebration is assigned, the Mass may be of any saint mentioned in the Roman Martyrology for that day.[27]

Assumption of Mary

Observed by Roman Catholics and some Anglicans on August 15, which is the same as the Eastern and Orthodox feast of the Dormition, the end of the earthly life of the Virgin Mary and, for some, her bodily Assumption into heaven, is celebrated. The Roman Catholic teaching on this feast was defined as dogma on November 1, 1950 by Pope Pius XII in the Papal Bull, Munificentissimus Deus.

In other Anglican and Lutheran traditions, as well as a few others, August 15 is celebrated as St. Mary, Mother of the Lord.

Color: white

Anglican Church

The Church of England uses a liturgical year that is in most respects identical to that of the Roman Church. While this is less true of the calendars contained within the Book of Common Prayer and the Alternative Service Book (1980), it is particularly true since the Anglican Church adopted its new pattern of services and liturgies contained within Common Worship, in 2000. Certainly, the broad division of the year into the Christmas and Easter seasons, interspersed with periods of Ordinary Time, is identical, and the majority of the Festivals and Commemorations are also celebrated, with a few exceptions.

In some Anglican traditions (including the Church of England) the Christmas season is followed by an Epiphany season, which begins on the Eve of the Epiphany (on 6 January or the nearest Sunday) and ends on the Feast of the Presentation (on 2 February or the nearest Sunday). Ordinary Time then begins after this period.

The Book of Common Prayer contains within it the traditional Western Eucharistic lectionary which traces its roots to the Comes of St. Jerome in the 5th century. Its similarity to the ancient lectionary is particularly obvious during Trinity season (Sundays after the Sunday after Pentecost), reflecting that understanding of sanctification.[28]

Eastern Orthodox Church

The Liturgical year in the Eastern Orthodox Church is characterized by alternating fasts and feasts, and is in many ways similar to the Roman Catholic year described above. However, Church New Year (Indiction) traditionally begins on September 1Old Style or New Style), rather than the first Sunday of Advent. It includes both feasts on the Fixed Cycle and the Paschal Cycle (or Moveable Cycle). The most important feast day by far is the Feast of Pascha (Easter)—the Feast of Feasts. Then the Twelve Great Feasts, which commemorate various significant events in the lives of Jesus Christ and of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary). (

The majority of Orthodox Christians (Russians, in particular) follow the Julian Calendar in calculating their ecclesiastical feasts, but many (including the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Church of Greece), while preserving the Julian calculation for feasts on the Paschal Cycle, have adopted the Revised Julian Calendar (at present coinciding with the Gregorian Calendar) to calculate those feasts which are fixed according to the calendar date. Between 1900 and 2100, there is a thirteen-day difference between the dates of the Julian and the Revised Julian and Gregorian calendars. Thus, for example, where Christmas is celebrated on December 25 O.S. (Old Style), the celebration coincides with January 7 in the Revised Calendar. The computation of the day of Pascha (Easter) is, however, always computed according to a lunar calendar based on the Julian Calendar, even by those churches which observe the Revised Calendar.

There are four fasting seasons during the year: The most important fast is Great Lentalmsgiving and prayer, extending for forty days prior to Palm Sunday and Holy Week, as a preparation for Pascha. The Nativity FastNativity of ChristApostles' Fast is variable in length, lasting anywhere from eight days to six weeks, in preparation for the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul (June 29). The Dormition Fast lasts for two weeks from August 1 to August 14 in preparation for the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos (August 15). The liturgical year is so constructed that during each of these fasting seasons, one of the Great Feasts occurs, so that fasting may be tempered with joy. which is an intense time of fasting, (Winter Lent) is a time of preparation for the Feast of the (Christmas), but whereas Advent in the West lasts only four weeks, Nativity Fast lasts a full forty days. The

In addition to these fasting seasons, Orthodox Christians fast on Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the year (and some Orthodox monasteries also observe Monday as a fast day). Certain fixed days are always fast days, even if they fall on a Saturday or Sunday (in which case the fast is lessened somewhat, but not abrogated altogether); these are: The Decollation of St. John the Baptist, the Exaltation of the Cross and the day before the Epiphany (January 5). There are several fast-free periods, when it is forbidden to fast, even on Wednesday and Friday. These are: the week following Pascha, the week following Pentecost, the period from the Nativity of Christ until January the 5th and the first week of the Triodion (the week following the 33rd Sunday after the Pentecost).


The greatest feast is Pascha, which for the Orthodox is calculated differently than in the West. Easter for both East and West is calculated as the first Sunday after the full moon that falls on or after March 21 (nominally the day of the vernal equinox). However, whereas Western Christians follow the Gregorian Calendar in their calculations, the Orthodox calculate the fixed date of 21 March according to the Julian Calendar, and observe the additional rule that Easter may not precede or coincide with the first day of the Jewish Passover (see computus for further details).

The date of Pascha is central to the entire ecclesiastical year, determining not only the date for the beginning of Great Lent and Pentecost, but affecting the cycle of moveable feasts, of scriptural readings and the Octoechos (texts chanted according to the eight ecclesiastical modes) throughout the year. There are also a number of lesser feasts throughout the year that are based upon the date of Pascha. The moveable cycle begins on the Zacchaeus Sunday (the first Sunday in preparation for Great Lent or the 33rd Sunday after Pentecost as it is known), though the cycle of the Octoechos continues until Palm Sunday.

The date of Pascha affects the following liturgical seasons:

  • The period of the Triodion (the Sundays before Great Lent, Cheesefare Week, Great Lent, Palm Sunday, and Holy Week)
  • The period of the Pentecostarion (Sunday of Pascha through the Sunday After Pentecost which is also called the Sunday of all saints)

The twelve Great Feasts

Some of these feasts follow the Fixed Cycle, and some follow the Moveable (Paschal) Cycle. Most of those on the Fixed Cycle have a period of preparation called a Forefeast, and a period of celebration afterward, similar to the Western Octave, called an Afterfeast. Great Feasts on the Paschal Cycle do not have Forefeasts. The lengths of Forefeasts and Afterfeasts vary, according to the feast.

NOTE: In Eastern practice, should this feast fall during Holy Week or on Pascha itself, the feast of the Annunciation is not transferred to another day. In fact, the conjunction of the feasts of the Annunciation and Pascha, known as "Kyriou-Pascha," is considered an extremely festive event.

Other Feasts

Some additional feasts are observed with as though they were Great Feasts:

Every day throughout the year commemorates some saint or some event in the lives of Christ or the Theotokos. When a feast on the moveable cycle occurs, the feast on the fixed cycle that was set for that calendar day is transferred, with the propers of the feast often being chanted at Compline on the nearest convenient day.


In addition to the Fixed and Moveable Cycles, there are a number of other liturgical cycles in the ecclesiastical year that affect the celebration of the divine services. These include, the Daily Cycle, the Weekly Cycle, the Cycle of Matins Gospels, and the Octoechos.

Secular observance

Because of the dominance of Christianity in Europe throughout the Middle Ages, many features of the Christian year became incorporated into the secular calendar. Many of its feasts (e.g., Mardi Gras, Saint Patrick's Day) remain holidays, and are now celebrated by people of all faiths and none — in some cases worldwide. The secular celebrations bear varying degrees of likeness to the religious feasts from which they derived, often also including elements of ritual from pagan festivals of similar date.

See also


  1. ^ Sacha Stern, Calendar and Community - A History of the Jewish Calendar (Oxford University Press 2001 ISBN 0-19-827024-8), pp. 2-3
  2. ^ "This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you" (Exodus 12:2). "This day came ye out in the month Aviv" (Exodus 13:4)
  3. ^ Gesenius's Lexicon
  4. ^ "In the first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of king Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar" (Esther 3:7),
  5. ^ Months of the Jewish Calendar
  6. ^ Thomas J. Talley, The Origins of the Liturgical Year (Pueblo Publishing Company 1991 ISBN 978-0-8146-6075-1), pp. 82-83
  7. ^ Barry, One Faith, One Lord (2001), p. 116
  8. ^ Code of Rubrics included in the 1962 Roman Missal, 72
  9. ^ 1960 Code of Rubrics incorporated in the 1962 Roman Missal, 77
  10. ^ "The Sunday which is set down as XXIV after Pentecost is always put in the last place, omitting, if need be, any others for which there happens to be no place" (Code of Rubrics, 18).
  11. ^ "If this II Sunday, or another after Epiphany, be impeded by Septuagesima supervening, and there be no place for it after Pentecost, according to the Rubrics, it is anticipated on Saturday with all privileges proper to an occurring Sunday." (Missale Romanum, 1939, Dominica II post Epiphaniam)
  12. ^ "If this Sunday be impeded by the last Sunday after Pentecost supervening, it is anticipated on Saturday with all privileges proper to an occurring Sunday, and in it is said Glória in excélsis, Credo, Preface of the Trinity and Ite, Missa est." (Missale Romanum, 1939, Dominica XXIII post Pentecosten)
  13. ^ "The season per annum runs from 14 January to none of Saturday before Septuagesima Sunday" (Code of Rubrics, 77
  14. ^ Code of Rubrics, 74
  15. ^ Missale Romanum, 1920 typical edition, p. 156
  16. ^ Missale Romanum 1962, p. 118
  17. ^ Missale Romanum 1962, p. 130
  18. ^ Code of Rubrics, 428
  19. ^ Ritus servandus in celebratione Missae, VII, 6, in Missale Romanum 1962, p. LIX; cf. { Missale Romanum 1962,] p. 118
  20. ^ [1]
  21. ^ General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, 19
  22. ^ Holy Thursday Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper, 44
  23. ^ 1960 Code of Rubrics, 80
  24. ^ Our Sunday Visitor: Divine Mercy Sunday
  25. ^ General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, 7 and 25
  26. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia, s.v. Occurrence (in liturgy)
  27. ^ General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 355 c
  28. ^ Sparrow, Anthony and John Henry Cardinal Newman. A Rationale upon the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England, Oxford, UK


  • Stookey, L.H. Calendar: Christ's Time for the Church, 1996. ISBN 0-687-01136-1
  • Hickman, Hoyt L., et al. Handbook of the Christian Year, 1986. ISBN 0-687-16575-X
  • Webber, Robert E. Ancient-Future Time: Forming Spirituality through the Christian Year, 2004. ISBN 0-8010-9175-6
  • Schmemann, Fr. Alexander. The Church Year (Celebration of Faith Series, Sermons Vol. 2), 1994. ISBN 0-88141-138-8

External links