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Explanation of the Liturgical Calendar:
Western Christian liturgical calendars are based on the cycle of the Roman or Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church, including Protestant calendars since this cycle pre-dates the Protestant Reformation. Generally, the liturgical seasons in western Christianity are Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time (Time after Easter, and Ordinary Time (Time after Pentecost).
Ordinary Time (Time after Epiphany and Septuagesima 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. It consists of either 33 or 34 Sundays, depending on the year. In the modern Roman rite, the first portion of Ordinary Time extends from the day following the Feast of the Baptism of Christ until the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday (the beginning of Lent).
This first installment has anywhere from three to eight Sundays, depending on how early or late Easter falls in a given year. In other rites, including Protestant ones, Ordinary Time may start as early as the day after Epiphany or as late as the day after Candlemas.
The terminology of Ordinary Time replaces the older language of the Seasons of Time After Epiphany and Septuagesima (pre-Lenten season), which are still in use by traditional Catholics and other Catholics who attend the ancient, pre-Vatican II Mass known as the Tridentine Rite. Some Protestant rites also use the older terminology.
In the older Roman rite, the Time after Epiphany could have anywhere from one to six Sundays, with Septuagesima as a 17-day season beginning nine Sundays before Easter and ending on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.
Any omitted Sundays after Epiphany are transferred to the time after Pentecost and celebrated between the Twenty-Third Sunday and the Last Sunday. If, however, there are not enough Sundays in the year to accommodate all such Sundays, then the one which would otherwise occur on Septuagesima Sunday is celebrated on the previous day (Saturday); in the case of Easter falling so late that there were only 23 Sundays After Pentecost, the Mass for 23rd Sunday was celebrated on the day before the Last Sunday After Pentecost. The 1962 reform changed this, instead dropping the displaced Sunday Mass for that year. During Septuagesima, certain customs of Lent are adopted, including the suppression of the “Alleluja” and, on Sundays, the Gloria, and the vestments are violet.
For the description of remaining liturgical seasons, visit this link.
Triduum rituals— Lent comes to an end before the evening Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday. That liturgy begins the Triduum, the great Three Days that celebrate the central mystery of our faith. Triduum rituals invite us all to baptismal renewal, par excellence. Here are some examples.
Washing of Feet: After the homily on Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday, we imitate our master in the washing of feet. This ritual reminds us that our baptismal commitment means we are to be servants of one another. In the time of St. Ambrose in Milan, those who were baptized also had their feet washed, because of Jesus' words to Peter: "Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed" (Jn 13:10). Many scholars have seen a baptismal reference in those words.
Veneration of the Cross: As part of our observance of Good Friday, we venerate the cross on which Christ died. The veneration challenges us to be willing to accept the cross, too, for it is the only way to resurrection. Through Baptism, we shared in Christ's death that we might come to new life. Every year we are called to deepen our identification with his cross and resurrection.
Waters of Baptism: The core of our celebration of the Easter Vigil is the Baptism of the elect. As we share in their joy on this holy night, we are all called to renew our own baptismal promises, to live in the joy of life in the Risen One. Lent comes to its fulfillment around the waters of the font. —Copyright americancatholic.org