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The Liturgical Year

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This activity is intended to introduce students to the liturgical year and major seasons of the church calendar.

Learning Experience: The Liturgical Year (20 minutes)

On a chalkboard or sheet of newsprint, draw six horizontal lines. Tell the group members that each line represents one of the Church seasons. Invite them to name the major seasons of the Church calendar. If the young people need hints, tell them that the major seasons of the Church calendar revolve around the two biggest feast days of the Church--one takes place in the winter, the other in the spring. If they need an extra hint, mumble something about reindeer and elves or bunnies and eggs, or start humming "Jingle Bells" or "Peter Cottontail."

Once the young people have mentioned Christmas and Easter, write these seasons on the appropriate lines. (Christmas goes on the second line, leaving room for Advent on the first line. Easter goes on the fifth line, leaving room for the first part of Ordinary Time on the third line and Lent on the fourth line. The second part of Ordinary Time goes on the last line.)

Then encourage the group members to name the preparation seasons that come before Christmas and Easter. Sooner or later, with enough hints, they will come up with Advent and Lent. Write those seasons on the appropriate lines.

Next, ask the participants if they have any idea what the rest of the Church year is called. Give this hint: If we aren't in Advent, Lent, Christmas, or Easter, what time are we in? They should eventually come up with ordinary time. Write that in on the appropriate lines.

Then draw in another horizontal line between the Lent and Easter lines and write "Triduum" on that line. Do not expect the young people to come up with the Triduum. Most adults wouldn't think of it as a season in itself, but it actually is. Tell the group that the Triduum begins on Holy Thursday evening, goes through Good Friday, and ends with the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday. Remembering that information will come in handy later in the session.

Congratulate the young people on their efforts! Then mention that they can earn extra points if they guess the main colors that correspond to each of the Church seasons. If they can't guess them all, give them these answers: During Advent, the vestments and cloths are blue or purple. During Christmas, they are white, often with gold. During Lent, they are purple, sometimes with black. During Easter, they are white, often with gold. During Ordinary Time, they are green. On Passion (Palm) Sunday, Good Friday, Pentecost, and feast days of martyrs, they are red.

Taken from Faith Works for Junior High

Acknowledgments

(This activity is adapted from Faithworks for Junior High, by Lisa-Marie Calderone-Stewart [Winona, MN: Saint Mary's Press, 1993], page 88. Copyright © 1993 by Saint Mary's Press. Permission is granted for this activity to be used for classroom or campus ministry purposes. This activity may not be republished in any form without written permission from Saint Mary's Press. To order this book, contact Saint Mary's Press at 800-533-8095

Published October 24, 2003.