The Church Year
Each time we gather for worship, we enter in to the entire arc of salvation history, from the creation to the coming of Jesus to our own time, and looking ahead to the age to come. As we move through the church year, different elements of God’s presence in the world come into focus. The first part of our year centers around Christmas, for which we prepare in the four weeks of Advent, and which continues past Epiphany to Jesus’ first public acts. The other major cycle of the year centers around Easter: beginning with Ash Wednesday, Lent consists of 40 days of reflection and preparation for the events of Holy Week (Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday), the Great Vigil of Easter, and Easter morning. This celebration continues for 50 days culminating with day of Pentecost, which marks the coming of the Holy Spirit. Through the rest of the year, in the cycle of Sundays and holy days, we are reminded of Jesus’ teachings and miracles, and of the history of God’s people in scripture.
Holy Days and Feasts
- Advent: The four Sundays at the end of November and into December that celebrate the coming of Christ into the world.
- Christmas: Celebrating the birth of Jesus.
- Epiphany: January 6, marking the Three Wise Men’s visit to the infant Jesus.
- Feast of Jesus’ Baptism one of the four baptismal days of the year, when we celebrate Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan.
- Ash Wednesday: The beginning of Lent.
- Lent: The 40 days before Easter, marking Christ’s sojourn in the wilderness after his baptism.
- Palm Sunday: The Sunday before Easter, marking Christ’s entry into Jerusalem and the beginning of Holy Week.
- Holy Week
- Maundy Thursday: An evening service commemorating the last supper of Christ and his disciples.
- Good Friday: The day of Christ’s crucifixion, commemorated by an afternoon service and Stations of the Cross in the evening.
- Great Vigil of Easter: Begins in darkness and concludes with a blaze of light to celebrate Christ’s resurrection.
- Easter Day: A celebration of the resurrection of Christ that continues for the seven following Sundays.
- Pentecost: The seventh Sunday after Easter, commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles.
- Trinity Sunday: The first Sunday after Pentecost, acknowledging the mystery and unity of the Holy Trinity (God, son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit).
- Earth Day: Not an official church holiday but one that we mark at All Souls because of our commitment to caring for all of God’s creation.
- Feast of St. Mary the Virgin: August 15, A feast honoring the mother of Jesus.
- Feast of St. Francis: The first Sunday in October, celebrating creation with a special liturgy - we invite animals into the church for blessing.
- Feast of All Saints: November 1, A feast celebrating the communion of saints, departed, present and yet to come.
- Feast of All Souls: November 2, A feast for which our parish is named.
- Thanksgiving Day: Giving thanks for what has been given us.