Have fun celebrating the new liturgical year with videos, activities and games.
by Regina Lordan
Happy New Year! … No, seriously. Happy New Year!
Catholics celebrate the start of the new liturgical year the first Sunday of Advent. Based upon the General Roman Calendar, and signed and sealed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the liturgical calendarunites Catholics with seasons, holy days of obligations and feasts days. Not a measure of time, but a journey of the Catholic faith, the liturgical calendar reminds us that Jesus is the reason for every season.
Here are several resources and ways for your family to kick off the new liturgical year. Make the first Sunday of Advent a new liturgical year party and celebrate the uniqueness and universality of the Catholic faith.
Pop some popcorn and break out the bubbly, then turn on YouTube to give your kids an explainer about the liturgical calendar.
“A Season for Everything” Ascension Presents by Father Mike Schmitz
Father Schmitz offers an explainer about the different terminology used in the liturgical calendar as well as the seasons of the liturgical year.
“Liturgical Calendar” Catholic TV Network Saints and Seasons with Shannon Muldoon
Muldoon shares a brief overview of the liturgical year, highlighting traditions and the meanings behind the colors used throughout the year.
Activities for Busy Hands
Make Your Own Calendar
Ok, now you have the general idea of what we are celebrating here, it is time to create your own liturgical calendar. You can print from several resources online, but Peanut Butter & Grace’s Heidi Indahl offers a three-dimensional version for you and your children to make your own circle of the Church year.
Focus on Jesus, the Reason for Every Season!
This lesson plan from The Religion Teacher follows a traditional catechist lesson plan format (ie. SWBAT identify the seasons of the liturgical calendar). While perhaps a little dry, it can be useful for pointing out the most important part of the liturgical calendar, that every season shapes and strengthens our relationship with Jesus.
Advent: Jesus is coming
Christmas: Jesus is born
Ordinary Time: Jesus teaches
Lent: Jesus will die
Three Days (Triduum): Jesus dies
Easter: Jesus rises
Ordinary Time: Jesus teaches
Explore More Online
This interactive website from Loyola Press is a visually appealing and offers a comprehensive resource for your family. It is one of those websites that can take hours to explore with all of its readings, reflections and images.
Time to test out your liturgical calendar knowledge with a simple game and make the next liturgical year even better with family faith resolutions.
Liturgical Season Scramble
- On index cards, write down important days of the year: First Sunday of Advent, Easter Sunday, the Ascension, as well as feast days such as the feast days of your children’s patron saints. Try to include a few solemnities and memorials. The more cards, the more interesting the game.
- Now add some secular days, such as your children’s birthdays, wedding anniversaries, Labor Day, Fourth of July and Presidents’ Day.
- On separate pieces of paper, write down the name of each liturgical season. Color these larger papers with the color representative of that season.
- Shuffle the index cards of important days of the year, and deal them evenly to your children.
- Lay out the larger papers on the floor or table.
- Take turns matching the cards to the correct liturgical season.
- If you want to make the game a little more competitive, whoever can get rid of their index card pile first, wins!
New Liturgical Year Resolutions
Discuss with your family how will you will work toward a year more full of faith and focus on Jesus. Some Ideas to explore include:
- Create a family mission statement
- Be better prepared for Mass
- Mark the feast days of your children’s patron saints with special dinners and readings
- Pray more often, pray more creatively
- Pray the rosary together
- Try a monthly devotion
- Serve together as a family
Close the Day with a Prayer
And finally, conclude your day of fun with a family prayer, this one is edited and added on to from the Prayer for the New Year.
One child leads the prayer:
“Let us praise the Lord of days and seasons and years, saying:
Glory to God in the highest!”
Family response: “And peace to his people on earth!”
The leader says:
“Our lives are made of days and nights, of seasons and years,
for we are part of a universe of suns and moons and planets.
We mark ends and we make beginnings and, in all, we
praise God for the grace and mercy that fill our days.”
Family response: “Dear God, please give us the fortitude and dedication to know your son Jesus more through this new liturgical year. Amen.”