Season of Christmas
Next to the yearly celebrations of the paschal mystery, the Church considers nothing more important than the memorial of Christ's birth and early manifestations. This is the purpose of the season of Christmas.
General Norms for the Liturgical Year and Calendar, #32
- Summary sheet for Liturgy Preparation Groups [pdf]
- General Norms for the Liturgical Year & Calendar 32–38 [pdf]
- Introduction to the Lectionary [pdf]
- Directory on Popular Piety
2. Christmas Season
a) Solemnities, Feasts, and Sundays
95. For the vigil and the three Masses of Christmas both the prophetic readings and the others have been chosen from the Roman tradition.
The gospel on the Sunday within the octave of Christmas, feast of the Holy Family, is about Jesus' childhood and the other readings are about the virtues of family life.
On the octave of Christmas, solemnity of the Mary, Mother of God, the readings are about the Virgin Mother of God and the giving of the holy Name of Jesus.
On the second Sunday after Christmas, the readings are about the mystery of the Incarnation.
On the Epiphany, the Old Testament reading and the gospel continue the Roman tradition; the text for the reading from the apostolic letters is about the calling of all peoples to salvation.
On the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the texts chosen are about this mystery.
96. From 29 December on, there is a continuous reading of the whole of 1 John, which actually begins earlier, on 27 December, feast of St John the Evangelist, and on 28 December, feast of the Holy Innocents. The gospels relate manifestations of the Lord: events of Jesus’ childhood from Luke (29–30 December); passages from John 1(31 December–5 January); other manifestations from the four gospels (7-12 January).
- The Nativity of the Lord
- The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
- Mary, Mother of God
- Second Sunday after Christmas
- The Epiphany of the Lord
National Calendar for England
- St Thomas Becket (29 December)
- St Aelred of Rievaulx (12 January - will usually fall outside Christmas Season)
National Calendar for Wales
|1||Solemnities of precept (Christmas Day, Epiphany)|
|4.||Solemnities not of precept (Mary, Mother of God)|
|7.||Sundays of Christmas|
|10||Days in the octave of Christmas|
|14.||Weekdays in the season of Christmas from 2 January|
V1 = Ritual Masses (General Instruction of the Roman Missal [hereafter, GIRM], no. 372).
Masses for various needs and occasions and votive Masses, in cases of serious need or pastoral advantage, at the direction of the local Ordinary or with his permission (GIRM, no. 374).
V2 = Masses for various needs and occasions and votive Masses, in cases of serious need or pastoral advantage, at the discretion of the rector of the church or the priest celebrant (GIRM, no. 376).
V3 = Masses for various needs and occasions and votive Masses chosen by the priest celebrant in favour of the devotion of the people (GIRM, no. 373, 375).
D1 = Funeral Mass (GIRM, no. 380).
D2 = Mass on the occasion of news of a death, final burial, or the first anniversary (GIRM, no. 381).
D3 = Daily Mass for the dead (GIRM, no. 381). When D1 and D2 are not permitted, neither is D3.
Cycle of Prayer
- Openness to the Word of God
- especially on Bible Sunday (2nd Sunday of Advent)
- Migrants and Refugees
- especially on Migrant's Day (3 December)
- Expectant Mothers
- especially on 4th Sunday of Advent