Living the Liturgical Year, Part 1: Where to Start?

One of my favorite things about being Catholic is living the liturgical year. This is the fancy Latin term we give to the cycle of celebrations, feasts and fasts that mark the church calendar. (We Catholics like fancy Latin names. It’s all part of the fun.)

These special days in the midst of all the others make the whole year seem to glow.

Ironically, the sheer number of these “special days” is enough to make you want to quit before you start. I mean it. One look at the church calendar could make a girl break out in hives. January alone has 2 Solemnities, 2 Feasts, 14 Memorials, and 6 days of Christmas–not to mention a month of Sundays!

Where–you may well wonder between hyperventilated gasps–are you supposed to start?

Small, sweet sister. You start small.


Believe me I understand the overwhelm. Whether you’re a convert, a revert, a Protestant who’s curious to incorporate some “old” church into your new, an interreligious spouse striving for some family unity, or just a gal who’s spiritual meanderings wended this way, I hear you. Your quickened breath, the hammering of your heart and all those gears grinding eager between your ears.

I know what it’s like to stand trembling, anxious, and kid-on-Christmas-Eve excited with all the possibility of tradition at your fingertips, but trust me. Start small. Try tradition on for size. See what works, what doesn’t. You’ll learn as you go. And over time, you will find yourself adding to this abiding faith lived round the livelong year.

If you’d like, I’m happy to hold your hand as you explore. I’m still learning to live this, too. Oh, believe me sister, there’s oh so much to learn…

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Throughout this series, I’ll walk you through the smorgasbord, a trip around the buffet table if you will. Here’s a taste of what you’ll find:

  • The church calendar and the liturgical seasons
  • Solemnities, Feasts, and Memorials: which are optional and which (at least for Catholics) require participation
  • Personal + family celebrations (such as baptismal and wedding anniversaries)
  • A special segment on making Sunday special

It’s my prayer that this series will inspire you to dig deep into the rich offerings of tradition, celebration, and meaning that are yours and everyone’s for the taking.

It’s not about doing it “right”–and it’s certainly not about doing it all. It’s about an invitation to the banquet table, to the family party that never stops, where the door never closes, and everyone is welcome.

Come, join the party. We’ve been waiting for you.


sweetness + grace,


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