Fitting readings and calendar together

This post is in the series Rite Reading.

We’ve looked at the pattern of the Church’s year, and at the ways the readings interlink in the Sunday liturgy. Now it’s time to look at how it all fits together over time. I hope, especially as we’ve gone through the calendar in this section, all those different Sunday names have become clearer. This is now where we deal with the last plank of all those detailed references to particular Sundays by years as well as by names.

The pattern of readings is based on organising the reading of Scripture over three years. This is done slightly differently depending on whether we are in one of the two main seasonal cycles, or are in Ordinary Time. This difference is potentially greater for the Revised Common Lectionary than it is for the Roman one. The underlying principle of the three years remains the same throughout.

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The year starts in November (or sometimes in December)

This post is in the series Rite Reading.

This series now moves on into the second main section: what I am calling the firmware. This is the ways in which we organise and develop our actual practice of reading. I begin with the church year.

We have a range of different years we organise our life by, and they all start at different times. The school year in September, the tax year in April, the calendar year in January. Historically it’s moved around a bit. So it’s not really at all out of the ordinary that the church year begins four Sundays before Christmas, a date that usually falls at the end of November, and sometimes at the start of December.

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