In the Anglican Catholic Church we also observe a twelve month Kalendar but with an emphasis on the religious seasons. Our “table” of Fasts and Feasts is divided this way:
Advent: Happy New Year! This four week season preceding Christmas is the beginning of the Church Kalendar. The First Sunday in Advent is our New Year’s Day. The next three Sundays prepare us for the coming of the Birth of Christ.
Christmas: This begins on December 25th or 24th (Christmas Eve) and lasts twelve days. Ever heard of the 12 Days of Christmas? Come to St. Stephen’s and find out what each day means!
Epiphanytide: The actual feast of the Epiphany begins January 6th. Like Christmas, always observed on the 25th, Epiphany is known as a “fixed” date, meaning that it always falls on the 6th of January. It represents several events in the life of the Church, but the most well-known is the visit of the Magi or Wise Men to the Christ child.
Pre-Lent: From Epiphany until Ash Wednesday we have pre-Lent. This is an in-between time, so to speak, getting us ready for the season of Lent.
Lent: Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. Depending on the date which Easter falls, Lent can begin early in February or in mid-March. This is a forty day period of prayer, fasting, and penance in preparation for Holy Week. This season is best known for “giving something up” (candy, smoking, bad habits, etc.) in order to discipline our wills. This season prepares us for the holiest season of the Church year.
Easter: This day we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, we do so forty more days until we prepare to bid our Lord farewell as he Ascends to God’s Right Hand.
Ascension: Our Lord Jesus Ascends to God’s Right Hand where he now reigns.
Pentecost or Whitsunday: Jesus promised that once he rejoined God in heaven, He would not leave us alone. Thus, fifty days after Easter, the Holy Ghost Descended from heaven to enlighten the Church and remain with us until our Lord’s Second Coming.
Trinitytide: This season is known in many churches as “ordinary” time or the “green” season. After all of the fanfare of Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost, these weeks (the longest Church season) are much less festive, but still focus on the life of our Lord, his Mother, and the Saints.
During these seasons we often hear the term “fasts” or fasting. Seasons such as Advent, but especially Lent, are times that we are encouraged to turn further from the things of this world, looking instead to the other worldly. We do this through fasting from meat products on ALL Fridays, but also Wednesdays during Lent. We are also encouraged to spend more time in prayer and penance. If you attend St. Stephen’s, further instruction is given during the sermons and Sunday school lessons during this period.