The Liturgical Year

Christianity is often said to emphasize linear time in salvation history. God created the human race, came to humanity's rescue when it fell, and destined it to everlasting glory beyond the end of time. However, at the heart of Christian life is a single kairos or privileged moment, the Paschal mystery which serves as the anchor of the annually recurring celebrations that constitute the church's year of grace. In this annual cycle the mysteries of redemption are rendered effectively present in word and symbolic gesture, and fitted to the cycles of nature. Christ is born with the sun and rises with the vitality of spring time; the world ends with the coming of winter.

This liturgical year has been celebrated with many variations and refinements since the beginnings of the church. Below are resources of the library which can help readers appreciate the liturgical year that tradition offers them, while at the same time alerting them to possibilities for the future.

Handbooks with Sections on the Church Year

  • The Church at Prayer. Ed. A.G. Martimort. Rev. ed. Vol. 4: Liturgy and Time. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1986. (BX 1970 E313)
  • Kilmartin, Edward and Mary Schaefer. Culture and the Praying Church. Rev. ed. Canadian Studies in Liturgy, 5. Ottawa: Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1990. (BX 1970 K54)
  • The New Dictionary of Sacramental Worship. Ed. Peter E. Fink. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1990 (REF BV 173 N485)
  • The Study of Liturgy. Ed. Cheslyn Jones et al. New York: Oxford U P, 1978. (BV 176 S76)
  • Vagaggini, Cipriano. Theological Dimensions of the Liturgy. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1976. pp. 140-146. (BX 1970 V3 S413)

Liturgical Books

Lectionary. (BX 2003 A4).
Sacramentary. (BX 2037 A4)

In addition to the more recent books cataloged in the regular collection, the library has a large collection of older missals, rituals and other liturgical books which are being saved and prepared for scholarly use


  • Adam, Adolf. The Liturgical Year: Its History and its Meaning After the Reform of the Liturgy. New York: Pueblo, 1981. (BV 30 A41)
  • The Church Gives Thanks and Remembers: Essays on the Liturgical Year Ed. Lawrence J. Johnson et al. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1984 (BV 30 C473)
  • Cowie, Leonard W. The Christian Calendar: A Complete Guide to the Seasons of the Christian Year Telling the Story of Christ and the Saints, From Advent to Pentecost. Springfield, Mass: Merriam Company, 1974. (BV 30 C7)
  • Days of the Lord: The Liturgical Year. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 1991. (BX 1970 J67313)
  • Deedy, John. The Catholic Book of Days. Chicago: Thomas More, 1990. (BX 949 D44)
  • Directory of Ceremonial: Part 2. The Liturgical Seasons. London: Mowbray, 1965. (BX 5147 A1 Pt. 2)
  • Gabriele, Father. Divine Intimacy: Meditations on the Interior Life for Every Day of the Liturgical Year. 4 vols. Denville, N.J.: Dimension, 1983. (BX 2170 C55 G33)
  • Guéranger, Prosper. The Liturgical Year. 15 vols. Westminster: Newman, 1949. (BQT 4199 G85)
  • Gwynne, Walker. The Christian Year: Its Purpose and its History. Detroit: Omnigraphics, 1990. (BV 30 G85)
  • Social Themes of the Christian Year: A Commentary on the Lectionary. Ed. Dieter T. Hessel. Philadelphia: Geneva Press, 1983. An ecumenical work with contributors from many Christian traditions. Clear evidence of how far the liturgical movement has advanced among American Protestants. (BS 391.2 H45)
  • Hopko, Thomas. The Winter Pascha: Readings for the Christmas-Epiphany Season. New York: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1984. Orthodox Eastern Church. (BX 383 H773)
  • Irwin, Kevin W. Advent Christmas: A Guide to the Eucharist and Hours. New York: Pueblo, 1986. (BX 2015.782 I77)
    ---. Lent: A Guide to the Eucharist and Hours. New York: Pueblo, 1985. (BX 2015.784 I77)
    ---. Easter: A Guide to the Eucharist and Hours. New York: Pueblo, 1991. (BX 2015.786 I78 1991)
    ---. Sunday Worship: A Planning Guide to Celebration. New York: Pueblo, 1983. (BX 2230.2 I78)
  • Kellner, Karl A. Heortology: A History of the Christian Festivals From Their Origin to the Present Day. London: K. Paul, Trench, Trübner, 1908. (BQT 4192 K4)
  • Liturgical Year: Celebrating the Mystery of Christ and His Saints. Washington, D.C.: USCC, 1985. (BV 30 L53)
  • Merton, Thomas. Seasons of Celebration. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1965. (BX 4705 M54 A6 S42)
  • Metford, J. C. J. The Christian Year. New York: Crossroad, 1991. (BV 30 M44)
  • Nocent, Adrien. The Liturgical Year. 4 vols. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1977.(BX 1970 N6 C413)
  • Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, Liturgy Documentary Series. Washington, D.C. USCC, 1984. (BX 2045 C34)
  • Parsch, Pius. The Church's Year of Grace. 5 vols. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1953. (BX 1970 P33 J313)
    Pius Parsch, an Augustinian Canon in a monastery in Austria, was a pioneer in the liturgical movement in the first part of this century. This series of books did more than any other to make the riches of the church year known to English-speaking Catholics.
  • Pascher, Josef. Das Liturgische Jahr. Munich: Hueber, 1963. (BQT 4199 P38)
    An excellent guide to the liturgical year as it had developed up to the time of Vatican II.
  • Rahner, Karl. Everyday Faith. New York: Herder and Herder, 1968. (BX 2170 C55 R3 G513)
  • Schmemann, Alexander. Great Lent: Journey to Pascha. New York: St. Vladimir Seminary Press, 1969. (BQT 5236 S36)
  • Talley, Thomas J. The Origins of the Liturgical Year. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1991. (BV 30 T35)
  • The Times of Celebration. Ed. David Power. Concilium, 142. New York: Seabury, 1981. (BX 880 C748)
    Articles by various Catholic experts, some of them on the liturgical year.
  • Tuzik, Robert L. Christ Living Among His People: A Guide To Understanding and Celebrating the Liturgical Year. Washington, D.C.: Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions, 1984. (BV 30 T899)


  • Beckwith, Roger T. "The Three Cycles of the Christian Year" Churchman 109.1 (1995) 33-36.
  • Buono, Anthony B. "Praying with the Seasons" Emmanuel 100 (D 1994) 606-610.
  • Gunsalus Gonzalez, Catherine. "At the Doorway to the Church Year" Liturgy 13 (1996) 21-25.
  • Gustin, Marilyn Norquist. "Summing up the Seasons of Faith: the Liturgical Year" Liguorian 81 (1993) 30-35.
  • Joncas, Michael et al. "The Liturgical Year: Mainspring of Christian Life" Pastoral Music 18 (O-N 1993) 25-31.
  • Lackner, Joseph H. "Liturgy and Life: Symbols, Sacramentals, and the Liturgical Year" Catechist 27 (Ja 1994) 44-50.
  • Richstatter, Thomas. "Spirituality of the Seasons" St. Anthony Messenger 103 (Ag 1995) 56.
  • Thigpen, Paul. "Telling Church Time from Ordinary Time" New Covenant 26 (N 1996) 14+.
  • Zimmerman, Joyce Ann. "Your Worship Space and the Liturgical Year" Today's Parish 26 (O 1994) 28-31.

Bibliographic Guides

  • Archiv für Liturgiewissenschaft, published by Maria Laach. The first issue of each year contains a literary survey.
  • Vogel, Cyrille. Medieval Liturgy: An Introduction to the Sources. Rev. and tr. Storey and Rasmussen. Washington, DC: Pastoral Press, 1986. pp. 304- 313. (REF BX 1973 V63)