Liturgical Seasons We are the Body of Christ

The Liturgical Year

The celebration of the liturgy is truly the source and summit of everything we do as a Christian community.

Throughout the course of the liturgical year the church celebrates the profound mystery of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

  • The Church year starts with the first Sunday of Advent and ends on Christ the King in late November.
  • Two main cycles anchor the liturgical year: the Incarnation Cycle (Advent and Christmas) and the Paschal Cycle (Lent and Easter).
  • The remainder of the year, known as Ordinary Time is punctuated with additional celebrations of Christ, the Blessed Mother and the Saints.

Incarnation Cycle

Advent is a time of preparation and Christmas is the time of celebration of Jesus’ birth, the first manifestation of Christ. During this season we also anticipate the final manifestation of Christ at the end of time.

Paschal Cycle

During Lent and Easter we celebrate the mystery of the sacrificial life, death and resurrection of Jesus. It involves preparation (Lent) and celebration (Easter season) and ends with Pentecost.

Ordinary Time

The remainder of the year is known as Ordinary Time. During these 33 or 34 weeks we ponder the miracles and teachings of Christ as they have been recorded in Scripture.

Christ yesterday, today and tomorrow

During the Incarnation Cycle (Advent & Christmas) we celebrate that God became one of us so we might become more like God.


Advent comes from the Latin Adventus Domini meaning the Coming of the Lord. During Advent we prepare for the celebration of the Lord's coming 2000 years ago. In addition we celebrate his presence among us today and we prepare for his future and final appearance at the end of time.

  • Sunday Eucharist is celebrated with a sense of longing for the fulfilment of all that Christ promised when he dwelt among us.
  • Advent morning prayer and evening prayer are characterized by the typical Advent melodies.
  • Advent Taizé Prayer with the opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation is celebrated in Teresa of Calcutta Hall.
  • A special Eucharist with the celebration of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is celebrated in the St. Joseph Chapel.
  • The Sacrament of Reconciliation is available on Saturday mornings and by appointment.


On Christmas, from the old English Cristes Messe or Christ's Mass we celebrate Christ's presence among us yesterday, today, and tomorrow even until the end of time.

The festive celebrations of the Eucharist on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are punctuated with great Christmas Carols from all around the world.


The word Epiphany is the English transliteration of the Greek Epiphaneia, meaning appearance, revelation, and manifestation.  

The feast of the Epiphany is thus the feast of the revelation of Jesus as the Son of God.

The original feast of the Epiphany celebrated the four major revelations of Jesus as the Son of God: the announcement to the shepherds, the visit of the Magi, the Baptism of the Lord and the wedding at Cana.

In addition to the Eucharist we also celebrate Evening Prayer today.

Baptism of the Lord

This feast concludes the Christmas Season and launches Ordinary Time as it celebrates the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus. 

In addition to Sunday Eucharist we also celebrate Evening Prayer on the feast of Baptism of the Lord if it falls on a Sunday.

Celebrating the Paschal Mystery

The Paschal Cycle comprises three distinct periods: 

  1. Lent, which is the time of preparation
  2. Holy week with the Sacred Triduum
  3. Easter Tide which is a time of great celebration ending with Pentecost

During Lent we focus on:

  1. the celebration of the mystery of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ
  2. and our incorporation in this mystery by virtue of our baptism.

Lenten Liturgies

In addition to the regularly scheduled celebration of the Eucharist on Sundays and weekdays the liturgical schedule during Lent comprises:

Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of Lent. We have the Imposition of the Ashes at all Masses as a reminder that we are to repent and model our lives after that of Jesus.

  • 7:00am: Eucharist and imposition of Ashes 
  • Noon:     Eucharist and imposition of Ashes 
  • 5:30pm: Eucharist and imposition of Ashes*
    * ASL Interpreted
  • Morning Prayer on Tuesday and Thursday
  • Evening Prayer on Sunday 
  • Stations of the Cross Fridays of Lent
  • Taizé prayer with the opportunity for individual celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation
  • Sacrament of Reconciliation
  • Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick

Celebrating the Paschal Mystery

The Paschal Cycle comprises three distinct periods: 

  1. Lent, which is the time of preparation
  2. Holy week with the Sacred Triduum
  3. Easter Tide which is a time of great celebration ending with Pentecost

During Holy Week we:

  1. celebrate of the mystery of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ
  2. and recommit ourselves to this mystery we celebrate

For a complete list of Holy Week offerings including liturgies, learning and outreach opportunities, visit our Events Calendar.

Holy Week

Full Schedule

This week of intense prayer forms the heart of the liturgical year. We invite you to make this a time of retreat and to join us in person or livestream for the beautiful liturgies of this week. All liturgies are livestreamed unless indicated otherwise.

  • Palm Sunday the first day of Holy Week
    We commemorate the solemn entry of Jesus into Jerusalem with the blessing of palms.
    • Sunday Eucharist with Blessing of Palms
      The historic Basilica will be fully decorated with beautiful palms and flowers. The choir and procession will festively wave palms throughout the church at the 9:30am and Noon Masses.
    • Vespers concert with The Basilica Schola Cantorum 
    • Evening Prayer
  • Monday of Holy Week 
    • Eucharist
    • Morning Prayer 
    • Eucharist
  • Tuesday of Holy Week 
    • Eucharist 
    • Morning Prayer 
    • Eucharist
  • Wednesday of Holy Week
    • Eucharist 
    • Morning Prayer
    • Eucharist
  • Holy Thursday: 
    We commemorate Jesus' command to celebrate the Eucharist and to wash one another's feet.
    • Morning Prayer 
    • Midday Prayer 
    • Celebration of the Lord's Supper 
      The congregation takes part in the tradition of washing of the feet, a beautiful act of compassion, following Jesus’ example.
  • Good Friday:
    We commemorate the death of Jesus and venerate the Cross of Salvation.
    • Morning Prayer 
    • Stations of the Cross
      This ancient custom allows participants to walk in the footsteps of Jesus as they remember the last moments in his life leading up to his death on the cross.
    • Celebration of the Lord's Passion 
      This solemn service commemorates the suffering and death of Jesus. Central to the service is the passing of a large cross.
    • Celebration of the Office of Tenebrae
      This service commemorates the death of Jesus and his descent into hell. Tenebrae is Latin for shadows/darkness.
  • Holy Saturday:
    We keep vigil; we celebrate the Resurrection and we initiate new members into our community through Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.
    • Morning Prayer 
    • Midday Prayer 
    • The Great Easter Vigil 
      The service begins around the large bonfire built on the plaza in front of the church. The Easter Light is shared with members of the congregation as their candles are lit. All walk into a darkened church filling it with candlelight.
  • Easter Sunday:
    We celebrate the Resurrection of Christ.
    Festive Masses with The Basilica Cathedral Choir, organ and brass. Includes a large entrance procession of cross, banners, candles, and bells.

Celebrating the Paschal Mystery

The Paschal Cycle comprises three distinct periods: 

  1. Lent, which is the time of preparation
  2. Holy week with the Sacred Triduum
  3. Easter Tide which is a time of great celebration ending with Pentecost

During Easter we focus on:

  1. the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ
  2. and our incorporation in his resurrection by virtue of our baptism.

Follolwing a week of intense prayer which forms the heart of the liturgical year. We invite you to join us in these beautiful liturgies celebrating our highest holy day.  


Easter Sunday
Schedule of Masses

Easter Tide

The celebration of the Resurrection of the Lord stretches out over 50 days. It is to be a time of great joy and celebration.

  • Easter Sunday is the culmination of the Easter Triduum. Today we celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord. The liturgies on this day are among the most visually splendid of the whole year. 
  • Ascension of the Lord traditionally celebrated on the 40th day of Easter but transferred to the following Sunday, commemorates Jesus' ascent into heaven and his promise that one day he will return.

  • Pentecost, or the 50th day, is the last day of Easter tide. It is the day when we commemorate the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles and celebrate the birth of the church.

The greatest example for us all

During the Incarnation Cycle (Advent/Christmas), we celebrate the fact that Jesus became one of us and remains with us. During the Paschal Cycle (Lent/Easter), we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus. These two cycles do not, however, exhaust the mystery of Christ. As a result, we have several additional celebrations throughout the year.

  • The Solemnity of the Holy Trinity (Sunday after Pentecost) celebrates the mystery of one God and three persons.
  • The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ (Sunday after Trinity Sunday) celebrates Christ's presence in the Eucharist.
  • The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Friday after Corpus Christi) celebrates the love of God revealed in the sacrificial life of Jesus.
  • The Solemnity of Christ the King (final Sunday of liturgical year) looks with hope and confidence toward the end of time when Jesus Christ will judge the living and dead.

Great Examples 

Whether they suffered a heroic death for the faith or simply testified to the faith through a quiet life inspired by the Gospel, the women and men we call saints are great examples for us all. Their heroic or sometimes unassuming lives show us the different paths to salvation.

  • We learn about the Saints so they may inspire us on our Christian Journey.
  • We pray to the Saints so they may intercede for us before God.
  • We venerate the Saints because through them we venerate Christ who is the source of life and holiness.

Solemnities and Feasts of Mary

Mary, the Mother of Jesus accompanied him throughout his life, to the very end. Standing under the cross Jesus presented his mother to all of us. Throughout the ages, Mary has shown herself to be a caring mother appearing to those in need of support, encouragement or correction. Throughout the liturgical year we celebrate Mary as the Mother of God and as our Mother.

Among the many celebrations of Mary, here are but a few:
  • Solemnity of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception (December 8) celebrates the dogma that Mary was conceived without original sin. This is not only the feast day of the United States but also the patronal feast of The Basilica.
  • Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12) celebrates her appearance to Blessed Juan Diego in 1531 and ongoing miracles. On the Sunday closest to December 12 we celebrate La Guadalupana with a solemn Eucharist and Fiesta.
  • Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (January 1) celebrates that Mary was the mother of God because Jesus, while fully human, was divine.
  • Feast of the Annunciation (March 25) remembers when the Angel Gabriel told Mary she would conceive from the Holy Spirit and bear a son.
  • Feast of the Visitation (May 31) commemorates Mary visiting her cousin Elizabeth (Mother to John the Baptist) who had conceived as well.
  • Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August 15) celebrates the dogma that at the end of her life Mary was taken to heaven, body and soul. On this day in 1915 The Basilica of Saint Mary was solemnly dedicated.
  • Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (September 8) celebrates the birth of Mary to Anna and Joachim.

Solemnities and Feasts of Saints

During the course of the liturgical year different saints are celebrated in the liturgy. Though there are saints who are celebrated throughout the universal church, The Basilica, like each individual church has its own specific saints. We invite you to visit the Basilica Saints to learn more about the many shrines we have in The Basilica and throughout our entire campus.

All Saints and All Souls

Though many Saints have their own feast day, on November first we celebrate all the saints, both known and unknown. The next day, we celebrate All Souls Day which is the day we pray for all our beloved dead.

On the Sunday closest to All Saints Day:

  • We hold our annual Procession with Icons of the Saints and place them in the Sanctuary for the rest of the month.
  • We invite parishioners to place photos of deceased loved on the altars in the different Basilica shrines. Some of the altars are turned into Altars for the Dead during the month on November.
  • We celebrate Evening Prayer for All Saints and All Souls with a litany that includes the names of those who have died during the past year.

Liturgical Ministry

There are many ways to become involved in Liturgical Ministry. All Liturgical Ministers play an important role in strengthening The Basilica's mission to be a welcoming and inclusive community traveling together, with God's grace, on a journey of faith.