Part 5 Liturgical Year

Chapter v51 Devotions and the Liturgical Year

Preliminary Questions


Devotions Per Annum

Lent/Easter Devotions

Advent/Christmas Devotions

To think About

Preliminary Questions

Can you think of devotions that are associated with specific times in the Liturgical Year?

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James O'Toole (editor).  Habits of Devotion: Catholic Religious Practice in Twentieth-Century America (Cushwa Center) ISBN 0801442567

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Devotions Per Annum

Many devotions are not associated with the liturgical year, but can be adapted to the season:

e.g. The rosary (sorrowful mysteries during Lent / glorious mysteries during the Easter season / joyful mysteries during Advent & Christmas.


The Liturgy of the Hours / Breviary / Books of the Hours in devotional form:

Little Office of the Blessed Virgin
Office of the Passion
Book of the Hours

"In fact, the origins and subsequent history of these devotions make it just as reasonable to suppose that they originated precisely when the received monastic office was becoming inadequate as a vehicle for the real worship of the monks, and that most of the real communal praying of medieval monasteries took place during the devotional offices rather than during the adjacent canonical hours." (Dehne,  pp. 335)



"Scholars in women's studies note that some of the most prominent and successful devotions were initiated by women, and certainly most of the devotions were practiced mainly by women.  If the official Roman liturgy can be fairly characterized as stereotypically masculine, then surely the popular devotions are stereotypically feminine." (Dehne, pp. 338)

"The devotional occasion par excellence -- afternoon or evening services in church -- has been occupied by the afternoon celebration of the Eucharistic liturgy, formerly possible only in the morning." (Dehne, pp. 338)


The constant repetition of the same themes is not boring precisely because its purpose is not to inform the mind but to nourish the spirit of the believer.  In the devotions the worshipper is not so much one to be instructed or motivated as a privileged person, a chosen and choosing one, a powerful intercessor who shares the friendship of the saints.  Briefly, the worshipper is subject, not object." (Dehne, pp.340) 



First Fridays

Holy Hour on First Fridays

First Saturdays

May:  Devotions to Mary

October:  Month of the Holy Rosary

March:  Month of St. Joseph

June:   Month of the Sacred Heart

November:  Month of the Poor Souls

The Tree of Life (containing names of all who have died during the previous year at a particular parish, hospital, etc.)  [..  the "Tree of Life"  at St. Vincent Hospice.  We invite the families who have lost loved ones during the past year to come back for a memorial service.  In preparation for this, we write the name of the deceased on a paper chain and then link them all around a tree. It's very powerful, both for the families, the volunteers and the hospice staff.]


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Lent / Easter Devotions

Fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday /

Abstinence from meat on Fridays during Lent.

The Great Fast (After Communion on Holy Thursday to Communion at Easter)

Giving something up for Lent

Individual decision / sometimes done as a group or with a soul-friend.   

Lenten Confession

Way of the Cross

Lent:  Sorrowful Mother Novena / Easter:  Novena to the Seven Joys of Mary

Self flagellation

Enactments of the Passion / Crucifixion The seven last words

  1. Father forgive them, for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34).
  2. Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43).
  3. Woman, behold your son: behold your mother (John 19:26-27).
  4. My God, My God, why have you forsaken me, (Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34).
  5. I thirst (John 19:28).
  6. It is finished (John 19:30).
  7. Father, into your hands I commit my spirit (Luke 23:46).

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Advent / Christmas Devotions


Advent wreath

The Advent Calendar

The Jesse Tree

The Giving Tree

Reading the Book of Isaiah the Prophet

Devotions based on the O Antiphones

Christmas tree


Christmas lights

Giving gifts

Christmas cards
    Saying a prayer for the recipient when signing each card...
    Keeping the received cards and taking one each day during the next year and praying for the person who sent the card... and perhaps writing them a note saying that you are praying for them that day.

Making New Year's Resolutions

Blessing rooms of a home on the Epiphany
    Marking the rooms with the year and the initials of the names of the Three Kings.  e.g.  20+C+B+M+14



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To Think About

What is the value of devotions associated with the Liturgical Year?

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