The Church Year
The portions of Holy Scripture selected for the Epistles and Gospels fit into the spirit and purpose of the two great divisions of the
Christian Year--Advent to Trinity and Trinity to Advent.
As a rule the Epistle and Gospel represent an actual fact in the life of the church and a Divine teaching on which the Christian religion is based. The Collect is then the gathering up of both Lessons into prayer, and applying them not only to the Day, but through the ensuing week.
In the first half-year from Advent to Trinity, the life of our Lord is set before us where we learn about HIM and HIS work--not as
history but as a living and present force in our lives. Every year we live over again the time and events of our Lord's Incarnate life, from Bethlehem to the Mount of Ascension.
In the second half-year, from Trinity to Advent of the Christian Year, we see the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit during Pentecost and we
see the Church's continuance in our daily lives.
The Festal half of the Christian Year.
. Many of these Sundays and Holy Days occur on different dates in the Calendar from Year to Year, which is why you will see a range of dates listed after the event. The reason is Easter. The date of Easter varys
from Year to Year based on the following formula: (EASTER DAY on which the rest depends, is always the First Sunday after the Full Moon, which happens upon or next after the Twenty-first Day of March; and if the Full Moon happen upon a Sunday, Easter Day is the first Sunday after.)
Connected with Christmas
Four Sundays in Advent. (The First Sunday in Advent begins anytime from November 28- December 3).
Christmas (December 25), with the three attendant Festivals of St. Stephen (December 26), St. John Evangelist (December 27), and The
Holy Innocents (December 28), also the Sundays after Christmas and the Feast of the Circumcsion (January 1)
The Epiphany (January 6) and the six Sundays that follow.
Connected with Easter
(Easter can occur anytime from March 22 to April 25)
Septuagesimaa, Sexagesima and Quinquagesima Sundays. Pre-Lent. (Begins between January 15 and Feburary 4.)
Ash Wednesday (begins between February 4 and March 10)and the Five Sundays of Lent. The Fifth Sunday in Lent commonly called Passion
Sunday and the Sunday next before Easter commonly called Palm Sunday).
Easter (Begins between March 22-April 25).
The Five Sundays after Easter (The fifth Sunday after Easter commonly called Rogation Sunday).
Ascension Day and the Sunday after Ascension.
Whitsunday. (Whitsunday begins between April 30 - June 13).
Trinity Sunday (Begins between May 6 - June 20).
The Non-Festal Half of the Year.
This consists of the Sundays after Trinity, which may be as many as 27, the exact number being dependant on
whether Easter comes early or late. Likewise, the number of Sundays after Epiphany varies and may be as few as one and as many as six.
(Above summaries borrowed and reworked from "The Heart of the Prayer Book" by Rev. William E. Cox, D.D.)