The Liturgical Calendar, the Paschal Mystery, and the Grand Canyon

If you’ve ever visited the Grand Canyon, you know that its immenseness is overwhelming: 277 river miles long, up to 18 mles wide, and a mile deep! All around the rim of the Canyon are numerous breathtaking look-out points. What do visitors to the Grand Canyon do? They walk along the trails and pause at various look-out points to take in the view from specific vantage points. Along the way, they are looking at the same thing – the immense Grand Canyon – but from various perspectives and angles that highlight different aspects of the Canyon’s majesty.

This is what we do as we walk through the liturgical year. Our gaze is fixed on one thing: the Paschal Mystery of Jesus – a mystery that is so immense that it cannot be taken in in its entirety. Rather, stop at various vantage points along the way to look more closely at specific aspects of this wonderful mystery. We are always looking at the same thing: the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ. Each season and feast of the Church year, however, is like a look-out point – an opportunity to pause and to focus on one specific aspect of the Paschal Mystery. Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, Ordinary Time – these are all opportunities to get a unique perspective on specific parts of the Paschal Mystery – parts of a whole. On saints’ days, we have an opportunity to learn from “tour guides” – people who know the landscape of the Paschal Mystery very well and who can guide us in our journey.

The Paschal Mystery is so overwhelmingly immense, that we walk through it over the course of a three-year cycle and then again and again throughout our lives. Like the Grand Canyon that looks different at various times of the day and seasons of the year, the Paschal Mystery of Jesus is revealed to us in different ways throughout our lifetime. It is a journey that we never tire of making!

About Joe Paprocki 2741 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at

2 Comments on The Liturgical Calendar, the Paschal Mystery, and the Grand Canyon

  1. Hello Joe. What a great approach to teaching about the Liturgical Calendar! The image of the calendar, unfortunately, does not appear on my screen. Would it be possible to please send me a link? Thanks very much!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.