Ordinary Time

Ordinary Time refers to two periods of time in the Christian liturgical year that are found in the calendar of the ordinary form of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, as well as some other churches of Western Christianity, including those that use the Revised Common Lectionary:[1] the Anglican Communion, Methodist churches, Lutheran churches, Old Catholic churches and Reformed churches.[2] In Latin, the name of this time is Tempus per annum translated as time during the year.

Ordinary Time comprises two periods: the first period begins on Epiphany Day (in the Anglican Communion and Methodist churches) or the day after the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (in the Catholic Church) and ends on the day before Ash Wednesday; the second period begins on the Monday after Pentecost, the conclusion of the Easter season, and continues until the Saturday before the First Sunday of Advent. In some traditions, the first period is celebrated as Epiphanytide,[3] and the latter of these periods is observed as Trinitytide.[4] Both of these periods of time, combined, are the longest time in the liturgical year.[5]

The weeks of Ordinary Time are numbered. Several Sundays bear the name of feasts or solemnities celebrated on those days, including Trinity Sunday and the Feast of Christ the King.

The liturgical color normally assigned to Ordinary Time is green.

Events of Ordinary Time

In the Catholic Church, Ordinary Time begins on the day after the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. The church normally celebrates this feast on the Sunday after the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord (6 January). However, some dioceses, including those in the United States, always celebrate Epiphany on the Sunday after the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (1 January); in years when this Sunday celebration of the Epiphany of the Lord falls on January 7 or 8, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord is moved to the following day, the second Monday of the year.

Therefore, Ordinary Time starts on the second Monday or Tuesday of the year (January 9 or 10) in those years and dioceses. The Christmas season includes the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, so Ordinary Time begins the next day, Monday or Tuesday, not on Sunday. However, the Sunday after the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord is always counted as the "Second Sunday of Ordinary Time".

Ordinary Time continues through the day before Ash Wednesday, which falls between 4 February and 10 March (inclusive), and marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. Thus, for Roman Catholics, the period of Ordinary Time between Christmas and Lent may end amid the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, or ninth week of Ordinary Time. Ash Wednesday is a moveable feast which occurs on the 40th day (excluding Sundays) before the Solemnity of the Resurrection of the Lord (Easter Sunday).

Ordinary Time resumes on the Monday following Solemnity of Pentecost, which is the Sunday between 10 May and 13 June that marks the 50th day of Easter. Ordinary Time concludes with the Saturday afternoon before the first Sunday of Advent (27 November to 3 December). Ordinary Time thus always includes the entire months of July, August, September and October and most or all of June and November. In some years, Ordinary Time includes a portion of May, or a day or two in early December, or both. The Catholic Church substitutes the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King of the Universe in the place of the 34th Sunday in Ordinary Time, the last Sunday of the season.

Baptism of the Lord

Every second Sunday of the calendar year, unless the Sunday celebration of the Epiphany of the Lord falls on January 7 or 8, in which case the Baptism is observed on the following day, the second Monday of the year.

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Feast of the Holy Child Jesus

Every third Sunday of the calendar year.

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Weeks in a year

Weeks of Ordinary Time
on or after
1Jan 7 Jan 11 Jan 10 Jan 8
2Jan 14 Jan 18 Jan 17 Jan 15
3Jan 21 Jan 25 Jan 24 Jan 22
4Jan 28 Feb 1 Jan 31 Jan 29
5Feb 4 Feb 8 Feb 7 Feb 5
6Feb 11 Feb 15 Feb 12
7Feb 18 Feb 19
8Feb 25 Feb 26
9Mar 3
6May 8
7May 15 May 15
8May 22 May 24 May 22
9May 29 May 31 May 29 Jun 4
10Jun 5 Jun 7 Jun 5 Jun 11
11Jun 12 Jun 14 Jun 12 Jun 18
12Jun 19 Jun 21 Jun 19 Jun 25
13Jun 26 Jun 28 Jun 26 Jul 2
14Jul 3 Jul 5 Jul 3 Jul 9
15Jul 10 Jul 12 Jul 10 Jul 16
16Jul 17 Jul 19 Jul 17 Jul 23
17Jul 24 Jul 26 Jul 24 Jul 30
18Jul 31 Aug 2 Jul 31 Aug 6
19Aug 7 Aug 9 Aug 7 Aug 13
20Aug 14 Aug 16 Aug 14 Aug 20
21Aug 21 Aug 23 Aug 21 Aug 27
22Aug 28 Aug 30 Aug 28 Sep 3
23Sep 4 Sep 6 Sep 4 Sep 10
24Sep 11 Sep 13 Sep 11 Sep 17
25Sep 18 Sep 20 Sep 18 Sep 24
26Sep 25 Sep 27 Sep 25 Oct 1
27Oct 2 Oct 4 Oct 2 Oct 8
28Oct 9 Oct 11 Oct 9 Oct 15
29Oct 16 Oct 18 Oct 16 Oct 22
30Oct 23 Oct 25 Oct 23 Oct 29
31Oct 30 Nov 1 Oct 30 Nov 5
32Nov 6 Nov 8 Nov 6 Nov 12
33Nov 13 Nov 15 Nov 13 Nov 19
34Nov 20 Nov 22 Nov 20 Nov 26

      Movable by Lent
      Movable by Eastertide

    The actual number of complete or partial weeks of Ordinary Time in any given year can total 33 or 34. In most years, Ordinary Time comprises only 33 weeks,[6][7] so the Church omits one week that otherwise would precede the resumption of Ordinary Time following Pentecost Sunday. For example, in 2011, the Sunday before Ash Wednesday was the Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time, but the day after Pentecost Sunday began the 11th Week in Ordinary Time.

    In the Church of England, a similar situation arises with "Sundays after Trinity", as Sundays in the second period of Ordinary Time are termed (until the final four, which are termed "Sundays before Advent"). The total number of Sundays varies according to the date of Easter and can range anything from 18 to 23. When there are 23, the Collect and Post-Communion for the 22nd Sunday are taken from the provision for the Third Sunday before Lent.

    In the Episcopal Church (United States), it is normal to refer to Sundays after Epiphany and Sundays after Pentecost. The use of Ordinary Time is not common.

    In the Orthodox Church and the Eastern Catholic churches, Sundays are all numbered after Pentecost which runs through the following year. The Orthodox do not distinguish Ordinary Time.

    Solemnities and feasts in Ordinary Time

    In addition, certain solemnities and feasts that fall on Sundays during Ordinary Time preempt the observance of an ordinarily numbered Sunday. On preempted Sundays, the liturgical color of the feast or solemnity replaces the liturgical color green. These feast days include, in the Roman Catholic calendar, any holy day of obligation, any other solemnity, any feast of the Lord, and the Commemoration of All Faithful Departed Souls.

    On the universal calendar, these include:

    The following observances always preempt a Sunday in Ordinary Time:

    Other solemnities which outrank Sundays of Ordinary Time vary from parish to parish and diocese to diocese; they may include the feast of the patron saint of a parish and the feast of the dedication of the parish church.

    In addition, if a solemnity or feast that outranks a Sunday of Ordinary Time, such as those mentioned above, should occur during the week, a priest celebrating Mass with a congregation may observe the solemnity on a nearby Sunday. Such a celebration is traditionally called an "external solemnity," even if the feast in question is not ranked as a solemnity. If an external solemnity is celebrated on a Sunday, the color of that celebration is used rather than green.

    Use of the term

    In the extraordinary form there are two distinct seasons in the Roman Breviary and Roman Missal, known as the season after Epiphany and the season after Pentecost, respectively. Liturgical days in these times are referred to as the - nth Sunday after Epiphany or Pentecost, or Feria II, III, IV, V or VI after the - nth Sunday.

    With the reforms of 1970 came the introduction of four liturgical weeks - the 6th through 9th weeks of Ordinary Time - which could fall either after Epiphany or after Pentecost, making the old numbering scheme unusable, and the term tempus per annum was used to describe both of these seasons. Before the reforms until the present, the term tempus per annum has been used to describe the season of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary that is not part of Advent or Christmastide, and so tempus per annum extends from Matins on 3 February through None on the last Saturday before Advent.

    Following the lead of the liturgical reforms of the Roman Rite, many Protestant churches also adopted the concept of Ordinary Time alongside the Revised Common Lectionary.

    Kingdomtide exception

    Some Protestant denominations (most notably the United Methodist Church) set off the last 13 or 14 weeks of Ordinary Time into a separate season, known as Kingdomtide.

    See also


    1. Bratcher, Dennis (2014). "The Lectionary". Christian Research Institute. Retrieved 5 June 2016. The RCL Sunday readings are organized around the two major Seasons of the Church Year, beginning with Advent-Christmas-Epiphany, and then Lent-Easter-Pentecost. The remainder of the year between Pentecost and Advent is called Ordinary Time, from the word "ordinal", which simply means counted time (1st Sunday after Pentecost, etc.).
    2. Holmes, Stephen Mark (1 October 2012). The Fathers on the Sunday Gospels. Liturgical Press. p. 22. ISBN 9780814635100. The Revised Common Lectionary has been subsequently adopted by many English-speaking Protestant denominations such as the Church of Scotland and various Methodist, Lutheran and Reformed churches. It has also been adopted by some Old Catholic churches and is widely used throughout the Anglican Communion, for example by the Church of Ireland, the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Church in Wales, the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican churches of Canada, Australia, Aotearoa/New Zealand and Polynesia, Melanesia, the West Indies, Central Africa, and Southern Africa. In the Church of England the two-year Sunday Lectionary of the Alternative Service Book 1980 was replaced in 2000 by an adapted version of the Revised Common Lectionary in Common Worship.
    3. "Epiphany". BBC Online. 7 October 2011. Retrieved 5 June 2016. For many Protestant church traditions, the season of Epiphany extends from 6 January until Ash Wednesday, which begins the season of Lent leading to Easter.
    4. "Trinitytide". Merriam-Webster. 5 June 2016. Retrieved 5 June 2016. Definition of Trinitytide: the season of the church year between Trinity Sunday and Advent
    5. "Ordionary Time", Catholic Culture website.
    6. Lectionary Calendar and Movable Feasts
    7. There are 34 weeks of Ordinary Time in years with dominical letters A or g or some combination containing A or g, i.e., Ag, bA, or gf. All other years have 33 weeks of Ordinary Time, with the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, or ninth or 10th week dropped from the calendar that year.
    8. In the United States, white may be used in place of violet on All Souls Day.
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