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Liturgical year

Ordinary Time is a season of the Christian (especially the Catholic) liturgical calendar. The English name is intended to translate the Latin term Tempus per annum (literally "time through the year"). Ordinary Time comprises the two periods — one following Epiphany, the other following Pentecost — which do not fall under the "strong seasons" of Advent, Christmas, Lent, or Easter.

The weeks in ordinary time are numbered, although several Sundays are named for the feast they commemorate, such as Trinity Sunday (first Sunday after Pentecost) and the Feast of Christ the King (last Sunday in OT), and for American Catholics, the Feast of Corpus Christi (second Sunday after Pentecost).

The liturgical color normally assigned to Ordinary Time is green.

Ordinary Times

In the Roman Catholic Church, Ordinary Time begins on the day following the Baptism of the Lord (liturgical colour: white), the feast which normally falls on the Sunday after Epiphany (6 January) (white). American Catholics have altered the calendar so that Epiphany always falls on a Sunday (1st Sunday after Jan. 1); in those years when the Epiphany falls on January 7 or January 8, the Baptism of the Lord is celebrated on the Monday immediately following the Epiphany. In the Church of England, Ordinary Time begins on the day after the Presentation of Christ in the Temple (Candlemas).

Ordinary Time continues until Ash Wednesday (violet), which marks the beginning of the Season of Lent (violet). Thus for Roman Catholics the period of Ordinary Time between Christmas and Lent may last from four to nine weeks, depending upon the dates of Epiphany (American Catholics) and Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is a moveable feast based on the date of Easter (white). In the Church of England the first period of Ordinary Time is somewhat shorter — indeed it may be as short as a single day if Ash Wednesday falls on its earliest possible date of 4 February.

Ordinary Time resumes on the Monday following Pentecost (red) and continues through Saturday afternoon before the first Sunday of Advent (violet), some five or six months later. The last Sunday before Advent is celebrated as the Solemnity of Christ the King (white) and in the Roman Catholic Church always takes the place of the 34th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

The actual number of weeks of Ordinary Time in any given year can total 33 or 34. When there are only 33 weeks (which is more common[1][2]), the week that would normally follow the resumption of Ordinary Time following Pentecost Sunday is omitted. For example, in 2008, the Sunday before Ash Wednesday was the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, but the day after Pentecost Sunday begins the 6th 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 number 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 Orthodox Church and in the Eastern Catholic Churches, Sundays are all numbered after Pentecost which runs through the following year. Orthodox do not have ordinary time.

Feasts that pre-empt Ordinary Time

Template:Weeks of Ordinary Time In addition, certain solemnities and feasts that fall during Ordinary Time will pre-empt numbered Sundays in the series when the observance in question falls on a Sunday. On pre-empted Sundays, the liturgical color green is replaced by the color of the feast day. These feast days include, in the Roman Catholic calendar, any day that is a holy day of obligation, along with certain other special days, such as the Presentation of the Lord (or Candlemas, February 2, white), the birth of John the Baptist (June 24, white), the Solemnity of SS Peter and Paul (June 29, red), the Transfiguration (August 6, white), the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (or Holy Cross Day, September 14, red), Solemnity of All Saints (November 1, white), All Souls Day (November 2, violet or black[3]), and the Dedication of (the Basilica of) St John Lateran (November 9, white).

Origins of the term

The term Ordinary Time was first used with the liturgical reforms which followed the Second Vatican Council. The reformed liturgical calendar took effect on the first Sunday of Advent in 1969. Before this there were two distinct seasons known as the season after Epiphany and the season after Pentecost respectively. Liturgical days in these times were referred to as the -nth Sunday after Epiphany or Pentecost, or Feria II,III,IV,V or VI after the -nth Sunday. Since then, many Protestant churches have also adopted the concept, along with the Revised Common Lectionary which is based on the Catholic liturgical reforms of the late 1960s.

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. Lectionary Calendar and Movable Feasts
  2. 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 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th or 9th week dropped from the calendar that year.
  3. In the United States, white may be used in place of violet on All Souls Day.

External links

cs:Liturgické mezidobí pt:Tempo Comum sk:Liturgické medziobdobie ko:연중 시기