Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Green Season: Ordinary Time

Soon after my piece on Time in the Liturgy appeared on, the site administrator put out a call to the regular contributors for an article about Ordinary Time, and I volunteered, making up for skipping a December contribution, I think:

On September 2, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass in Loreto with 300,000 young people in the congregation. He spoke about our stewardship of creation. Unfortunately, the mainstream media thought his homily was all about environmentalism and one writer thought the pope had chosen his vestments to fit with the “Green” theme. The journalist did not know that Pope Benedict XVI was celebrating Mass during Ordinary Time and that green is the liturgical color of Ordinary Time. To avoid errors like that journalist committed, let’s look more closely at Ordinary Time on the Church calendar.
The term “Ordinary Time” is the English translation of the Latin name for this season on the Roman Calendar: Tempus per annum (literally “time through the year”). There are two periods of Ordinary Time through the year: the first (and shorter) begins Monday after the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (which is the end of the Christmas season) and ends on Tuesday before Ash Wednesday  (the beginning of Lent); the second begins Monday after Pentecost (which is the end of the Easter season) and ends on the Saturday before the First Sunday of Advent. These two periods of Ordinary Time are designated by naming the Sundays of Ordinary Time numerically (the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time, the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time, etc), although there are Sunday Feasts during Ordinary Time: Corpus Christi (moved in most dioceses in the United States to Sunday from Thursday), Trinity Sunday, and Christ the King, for example. Note that there is no First Sunday of Ordinary Time, since the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord preempts it. Most years, there are 33 weeks of Ordinary Time through the year. The term “Ordinary” could indeed refer to the ordinal numbering of the weeks of Ordinary Time.
Please read the rest here. This is my 13th submission to! Lucky #13!

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