The liturgical year: where are we?

This coming weekend brings us to the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Some of us are old enough to remember a portion of the liturgical year whose Sundays were titled as the Sundays after Pentecost. Those same days are now titled Sundays in Ordinary Time.

It would be easy to presume that this season on the liturgical calendar is called "ordinary" because it seems that nothing extra-ordinary is celebrated on these Sundays. But that's not the case. The use of "ordinary" here comes from "ordinal" or "expressing order or succession."

Think of Ordinary Time as the season of "counted Sundays."

But is Ordinary Time ordinary in the ordinary sense of the word "ordinary?" No, it's not. There's never anything ordinary about faithful Christians gathering on the Lord's Day to hear the Lord's voice in the scriptures and to offer God praise and thanksgiving through the prayer of all prayers, the Eucharist. It may not be a particular feast or solemnity but every Sunday is the Lord's Day and we are called to be glad and rejoice in it!

Of course, the major seasons of year (Advent - Christmas and Lent - Triduum - Easter) bring with them extra-ordinary anticipation, preparations, scriptures, rites, customs, colors, scents, vesture, song, prayer and sacraments. From the perspective of those who work all year long in helping a parish to celebrate the mysteries of our redemption through the liturgical calendar, the "high seasons" are much more work than the "season of counted Sundays."

So, not a few parish ministers are breathing a sigh of relief as Easter, Pentecost, Trinity and Corpus Christi 2012 become history and most of the Sundays in Ordinary Time stretch before us. We find ourselves between "7:00 and 11:00" on the pie chart above. (The first seven weeks of Ordinary Time in this Year of Grace 2012 were celebrated following the feast of the Baptism of the Lord and before Lent. The 34th and last Sunday of Ordinary Time will be the Solemnity of Christ the King, this year on November 25, just before Advent, which will begin a new liturgical year on December 2.)

And June 17 is also Fathers Day on the civil calendar.  

Heads up!  It happens on this year's calendar that June 24, the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist - falls on a Sunday!  A Solemnity trumps a Sunday in Ordinary Time so the scriptures and prayers on June 24th will shape our prayer that day.  The weekend of July 1 will bring us to the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

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  1. Are you sure that June 24th is Father's Day? I Canada we are celebrating Father's Day this weekend... June 17th and generally our holidays for Mother's Day and Father's day are the same as the US. Not to mention that I'm fairly certain my calendar is American (at least it lists most American holidays) and it also says that Father's Day is this Sunday.

  2. You are ABSOLUTELY correct! Thanks for the heads-up and I'll make the edit right now!


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