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What Catholics Should Know About Ordinary Time

May 17, 2018

BY DONNA FRASIER

If you think of the liturgical calendar as the “circle of life”, the mystery of Christ unfolds. The significance and beauty of how Christ calls us to live our lives through him comes to light.

GREEN is the liturgical color of Ordinary Time that we find on priestly vestments and in our church decor. It is the color of life and hope.

Ordinary Time is divided into two time periods. Following the Baptism of our Lord is the first period, which continues until Ash Wednesday. Pentecost Sunday starts the second period of Ordinary Time, the longest liturgical season, as it continues until the Advent season begins again.

In the first span of Ordinary Time we have wonderful prayer opportunities with our families. The Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord is celebrated on February 2. Many display their nativities until this day. This is also the time for Candlemas (Blessing of the Candles), when parishes may have a prayer service; families bring candles to be blessed for use in their homes during the year

Ordinary Time is anything but ordinary  

This is a time of conversion, maturation, and quiet growth. It comprises the longest time on the liturgical calendar when the faithful consider the fullness of Jesus’ teachings and miracles while on this earth. One symbol often found in Ordinary Time is comprised of two fish and a basket of bread — symbolizing Jesus’ “Loaves and the Fishes” miracle. (See Matthew 14: 13-21.)

The second season of Ordinary Time follows the celebration of Pentecost; the gift of the Holy Spirit moves us to do God’s work. The Spirit does for us and the Church what Jesus did for his disciples — he left them with his love, fire, and Spirit to share with the world. Trinity Sunday is celebrated the first Sunday after Pentecost. The Holy Trinity, gives us fullness in Christ — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The next Sunday is Corpus Christi, which commemorates the Body and Blood of Jesus in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith and many parishes celebrate Eucharistic processions or Holy Hours at this time.

The final Sunday in Ordinary Time is the feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, traditionally called the feast of Christ the King. We reverence our Lord as the King of all – and pray that all on earth may praise him now — as we look forward to living with him eternally in heaven forever.

The season of Ordinary Time that occurs in the warmer months may prompt us to link our daily prayers with the enjoyment of nature:

  • pray outdoors when taking a walk

  • plant a small sprig and watch it grow

  • wake up early and enjoy the sunrise using Morning Prayer (Lauds)

  • incorporate a family prayer time, such as the Rosary, on outings

Explore the Communion of Saints

There is a wonderful harmony between the mystery of Christ and the celebration of the Saints. Ordinary Time is a great time to explore the lives of the saints on their feast days. As we follow the saints feast days and share their stories with our children, we can find significance in their lives that can be related to our own.

Great saints to get to know in Ordinary Time:

St. Francis de Sales, January 24

St. Thomas Aquinas, January 28

St. John Bosco, January 31

St. Joseph, the Worker, May 1

Our Lady of Fatima, May 13

St. Anthony of Padua, June 13

St. Maria Goretti, July 6

St. Kateri Tekakwitha, July 14

St. Ignatius of Loyola, July 31

St. Monica, August 27

St. Augustine, August 28

The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, September 8

St Therese of Lisieux, October 1

The Holy Guardian Angels, October 2

St. Francis of Assisi, October 4

St. John Paul II, October 22

All Saints, November 1.

 

Donna Frasier is retired from serving at Saint Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, Ruston, Louisiana. She served as Director of Religious Education and Family Activities for 17 years.