In the liturgy of the Roman Rite as revised in 1969, Ordinary Time, in Latin Tempus per annum, is that part of the liturgical year which falls outside of the two great seasons, Christmastide and Eastertide with their preparatory seasons of Advent and Lent. Thus, the Ordinary Time of the liturgical years includes the days between Christmastide and Lent, and between Eastertide and Advent. The last Sunday of Ordinary Time is the Solemnity of Christ the King. The liturgical color assigned to Ordinary Time is green.
The word "ordinary" as used here comes from the ordinal numerals by which the weeks are identified or counted, from the 1st week of Ordinary Time in January to the 34th week that begins toward the end of November; Ordinary Time is interrupted by Lent and Eastertide.
In the ordinary form of the Roman Rite, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which ordinarily occurs on the Sunday after the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord (6 January), begins Ordinary Time and closes the Season of Christmas. The weekdays that follow the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord are reckoned as belonging to the first week of Ordinary Time which continues until the Tuesday that immediately precedes Ash Wednesday.
After Eastertide the Ordinary Time resumes on the Monday after the Solemnity of Pentecost. In regional calendars where Whitmonday is a Day of Obligation, Ordinary Time and the use of the liturgical colour Green may begin on the following Tuesday. Depending on where the first Sunday of Advent falls between 27 November and 3 December, the Ordinary Time may have 33 or 34 weeks.
The decision to treat the whole of Ordinary Time as a unit led to abandonment of the previous terminology, whereby the Sundays of the first period were called Sundays after Epiphany and those of the second period Sundays after Pentecost.
Solemnities, feasts and commemorations
The celebration of an Ordinary Time weekday gives way to that of any solemnity, feast, or obligatory memorial that falls on the same day, and may optionally be replaced by that of a non-obligatory memorial or of any saint mentioned in the Roman Martyrology for that day.
The solemnities, feasts, and commemorations of the General Roman Calendar which may, according to the Ranking of liturgical days in the Roman Rite, replace a Sunday of the Ordinary time are:
- Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on 2 February
- Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity on the Sunday after Pentecost
- Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist on 24 June
- Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul on 29 June
- Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord on 6 August
- Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on 15 August
- Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on 14 September
- Solemnity of All Saints on 1 November
- Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed on 2 November
- Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome on 9 November
The Universal Norms on the Liturgical Year and the General Roman Calendar also lists as proper solemnities (which outrank in the relevant church building or community Sundays in Ordinary Time):
- The Solemnity of the principal patron of the place, city, or state
- The Solemnity of the dedication and the anniversary of the dedication of one's own church
- The Solemnity of the title of one's own church
- The Solemnity either of the title or of the founder or of the principal Patron of an Order or Congregation.
Revised Common Lectionary usage
Following the lead of the liturgical reforms of the Roman Rite, many Protestant churches also adopted the concept of an Ordinary Time alongside the Revised Common Lectionary, which applies the term to the period between Pentecost and Advent. However, use of the term is not common.
Some Protestant denominations set off a time at the end of Ordinary Time known as Kingdomtide or Season of End Times. This period can range anywhere from only the three Sundays prior to Christ the King (as in the Wisconsin Synod Lutheran) to 13 or 14 weeks (most notably in the United Methodist Church). The Church of England observes this time between All Saints and Advent Sunday.
In some traditions, what in the Roman Rite is the first period of Ordinary Time is called Epiphanytide (beginning on Epiphany Day in the Anglican Communion and Methodist churches) and from Trinity Sunday to Advent is called Trinitytide. In the Church of England, Sundays during "Ordinary Time" in this narrower sense are called "Sundays after Trinity", except the final four, which are termed "Sundays before Advent". In the Episcopal Church (United States), it is normal to refer to Sundays after Epiphany and Sundays after Pentecost (not Trinity).
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.
- Universal Norms on the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, 43
- What Ordinary Time Means in the Catholic Church, 2018, retrieved 4 January 2020,
Ordinary Time is called "ordinary" not because it is common but simply because the weeks of Ordinary Time are numbered.
- The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord ordinarily occurs on the Sunday after the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord (6 January) in places where the latter is a holy day of obligation; where it is not a holy day of obligation, it is celebrated on the Sunday after the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (1 January), and if this Sunday falls on 7 or 8 January, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord is moved to the following day, the second Monday of the year.
- Universal Norms on the Liturgical Year and the General Roman Calendar: Table of liturgical days according to their order of precedence, p. 13
- 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 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.
- "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.
- "Trinitytide". Merriam-Webster. 5 June 2016. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
Definition of Trinitytide: the season of the church year between Trinity Sunday and Advent