Christmas or Ordinary Time

How is it that we are still in the Christmas season, until the Presentation of the Lord-Feb 2nd, but are in ordinary time as of the day after the Epiphany?

Christmas season is over, Baptism of the Lord is also the first Sunday of the Year (first Sunday in ordinary time)

Traditionally, the broader Christmas season is until Feb 2 (Purification). This is when the Vatican takes down their creche. Until Feb 2nd the Marian antiphon is the one for Christmas (Alma Redemptoris Mater).

However liturgically, Christmas lasts until Ephiphany. The eve of Epiphany begins “Epiphanytide.” After the Baptism of the Lord on January 13th, ends Epiphanytide and begins “tempus per annum” which lasts until Septuagemisa.

In the revised / modern / Novus Ordo / Ordinary Form calendar, this has all been changed and doesn’t really make much sense to many people. Christmas ends with Ephiphany, but need not be 12 days as it always was because Epiphany is not on January 6 anymore. Then there is the Baptism of the Lord on the Sunday and this is the real ending of the Christmas season; it is the first day of “Ordinary Time.” There is no more Septuagemisa in the OF calendar, so this Ordinary Time continues until Ash Wednesday.

The last day of the liturgical season of Christmas was the Baptism of the Lord, which was January 9. Ordinary time began Monday, January 10.

Puzzleannie, there is no 1st Sunday in Ordinary time, because the Sunday of the 1st week of Ordinary time is in the Christmas season. (It’s the last day of the Christmas season.) The following Sunday is called the second Sunday of Ordinary time because it is the Sunday of the 2nd week of Ordinary time.

That depends on what you are/where you are. In the abbey I am affiliated with, Epiphany is still celebrated on January 6. Many countries still celebrate Epiphany on Jan. 6 where it is a public holiday. Obviously in a monastery they are not tied to secular work schedules so can maintain the tradition. In countries where it is a public holiday, the faithful are able to attend Mass, whereas that may be difficult in places where it isn’t a public holiday.

It’s is :confused:2011 right? Why does there seem to be so much confusion on dates and times within the Church? I know I’m very much far away from understanding every single date, but I’m trying. I know very many people in the Catholic Church that have no idea what dates are which and why. I’m looking for a good book to explain all these confusion dates and an explanation to why dates change year in and year out. I hate being confused over all this.

It seems that in the USA the Latin Catholic Church has moved it to the previous Sunday. But the Eastern Catholic Churches still have Epiphany on January 6, called Theophany, and with abstinance/fasting and a Vigil the day before (including Royal Hours) in the Byzantine Church!

The Nativity -Circumcision-Theophany period covers the early life of Our Lord up to the Baptism by Saint John. Eastern Catholic Nativity prefestive to end of postfestive is 12 days: Dec 20 - Dec 31, then Circumcision Jan 1, Theophany prefestive to end of postfestive is 13 days, since the postfestive Theophany extends to January 14.

numbers = pre/post festive day
N Nativity
C Circumcision
T Theophany

There really is no confusion on dates. What you are seeing here is liturgical calendar differences between the Ordinary Form, Extraordinary Form, and Eastern Catholic liturgies. If you stick with one liturgical calendar, then you will learn the dates associated with it with no confusion.

I think you are saying that in the EF liturgical calender, you have Christmastide, and then Epiphanytide until the the presentation/purification of Mary, and the Christmas decorations really incorporate both of these seasons. In the OF liturgical calender, ordinary form start at the time Epiphanytide started (so Epiphanytide was in essence removed), but the Christmas decorations actually now extend into Ordinary time, and the Presentation of the Lord. IIs this correct?

The Vatican Christmas Decorations stay up until the Presentation of the Lord on Feb. 2nd, so there is more to the story.

To clarify:
In the modern Roman Calendar, the Christmas Season officially liturgically ends after the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which is followed by Ordinary Time.

However, there are other ways to consider Christmastide:
The Octave of Christmas, from Dec 25 to Jan 1
The 12 days of Christmas, from Dec 25 to the Epiphany (traditionally Jan 6)
The much longer 40 days until the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on February 2.
The Alma Redemptoris Mater is the Marian Antiphon traditionally said after Compline (Night Prayer) from the First Sunday of Advent through to the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. This is still customary, but no longer required; there are other Marian Antiphons that could be said instead.

The idea of having a Feast associated with Christmas but outside of Christmastide is similar to the fact that the Solemnities of the Holy Trinity, Corpus Christi, and Most Sacred Heart of Jesus follow the Easter Season but are not part of it.

The unclean period for male births was 40 days, so the Presentation (Purification) is 40 days after the Nativity.

Dec 25 - Nativity of Our Lord (Bethlehem)
Dec 28 - The Holy Innocents (Dec 29 - Holy Innocents, Byzantine Catholic Church)
Jan 1 * - Circumcision of Our Lord, Byzantine Catholic Church
Jan 6 ** - Visit of the Magi (Nazareth) / Baptism of Our Lord *** / Wedding at Cana
Feb 2 - Presentation of Our Lord (Jerusalem) = Nativity + 40 days

  • Latin Church removed this from the calendar in 1955
    ** Latin Church transfers this to Sunday in USA, Byzantine Catholic Theophany
    *** 1955 Latin Church made Baptism independent

That’s pretty much what I’m saying, except in the OF calendar though there is no Epiphanytide, the Christmas season continues until the Baptism … so there is no clear correlation with the Epiphanytide of the EF calendar. I’m trying hard not to phrase it confusingly, but the fact is that a lot was changed, so there’s no easy way to equate “x” in the OF with “y” in the EF.

For a better explanation see this great article:

The missalettes and online guides are incorrect.

See the General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar

  1. Ordinary Time begins on Monday after the Sunday following 6 January and continues until Tuesday before Ash Wednesday inclusive…

It’s printed on the opening pages of every Sacramentary and Lectionary.

Likewise, in the Sacramentary (page 73), the Mass text for the Baptism of the Lord has the following rubric: “Ordinary time begins on the Monday following this Sunday…”

See also the Liturgy of the Hours. On page 644 of the 4-volume set, you’ll see the following rubric: “After the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Ordinary Time begins.”

The Baptism of the Lord takes the place of the 1st Sunday in Ordinary Time, but it is not itself the 1st Sunday.

Missale Romanum 1962 Calendar

  • December 25: On the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, I class with an octave
  • December 28: IV day within the octave of the Nativity of the Lord: The Holy Innocents, II class.
  • January 1: Octave of the Nativity of the Lord, I class.
  • January 6: On the Epiphany of the Lord, I class. (transferred to Sunday in the USA)
  • Sunday after Nativity of the Lord and before Epiphany, else January 2: The most holy Name of Jesus, II class.
  • 1st Sunday after Epiphany: The most holy Family of Jesus, Mary, Joseph, II class.
  • February 2: On the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, II class.

After the first Sunday after Epiphany is “Ordinary Time” with the ordinary form and “after Epiphany” with the extraordinary form calendar (1962) up utill Septuagesima Sunday (for extraordinary form).

Pope Benedict XVI clears it up:

In the Liturgical sense it ends with the Baptism of the Lord

But he notes that in the Broad sense it goes til Feb 2

Rome has spoken the matter is closed…:slight_smile:

Well, that explains it. This is what our pastor had said the week before, after being asked when the decorations would come down. I, too, was puzzled, Annie, when I noticed that on the calendar and in the missalette that January 16, 2011 was the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time. It seemed logical that January 9th would be the First Sunday in Ordinary time. We don’t get the notations in our missalette like that was explained in the Sacramentary and Lectionary. Now I see.

That was the point I was trying to resolve in my mind - the Christmas decorations going until the Presentation/Purfication (Feb. 2nd) makes sense, as this feast would still be related to Birth of Christ (Christmastide and then Epiphanytide - also related to the Birth). It seems that the ordinary time starting after the Epiphany in the new liturgical calender, is more out of place than the Christmas decorations being up until the Presentation/Purification.

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