Ordinary or Ordinal time?

Hi all. Whenever I hear it’s the “whatever Sunday in Ordinary Time,” I replace the word “Ordinary” in my mind with “Ordinal”, which I think is a much better description of the season. Am I “off” in my thinking? And is Ordinal a good term for the “green” season? Just wondering about this. :slight_smile: Thanks.

In the OF Mass this is Ordinary time. However, in the EF Mass it is currently “After Pentecost” (this coming Sunday being the 8th Sunday after Pentecost) But, yes, it is the Green season, with a couple of exceptions. :slight_smile:

The Church calls it Ordinary Time, but the root of ordinary and ordinal is the same. So the meaning is basically the same but the proper term is “ordinary.”

Thank you. :tiphat: When I first came into the Church I was used to calling the season Pentecost from my Episcopalian days. The word “ordinary” sounded too ordinary for the season at that time. :stuck_out_tongue: I’ve gotten used to it, but can’t help me preferences. :wink:

I think our problem is that ordinary sounds so…ordinary. It’s dull, boring, standard, nothing special. And who wants to think of things that way? (Though, as my spiritual director reminds me from time to time, it’s also how we normally live…and it’s where we find God.)

The Church has her own vocabulary and Ordinary does not mean plain in any sense. It’s derived from the word “ordo”, which means order.

The fixed parts of the Mass is the Ordinary of the Mass.
The fixed parts of the Liturgy of the Hours is the Ordinary of the Liturgy of the Hours.
The person who exercises power over a diocese by virtue of position is known as the Ordinary of a diocese. This is the most powerful guy in your diocese, and is in almost all cases the diocesan bishop.

The trick is not to apply secular definitions to Church terms. The term “ordinary” in Church-ese is actually a loaded term which usually implies a lot of power behind it.

"Oh yes, I’ve dealt with this one. I’d been “assembling” the Universal Prayer (Prayer of the Faithful) for many years, and at one point I subtely changed the word “Ordinary” to “Ordered,” as in “ordered time.” It flew for about a year until my pastor, out of the blue, said change it back to “Ordinary. That’s what the missal says, and that’s what we call it.” He knew my “alteration” was intended to re-order (pun intended) the concept for the PiPs, but he’s a stickler sometimes for adherence. I simply said, “Yessiree, right way, Father.”

But let’s face it*–ordinary* was a mistranslation (or at least an inferior one). Ordinal would have been more accurate, and not given the mistaken notion that we mean average or plain. In the Latin original the Sundays are numbered* tempus per annum*.

I think many of us need to reconsider how we have interpreted the word “ordinary” in our daily lives. We have a tendency to think that ordinary means “unimportant”.

Well, whether we are talking about liturgical seasons, getting up and going to school, or
washing the laundry, none of those routine things are unimportant.

Some things are “important” because they are rare. Others are important because those rare things don’t happen unless those many “ordinary” pieces fall into place first.

This is true. I’ve often described myself as an “ordinary housewife.” But my function is vital, as my dh readily agrees. Each day is a gift and I try to appreciate that fact every morning as I rise and every evening as I retire.

I do think, though that a lot of people think of Ordinary Time as “time off” from Mass. It’s summer. There are places to go and things to do in the sunshine. Many don’t understand why Mass is so important if it isn’t a holiday season, such a Christmas or Easter. It just seems to me that calling the season Ordinal might disabuse these people of the idea they aren’t required to attend Masses of obligation. For many people the word ordinary is too tainted with the idea that it does mean “unimportant” therefore it can be dismissed or ignored. It might be worth a shot, anyway, in the effort to re-evangelize the Church and bring back wandering/indifferent Catholics. Just my :twocents: :slight_smile:

The other problem is that parishes treat summer like “time off” from Mass. In my parish the choir takes the summer off and comes back in September. I think in most parishes religious education programs take the summer off. In many parishes RCIA takes the summer off. It’s as if everything shuts down for an unimportant season.

I know people are away on vacations and sometimes you just need some time off from a ministry or activity, but it seems like the parishes themselves treat summer as an optional time.

I explain Ordinary Time to my students (children) in a similar way. I also help connect to “ordinal” by asking “If this is the Thirteenth Sunday what will next Sunday be? What was last Sunday?” I then talk about the ordinary thing that happens in growth. Just like their bodies continue to grow during the year, Ordinary Time is a time to take the riches we have received at Easter and GROW. I love teaching children!

Yes, there’s really no need to do this except it’s the way it’s always been done. :slight_smile: It started with the seasons of planting and reaping crops because we used to be an agrarian society. Now that we are a technical society, it’s a leftover that could be dispensed. Even many public schools have summer classes for extra credit or special types of education. If parishes did something similar, we might get more people back in the pews. And I think I just derailed my own thread! :eek::stuck_out_tongue:

It’s just that words evolve in meaning as the culture does. The word ordinary no longer means, to the general way of thinking, one who has authority, or ordinal. To most people it means unimportant. It may be helpful to get people thinking of Mass as integral to their summer plans if they think of the season as Ordinal instead of Ordinary. But, as I wrote before, this is just my opinion. :slight_smile:

At least at my parish it seems as if half the staff leaves town in the summer. That includes the priests. I know that they are doing their own vacationing but also attending/teaching classes and workshops.

I think it happens at the diocesan level too.

My parish does have a few “Summer Only” programs for the Faith Formation kids. And while the inquiry classes associated with RCIA take a break we do continue with the dismissal of the catechumens for the “Break Open the Word” sessions.

I’ve been lurking on this thread. :o

But today I cam across this Commentary. It talks about “Ordinary Time.”

Instead it is called “Ordinary Time” because the weeks are numbered. The Latin word ordinalis, which refers to numbers in a series, stems from the Latin word ordo, from which we get the English word “order.”

Ordinary Time is therefore “ordered time.” Ordinary Time begins in the weeks after Christmastide with one of two Gospel stories: John the Baptist’s acknowledgment of Christ as the Lamb of God or Christ’s first miracle — the transformation of water into wine at the wedding at Cana. These two stories remind us that Ordinary Time is the time of Eucharistic dispensation.

You might say Ordinary Time, therefore, represents the age of the Church — this long dispensation of history in which we know Christ through the sacrament of his body, the Church. It is a time in which our lives are ordered around the mystery of the Eucharist.

Read more: ncregister.com/site/article/ordinary-time-is-ordered-time/#ixzz2Z46F5WR8

I agree. What is usually used as a cognate doesn’t necessarily convey the same meaning as the Latin.

One translation that has always bothered me is the “Divine Office” (from Latin “Divinum Officium”). Cicero’s use of the word “officiis” is translated as “duties” or “obligations,” which I feel has more power behind it.

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