Silly question about Ordinary Time

How come there’s no First Sunday in Ordinary Time? I noticed next Sunday is the 2nd one. :ehh:

Ordinary TIme starts on the Monday after the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Therefore, the Sunday reckoned as the “Second Sunday” in Ordinary Time is really the Sunday that starts the second week of Ordinary Time.

There is no First Sunday in Ordinary Time because OT starts on Monday.

Someone can correct me since I’m doing this without looking. The First Sunday of Ordinary Time would be the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, it is called by it’s Feast name, not just a Sunday in OT. This happens in the U.S. sometimes because many feast days are moved to Sunday instead of actually landing on the specific date where they belong in the universal calendar. I’m not sure if this is the case today however.

I believe there is no First Sunday of Easter in the OF either. In the EF, it would be the First Sunday AFTER Easter.

The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord is in the Christmas Octave.

Ordinary Time begins on Monday.


I’m sorry, but the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord does not occur within the Christmas octave.

The word “octave” means “eight,” and where the calendar is concerned, it refers to a period of eight days.

The Church celebrates only two octaves: Christmas and Easter. The Christmas octave begins on December 25th, and ends on January 1st, the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ (which has become the Feast of Mary, the Mother of God in some countries).

As a side note, the Season of Christmas spans twelve days. It begins on December 25th, and it ends on January 6th, the Feast of Epiphany.

It is difficult to keep track of holy days in the United States, but as far as I know, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord can never occur during the Christmas season (and certainly never within the Christmas octave).

May the Lord bless you!

You are right. Christmas and Easter each have an Octave (of eight days, as the term implies) and each has a greater season that continues thereafter. Our two great feasts cannot be properly celebrated in just one day, I guess. Both get an octave.

I believe it used to be true that Christmastide ended with the Feast of the Epiphany, but the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord ends Christmastide on the current Church calendar. Similarly, the Octave of Easter ends with the Second Sunday of Easter (aka Divine Mercy Sunday), but the Easter season ends with Pentecost Sunday, a solemnity.

We might consider that in the same sense there is no “last” Sunday of Ordinary Time, either. On the current calendar, the Sunday that falls immediately before the First Sunday of Advent is the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King.

USCCB has the full liturgical calendar for the US posted on their web site:

The Baptism of the Lord is the 1st Sunday in Ordinary Times.

In my Daily Roman Missal it clearly states:

Sunday after January 6
Baptism of the Lord
First Sunday in Ordinary Times.

We tend to think that the feast of the Baptism of the Lord must be either exclusively in the Christmas season or exclusively in ordinary time.

But that’s our modern thinking.

The feast of the Baptism of the Lord “marks” the end of the Christmas season and the beginning of Ordinary Time. To the best of my knowledge, the Church does not feel the need to place the feast in either this season or that. In many ways it belongs to both.

I’m in Canada but I’m sure it’s the same here. Now I get it :wink:

That was my thinking but didn’t have anything to look at with me.

It is within the SEASON of Christmas, but not within the OCTAVE of Christmas.

That is my sense, too, although the USCCB calendar puts Jan. 10 in the Christmas season. For the purpose of the Liturgy of the Hours, ordinary time starts on Jan. 11 this year. Our pastor has the Christmas decorations left up until the Masses were over on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

I think it’s partly because calendars tend to be rather exclusive. :smiley: The bishops had to put it somewhere.

I mean what would you do for days that belonged to multiple seasons? Would they be light green rather than green or white? Can you imagine what purple would look like if mixed with green?

I know that the USCCB has January 10 as part of the Christmas season. But I know that was not the case for the Baptism of the Lord under the old calendar.

Yes, I misspoke (mis-wrote?). I was thinking season and wrote “octave” which of course it is not.

That is right, the calendar has been changed.

The Baptism of the Lord is a feast day, which means white vestments–OK, in the case of feasts of martyrs, the Cross, or the Holy Spirit, red–but not green, even if it had been a feast day celebrated during Ordinary Time. In other words, the vestments would have been white, even outside of the Christmas season. As far as vestments go, the Mass said will indicate one color or another. If a feast day for a martyr is celebrated, red vestments are called for, no matter what season the feast falls in. No mixing white and green or green and red. Even when a choice exists, the vestments are still supposed to clearly be a single identifiable liturgical color. (Note: No one needs to point out that some vestments violate this rule. There is not a special diocesan police force inspecting the sacristy closets.)


Thank you for the link to the USCCB’s calendar. I have downloaded a copy.

To all,

I also have a copy of the Daily Roman Missal, and it contains special readings for the weekdays between Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord. The instructions state:

In places where the Epiphany is celebrated on the Sunday between January 2 and 8, the Readings [sic.] given below for each day of the week are used between the Solemnity of the Epiphany and the following Sunday (Baptism of the Lord).

In places where the Epiphany is celebrated on January 6, the readings for each day of the month (January 7-12) are given below between brackets ]. After the Baptism of the Lord (Sunday after Epiphany) the Ordinary Time begins and from that day the readings given below for January 7-12 are omitted.

Also, the Mass for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord is the last Mass contained in the Christmas Season section of the missal.

I don’t know if the instructions in the missal mean that the Christmas Season can last until January 12th, but it looks like it. I know that the Church used to have what it called “ferial days,” but I don’t know if that term applies (applied) to the “odd” days that fall between a major holy day and the end of a season (i.e., a holy day that occurs on a Sunday).

A similar issue will come up again at the beginning of Lent. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, and then there are three “odd” days until the first Sunday of Lent. The Daily Roman Missal does not have any specific instructions for these days, and the Masses are simply titled, “Thursday after Ash Wednesday,” “Friday after Ash Wednesday,” etc.


This is the First Week of Ordinary Time; there is no Sunday in it. There is a Sunday in the Second Week of Ordinary Time. We count the weeks, not the Sundays.

Skill testing question: what happens when the Baptism of the Lord falls on a Monday :smiley:

I’m so glad to be in an Eastern Catholic Church where we don’t move any feast days to Sundays! All we have to worry about is whether we’re on the Julian calendar, the Gregorian calendar, or the Revised Julian calendar. :smiley:

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