Why is it called "Ordinary Time " as opposed to weeks after Epiphany or Pentecost now?


This is one thing I really don’t like about the new Mass. Why do we call it ordinary time? Is anything liturgically speaking just ordinary throughout the year?

I’m not talking down the new Mass but I definitely prefer the Tridentine Mass formula of calling those Sundays after the Epiphany or Sundays after Pentecost.


I believe “ordinary” is from the Latin root word for ordinal numbers (the ones we use to count with i.e. One, two, three).
It doesn’t mean regular or common.


I thought it was more in the sense that it is not an especially penitent (e.g. Lent) or celebratory season (e.g. Easter).


I wish I could give you a reference–I seem to remember hearing this on ETWN, but that might be a false memory LOL


I’m also far from sure.


Google ordinary time catholic encyclopedia brings up several articles and a few suprisingly good blogs to help clarify this.



It doesn’t mean ordinary in the sense of unimportant. That said, I do prefer the ‘weeks after’ counting system. My old Protestant Church did that and I liked it. It seems a more traditional way of counting such as the two thousand and seventeenth year of our Lord. A.D. means this but it gets overlooked and with the whole Common Era nonsense outright rejected.


Google links appear to confirm that you are right.


Ordinary comes from the term for ordinal numbers.


Woo hoo!!!

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Has anyone said “ordinal” yet? :stuck_out_tongue:

As you said, it used to be Second Sunday after Epiphany, Third Sunday after Epiphany… First Sunday after Pentecost, second Sunday after Pentecost, third Sunday after Pentecost… Those are ordinal numbers, just like we have now, but instead of re-starting the count after a certain feast, we just keep going.

Last week was the Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time. Today would have been the Thirty-Fourth Sunday, but instead, we had the Solemnity of Christ the King. (White, not green.) Tomorrow, however, is the Monday of the Thirty-Fourth Week of Ordinary Time.

Interestingly enough, the First Week of Ordinary time starts with Epiphany. But it’s the Epiphany, so we wear white, not green. The day after Epiphany is the Baptism of the Lord. So more white. You don’t actually hit green until the third day, which this year, was January 10th-- Tuesday of the First Week of Ordinary Time. The next Sunday, things are back to normal with the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time.

So instead of counting x number of weeks after Epiphany, and then counting y number of weeks after Pentecost, we have just the one running count of “ordinary time” which is ordinary… because it’s ordinal… first, second, third.


That’s interesting. Thanks for the information.

Yah If I’m not mistaken I believe in the Old calendar the Epiphany was it’s own " season" for a week, as in the week after would be "Monday of Epiphany etc.
I know it worked that way for Pentecost as well. Now ordinary time starts following the day of the solemnity. The Epiphany is a Holy Day of Obligation according to the Vatican but like a few others has been moved to the closest Sunday now.


The Ordinariate retains the use of, _ Sunday after Epiphany, _ Sunday after Trinity and the -gesima Sundays (pre-Lent). It can sometimes become a little confusing if attending say an OF Mass, an EF Mass and an Ordinariate Use Mass within the same week!


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