Ordinary Time

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What's so ordinary about Ordinary Time?

In a Church whose traditions stretch back approximately 2,000 years, it may come as a surprise to many to learn that the term “Ordinary Time” was introduced in 1969, at the Second Vatican Council. Prior to this designation, the seasons after Easter were known as “the time following Pentecost;” the period between Epiphany and Ash Wednesday were known as “the time following Epiphany.” The two seasons of Ordinary time fall from Christmas/Epiphany to Lent (in January/February) and Pentecost to Advent(from June through November). These seasons are ever-green in color (see image above). Ordinary Time represents the largest liturgical season — by far: 33-34 weeks (over 235 days).

We tend to think of that which is ordinary as commonplace, regular – no big deal. However, the Church used this term precisely. Ordinary comes from a mathematical term: ordinal – showing numbered order in a sequence. Its roots lie in the Latin ordinalis, which means order of succession. In fact, the book of instruction for daily services in the Church is called the Ordinal.

So Ordinary for our Church has nothing to do with commonplace: It has everything to do with how we count our days.  (from Liturgicalyear )

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