Avoiding post-Pentecost breviary trauma

Now that  the grand finale of the Easter season, namely Pentecost, has passed us by, one might tend to think that things go “back to normal” in the liturgy. After all, we do call it “Ordinary Time”, right?

But no, not exactly. For one thing, the term “ordinary” in  “Ordinary Time”  does not quite correspond to the, um, ordinary definition: routine, normal, business-as-usual. It mostly refers to the fact that the Sundays and weeks are numbered, or “ordered”. (Although we certainly can feel the contrast between the solemn events of the previous holy seasons as compared to ordinary time, so we’re not entirely wrong to feel that Ordinary time is somewhat ordinary in the popular English sense of the word.)

For another thing, for those who use mostly  hard copy breviaries, rather than rely on breviary websites to do their work for them, the next week or so can be among the most confusing of the entire year. Although we enter Ordinary time as of Monday, there are no Sundays of Ordinary Time until the middle of June!  All this makes for plenty of head scratching as we flip here and there trying to figure things out.

So just keep an eye on your parish calendar if you forget what week we’re in. Or print  this post and keep it in your book.

Monday starts the 8th week of ordinary time, using week IV of the Psalter. There is no 8th Sunday because of Pentecost.

Next Sunday is Trinity Sunday. (with its own special liturgy in the proper of Seasons. DON’T use the 9th Sunday. Continue with the 9th week (Psalter week I) on Monday.

The Sunday after (6/10) that is Corpus Christi (with its own special liturgy), so DON”T use the 10th Sunday of Ordinary time. Continue on Monday with the 10th week and week II of the Psalter.

The next Sunday, June 17th, we finally get a Sunday of Ordinary Time, the 11th. Now you are fully back in Ordinary Time. (Psalter week III)

Oops! Except that Sunday, June 24th, is the Solemnity of the birth of John the Baptist. So once again, a special liturgy, and back to the Psalter, week IV on Monday, as you continue with the 12th week in ordinary time.

Then we shall be back to nothing but Sundays in Ordinary time clear through until Christ the King in November.

Hope this is helpful.






Daria Sockey


Daria Sockey is a freelance writer from western Pennsylvania. Her articles have appeared in many Catholic publications. She authored several of the original Ignatius Press Faith and Life catechisms in the 1980s, and more recently wrote five study guides for saints' lives DVDs distributed by Ignatius Press. She now writes regularly for the newly revamped Catholic Digest. Her newest book, The Everyday Catholic's Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours, will be published by Servant Books this spring. Feel Free to email her at thesockeys@gmail.com

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  • Simple formula to know what week we start in after Pentecost:

    46 – number_of_full_or_partial_weeks_between_Easter_and_Christmas

    I can explain why it works if desired. This year there are 37 and a bit weeks between Easter and Christmas – so 38 full or partial weeks. 46 – 38 = 8. Monday (yesterday for us in New Zealand) was Monday of week 8 of ordinary time.