The Church has its own way of marking the passing of time and the liturgical season of the year. In one liturgical year we as Catholics recall and celebrate the whole life of Jesus Christ. The liturgical year is the Church’s year, based on the life of Christ and the celebration of his life in the liturgy.
Ordinary Time is the longest season of the liturgical year. During Ordinary Time we celebrate the whole life of Christ and learn the meaning of living as his disciples. We reflect on and celebrate the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, making Catholic Ordinary Time is an extraordinary time to learn and follow the teachings of Christ in our daily lives and to grow as his disciples. We also learn about and celebrate the lives of the saints.
Ordinary Time is an extraordinary time
to learn and follow the teachings of Christ!
The season of Ordinary Time is divided into two periods, with the first falling between the end of the Christmas season and the start of Lent, and the second at this time of year, between Pentecost and the start of Advent.
Ordinary in the sense of Ordinary Time is derived from the word ordinal, meaning “to count.” We call Ordinary Time ordinary because the weeks are named in number order: The Second Sunday in Ordinary Time follows the First Sunday in Ordinary Time, and so on. During the season of Ordinary Time, the Lectionary readings focus on the ministry and teachings of Jesus.
Liturgies celebrated during the different seasons of the liturgical year have distinctive music and specific readings, prayers, and rituals. All of these work together to reflect the spirit of the particular season. The colors of the vestments that the priest wears during the liturgy also help express the character of the mysteries being celebrated. Green, seen everywhere in plants and trees and symbolizing the life and hope that comes from Christ, is used during Ordinary Time. Ask the students in your religious education program to notice the special ways we celebrate Ordinary Time during the celebration of Mass. You may want to review the Liturgical Colors Mini Lesson and Activity with the students in your religious education program. Get the download in Spanish!
Ordinary Time invites us to be better able to give witness to the Good News of Jesus Christ in our “normal” or everyday lives. In this way, Ordinary Time can present a challenge. For children, it can lack the influx of activity and holiday excitement of the other liturgical seasons.
To help make Ordinary Time an extraordinary experience for the students in your religious education program, download a Making Ordinary Time Extraordinary eBook & Prayer Service. Together these resources contain simple ideas and an engaging prayer experience to help children and students understand the beauty and importance of Ordinary Time.
To help Catholic kids learn about the season of Ordinary Time, you can also download a printable A Prayer for Ordinary Time Activity. Ideal for children in the intermediate elementary grades, the activity will especially appeal to linguistic, intrapersonal, and musical learners. This activity is also suitable for families to do together!
The A Prayer for Ordinary Time Activity prompts kids to complete a prayer asking Jesus for guidance in the season of Ordinary Time. Once they have written unique lines to their prayers, the activity encourages them to enhance the prayer with a tune or beat, and the addition of actions or movements. Children can work individually to enhance their prayers, or in pairs or small groups, depending on the size of the group you have available.
To plan and implement A Prayer for Ordinary Time Activity, prepare a copy of the activity sheet for each child and gather art materials that can be used to decorate completed prayers.
Allow time for kids to complete the activity and color in or decorate their prayer cards, or do it together. After completing the activity, if possible, gather together in the prayer space for a simple prayer service. Take turnings reading or singing aloud completed prayers, accompanied by the movements chosen. You may choose to close the prayer service by singing together a traditional song.
Take time during the extraordinary liturgical season of Ordinary Time to reflect on and celebrate the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, and learn and live out the meaning of living as his disciples.