Liturgical Calendar, clear as mud

I’m making a list of the readings for the various Sundays of the liturgical year. I think I’ve got all the complexities ironed out (such as certain solemnities replacing Sundays of Ordinary time), except this one: In some calendar years, there are 52 Sundays; in others, there are 53 (years when Jan. 1 falls on Sunday, and leap years when it falls on Saturday). What happens when there is an “irregular” number of Sundays in a year?

*]In a year when Jan. 1 falls on Sunday (such as 2017), that first Sunday is the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God. So (I guess) that means there is no Feast of the Holy Family (the Sunday between Christmas and Jan. 1) in those years, since a Solemnity trumps a Feast. Right? :ehh:
*]There are 34 Sundays in Ordinary Time in the Lectionary. But in most years, by my figuring, there are only 33 Sundays in Ordinary Time (I think there would be 34 only in leap years in which Jan. 1 falls on Saturday, which will happen next in 2028). The last Sunday of OT is always the Solemnity of Christ the King. Is this the same as the 34th Sunday of OT? If so, which OT Sunday is skipped in most years—the 33rd? :hypno:

Thanks in advance!

  1. On such years, the feast of the Holy Family takes place on December 30th.
  2. Sundays between the last Sunday in Ordinary Time before Lent, and after Pentecost are skipped. For example, in 2015, the last week before Lent is the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time, but after Pentecost, it resumes on Monday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time (skipping the seventh).

Umm… do you mean like this?

Haha, that is the main source I am using! :smiley: I’m trying to create and self-publish a print resource that would include this information. I’m a stickler for details and am getting more “into it” than strictly necessary for my purpose. Thank you for the responses!

Ordinary Time always ends with the 34th week (which has no Sunday, it being replaced by Christ the King). The easiest way to compute the calendar after the Easter season is to count backwards from the 34th week.

The 1st week of Ordinary Time also has no Sunday. Ordinarily (heh) it is replaced by the Baptism of the Lord. In the US and other places which translate Epiphany, this is the case when Epiphany Sunday falls on 2-6 January, but when it falls on 7 or 8 January, the Baptism of the Lord is celebrated on the succeeding Monday, and Ordinary Time begins on Tuesday.

Armchair Liturgical Calendar Nerd :nerd:

Thank you… if you are an armchair Liturgical Calendar nerd, I may just have to pick your brain! I thought of another question: Is it correct to say that each liturgical season begins the evening of the previous day? After all, the first celebration of Advent is at the vigil Mass the Saturday before the First Sunday of Advent; Triduum begins Holy Thursday evening and lasts through the evening of Easter Sunday (I was astonished to learn that Easter does not technically fall during the Easter season, for which reason I am going to start calling it Eastertide), etc.

Also, will that “counting back from the 34th Sunday of OT” always steer you the right way, or are there exceptions? And I looked it up on the USCCB website and saw that this year, the Sunday before Lent was the 6th Sunday of OT, but the next numbered Sunday of OT is the 11th, falling on June 14. That means four numbered Sundays are missing (the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th). Two numbered Sundays are skipped for Trinity Sunday and Corpus Christi (May 31 and June 7, respectively), but what happened to the other two numbered Sundays? :hmmm:

Oh man. I just found online (FINALLY) the General Roman Calendar, and it says that:

  • Advent begins with evening prayer I of the Sunday falling on or closest to 30 November and ends before evening prayer I of Christmas.
  • The Christmas season runs from evening prayer I of Christmas…

Does this mean that the Mass for the First Sunday of Advent technically falls during the last few hours of Ordinary Time, and the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord is celebrated while it is still officially Advent!?

Understand, Evening Prayer I, is the evening before the day. So Evening Prayer 1 of Sunday is Saturday afternoon. So ordinary Time ends on Sat. Afternoon before the 1st Sunday of Advent, and Advent begins as: Evening Prayer 1, Vigil Mass, Morning prayer for the 1st Sunday of Advent and Evening Prayer 2 of the 1st Sunday of Advent.

Also, I find Triduum confusing. Is it a season or a Liturgy. You are welcomed on Thursday evening and dismissed after the Easter Vigil. For the Breviary states that the Easter Season BEGINS on the Morning of Easter Sunday. Not with evening prayer I before the Easter Vigil. So if Triduum is a season it goes from Thursday Evening to Saturday at the end of the Vigil. Easter does not begin the day before.

Of course it makes no difference what we call things, as long as we follow the missal.

Oh, yeah, the 40 days of preparation for the Easter vigil end within the Truduum on Sat Evening. In English these have been called Lent, but if Triduum is a season, then Lent does not contain all the days of preparation.

No. The odd man out is Lent, which begins a 0000 hours Ash Wednesday. The other oddity of Lent is that it begins with week IV of the psalter, liturgy-of-the-hours-wise. Ash Wednesday and the Thu-Sat following belong to psalter week IV, so that the First Sunday of Lent returns to psalter week I (it’s kind of like a “0th week of Lent”).

No, it always works. The last week of Ordinary Time must be week 34. Recall that Ordinary Time after Easter resumes on the Monday after Pentecost, so this year you might say that Pentecost causes the 8th Sunday to be skipped. The 7th week is omitted entirely. Most liturgical books contain a table of moveable feasts and key dates, like this one from the Bishops of England and Wales, or this one in Latin. I reproduce the header and year 2015 below:

|lectionary|cycle| | | | ||before season|of Lent|after season|of Easter| |
Year|Sunday|Weekday|Ash Wednesday|Easter|Ascension|Pentecost|Body and Blood of Christ|Number of Weeks|Ending|Beginning|Number Week|Advent Sunday 1|Year

You can see that before the season of Lent there are 6 weeks, which end 17-Feb, the day before (look over a couple of columns) Ash Wednesday on 18-Feb. The next column is usually headed something confusing like “number of weeks after Easter” but it is not the number of weeks, it is the number of the week. You can see that this year the number of the week after Easter is 8, beginning on 25-May which is the day after (look over a couple of columns) Pentecost.

If you scan a couple of such tables, you will see that the number of the week after Easter either directly succeeds the number of the week before Lent (eg 2007 or 2017), or skips one (as 2015).


19. The Easter triduum begins with the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, reaches its high point in the Easter Vigil, and closes with evening prayer on Easter Sunday.*

(It is not specific, but I have always presumed this refers to Evening Prayer II pf Easter?)

Correct. Lent, which is (as has often been the case) “approximately” 40 days,

28. Lent runs from Ash Wednesday until the Mass of the Lord’s Supper exclusive.*

But the pre-Easter fast runs from Ash Wednesday until you celebrate Easter.

(* Numbered sentences from General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar)

Or on the Sunday closest to Spring’s first full moon. :wink:

I have to ask, why not just buy an ordo for your particular geographic area?

It lists every reading, optional readins, long and short form for every day of the year.


Easter Sunday has no Evening Prayer I. There is only Evening Prayer of the Easter Sunday itself. Evening Prayer of the preceding day is Eveing Prayer of Holy Saturday.

The celebration for Easter begins with the Easter Vigil, not EP I.

No, Easter begins with the Mass of the Easter Vigil.

But he’s looking at the Triduum as a season. Think of those two seasons as overlapping by about 12 hours.

I was also looking at the Breviary which states Easter Begins with Morning Prayer on Easter, which presumes, the Triduum ended with the Easter Vigil.

The Breviary also states Triduum begins with the Mass of the Lords Supper and Evening prayer is to be said ONLY if you do not attend. Similarly for EP on Good Friday. AND there is no Evening Prayer for Easter, but there is on for Holy Saturday (not part of the Easter Season).

Thee IS Evening Prayer for Easter, on the Sunday itself.

The Breviary also says the Triduum ends with the conclusion of Evening Prayer on Easter Sunday.

Yes, the EP for Easter is on Easter Sunday.

The Easter season begins around daybreak on Easter Sunday, since by that time the Easter Vigil is supposed to be over. Yes, there are some parishes where the Vigil is a true Vigil celebrated in the dead of night and concluding at daybreak. The Triduum lasts until Evening Prayer later in the day. The two seasons overlap.

No, that would make your Triduum shorter than three days.

The Triduum is 3 days: evening of Holy Thursday to evening of Good Friday; evening of Good Friday to evening of Holy Saturday; evening of Holy Saturday to evening of Easter Sunday.