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How Can We Make Ordinary Time Less Ordinary?


While most seasons in the liturgical year carry their own special rituals, holidays, or themes, Ordinary Time can feel a little more mundane to some. That’s what prompted a listener to ask Father Dave the following question: “I appreciate all of the feasts and seasons of the Church, but what suggestions do you have to make Ordinary Time less ordinary?”

Right off the bat, Father Dave has one suggestion: “Go on a pilgrimage! As I prepare to go on one myself], I am not feeling this week to be ordinary in the least. … I realize that not everybody can afford to go on pilgrimages — we’re going all over the world. But a pilgrimage doesn’t have to be getting on a plane and flying to Greece, dropping significant coin, and taking two weeks off of work. … The notion of pilgrimage is to be on a journey. Pope Francis talks about accompanying people on their journeys — our journey with God is also a journey. … Make a pilgrimage to your own cathedral. Other than the people who regularly attend Mass at the cathedral in your own diocese, [how often do you do that]? If it’s an hour away if it’s 15 minutes away if you’ve been there a lot of times before — it’s still for us, as Catholics, kind of a central hub of the sacramental life of the diocese. A lot of people live far — four hours or six hours — from where their cathedral is. So, while that’s not quite as easy, it’s certainly not flying to Athens! So, a way to make Ordinary Time less ordinary would be to add something special, not because it’s required…”

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Father Dave also says: “If we’re chiefly experiencing Ordinary Time in our experience of Sunday mass, well how about you make some difference at Sunday mass? Maybe just for the summer, you volunteer to be an usher. Many places scale back their music ministry during the summer. Maybe if you’ve got a violin or a guitar or a piano, you can say, ‘Well, I’ll help out, because the main choir takes a couple months off.’ It’ll be less ordinary if you’re working your butt off getting the music ready for Mass every Sunday!”

Another idea might be to integrate some of the practices from other liturgical seasons: “The things we intentionally add [into our lives because they’re] customary, like for instance during Lent, we can do and probably should do during Ordinary Time. [Ask yourself], ‘What thing can I drop out of my life that’s going to give me more time for God?’ You can do that during Ordinary Time. You probably should! (Original Air 06-16-17)