Preparing for a Shift in the Liturgical Year

By Jennifer Gregory Miller ( bio - articles - email ) | Jun 01, 2020 | In The Liturgical Year

Originally written for 2019, updated for 2020:

The Church is nearing the end of the Easter season. Depending on where you live, the Solemnity of the Ascension will be celebrated last Thursday or Sunday, and this Sunday closes the Easter season with the Solemnity of Pentecost. The next day begins Ordinary Time, but first with a newer feast of Our Lady, the Memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church.

I love how the Church understands our human nature and how the Liturgical Year often reflects the solar calendar/seasons of the year. Our human nature doesn’t always like to go “cold turkey.” It can be difficult to go from the Easter season of high celebration to Ordinary Time. And so June is often heavily sprinkled with many solemnities (more than any other time of the year) and special saints days. We don’t have to feel abandoned or that we have entered a penitential season. In the Temporal Cycle, Pentecost Sunday is followed by Trinity Sunday, then Corpus Christi Sunday and the following Friday is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart. And within June according to the Sanctoral Cycle, there is the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist and the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. It’s a wonderful time for adjustment; we are still in a celebratory mode, but not every day, and not a whole season, but we have individual feast days ease into Ordinary Time gently.

In both hemispheres we are experiencing a shift in seasons. In the Northern Hemisphere it is a shift into the season of summer, and also an ending of the school year. With the shift of seasons of nature comes a shift of our liturgical seasons. Pentecost ends the Easter Season. The green vestments of Ordinary Time return except for the next two Sundays. The Liturgy changes into the prayers of Ordinary Time with breaks with certain feasts. To me it mirrors a bit of what our summer time will be: vacation, family times, abbreviated schedules, intense camp or study times, time for rest, and time for projects. It’s not a time of one focal point, but interspersed with different activities or events, like the feasts of Ordinary Time in the summer.

The month of July has no solemnities. This June will have five solemnities.

I did want to mention a few liturgical notes for the month:

  1. The Pentecost Ember Days begin the Wednesday after Pentecost; they occur on June 3rd, 5th, and 6th
  2. Although not a solemnity on the General Roman Calendar, I’ve included a note on St. Anthony of Padua because I will be celebrating with Franciscans, which makes it a local celebration of a Solemnity.

I’ve included the upcoming highlights of May, June and links to my previous posts on these feast days.

Thursday, May 21 or Sunday, May 24: The Solemnity of the Ascension of our Lord

Sunday, May 31(not celebrated this year) The Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Sunday, May 31: The Solemnity of Pentecost

Wednesday, June 3, Friday, June 5 and Saturday, June 6: Pentecost Ember Days

Sunday, June 7: The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Saturday, June 13: Memorial of St Anthony of Padua, priest and doctor of the Church

Sunday, June 14: The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Friday, June 19: The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Wednesday,June 24: The Solemnity of the Birth of St. John the Baptist

Monday, June 29: The Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, apostles

Ordinary Time

Jennifer Gregory Miller is an experienced homemaker, mother, CGS catechist and authority on living the liturgical year. She is the primary developer of CatholicCulture.org’s liturgical year section. See full bio.

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