Some Brief Notes on the Extraordinary Form Calendar


  1. The 1962 Roman Missal is said using the General Roman Calendar of 1960, promulgated by St. John XXIII’s motu proprio Rubricarum instructum (English*).
  2. The term “Ordinary Time” was coined to describe “green” Sundays in the post-concilar calendar. These times are identified respectively as “Sundays After Epiphany” and “Sundays After Pentecost” in the traditional calendar.
    1. Likewise, the Sundays in the Easter Season are identified as “Sundays After Easter,” rather than “Sundays of Easter,” so the number of the week is always one more than in the modern calendar, in which Easter Sunday itself is “first.”
  3. Where are the solemnities? The modern calendar changed the terminology governing days of the liturgical year. The 1960 calendar (itself a simplification of an older system) categorizes days as either “Sundays,” “feasts,” or “ferias” (weekdays) organized into “classes” to determine precedence.
  4. There are Too Many Purple Weeks on this Wheel. The three Sundays before Ash Wednesday are the season of Septuagesima, or “pre-Lent.” Liturgically this seasons resembles Lent, with purple vestments and no Gloria or Alleluia. Its institution is attributed to Pope St. Gregory the Great (+604).
  5. Ashes I know, but Embers? From at least the late 5th century, a set of three days in each season was set aside in Rome for fasting and penance: these “Ember Days” were the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday immediately following the first Sunday in Lent, Pentacost, the Exaltation of the Cross (9/14), and the feast of St. Lucy (12/13). Thus, the old poem: “Fasting days and Emberings be / Lent, Whitsun, Holyrood, and Lucie.”

The best liturgical calendar image for the Extraordinary Form is not the one appended above, but Michelle Quigley’s, here. Update: It appears Mrs. Quigley is no longer able to update her liturgical calendars on a year-to-year basis, but one can get the idea of the calendar’s layout by looking at her old examples at the link.


* From all appearances this is an unofficial translation, for which your scribe cannot vouch.


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