The Church is about to enter 34 weeks of “Ordinary Time”. But “ordinary” doesn’t have to mean boring or run-of-the-mill. Catholics can, if they wish, live this period in extraordinary, fruitful and fascinating ways.
The early part of Ordinary Time covers summer, the high season for pilgrimages. Many dioceses will be organising pilgrimages to Marian shrines such as Lourdes, in particular, since they prove so beneficial not only to the sick and elderly who seek healing but also to the many young people who accompany them. The young often discover an enduring sense of inter-generational solidarity after witnessing, sometimes for the first time, the unfolding of true Christian charity there.
Summer can also be a great time for walking pilgrimages and study. It is from such activities that the word “holiday” (holy day) has come into the English language.
Ordinary Time during the months when people rest can be a remarkable time of gratitude and adoration as well as fun, especially if holiday-makers are able to spend time appreciating the majesty of God in creation.
It is a way to find the inner peace that can elude so many people during their working lives, and assist healing and restoration ahead of those weeks of Ordinary Time that plunge towards winter and halt at Advent.