Ask Ambrose: Liturgical Prepositions

Prayer Book Collect

Q: I have noticed a difference in how the liturgical seasons are titled—the First Sunday in Advent, the First Sunday after the Epiphany, etc. What’s that all about?

A: Prepositions play a big part in how we “title” the Sundays in the liturgical year. The Sundays in the seasons of Advent and Easter are a part of the season, so you see the First Sunday of Advent, the Fourth Sunday of Easter.

Epiphany is considered “Ordinary Time” which means that Sundays are counted after a major feast, so we have the Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, for example. The Sundays after the Day of Pentecost likewise are Ordinary Time so we have the Second Sunday after Pentecost through the Seventy-Third Sunday after Pentecost. (Just kidding!)

In Lent, however, the Sundays are in Lent, not of Lent. As you may know, there are forty days in the season of Lent; however, Sundays are not included in the count. That is why they are in Lent but not of Lent.