Keeping Time the Catholic Way

In my new book, Practice Makes Catholic: Moving from a Learned Faith to a Lived Faith (Loyola Press), I talk about keeping time the Catholic way. In other words, by paying attention to the liturgical calendar, we remind ourselves that time itself is sacramental, revealing the presence of God in each moment.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase that a person “is living on borrowed time.” We use this peculiar phrase when referring to someone who seems to have cheated death. I say “peculiar” because the phrase implies that the rest of us are living on our time, time that belongs to us. In Catholic thinking, there is no such thing as our own time. We believe that all time belongs to God. In fact, at the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday, which is the centerpiece of the Church year, the priest prays these words as he blesses the Easter candle:

“Christ yesterday and today, the beginning and the end, Alpha and Omega; all time belongs to him, and all the ages; to him be glory and power through every age for ever.”

All of us are living on borrowed time, all the time. The Church’s liturgical calendar is a reminder to us that all time belongs to God. And so, we do not identify days simply by the month of the year and the day of the week but in relation to events in the lives of Jesus, his mother Mary, and the saints who follow him.

With that in mind, I thought I’d share with you something that I just discovered this morning (maybe it’s already “old hat” for some of you with more tech savvy!). It’s the E-Ordo from Resource Publications – a liturgical year for electronic calendars. I downloaded it into my Outlook and it appears in my Outlook calendar, showing me what day of the liturgical year we are celebrating each day. When you click on that info, it opens up like an Outlook event, showing you more details. For example, here’s what it shows for today, Monday, April 4:

Saint Isidore, bishop and doctor of the Church

Weekday/Optional Memorial


Isaiah 65:17-21/Psalm 30:2 and 4, 5-6, 11-12a and 13b/John 4:43-54 Hours: Seasonal weekday, Sanctoral: Common of pastors or of doctors (Commemoration of saint per Directives #4, if during Lent)

It also synced beautifully with my Droid so that when I’m on the train each morning checking my calendar for the day, I’ll be reminded of what day it is according to “God’s time!” The nice thing is, you can download the previous liturgical year (2010) for free just to see how the whole things looks/works before you purchase the current year ($19.95).  This is a nice tool for catechists to keep us aware of the Church’s liturgical calendar so that we in turn can share this info with those we teach.

About Joe Paprocki 2742 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at


  1. Joe, I’d like to share a similar resource for anyone with and iPhone, iPod or iPad. There’s an App called iPieta that not only includes the liturgical calendar with daily readings and saints, it also contains the entire Bible (Douay-Rheims), several catechisms, numerous devotions and prayers (Latin and English), spiritual writings, and more. I don’t know if it would sync with a “regular” calendar, but for the low price of $2.99 I’m willing to open a separate App each day! I’ve found it easy to use and very helpful to have on the go.

  2. Joe, your spiritual insights for all of us who rae involve in the catechism ministry is very educational and informative. Yes, Basing upon our Catholic doctrine, when Jesus told His disciples, ” I am the Alpha and the Omega,” “The Beginning and The End. For us, it is easy to understand that we are only pilgrims in this beautiful planet called earth. We are here only for a limited period of time. Everything belongs to God. It is for Him to give and for Him to take away everything. We should ponder in our minds and in our hearts, that a thousand years for us to adore Him, is only one day for God. So, let us all enjoin to treat each other ,by the law of God”s love. Time is too short to enjoy the ” gift of life”.

  3. If anyone is interested, I made a calendar in Google Calendar with all of the official Saints days (based on the LOTH) as well as major days like Easter, Ash Wednesday, Christmas… It doesn’t have as much detail as that does, but it is free and works great if you use Google Calendar.

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