Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Your attention, please. There has been a change in the roster. Now battingbattingbatting...

The Church's calendar is actually made up of two independent calendars, one being the "sanctoral cycle" (which commemorates specific dates of the calendar - eg. St. Elizabeth Seton on January 4, or the Assumption of Mary on August 15), and the other being the "seasonal cycle" (going from Advent to Christmas to Ordinary Time to Lent to the Triduum to Easter to Ordinary Time). Like the tectonic plates of the San Andreas fault out in California, occasionally, these two calendars "rub up" against each other, producing a bit of liturgical tremor.

2008 is one of those neat years that some of the Church's feast days will fall on a Sunday, thus "bumping" the normal celebration of a Sunday of Ordinary Time and taking us out of green and into some other liturgical color. Here's when they'll occur (I feel like an astronomer telling you when you'll be able to see Saturn, or something):

  1. Sun., June 29. What would normally be the 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time will be replaced by the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul.
  2. Sun., September 14. The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross will replace the 24th Sunday of Ordinary Time.
  3. Sun., November 2. The Commemoration of All Souls will bump the 31st Sunday of Ordinary Time.
  4. Sun., November 9. The 32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time will be replaced by the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica. (If you can't see it well, drag your mouse over the words.)

This leads to another question. Fr. Ed McNamara answers liturgical questions on the Zenit News Service website, and, along the lines of what I've been saying, this morning I read this:

The original question about the feasts also brought to mind another query from a Pennsylvania priest regarding this year's calendar. The priest asked: "In 2008, All Saints' Day is a Saturday. In the United States, it is not a holy day of obligation that year. All Souls' is Sunday. The All Souls' commemoration replaces the regular Sunday Mass. What Mass is then celebrated on Saturday evening, November 1, 2008, the vigil Mass for Sunday? There is no vigil Mass for All Souls."

While All Saints' may not be a holy day of obligation, it is still a solemnity listed in the general calendar. It thus has precedence over the commemoration of the Faithful Departed, which is a celebration in a class of its own.

The Liturgy of the Hours is taken from All Saints', although where the custom exists of celebrating public vespers for the dead after the vespers of All Saints', this custom may be maintained. Likewise, when Nov. 2 falls on a Sunday, the Liturgy of the Hours is that of the current Sunday although it may be substituted by the office for the dead in public recitation.

If we may be guided by the indications offered in Rome's liturgical calendar, then all Masses offered on Nov. 1 would be those of All Saints'. The usual indication of the
Saturday evening Mass is missing, and the celebration of the commemoration of the Faithful Departed is celebrated only on Sunday, Nov. 2.

The calendar also suggests that even though this commemoration falls on a Sunday, in virtue of its unique character, the Glory and Creed are omitted.

Since All Saints' is not a day of obligation, and has all the characteristics of a Sunday, I believe that a diocese could decide that those who attend evening Mass on Saturday, Nov. 1, have fulfilled their Sunday obligation even though the Mass formulas are those of All Saints'.

1 comment:

Unknown said...


This is more confusing then learning how to knit.