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Feast Days

As Catholics there are many levels of feast days that we celebrate during the liturgical year. This past Tuesday we celebrated the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary which is a Solemnity and a Holy Day of Obligation. A Solemnity is the highest rank of feast days, celebrating a mystery of the faith, an event in the life of the Lord Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary or another important saint. A Holy Day of Obligation is a feast day in which all the faithful are obligated to celebrate the Eucharist as they are on all Sundays throughout the year. The Gloria is sung during Mass on Solemnities marking the festivity with a more formal praise and honor of God. Special readings are chosen for the mass highlighting the feast.

Posted on August 18, 2017


The other rankings of feast days on the liturgical calendar are called Feast, Obligatory Memorial, and Optional Memorial.  This coming week we will be celebrating feast days in all three of those categories.  Monday, August 21, is the feast of St. Pius X, Pope, and Tuesday, August 22 is the feast of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary, both of which are Obligatory Memorials.  When celebrating Mass on days that are Obligatory Memorials we are obligated to celebrate the feast in honor the Saint of the day.  The prayers for the Mass for the Saint being remembered that day are used and often the readings from the lectionary are special readings chosen for the particular feast.

Thursday, August 24, is the Feast of St. Bartholomew, Apostle. This is a major Feast Day.  As we celebrate Mass on Feast days we sing the Gloria as we do on days that are Solemnities.  The prayers for Mass:  the Opening prayer, Prayer over the gifts, and the Prayer after Communion, are special prayers for the Feast.  Likewise, the Lectionary readings are specific readings chosen for the Feast.  These major Feasts are celebrated for the Apostles, for Mary and for other important events in the church.  November 9th is my birthday; it is not a day on which we remember a saint, but rather the event of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome, the oldest church in Rome.

Two days this coming week are Optional Memorials, as the name implies we have the option to celebrate the Mass in memory of the Saint of the Day.  August 23 is the feast of St. Rose of Lima, Virgin and August 25, there are two saints to choose from St. Louis of France, Married Man, King or St. Joseph Calasanz, Priest, Educator.   When there are two saints listed for the day that are Optional Memorials the Mass could be for one or the other or neither.  If neither, then the Mass of the day would be celebrated, for instance, August 25 would be the Mass for Friday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time.

There are also some feasts that are moveable Feasts.  Easter is the most important of these.  Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the Spring Equinox.  Other moveable feast that are tied in with when Easter is celebrated are the Ascension of the Lord and The Sacred Heart of Jesus.  If a moveable feast falls on a date that is usually designated for a Feast Day of a Saint, it replaces it on the Liturgical Calendar.  I remember one year when I was in the Seminary, I visited my home parish in Oneonta on June 13.  I went to Mass at St. Mary’s church to celebrate the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  The pastor was amazed that so many people had come for this daily Mass, the Mass chapel was over full!  He thought it so wonderful that so many came to celebrate the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  It was only later that he realized that most of the parishioners there that day, who were from Italian decent, were there to celebrate the Feast of St. Anthony!  They were not happy with their pastor!

I will be away for a few days this week visiting with some of my seminary classmates on Conesus Lake.  Hope we have some nice weather!  The weather turned out nice for the Parish Picnic last Sunday,  I thank all those who helped to plan the picnic and make it a pleasant time for all.

Have a blessed week, Father Bill


Words from our Pastor

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