Sainted Popes At Liturgy This Easter


The April issue of the FDLC newsletter contained guidance for the domestic observance of the canonizations of John XXIII and John Paul II.
As part of the world, you readers certainly know the canonization will take place on 27 April, the Second Sunday of Easter. Liturgy geeks among you most definitely know that the observance of an Easter Sunday (2nd, 3rd, etc.) takes precedence over anything else. In other words, one can recognize the canonizations at Mass in terms of preaching mention, thanksgiving in the prayers of the faithful, announcements for a special party, and such. We don’t change prayers, readings, or such things.

What can be done, along the lines of a “special liturgy”?

For celebrations that might take place on the weekdays of Easter time, one could appropriately use the Mass “For Giving Thanks to God” (Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions, No. 49). Alternately, at the direction of or with the permission of the Diocesan Bishop, a votive Mass of a particular saint could be celebrated on a weekday of Easter (cf. GIRM nos. 374-375). In this case, one could use the Common of Pastors: For a Pope, using both Saints as appropriate.

Remember that weekdays of Easter Time do not include the days within the octave of Easter. These are all solemnities and cannot be replaced. No fair jumping the liturgical gun to be the first parish in the world to celebrate two canonized popes.

A note on those kinds of Masses listed above in the FDLC quote: it is inappropriate to celebrate the memorial of a saint on a day other than their assigned day in the Roman Martyrology. In other words, to celebrate John Paul II, it must be on 22 October. John XXIII’s day is 11 October. Hence the preference for the Mass of “Thanksgiving,” and the possibility of a votive Mass with a bishop’s guidance.

I know it’s a busy time of year with Easter, First Communion, Confirmation, Graduation, Mother’s Day, and such. Anybody’s parish planning an extra celebration? Any word from your diocese?

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Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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One Response to Sainted Popes At Liturgy This Easter

  1. Marie says:

    ” the observance of an Easter Sunday (2nd, 3rd, etc.) takes precedence over anything else”.

    Ahh, yeah, right. Maybe the rules are different in Europe.

    But there’s no way that the Polish community here (or I’m guessing in Poland) will be focussing on anything except JPII that day. In fact, all parish Sunday masses in the east of the city are cancelled in favour of a big rally-thanksgiving-Mass (http://www.galwaydiocese.ie/node/667). They may use the readings of the day, but all the attention will be on JPII – except my attention which leans firmly to J XXIII

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