Two Optional Memorials

Two people, one hugely famous to just about every Catholic over the age of ten, and one a minister to Hawaiian lepers, have been awarded optional memorials on the US liturgical calendar.

Mother Marianne Cope seems to be an interesting woman.

Where do you suppose John Paul II will end up outside of his native Poland? Something higher than an optional memorial? I’m thinking a feast in Poland. What do you think?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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6 Responses to Two Optional Memorials

  1. jonoshea1 says:

    Apparently popes only have so long of a shelf-life in the General Roman Calendar. St. Pius V and (this still amazes me) St. Gregory VII have optional memorials. St. Pius X, meanwhile, is an obligatory memorial (owing to strong devotion at the time of the revision?). Should he be canonized, I imagine John Paul would receive equal rank with Pius X in the General Roman Calendar. A Feast would make sense in Poland, but if he is declared a Patron of Poland, it’s possible the day may even be celebrated as a Solemnity (like the feasts of Ireland’s three patrons).

  2. Liam says:

    Of the post-Toleration pontiffs, only Leo I, Gregory I and Pius X have obligatory memorials in the universal calendar.

    Interestingly, St Sylvester used to be a holyday of obligation before the simplification of the days of precept in the modern era – I assume, however, this was more of a pretext to forbid servile work on New Year’s Eve than a particular devotion to St Sylvester.

    • jonoshea1 says:

      The strongest devotions in the West in the early Middle Ages were to Sts. Sylvester and Martin of Tours. Do you know if the latter’s feast was also held as a day of precept (I wouldn’t be shocked, given Martinmas festivities). It might go some way to explain why St. Sylvester’s Day was once a Day of Precept. Of course, it might have been maintained long after the fact for just the reasons you mentioned.

      • Liam says:

        Indeed, St Martin was a very powerful devotion in the early Middle Ages.

        FWIW, the lists I’ve seen of the post-Tridentine days of precept under Urban VIII (which were *much* reduced in practice by indults as early modern states pressured the Church to pare back the days of precept that had accumulated during the high Middle Ages) – and I am omitting Sunday feasts from this lists as redundant:

        Easter Monday
        Easter Tuesday
        Ascension Thursday
        Pentecost Monday
        Pentecost Tuesday
        Corpus Christi Thursday

        12/8 (Immaculate Conception – added by Clement XI)
        12/25 (Nativity)
        12/26 (St Stephen)
        12/27 (St John the Evangelist)
        12/28 (Holy Innocents)
        12/31 (St Sylvester)
        1/1 (Circumcision)
        1/6 (Epiphany)
        2/2 (Purification)
        2/24 (2/25 in bissextile years) (St Matthias)
        3/19 (St Joseph)
        3/25 (Annunciation)
        5/1 (Sts Philip and James the Less) (originally, the dedicatory feast of the basilica of the Holy Apostles in Rome)
        5/3 (Finding of the Holy Cross)
        6/24 (Nativity of St John the Baptist)
        6/29 (Sts Peter & Paul)
        7/3 (St Thomas)
        7/25 (St James the Greater)
        7/26 (St Anne)
        8/10 (St Lawrence/Laurence)
        8/15 (Assumption)
        8/24 (St Bartholomew)
        9/8 (Nativity of the BVM)
        9/21 (St Matthew)
        9/29 (Dedication of St Michael)
        10/28 (Sts Simon & Jude)
        11/1 (All Saints)
        11/30 (St Andrew)

        Interestingly, Sts Mark and Luke are not on the list.

  3. Liam says:

    And, it is also interesting to note that only one cleric of the diocese of Rome (excluding SS Peter & Paul) has a feast in the universal calendar: St Lawrence/Laurence the Deacon. No pope or priest does….

  4. FrLarry says:

    Like Trent and Vatican II, every few centuries the Church has to trim the calendar. I think we will have to do so again in the not-to-distant future as feasts begin to crowd the calendar again. As far as the calendar goes, who can understand it? Why does the great Nicholas get an optional memorial, but Padre Pio gets an obligatory one? I’m sure the Russian Orthodox scratch their heads at that! For being a universal church, our calendar is quite Western. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I would hope the Church could see her saints from a bigger perspective than one Curial official’s private devotion.

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