190. With regard to the observance of “Marian months”, which is widespread in the Latin and Oriental Churches (In the Byzantine rite, the liturgy for the month of August is centered on the solemnity of the Dormition of Our Lady (15 August). Until the twelfth century, it was observed as a “Marian month”; in the Coptic rite the “Marian mont” is that of kiahk, corresponding approximately to January-February, and is structured in relation to Christmas. In the West the first indications of a Marian month date from the sixteenth century. By the eighteenth century, the Marian month – in its modern sense – is well attested but during this period the pastors of souls concentrate their apostolic efforts – including Penance and the Eucharist – not so much on the Liturgy but on pious exercises, which were much favored by the faithful.), a number of essential points can be mentioned (Cf. CDWDS, Circular Letter, Guidelines and proposals for the celebration of the Marian Year, 64-65).
Only the 1500’s? That’s not so ancient.
In the West, the practice of observing months dedicated to the Blessed Virgin emerged from a context in which the Liturgy was not always regarded as the normative form of Christian worship. This caused, and continues to cause, some difficulties at a liturgico-pastoral level that should be carefully examined.
And we will get to some of those difficulties in the next post.
Check the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy online at the Vatican site.