Of Personal Liturgical Calendars

My wife and I have always observed an augmented liturgical calendar. We make a point of attending Mass together whenever possible on our sacramental anniversaries: our wedding, her reception into full communion, my baptism. We also observe our name saints–mine is March 19th, and hers is this coming Wednesday. We’ve also adopted saints of various parishes where we’ve lived. We have a few special patrons, like the archangel Raphael, imaged left from my musical Tobit.

Personal observances often fall through the cracks for many Christians. Likely most Catholics. We’re good on birthdays, like most of the surrounding culture. In one parish school in a community I served, birthdays were neglected–instead students registered with a baptismal anniversary. This was celebrated with a bit more flair. No other parish I’ve known does this. Too bad. It’s a good thing to track important connections with our mentors in the Communion of Saints, and remember significant anniversaries.

I don’t forget mine: Baptism on 22 August (also Mary, Queen of Heaven), First Eucharist on 23 August, Confirmation on 16 March, Marriage on 27 January. And saints: Joseph on 19 March, Benedict on 11 July, Ignatius on 31 July, Hildegard of Bingen on 17 September, Raphael on 29 September, Cecilia on 22 November, Thomas Merton on 10 December.

What about yours?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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4 Responses to Of Personal Liturgical Calendars

  1. Liam says:

    I was not raised with onomastic day in mind, as I was named (my first and middle names) for my late uncle who had died 5 years earlier. I first encountered the idea of onamastic days from my nine years of Spanish education in public school (our school district was a national pioneer in mandatory foreign language instruction starting by age 9/10), but it took a while before learned when my onomástica was (not my pen name here, obviously, but it wasn’t obvious – technically, the real patron is famous historical figure who had an odd sort of canonization that is not widely known in the US but was in Europe in the Middle Ages, but this person doesn’t appear in the Universal Calendar or Martyrology but the cultus is not suppressed either).

    When I took a confirmation name (I think my year was the last of the unreformed ritual – we still got slapped/tapped), I took an apostle’s name. I do remember my baptismal day (my birthday and that day normally fall near/within Lent). And I know how my birthday fell in other calendars of my birth year (Jewish, Chinese, Islamic), and it’s fun to consider reckonings in parallel.

    That said, I was fiercely mindful of the liturgical calendar from an early age, fascinated by the changes in 1970, and greedy for more, and indulged as I was able, and calendars generally. I highly recommend The Oxford Companion to the Year: An Exploration of Calendar Customs and Time-Reckoning, which for example in one of its many wonderful appendices contains an excellent discussion of a choice calendrical chestnut: what Americans call Leap Year Day, being *either* February 24 or 25 (Oxford explains the equivocal historical record succinctly). You will learn more about the Paschal computus than you could ever imagine; it’s not arcane stuff, if you consider that the computus was a significant rudder of astronomy…..

    I would love for an English translation of the current Roman Martyrology – the major 2001/2004 edition, which so far as I am aware has no English translation – everyone’s still using the last English edition of the prior Roman Martyrology. This is a perfect illustration of how modern copyright/translation policies and practice effectively impede dissemination in an age where this should not be rocket science….

    I also embraced St Raphael the Archangel (at my late mother’s encouragement when she disclosed her decades long devotion to his intercession, which I had not known of) as an additional patron in the middle of the last decade, and have put the angel to heavy work. I remember the days of death/funerals of my parents, and their last passions before death, and certain close others, and random patterns therein: for example, we noted a palindromic prime number of days between my parents’ dates of death (929).

  2. John Donaghy says:

    I have been keeping a calendar of saints and witnesses – often with short quotes – for more years than I can remember. I refer to it every morning at the end of praying Vigils (Office of Readings). I haven’t highlighted my “favorites,” but I do include saints, witnesses of many faiths (and none), as well as serious events – Hiroshima Day, Nagasaki Day, and more. Yet I did write a few months ago of 18 holy women and men in the cloud of witnesses around me: https://walktheway.wordpress.com/2017/01/31/my-cloud-of-witnesses/

  3. I’ve been keeping a personal liturgical calendar for a long time. It’s populated mostly with the wedding dates and death dates of many friends and family members. I find this to be a helpful and prayerful way to remember dear friends, who are often separated by distance or death.

    Also included are a list of personal saints and heroes – for example, this month includes Brother Roger Schütz of Taizé and Lakota Holy Man and Catechist Nicholas Black Elk.

    Over the years, I’ve slowly assembled obituaries and primary documents that correspond with each “feast.” I’ll usually refer to these before Morning Prayer each day.

  4. Devin says:

    In additions to dates of baptism and confirmation, I remember Oct. 9 John Henry Newman, the death of J.R.R. Tolkien, Sept 2, Hobbit Day Sept 22, his birthday Jan 3rd. St. Isaac of Syria, Jan 28, and then the usual calendar of saints – Thomas More, St. Benedict, St. Raphael, St. Frances de Sales, St. Monica & Augustine, St. Therese

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