July 24, 2007

Liturgical chaos

So next year, Easter falls early. Really early—just two days after the equinox. Now, the second half of March is a comparatively active time in the liturgical calendar: the solemnity of St. Joseph is on the 19th (and is a Holy Day of Obligation in many countries, though not the US); the feast of St Patrick on the 17th, of course (an HDO only in Ireland, but well-known in North America and other English-speaking countries at least); and the solemnity of the Annunciation, on the 25th (nine months before Christmas, get it?). Obviously, these can fall on any day of the week, which is fine, but Sundays of Advent, Lent, and Easter, and all of Holy Week and Easter Week, trump the regular daily observances. Which then get transferred, if of high enough rank, to a different, nearby day.

That's where the fun starts. Most of the time, when a conflict happens, it's easy enough to just push the solemnity to the adjacent Monday and Saturday. But with Easter on the 23rd, and the blackout period extending from the 16th to the 30th, all three of these feasts fall under it. Annunciation gets moved to the 31st (as happens from time to time). The conflicts on the 17th and 19th are much rarer. The Irish bishops may have been the first to notice, and got it announced that St. Pat's would be on the 15th next year, and this has been reported in a couple places. However, St. Pat's is "only" a feast day, not normally moved, and in any case of lower liturgical rank than St. Joe's—except for that thing about being a HDO in Ireland. But St. Joe's (a solemnity) trumps St. Pat's, and so the 15th will actually be the solemnity of St. Joseph. I'm not sure what the Irish bishops are doing about all this, but some US bishops have just bumped the St. Pat's observance to the 14th. Which I suspect means that some places will celebrate it on the 14th, some on the 15th, and some (who aren't into all this liturgical calendar shuffling) on the good old 17th. Maybe we should just declare it St. Patrick's Week and be done? :)

"Is Mother Nature the fall gal for God, or simply a comfortable alias?" --Eric Zorn

Posted by blahedo at 11:58am on 24 Jul 2007
Is there more? Posted by lee at 7:29pm on 24 Jul 2007
Whoops, HTML typo. Fixed. Thanks. Posted by blahedo at 8:18pm on 24 Jul 2007
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