Mary
Part 4 Mary in the Liturgy

Chapter m42 Celebration by Rank

Preliminary Questions

Bibliography

Liturgical Overview

Solemnities of the Lord

Feasts of the Lord

Liturgical Days Honoring Mary

Memorials of the Lord

Solemnities of Mary

Feasts of Mary

Memorials of Mary

Optional Memorials of Mary

Removed Celebrations of Mary

Celebrations Listed by Date

Liturgical days honoring Mary/Commentary

To Think About

Preliminary Questions

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Bibliography

 

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Liturgical Overview

Sections from the Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars regarding Mary

Revision of the Calendar

Of its very nature the Liturgical Calendar is changeable, and occasionally new celebrations have to be added, but admittedly over the past few centuries, the number of feats have become excessive. The revised calendar of St. Pius V contained only sixty-five greater feasts (at the time feasts were not divided into various classes). In 1960 the code of rubrics listed twenty-one feasts of the first class, thirty-one of the second class, and 180 of the third class, plus 106 commemorations. (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, p 72)

Based on the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, the principles for revising the sanctoral cycle are:

1. The number of devotional feasts was lessened.

2. The history of the lives of those saints found in the 1960 calendar was subjected to critical study.

3. Only saints of important significance were chosen.

4. The days of the observance of the feats were reexamined.

5. The calendar was made universal in order to contain as far as possible, saints from every race and period of time.

Reduction in the Number of Devotional Feasts

A devotional feast commemorates, not an event within the mystery of salvation, but some particular aspect or meaning of one of the events or one of the titles of Our Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary, or one of the saints. "Form the Middle Ages onward, these feasts evolved from private devotions into the official worship of the Church." The process by which this happened is easily traced: when a private devotion was recognized as beneficial by the lawful authority, the region or the religious order in which the devotion arose petitioned to have it become a liturgical fast in that diocese or order; in response to additional petitions, the pope would then extend the feast to the universal Church.

Since the seventeenth century several feasts were transferred from particular calendars to the general calendar. In his reform of the Breviary and Missal, St. Pius V retained only two devotional feasts, Corpus Christi (1264) and Trinity Sunday (1334). Over the last three centuries some sixteen such feasts were added to the calendar: four of the first class, and seven of the second class – Holy Name of Mary (1683), Our Lady of Ransom (1696), Our Lady of the Rosary (1716), Holy Name of Jesus (1721), Our lady of Mr. Carmel (1726), Compassion of Mary (1727), Seven Sorrows of Blessed Virgin Mary (1814), Most Precious Blood (1849), Sacred Hart of Jesus (1856),Our Lady of Lourdes (1907), Holy Family (1921), Christ the Kind (1925), Motherhood of Mary (1931), Immaculate Hart of Mary (1942), Queenship of Mary (1954), an St. Joseph the Worker (1955).

Many of these feasts reflect the piety of a particular age, religious order, or pious association. It is obvious, therefore, that a feast will not enjoy the same popularity everywhere; for example, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker is celebrated in some places, and in others it is hardly observed.

In light of this a few of these feasts belong in the general calendar and the rest placed in particular calendars, or in the votive Mass section. (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, pp 72-73)

Feasts of Mary, Joseph, and the Angels

The feasts of the Motherhood of Mary is now celebrated on January 1, within the Proper of Seasons.

Four feasts have been retained as obligatory memorials: Queenship of Mary (August 22), Our Lady of Sorrows (September 15), Holy Rosary (October 7), and the Presentation of Mary (November 21).

Four are now optional memorials: Our Lady of Lourdes (February 11), Immaculate Heart of Mary (Saturday after the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart), Our Lady of Mount Carmel (July 16), and the Dedication of St. Mary Major (August 5).

The celebration of St. Joseph the Worker is an optional memorial for groups of Christian workers.

The suppression, or lessening n number, of devotional feasts of Mary was do so that the people could give greater honor on those feasts of the Lord in which Mary has a particularly important role. Examples of such feasts are: Annunciation (March 25), Presentation of the Lord (February 2), and the greater feasts of Mary which celebrate the mysteries of her life, such as the Immaculate Conception (December 8), the Birth of Mary (September 8), Visitation (May 31), and the Assumption (August 15). In this way the devotion of the faithful to the Mother of God can best be adapted to the needs and characteristics of a given people in accordance with the constitution Lumen Gentium (art. 66) (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, pp 74)

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Solemnities of the Lord

Fixed:

Jan 06 Epiphany
Mar 25 Annunciation (conception)
Dec 25 Birth - Christmas

Movable:

Trinity (See Nocent, Vol 3, p 277-289)
Corpus Christi (See Nocent, Vol 3, p 290-303)
Sacred Heart (See Nocent, Vol 3, p. 304-313)
Christ the King

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Feasts of the Lord

Fixed:

Feb 02 Presentation of the Lord
Aug 06 Transfiguration
Sep 14 Triumph of the Cross

Movable:

Holy Family
Baptism of the Lord

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Memorials of the Lord

Are there any?

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Liturgical days honoring Mary

January 1 The Octave Day of the Nativity – Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God (Solemnity)

February 11 The Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes

May 13 The Blessed Virgin Mary of Fatima

May 31 The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Feast)

Saturday after the Second Sunday after Pentecost The Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Memorial) [NB: Friday after the Second Sunday after Pentecost: The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (Solemnity)]

July 16 The Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel

August 5 The Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary

August 15 The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Solemnity)

August 22 (15 + 7) The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Memorial)

September 8 The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Feast)

September 15 The Blessed Virgin Mary of Sorrows (Memorial) [NB: September 14: The Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Feast).

October 7 The Blessed Virgin Mary of the Rosary (Memorial)

November 21 The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Memorial)

December 8 The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Solemnity)

December 12 The Blessed Virgin Mary of Guadalupe (Feast [USA])

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Solemnities of Mary

January 1 The Octave Day of the Nativity – Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God (Solemnity)

August 15 The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Solemnity)

December 8 The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Solemnity)

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Feasts of Mary

May 31 The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Feast)

August 2 Our Lady of the Angels of Portiuncula (Feast [OFM])

September 8 The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Feast)

December 12 The Blessed Virgin Mary of Guadalupe (Feast [USA])

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Memorials of Mary

Saturday after the Second Sunday after Pentecost The Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Memorial)

August 22 The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Memorial)

September 15 The Blessed Virgin Mary of Sorrows (Memorial)

October 7 The Blessed Virgin Mary of the Rosary (Memorial)

November 21 The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Memorial)

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Optional Memorials of Mary

February 11 The Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes

May 13 The Blessed Virgin Mary of Fatima

July 16 The Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel

August 5 The Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary

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Removed Celebrations of Mary

xxxx Compassion of Mary

May 8 Mary Mediatrix of All Graces

September 12 Name of Mary

September 24 Our Lady of Ransom

October 11 Maternity of Mary

 

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Celebrations Listed by Date

(Red = Feasts of Christ    Blue = Feasts of Mary) 

January 1 (The Octave Day of the Nativity)  Mary, the Holy Mother of God (Solemnity)

January 6 Epiphany (Solemnity) 

 February 2 Presentation of the Lord (Feast)

February 11 The Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes  (Optional Memorial)

March 25 Annunciation  (Solemnity)

May 13 The Blessed Virgin Mary of Fatima  (Optional Memorial)

May 31 The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Feast)

Saturday after the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart Immaculate Heart of Mary  (Memorial)

July 16 The Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel  (Optional Memorial)

August 2 Our Lady of the Angels (Los Angeles) of Portiuncula (Feast [OFM])

August 5 The Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary [Mary Major / Our Lady of the Snows] (Feast)

August 14 Vigil of The Assumption (Solemnity)

August 15 The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Solemnity)

August 22 The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Memorial)

September 8 The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Feast)

September 14: The Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Feast)

September 15 The Blessed Virgin Mary of Sorrows (Memorial)

September 24 Variations: Our Lady of Ransom  (Optional Memorial)

October 7 The Blessed Virgin Mary of the Rosary (Memorial)

November 21 The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Memorial)

December 8 The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Solemnity)

December 12 The Blessed Virgin Mary of Guadalupe (Solemnity [Mexico], Feast [USA])

December 24  Vigil of the Nativity

 December 25  The Nativity of the Lord - Midnight

 December 25  The Nativity of the Lord - Dawn

 December 25  The Nativity of the Lord - During the Day

Sunday within the Octave of Christmas  The Holy Family (Feast)

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Liturgical days honoring Mary
with Commentary given in the 1969 Roman Calendar

January 1 The Octave Day of the Nativity – Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God (Solemnity)"From most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been venerated under the title ‘God-bearer'"(Const. Lumen Gentium, no. 66). All of the Churches recall her memory under this title in their daily Eucharistic prayers, and especially in the annual celebration of Christmas.

In the Roman Office for January 1, which come eighth century manuscripts call the "Birthday of St. Mary," many prayers, antiphons and responsories are found which honor the divine Motherhood of Mary.

This memorial of Mary, the Mother of God, is celebrated on December 26 in the Byzantine and Syrian rites, and on January 16 in the Coptic rite. (This commentary is the work of the Consilium for the Implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. It appeared in the Latin editio typica edition of the Calendarium Romanum (March 21, 1969) but was marked as "non-official." The translation into English was prepared by the International Committee on English in the Liturgy ) (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, p 91)

Variations:  The Motherhood of Mary, mentioned in many prayer, antiphons, and responsories for the office of this day, is now explicitly commemorated with the octave of Christmas. (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, p 115)

Variations: Sunday between January 2 and 5: Holy Name of Jesus -- The feast of the Holy Name, added to the Roman calendar in 1721, is now suppressed, since the conferral of the name of Jesus is commemorated in the office for the octave of Christmas. However, the Mass of the Holy Name of Jesus is added to the number of votive Masses. (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, p 117)

January 6 Epiphany  The solemnity of Epiphany originated in the East, at Alexandria, and was celebrated at Rome from the middle of the fourth century. (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, p 92)

Variations: First Sunday after Epiphany: Holy Family -- The feast of the Holy Family is placed on the Sunday within the octave of Christmas so that the Baptism of the Lord can be celebrated on the Sunday after Epiphany. (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, p 116)

February 2 Presentation of the Lord   The feast of the Presentation of the Lord in temple, celebrated in Jerusalem as early as the fifth century, was adopted at Tome in the seventh century under the name Hypapante (that is, the meeting between Jesus and Simeon). From the tenth century the Western liturgical books listed this feast as the Purification of Mary. In accordance with the traditions of the Eastern Church, the Code of Rubrics for 1960 declared that this feat should be celebrated as a feast of the Lord. (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, p xx)   -- Variations: Purification of Mary -- The name of this feast is changed to the Presentation of the Lord so that it may be more clearly understood as a feast of the Lord. (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, p 93)

February 11 The Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes  Our Lady of Lourdes  Mary is venerated at Lourdes, France, where between February 11 and July 16, 1858 she appeared eighteen times to the humble Bernadette Soubirous. In 1907 the memorial of these apparitions was entered in the Roman calendar. (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, p xx) -- Variations: Apparition the Immaculate Virgin Mary -- To emphasize the person of Mary and not the historical fact of her apparition of the title of this feast is changed. It will now be celebrated as the fast of Our Lady of Lourdes. (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, p 94)

March 25 Annunciation  The Solemnity of the Annunciation is of Eastern origin. As the Liber Pontificalis indicates, it was adopted at Rome in the seventh century under the title "Annunciation of the Lord." The Eastern rites and the Ambrosian rite have always considered it a solemnity of the Lord. (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, p xx) -- Variations: Annunciation of Mary -- In order to indicate more clearly that the solemnity of the Annunciation is primarily a feast of the Lord, the title is changed to "Annunciation of the Lord." (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, p 96)

Variations: Friday after the First Sunday of the Passion: Seven Sorrows of Mary -- The commemoration on this day of the Seven Sorrows of Mary appeared in the Roman calendar in 1727. Since this is a duplication of the feast of September 15, it is suppressed. (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, p 121)

Variations: Queenship of Mary --  In order to emphasize the relationship between Mary's Queenship and her Assumption, this feast is moved to August 22. (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, p 125)

Variations:  Precious Blood of Jesus Christ -- Since the blood of Christ is venerated in the solemnities of his passion, Corpus Christi, the Sacred Heart, and in the feast of the Triumph of the Cross, the solemnity of the Precious Blood which was inserted in the Roman calendar in 1849 to give thanks for Rome's deliverance from sedition, is now abolished. The Mass, however, becomes a votive Mass. (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, p 125)

May 13 The Blessed Virgin Mary of Fatima

May 31 The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Feast)   The feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary was instituted by Urban VI in the year 1389 to end the Western schism. It was placed on the Roman calendar July 2, the same day the Franciscans celebrated the feast since 1263. Now it is transferred to the last day of May between the feasts of Annunciation and the birth of St. John the Baptist, which is in accord with the gospel narrative. (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, p xx)   -- Variations: Visitation of Mary -- To achieve better accord with the gospel narrative, the feast of the Visitation is placed on May 31, between the solemnities of the Annunciation and the Birth of John the Baptist. (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, p 99)

Saturday after the Second Sunday after Pentecost The Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Memorial) [NB: Friday after the Second Sunday after Pentecost: The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (Solemnity)]    Immaculate Heart of Mary --  The feast of the Immaculate Heart was instituted in 1944 by Pius XII and assigned to August 22. It is more appropriate that his feast be celebrated as an optional memorial on the day after the solemnity of the Sacred Heart. (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, p 99)

July 16 The Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel   -- Our Lady of Mount Carmel The feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was begun by the Carmelites between 1376 and 1386 and was included in the Roman calendar in 1726. In 1960 it was reduced to a commemoration. (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, p 102)

August 5 The Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary   --  Dedication of the Church of St. Mary Major -- The Church of St. Mary Major was dedicated on August 5, as the Martyrology of Jerome mentions, during the pontificate of Sixtus III (432-440). A legend associated with its founding gave rise in the fourteenth century to the title of the feast as "Dedication of our Lady of the Snows." In 1568 this feast was assigned to the Roman calendar. (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, p xx) --  Variations: Dedication of the Church of Our Lady of the Snows -- Title of this memorial is changed to the Dedication of the Church of St. Mary Major, without any reference to the legendary account of its foundation on the Esquiline Hill. (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, p 103)

Variations: Vigil of the Assumption  The vigil of the Assumption includes only an optional Mass to be celebrated in a festive way in the evening. (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, p 133)

August 15 The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Solemnity) Assumption -- As early as the fifth century a commemoration of the Mother of God was celebrated on August 15. During the next century the solemnity of the Dormition of Mary spread throughout the East. About the middle of the seventh century Rome adopted it under the same title and by the eighth century it was known as the Assumption of Mary. (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, p 104)

August 22 (15 + 7) The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Memorial)   -- Queenship of Mary -- Feast of the Queenship of Mary was established by Pius XII in 1955 and celebrated on May 31. This memorial will now be on August 22, to stress its relationship with the solemnity of the Assumption. (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, p 105)

August 22 Variations: Immaculate Heart of Mary -- The memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is transferred to the Saturday after the solemnity of the Sacred Heart and August 22 becomes the memorial of the Queenship of Mary. (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, p 134)

September 8 The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Feast)  -- Birth of Mary -- In Jerusalem, from the end of the fifth century, the feast of the church of Mary's birthplace on September 8 enjoyed the same rank as the Assumption. In the seventh century, the Roman and the Byzantine liturgies celebrated this day as the Birth of Mary. The Syrian rite celebrated it not he same day while the Coptic liturgy observes it on the seventh. (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, p 106)

September 12 Variations: Name of Mary – This feast was included in the Roman calendar in 1684 to celebrate the victory over the Turks at Vienna in 1683. Since it duplicates the feast of the Birth of Mary, it is now suppressed. (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, p 136)

September 14: The Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Feast).   -- Triumph of the Holy Cross -- As early as the fifth century, the wood of the Holy Cross was exposed for veneration by the people of Jerusalem on the day after the feast of the dedication of the Basilica of the Resurrection (September 13, 335). This custom gave rise to a feast on this day, which was a major celebration in all the Eastern rites. In the seventh century it was adopted in Rome. (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, p 106)

September 15 The Blessed Virgin Mary of Sorrows (Memorial) -- Our Lady of Sorrows -- In 1667 an indult was given to the Servite Order to celebrate this feast, and in 1814 it was introduced into the Roman calendar for the third Sunday in September. In 1913 it was moved to September 15. (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, p 107)  -- Variations: Seven Sorrows of Mary – Nothing is changed in the first observance except the title, which now reads: Our Lady of Sorrows. (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, p 107)

September 24 Variations: Our Lady of Ransom – Since this memorial, which entered the Roman calendar in 1696, reflects the special devotion of the Order founded by St. Peter Nolasco for ransoming captives, it is now left to particular calendars. (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, p 138)

October 7 The Blessed Virgin Mary of the Rosary (Memorial)  -- Our Lady of the Rosary -- This feast was instituted in 1573 in gratitude for the victory of the Christian forces at Lepanto. In 1716 it was assigned to the first Sunday of October, but in 1913 it was transferred to October 7. (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, p 108)

October 11 Variations: Motherhood of Mary – This is now included in the solemnity of January 1. (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, p 139)

November 21 The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Memorial) -- Presentation of Mary -- This feast had its origin in the dedication in 543 of the Basilica of St. Mary, near the temple of Jerusalem. Although the church has been destroyed by age, the feast of the presentation is celebrated throughout the East. It was adopted by the papal chapel at Avignon in 1373. It was suppressed by Pius V in 1568, but reintroduced into the Roman calendar in 1585. (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, p 111)

December 8 The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Solemnity)  -- Immaculate Conception -- The feast of the conception of Mary appeared in the Roman calendar in 1476. After the dogmatic definition of 1854 it was made the feast of the Immaculate Conception. (Norms Governing Liturgical Calendars, p 112)

December 12 The Blessed Virgin Mary of Guadalupe (Feast [USA])

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To Think About

 

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Copyright: Tom Richstatter.  All Rights Reserved.  This page was created by Fr. Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M.  Every effort has been, and is being made to acknowledge sources when the ideas are not my own.  Any failure to comply with the United States Copyright Act (Title 17, United States Code) will be corrected immediately should I become aware of it.  This site was updated on 03/20/15 .  Your comments on this site are welcome at trichstatter@franciscan.org