Sabbato infra Hebdomadam V post Octavam Pentecostes
Festum Sancti Vincentii a Paulo Confessoris (-1969)
19 July 2014
Today is the Saturday, the sabbath (sabbatum) of the Christian week, which falls before Our Lord’s day (Dominica [Diem]). In this way, Saturday is the final day of the Christian week.
In the older Roman calendar, today also marked the (third-class) feast of Saint Vincent de Paul, a 16-17th century priest and worker of great mercies. Since the 1969 revisions by His Holiness Pope Paul VI, Saint Vincent’s day, now a memorial, has been moved to September 27th, the date of his earthly death and birth, as the Church holds, into Heaven everlasting.
Calendars in general can be confusing. The Liturgical Calendar, which documents the many solemnities, feasts, and memorials of the Church is something that I have always been drawn to and attempted to understand in some capacity. This capacity is somewhat complicated when you factor in the many waves of revisions the Christian Calendar has undergone in the course of history.
For most of my life since my conversation and reception into the Roman Catholic Church, I have attended to the most recent revision, that of Pope Paul VI’s motu propio “Mysterii Paschalis” (14 Feb 1969). A complication has arisen, however, when back in May I purchased a four-volume set of the monastic breviary, once possessed by a Benedictine sister.
The title pages in full: Breviarium Monasticum. Pauli V. et Urbani VIII. S. Pontificium Auctoritate Recognitum. Pro Omnibus Sub Regula. SS. Patris Nostri Benedicti Militantibus [Monastic Breviary, recognized by the authority of Popes Paul V and Urban VIII. For all (the Church) Militant under the Rule of Our Most Holy Father Benedict).
The calendar in this Breviary publication dates to before the Paul VI’s revisions, which state that today is Saint Vincent’s Day. No feast, solemnity, or memorial occupies July 19th. (It should be noted that Saturdays on which no feasts fall are marked as “an optional memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary.” Further, the memorial is a remembrance of the maternal example and discipleship of the Blessed Virgin Mary who, strengthened by faith and hope, on that great Saturday on which Our Lord lay in the tomb, was the only one of the disciples to hold vigil in expectation of the Lord’s resurrection; it is a prelude and introduction to the celebration of Sunday, the weekly memorial of the Resurrection of Christ; and it is a sign that the ‘Virgin Mary is continuously present and operative in the life of the Church.’” This is certainly no bad idea.)
The Monastic Breviary also attends to an older form of praying the psalter in one week, vis-à-vis the Liturgy of the Hours, which spreads the psalter over four weeks. The latter also attends to the most recent calendrical revisions. The more condensed from of the Psalter in Latin was the primary reason for purchasing the breviary. Not only this but the Monastic Psalter itself is pre-Tridentine (ca. 540: link).
Were I to belong to a Traditional Latin Mass parish, where the older form(s) of the Roman Calendar were still held and celebrated, I imagine I would not have any difficulty in moving forward in this. But I do not. Sacred Heart Cathedral, it is true, does host a low Mass the first Sunday of each month, and I, along with a friend, do have unique dreams that Sacred Heart would become a Latin Mass parish, once Holy Name of Jesus, the proposed new cathedral for the Diocese of Raleigh, was dedicated, but I do not believe or have any good reason that it will. The only locus for this strange and unique hope is that Sacred Heart was one of the few parishes in the area before the liturgical revisions to celebrate the old Mass. Perhaps one day it might again, or at least be open to a weekly celebration of the Extraordinary Form, and not just a monthly occasion of the lovely and drawing form of Our Lord’s sacrifice.