A ZENIT DAILY DISPATCH
Baptism and Presentation of Our Lord
ROME, 29 JAN. 2008 (ZENIT)
Answered by Legionary of Christ Father
Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum
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Follow-up: Baptism and Presentation of Our Lord [2-12-2008]
After our Jan. 29 column on the dates of celebration of the feasts of Christ's baptism and presentation, an attentive Illinois priest advised me regarding a small historical inaccuracy.
He writes: "It was actually in 1955 that the general decree 'Cum Nostra' of the Sacred Congregation of Rites suppressed all octaves except those of Christmas, Easter and Pentecost. As a result, Jan. 13, the former octave of the Epiphany, became the commemoration of the Baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ, celebrated with the rank of a double major (according to the classification then in force). The texts of the Mass and office remained the same, though, until 1970 (SRC, 'Cum Nostra,' No. 16). Although the baptismal theme figures prominently in the Eastern liturgy of Epiphany and wasn't entirely absent from the Roman liturgy, there was no 'pre-existing memorial of Christ's baptism' as a distinct feast in the Roman rite before 1955. Pope John XXIII's motu proprio 'Rubricarum Instructum' in 1960 and the 1962 typical edition of the Roman Missal merely codified the changes that had been introduced earlier by Pope Pius XII."
The original question about the feasts also brought to mind another query from a Pennsylvania priest regarding this year's calendar.
The priest asked: "In 2008, All Saints' Day is a Saturday. In the United States, it is not a holy day of obligation that year. All Souls' is Sunday. The All Souls' commemoration replaces the regular Sunday Mass. What Mass is then celebrated on Saturday evening, November 1, 2008, the vigil Mass for Sunday? There is no vigil Mass for All Souls."
While All Saints' may not be a holy day of obligation, it is still a solemnity listed in the general calendar. It thus has precedence over the commemoration of the Faithful Departed, which is a celebration in a class of its own.
The Liturgy of the Hours is taken from All Saints', although where the custom exists of celebrating public vespers for the dead after the vespers of All Saints', this custom may be maintained. Likewise, when Nov. 2 falls on a Sunday, the Liturgy of the Hours is that of the current Sunday although it may be substituted by the office for the dead in public recitation.
If we may be guided by the indications offered in Rome's liturgical calendar, then all Masses offered on Nov. 1 would be those of All Saints'.
The usual indication of the Saturday evening Mass is missing, and the celebration of the commemoration of the Faithful Departed is celebrated only on Sunday, Nov. 2.
The calendar also suggests that even though this commemoration falls on a Sunday, in virtue of its unique character, the Glory and Creed are omitted.
Since All Saints' is not a day of obligation, and has all the
characteristics of a Sunday, I believe that a diocese could decide that
those who attend evening Mass on Saturday, Nov. 1, have fulfilled their
Sunday obligation even though the Mass formulas are those of All
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