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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Ecclesiastical Year: Part 2 by Mary McCall

As we discussed last time, the Ecclesiastical Year (or Liturgical Year) is a fixed annual cycle of holy seasons and feast days, which the Holy Catholic Church consecrates in a particular way to God’s service. The Liturgical Year contains two parts: The Proper of the Season, which includes feasts in honor of our Divine Savior, and the Proper of the Saints, which includes feasts in honor of Our Lady and the saints.

The proper of the Season is immutable and proceeds regularly but in such a way that the Proper of the Saints is inserted and continues with it. Today, we’ll take a look at the two seasons.
The Proper of the Season is composed of three parts, according to the three principle feasts of the Church. These are Christmas, Easter, and Whitsunday.

The series of Christmas or the Christmas Cycle begins on the first Sunday of Advent, and ends with the Saturday before Septuagesima.
The series of Easter or the Easter Cycle begins on the Sunday of Septuagesima and ends the Saturday before Whitsunday.

The series of Whitsunday or the Pentecost Cycle, begins the Saturday before Whitsunday, and ends with the last Sunday of the Ecclesiastical Year (the Saturday before the First Sunday of Advent).
The principle purpose of the Ecclesiastical Year is the praise of God through and in Our Lord Jesus Christ and the sanctifying of the Faithful, who by the remembrance and contemplation of the life of our Holy Savior share in the Redemption and are stimulated to a more intense love toward Jesus and a closer imitation of Him.

The Proper of the Season show us God the Son, the Redeemer of the world, as the long expected Messiah for all people: birth, infancy, hidden life (first series). Next Our Blessed Lord’s works, His preaching, His sufferings and death, His Resurrection and Ascension (second series). Lastly, the founding of Holy Mother Church founded by Jesus and governed by the Holy Ghost. The Church was commissioned by Our Savior to continue His work until the end of the world in all countries and among all peoples (third series).
It was not until the reorganization of the Ecclesiastical Office (Holy Hours of the Day) by Pope Saint Pius X and Pope Benedict XV that each Sunday had its own Mass. Exceptions to this were if the following feasts fell on a Sunday: Holy Trinity, the Holy Name of Jesus, the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Family. These feast days always took precedence.
On Sunday, the priest of the parish says Holy Mass for his parishioners. Sunday, the Lord’s Day of the New Testament, was instituted by The Church in remembrance of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Descent of the Holy Ghost upon; these two important feasts took place on a Sunday. Sunday also commemorates the creation of the universe. Thus, Sundays are also dedicated to the Holy Trinity in thanksgiving for creation, salvation and sanctification of souls. Sunday is a Holy Day of Obligation, on which we rejoice in Him and thank Him for His glorious gifts and works. (On a side note for sacred music lovers or anyone else: if you can tell me the one part of the Holy Mass that Amadeus Mozart lamented not being able to put to music because it was reserved to chant, I’ll send you a print edition of my book).

It is a precept of God and Holy Mother Church to strictly sanctify Sunday by all the Faithful and their subordinates.
The Proper of the Feasts follows the regular calendar and celebrates the heroic Christians who founded and glorified Holy Mother Church by their courage and virtues. The date of their feast days for all the Saints, Our Blessed Lady and Saint John the Baptist excepted prior to Vatican II, is the day of their death, also considered the date of their solemn entrance into Heaven, or, according to the classic expression of The Church, to their birth into Heaven.
Until Next time, Happy Reading & Writing!


Dr. Debra Holland said...

It's not just Catholics who follow the Ecclesiastical Year. Lutherans do as well. I'd imagine so do some of the other denominations that are the most similar to Catholicism.

mmccall0911 said...

You are absolutely correct. So do the Anglicans to name another. I was hopeing to address the Ecclesiatical Year from a Medieval perspective and mean no insult to any other denomination. You might have noticed wording such as "Holy Mother Church" and "Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ", etc. that are somewhat defunct since Vatican II, used to give readers a flavor of the times... unless of course a Catholic goes to Sunday Mass with the Society of St. Pius X or Mel Gibson... Of course, Mel purchased and built a church for St. Pius X, so it's the same thing in the end... I'm one of those people who was excommunicated under the old administration for attending a Traditional parish and reinstated by John Paul II. But I still think Vatican II was the biggest mistake the Roman Catholic Church has ever made and was never asked to recant. Basically, that's because VII was a pastoral and not a dogmatic council, so no Catholic can be required to believe it. Or maybe they just need me to translate dusty scrolls....

Angelyn said...

Great post--handy for those working in the medieval period. I don't know the answer to the question--is it regarding his Great Mass in C Minor? Many parts of that are missing and have been reconstructed by others to use in liturgy. The Kyrie is my favorite.

mmccall0911 said...

Hi Angelyn:
The Kyrie is one of my favorite parts of the Mass, and interestingly, the only part in Greek. However, it isn't the part Mozart wanted to write the music for. As a hint, it isn't one of the five major prayers to be sung by the choir and was left to the priest along.
Thanks for dropping by.

Julie Robinson said...

Interesting, Mary. I usually get my free yearly calendar the church puts out at the beginning of the year, but missed it this year.

I can't believe you were excommunicated, btw, even if you were reinstated.

mmccall0911 said...

Hi Julie:
Sorry to be so late getting back online. Apt hunting in Memphis heat isn't fun. I wrote an article that my local See took exception to. The excommunication was overturned by the Holy See on appeal to the Canon Court.
I'll post the answer to the question tomorrow if no one gets the right answer. On another side note, Mozart was the youngest musician ever commissioned by the Holy See to write a Mass in polyphony.

Julie Robinson said...

I'm astounded. But your paper would be interesting reading!

Would the answer to your question be the part that goes, "Through Him, with Him, in Him; in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, forever and ever."? I think it's a kind of Gregorian chant, which is now sung.

mmccall0911 said...

Hi Julie:
Sorry to be gettting back so late. I'm still apt hunting!
You picked the wrong end of the prayer. Actually, Mozart petitioned the pope for permission to write polyphony for two choirs (8 vocies) for the Preface to the Canon in Honor of the Holy Trinity. It's the one said at most Masses throughout the year, though there are several used for different special feasts.

Julie Robinson said...

So close! Oh well, I learn something new every day.
Good luck with the apt hunting. That can't be fun.