Pray Tell reported earlier this month how Pope Francis issued a Decree to add the memorial of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus to General Roman Calendar and also add new optional memorials of Hildegard, Gregory of Narek, and John of Avila.
Gloria.tv, a “non-profit international Catholic social network and a video / news sharing platform … that is not directly connected to the hierarchy of the Catholic Church” reported yesterday that in the latest Ordo Divini Officii Recitandi Sacrique Peragendi 2021, published by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana, some other observances that had been abolished prior to the John XXIII edition of the Roman Missal of 1962 that is normative for the Extraordinary Form liturgies, have been reinstated “as an option.” These include the “Feast of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady, Feast of the Finding of the Holy Cross (May 3rd), Feast of St John Before the Latin Gate (May 6th), Feast of the Apparition of St Michael (May 8th), Feast of the Finding of the Body of St Stephen (August 3rd), Holy Maccabees and St Peter in Chains (August 1st).”
Additionally, Gloria.tv reports that the new Ordo “allows the Corpus Christi Octave in some form where the devotion exists. In Septuagesima and Lent, the ‘Benedicamus Domino’ can be used instead of the ‘Ite Missa est,’ and the Preface of the Nativity has been restored to the feast of the Transfiguration.” Some photographs of the relevant pages of the Ordo can be seen in photographs linked to the report.
It is interesting to note that there is still a tendency to promote pre-1962 observances and practices in the Extraordinary Form. While obviously there is nothing wrong with these newly reinstated observances, I wonder if we are losing sight of our liturgical seasons by allowing nearly every day to have some observance or other in both Forms of the Roman Rite.
One of the head librarians of a university I know has a policy for academic periodicals that might be interesting for us to consider in our liturgical calendar. He allows any academic department to add any new periodical subscription that they might like, however, for every new subscription they must cancel two existing ones.
In the history of the calendar periodically there are renewals when many feast days are removed from the calendar. Then gradually feasts are added again until the calendar is overburdened again and needs parring down once more. Maybe if every time a new observance is added another existing one is removed, this could allow the Universal Roman Calendar to retain the preeminence of the liturgical seasons. This would help fulfill the wish of Vatican II, which warns “lest the feasts of the saints should take precedence over the feasts which commemorate the very mysteries of salvation, many of them should be left to be celebrated by a particular Church or nation or family of religious; only those should be extended to the universal Church which commemorate saints who are truly of universal importance” (SC 111).