Many people must he Viondering "What has happened to the Saints Days?" as they find some saints no longer in the Calendar and others turning up on unexpected days.
This is particularly exasperating to those who keep the good habit, common in Catholic countries abroad, of remembering their friends on their name days.
But .c should not condemn this as change for change's sake until we have heard what can be said in explanation; and in fact a lengthy expliination has been produced in a Latin publication, Calendar/ion Romanum, issued by the Congregation of Rites.
this puts the alterations to Saints' Days in the context of the revision of the Calendar which was called for by the Council. It was felt that the Calendar had become overladen with feasts of saints. or many of whom a local celebration would be sufficient.
Then there are all the ancient saints and martyrs about whom practically nothing is really known. Sp there were a good many whom it seemed reasonable to exclude from the universal Calendar.
As to the feast-days of those remaining, the general principle is (as it always has been) to choose the day on which the saint passed to his reward. But some saints have been commemorated on the day when their remains were transferred to some church, or on some other day for reasons that no longer are oh vious.
Accordingly, some saints have been moved back to their date of death. A further consideration has been the wish to keep Lentsand the novena before Christmas, ae free as possible from extraneous feasts: this accounts for some other changes.
Several famous Saints' Days have been removed from March in consequence of the policy of taking the major celebrations out of Lent. Thus St. Thomas Aquinas. Ss Gregory the Great and St. Benedict are moved elsewhere.
St. Thomas is normally replaced on March 7 by the martyrs SS. Perpetua and Felicity (expectant mothers when they died for the Faith); hut this year their commemoration is excluded by Ash Wednesday.
Pope St. Gregory, the Apostle of England, has been moved to September 3. the date of his ordination, and St. Benedict to July 11, on which date the feast has been celebrated in many places for 1,200 years past.
The policy of placing saints' feasts
as far as possible on their date of death accounts for the removal of St. John Capistran to October 23, and of St. John of Damascus (who defended the veneration or ikons against the Iconoclasts) to December 4.
On March 23 we find a saint new to the Calendar: St. Turibius of Mongrovejo, who died on this day in Lima in 1606. He has been inserted because of his important work in organising the Church in a continent where religion is now in a critical state.
On March 24 we no longer find St. Gabriel. He and St. Raphael were inserted in the Roman Calendar as late as 1921. and they have now been placed together with St. Michael on September 29.
The Forty Holy Martyrs, formerly on March W. disappear from the Calendar. These were soldiers of the Roman garrison at Sebaste, Armenia, who were driven on to the ice to freeze to death for refusing to sacrifice to the idols. When one fell out, one of their guards was inspired to take his pla se.
Regrettably. though, "not a few difficulties have arisen concerning the veracity or their history," as the Historical Commentary on the Calendar tells us. However, we in Britain now have Forty Martyrs of our own.
Fr. Michael Crowdy