Saturday, October 22, 2011

Blessed John Paul II and Calendars

Today in the diocese of Rome and throughout Poland, the Church celebrates the memorial of Blessed John Paul II. Blesseds are not automatically added to the General Roman Calendar--Blessed John Henry Newman's October 9 memorial is really to be celebrated only the dioceses of England and Wales, for instance. Of course, not all canonized saints are honored on the general Roman calendar, and sometimes there are  variations in the rank of the celebration of a particular saint on different calendars. For example, March 17, St. Patrick's feast day is a Memorial in the dioceses of the United States, but it's a Feast in Ireland!

So there's a General Roman Calendar and then various National Calendars. On July 1, England and Ireland honor St. Oliver Plunkett, while the United States honors Blessed Junipero Serra. The U.S. Bishops will look at requesting approval to add Blessed John Paul II's memorial to the U.S. calendar, according to this story in The National Catholic Register:

“Because blesseds are not normally inscribed on the universal calendar, it is left to the local authorities to suggest the inscription of the observance of a blessed on a diocesan, religious or national calendar,” the U.S. bishops’ conference said in an Oct. 18 press release.

The Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship issued a decree in April 2011 permitting the celebration of a Mass of Thanksgiving for Blessed John Paul II in local churches at the discretion of diocesan bishop during the year following the late Pope’s beatification. Pope John Paul II was beatified on May 1, 2011.

But beyond that year, the universal norms for the liturgical year and the calendar don’t allow the observance of memorials for blesseds unless they are designated on a particular local calendar.

One town that will probably really celebrate today is the Blessed's hometown, Wadowice, which the Register describes in this article.

I have sometimes wondered if Newman Centers at secular universities in the U.S. could ask for permission to celebrate Blessed John Henry Newman on October 9. If and when he is canonized, he will surely be a patron saint of higher education! Perhaps they should just ask forgiveness afterward. Our local Catholic university, Newman University, still celebrates "Cardinal Newman Day" around his birthday in February.

In the meantime, prayers for the intercession of the two Blesseds:

Blessed John Paul II:

O Blessed Trinity
We thank You for having graced the Church
with Pope John Paul II
and for allowing the tenderness of your Fatherly care,
the glory of the cross of Christ,
and the splendor of the Holy Spirit,
to shine through him.
Trusting fully in Your infinite mercy
and in the maternal intercession of Mary,
he has given us a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd,
and has shown us that holiness
is the necessary measure of ordinary Christian life
and is the way of achieving eternal communion with you.
Grant us, by his intercession, and according to Your will,
the graces we implore,
hoping that he will soon be numbered
among your saints.

Blessed John Henry Newman:

Eternal Father, You led John Henry Newman to follow the kindly light of Truth, and he obediently responded to your heavenly calls at any cost. As writer, preacher, counsellor and educator, as pastor, Oratorian, and servant of the poor he laboured to build up your Kingdom.
Grant that through your Vicar on Earth we may hear the words, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter into the company of the canonized saints.’
May you manifest your Servant’s power of intercession by even extraordinary answers to the prayers of the faithful throughout the world. We pray particularly for our intentions [name your intentions] in his name and in the name of Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.


  1. Lots of work going into this blog.

    I clicked on older posts and for some reason, when the page opens, the external links don't work - they're highlighted but not clickable. Links on the front page work fine.

  2. Thanks, shtove. I can't really keep up with technical issues like that, sorry. I don't know.