From a reader:
At a local parish here in my Archdiocese, there is going to be a High Requiem Mass on Memorial Day, which this year takes place on one of the Octave Days of Pentecost. A priest at another parish says this is illicit, and he therefore is not scheduling a Requiem Mass for that day. Do you Father believe and/ or know if it is licit to have a Requiem Mass on Memorial Day, when it lands during the Octave of Pentecost?
First, let’s get one thing straight. In one of the worst, nay rather, the very worst, in fact, close to the top of the heap of the worst things done to us in the Latin Church in the name of the Second Vatican Council’s mandate for a reform on the liturgy, was the abolition of the Octave of Pentecost. There is no Octave of Pentecost in the Ordinary Form calendar.
And, yes, I know the story about Paul VI that is out and around on the internet. I know the story because I am the source of the story, which was told to me years ago by one of the papal Masters of Ceremony from the time of Paul VI. I put it in one of my columns in The Wanderer and one the Catholic Online Forum and the rest is history. I am also amused when people tell me about a certain prayer before using the Internet. But I digress.
BTW… I once made a series of PODCAzTs about the Octave.
Yes, even in the Ordinary Form calendar there is an optional nod in the direction of Pentecost in the days following that great and solemn feast, which should be given its proper dignity. But an optional nod doth not an Octave make.
If you are using the Extraordinary Form, there is an Octave. Reason #93664 to thank Pope Benedict for the provisions of Summorum Pontificum. In that case, each day during the Octave is a 1st class feast, which don’t provide a lot of room for votive or Requiem Masses for the Poor Souls.
Still, it seems to me a reasonable approach might be to petition your local bishop for permission to have one as an exception to the general rule. The bishops might be surprised by such a question, but I bet he would play ball.
BTW… aren’t the spring Ember Days within the Octave this year?