Martyrologium Romanum and the choice of Mass

You probably know by now that I am a fan of the Martyrologium Romanum, or Roman Martyrology.  This is a book which containsa list, for every day of the year, of martyrs and other saints whose feasts or commemorations are in the Roman Calendar.  It is not exhaustive, but it is very good.  The Martyrologium Romanum is a liturgical book and therefore it will have to be translated according to the norms laid down in Liturgiam authenticam

The MartRom was used for the recitation or singing of the Office, especially in choir.  In monasteries extensive use is made of martyrologies.  In recent times, and after a gap of many years, the Church has updated the Roman Martyrology.  There was an editio typica in 2001 and then, remarkably, an editio altera in 2004! 

I attended the release of both of the editions of this useful volume.  His Eminence Francis Card. Arinze cordially signed my copy of the altera with a good inscription and pep talk!  but I digress.

In any event, in another entry/thread where there was some discussion of the wonderful MartRom, and what Mass could be chosen for celebration each day.  A frequent contributor offered this, from the GIRM or General Instruction of the Roman Missal 353:

In feriis per annum, eligi potest aut Missa de feria, aut Missa de memoria ad libitum forte occurrente, aut Missa de aliquo Sancto eo die in Martyrologio inscripto. . . .


In the English translation of the GIRM we find this as 355 c.:


On the weekdays in Ordinary Time, it is possible to choose either a weekday Mass, or the Mass of an optional memorial which happens to occur on that day, or the Mass of any Saint listed in the Martyrology for that day, or a Mass for Various Needs, or a Votive Mass. 


I think it is quite interesting that it says "Saint" and not "Blessed".

Therefore, when 4 September rolls around priests could choose to celebrate a Mass in honor of St. Moses, the Old Testment prophet.  On 1 July we could have picked a Mass for St. Aaron.  Today I could have chosen St. Disibod the hermit (VII c.) or St. Kilian, bishop and martyr (VIII c.). 

I would not however have been able to celebrate Bl. Pope Eugene III about whom I wrote elsewhere.  Since he is only beatified he can only be celebrated at the altar in certain places where such a permission is given, as for example in the Vatican Basilica. 

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. There was an editio typica in 2001 and then, remarkably, an editio altera in 2004!

    Not having seen either of these, hence not knowing how up to date they are, I wonder whether additional new editions might be necessary until the Church catches up with John Paul II’s rate of canonization of new saints.

  2. How is it possible to order a copy of the current MartyRom (in Latin of course)? I can put this into liturgical user immediately.


  3. Don Marco says:

    Also — a great resource for choosing Christian names for babies! They should be on sale in Valencia this weekend! Copies of the Martyrology, I mean — not babies.

  4. 1962 Roman Martyrology $34.95
    2004 Roman Martyrology $127.90

    In possible answer to Father Z’s earlier question. Seriously, are there really that many more saints now?

  5. Andrew says:

    Don Marco:

    “Copies of the Martyrology, I mean — not babies.”

    Off course! We know that. Babies are free. They’re like the cell-phone. You get it for free, but then you pay the rest of your life.

  6. Henry: Yes. And blesseds. Also, some of the more florid bits were cleaned up.

  7. Jeff says:

    In addition to Father’s suggestion of Paxbook to purchase it, there is also It is considerably less expensive at Newman, plus when you also factor in the shipping costs from Rome to the U.S. then the savings are substantial.

  8. Jeff: Thanks for that excellent reference! I will also keep that in mind.

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