PODCAzT 56: Octaves – Fr. Z rants & Augustine on Pentecost

Today is Monday in the Octave of Pentecost, or at least it ought to be in in the Novus Ordo as it is in the older, Traditional Roman Calendar.

I dig in to what a liturgical Octave, is adding my own comments.  I am little frustrated with a few things in this matter of the tinkering done with the calendar… done?… hardly, still being done!

The we hear from the great St. Augustine (+430) on the feast of Pentecost, preaching on 12 June 412.  He has interesting wine imagery and talks about what it means to be a living member of the Body of Christ.

If I get some feedback, indicating that people hear this, I may make a few more for the rest of the Octave.



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. That is something that gets to me, that there’s only 2 octaves in the new calender. I say restore all the octaves…

  2. Piers-the-Ploughman says:

    Thank you for the Podzcast. Additional podzcasts would be welcome here to observe the Octave.

  3. Pope Evaristus, Martyr says:

    There is a story told. I don’t know whether it is true.

    Paul VI asked his MC why he was not wearing red on Pentecost Monday. The answer came, “Holiness, you suppressed the Octave….” And Paul VI wept openly.

    [ehem… did you listen to the PODCAzT? o{]:¬) ]

  4. Emilio III says:

    Pope Evaristus,

    The source of that story is Fr. Z, according to this Podcazt.

  5. mike says:

    Keep it up! I love this stuff!

  6. Geometricus says:

    Fr. Z,

    I still remember with great affection the day back at St. Raph’s when you told me the story about Paul VI and the Monday after Pentecost. I think about it often, and with you, I long for the restoration of the Octave of Pentecost.

    You placed that longing within me, or rather you were the catalyst for that longing. For me the longing for this octave has become emblematic of the longing for so many of the things the Church has lost over the years.

    I rejoice with you at the election of Bendict XVI and his issuing of the Motu Proprio. It seems that God is answering our prayers for the restoration of some of these things. Maybe we will see this Octave restored in our lifetime.

    It is really really great to see how your website has mushroomed into this huge tree with so many readers and commenters gathered under its branches. God had really blessed you, and he continues to bless me through you, Father. I pray for you often.

  7. I’m listening to the podcazt right now, after my TLM of the Octave of Pentecost here in Lourdes, and before the morning session of Confessions. How wonderful it is to have an Octave of Pentecost. The readings, the sequence, the prayers, the usage of “eiusdem”…

    Today we had some Germans in attendance, as well as representatives from the Latin Mass societies of New Jersey, Pittsburgh and Buffalo.

    In the spirit of the Octave of Pentecost, they were full of hope (despite some difficulties). It is uplifting to see such joyous pilgrims.

    Thanks for the podcazts and today’s rant and presentation of Augustine. The podcazts are always works of art.

  8. SuzyQ says:

    Please do more podcazts, I really enjoy them!! Anytime is fine … during the octave, after the octave: it doesn’t matter, just keep them coming. :)

    I never knew there was an octave of Pentecost; I was 3 when Paul VI suppressed it. I’d heard of Whitsun but didn’t know what it was. Thank you for all you do, I’m learning a lot from reading the blog and listening to the podcazts.

  9. Bruce says:

    Fr. Z,
    I listened to the podcast riding the bus on the way to work today. Please do more!
    What an excellent sermon by St. Augustine! I agree with you about restoring the octave of Pentecost. I have an english translation of The Roman Breviary from 1964 that I read every day, and during the octave of pentecost the lessons for matins are by St. Augustine & St .Ambrose so I will be able to contemplate the mystery of Pentecost all week.

  10. elizabeth mckernan says:

    Thank you Father – that was most informative and the music sublime. I am ashamed to say I had no idea what the purpose of the octaves were – they were mentioned in diaries and that was it. I don’t remember ever having them explained before. Thank you for all the work you do to keep us informed in this way.

  11. Irenaeus says:

    Fr Z, when I go to iTunes to get a podcast, usually only the one you’re ‘advertising’ shows up. Is there a way for me to get every single one of your podcasts via iTunes? The few I’ve listened to have been phenomenal.

  12. jacobus says:

    Thank you for this rant, Father. I am completely baffled when anyone says he wants to celebrate the EF with the new calendar; for me, the calendar is one of its greatest benefits.

  13. Irenaeus: I am sorry people have problems with the iTunes feed. I have tried to fix it, but I just don’t know what to do. It is beyond me.

  14. PedesXPi says:

    Thanks VERY much for this podcast, Fr. I have been going to the TLM all of my life, I use the breviary (and missal) for my private prayers, and one of the most jarring and distressing things was to show up at a NOM during the octave of Pentecost and realizing there was no octave in the NOM. I have tried to like the liturgy of Paul VI; I have tried to use the new Liturgy of the Hours (I gave up quickly on the English, and not long after on the Latin), and I’ve done my best to suffer the NOM as locally celebrated on Sunday, but it is all just too jarring, and as with this week, if I go, despite my best efforts, I spend more time being confused and upset than praying.

    And this week these masses for the octave are really beautiful, I especially like those for the ember days. All the propers give one a real sense of the depth and many facets of this mystery. I like the antiphons for this week, and try to use them for chewing on throught the day. The one for this morning really struck me, especially on the role of the spirit in leading us to Christ: “Ego sum ostium,* dicit Dominus: per me si quis introïerit, salvabitur, et pascua inveniet, alleluia.” “I am the door, says the Lord, and if anyone enters in through me, he shall be saved, and he shall find pasture, alleluia.” (A good example of the rule, “After si, nisi, num, and ne, all the ‘ali-‘s fall away”)

  15. Mark M says:


    I just wanted to leave you a note to say how much I enjoyed this episode. I listen to all of them, but this one particularly struck a chord. I especially appreciated the way you were extolling the virtues of the pre-Conciliar Calendar, but in a wholesome, common-sense way, e.g. people knowing seasons, name-days, etc., and the final argument–“cui bono?“.

    Keep ’em coming.
    Best wishes,

  16. Ed Casey says:

    Dear Father:

    Just another encouragement – these podcasts are an invaluable source of catechesis and I have been passing them along to many people who need them, as well as being personally edified. I look forward to downloading today’s when I return home.

    Context is quite important and you give a fair share in your podcasts which is better than most.


  17. London Calling says:

    Father, for me this was one of your best podcasts ever — informative, reflective, and above all balanced. I particularly liked the way you explained that the calendar has changed — even before 1969 — and will continue to change. Liturgical archaeology isn’t the goal, organic development is. Thank you for a truly enlightening lesson!

  18. Matt Q says:

    You’re doing fine, Father Z. Please keep them coming. A whole better than what we get in the parish. ;)

    BTW, pray for us, Father. The California Supreme Court just overturned as unconstitutional the State’s ban on same-sex “marriage.” We voted to ban this in 2000, and the court just wiped it out.

    Maybe you can do Podcazt on this subject and how it against God’s design.

    Thanks. God bless.

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