QUAERITUR: Old & new calendar – feast of St. John Vianney

From a reader:

I have a question for you regarding the celebration of feasts that fall on a different date in the new calendar rather than the old. Our diocesan office of worship is planning events for the year of priests, and is considering the celebration of a Solemn High Mass in the EF for the feast of St. John Vianney, with the Bishop assisting at the throne in our Cathedral church.

My question is, since the date of his feast in the old calendar is August 7th, but now falls on August 4th, is it possible to celebrate this Mass, in the EF, on August 4th, or must it be celebrated on August 7th? Thank you for any help you may be able to provide.


A similar question came up for the observance of the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul during this Pauline Year (which isn’t over, btw!).  

It was asked whether or not one could transfer the observance to coincide with the newer calendar and other celebrations. 

The question was answered by the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei answered with common sense: of course!

I have absolutely no reason to believe that were one to ask the Commission about this matter, for the Year for Priests, the answer would come back in the way commonsensical way.

I would in not hesitate to coordinate the calendar for such an important occasion during this year for priests.  I am confident that this is the answer which will come back from the PCED.

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  1. Marcos ASPV says:


    The Feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul will be on Monday (29/VI). Is it possible to celebrate this Mass on Sunday or in the vesper of Saturday (Sunday Mass)? Does it depend on the Bishops Conference of the COuntry?

    Asking for your blessing,

  2. Mark says:

    I think it depends on what falls on the new date in the old calendar.

    On lesser feasts, you can celebrate the Mass of any Saint as a Votive Mass (except at the Conventual Mass).

    However, in this case, August 4th in the Old Rite is the feast of St Dominic himself! A Greater Double. And so I’m not sure it would be allowed. At the very least, express permission of Ecclesia Dei would seem needed.

    I hate to say it, but the committee seems to be trying something well-intentioned but without any logic behind it. If you are going to insist on calling August 4th the feast of St John Vianney (ala the new calendar) and using it as the point of reference for celebrations thereof…then why the Old Rite? Why not just have a big solemn Ordinary Form mass on that day, and save any extraordinary form celebrations for August 8th? It’s not like his is a well-known or major feast-day in the new rite, so most people wouldnt know the difference if it was celebrated on the 8th instead of the 4th. To most of them, same difference.

    Interestingly, in the New Calendar, John Vianney and Dominic just switch places (August 4th and 8th) from the old arrangement (8th and 4th). This shows a change in values. There is indeed a logic to it, since Vianney actually died on August 4th, and Dominic didnt (he died on the 6th, but that’s taken up by Transfiguration). But the old calendar valued continuity more than “accuracy”. Dominic was there first. His feast had been celebrated on the 4th for 700 years, it was used to date papal documents (and certainly was important in the OP itself)…and so, even though when John Vianney came along and died on the 4th it was “simple enough” to just switch the two…the inertia and cultural tradition of Dominic’s feast day…took precedence. Not in the new, where an “ideal” was sought that treated the new like a blank slate that could just ignore all that…

  3. Perhaps the answer to reconciling the calendars (at least in the Novus Ordo) would be to go back to the old ranking of liturgical days, but then to allow some freedom where the modern conflicts with the older. Thus, one would be able to use the texts of St. John Vianney on both August 4 and 8th, but also be obliged to commemorate St. Dominic on both days.
    Meanwhile, for what it’s worth, I consider the restoration of commemorations as a major need for the Novus Ordo.

  4. Sid Cundiff says:

    The Year of St. Paul is indeed not over! I’m happy to report that on Monday, 29 June, The Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, at 630pm, at Holy Angels Church, 1208 North Main Street, Mount Airy, North Carolina, there will be a special Mass in the Extraordinary Form celebrating the conclusion of the Pauline Year. Pastor is Fr. Eric Kowalski. Parish phone (336) 786-8147. hac_mta@yahoo.com

  5. Mark says:

    I think reconciling the two calendars is going to have to involve a great logic to the New calendar.

    The traditional Doubles of the First Class, Second Class, and Greater Doubles should all be kept where they were in the Old. Most of the Doubles should too, certainly all the Doctors, Founders, and Royals, though some of the late-addition Saints based on the popularity of a cult that has fade or papal favorites…could be removed. The old Roman martyrs should be kept at Rome (the main semidoubles and simples) but not necessarily elsewhere. Elsewhere, local Saints could be kept. If the freed-up days free-up the actual death day of most Saints…they could be moved to the actual day. But certain days may be a traditional Milepost in the Year for some areas, and those should not move regardless of accuracy (St Martin and St Catherine are examples of this, though neither of them moved, fortunately).

  6. C. says:

    According to the 1960 Rubrics, the Feast of St. Dominic is 3rd Class. This would appear to preclude the celebration of any Votive Mass, except those under certain predefined conditions (1st, 2nd and 3rd Class Votives). A special indult of the Holy See (RGMR 339) “for example, on the occasion of a centennial” (RGMR 338b) is precisely one of those conditions. Such an indult would allow the Mass to be celebrated as a 1st Class Votive with Gloria and Creed, and the Solemn Tone is prescribed (RGMR 330); such an indult could even be good for a whole Triduum or Octave.

    I looked at the conditions for 2nd and 3rd Class Votives and they all appear to require some local connection – the patronage of the saint in question over the place or the people, etc.

    The Holy See has already granted an indulgence only applicable on August 4, 2009 (“on the day of the 150th anniversary of the pious passing of St John Mary Vianney”), so it would seem that special commemorations on the exact day are the intention of the Holy Father. But for legality’s sake, one ought to write the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei for an indult. A letter from a bishop would likely be answered expeditiously.

    As an aside note, I have seen private attempts at calendar coordination lead to disunity in the Church. The Holy Father was wise to assign calendar coordination to the jurisdiction of the PCED.

  7. Argon says:

    Why on earth do we need to reconcile the calendars? What good could possibly come out of that??

  8. Mark says:

    “Why on earth do we need to reconcile the calendars? What good could possibly come out of that??”

    It’s obviously not entirely necessary. In the East (even besides the Julian vs Gregorian question)…only the most Major feasts (ie, Easter, Christmas, Pentecost, Epiphany) etc, are the same. Peter and Paul is the same, but most even of the APOSTLES themselves are different in the East and it wasnt a problem.

    But it would be nice to have the West working off one calendar (hopefully one that more resembles the Old than the new), as it can lead to things like a priest having to compose two sermons if he offers both OF and EF at his parish, questions like this John Vianney one at the Cathedral, issues over Holy Days of Obligation transferred to Sunday (a huge point of conflict), issues over the parish community existing in “parallel” communities, such that, for example, Septuagesima has already begun as a violet mourning time for the trads, but the novus ordo is still in green Ordinary time.

    One calendar could help to encourage the use of the Old Rite, I’d think. For example, it would be a lot easier to have this John Vianney EF Mass that they want if there wasnt the question of the conflicting calendars.

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