QUAERITUR: Confusion about celebrating parish, patronal feasts

From a reader:

The Parish to which I belong is dedicated to the Patronage of a Saint Gianna Beretta Molla (April 28) and the Parish Church (brick and mortar) is dedicated to Saint Bernadette Soubirous (April 16). Canon Law prohibits changing the name of a church once it is dedicated to a specific saint, etc. However, in the current U.S.A. Ordo, Saint Gianna is not yet listed and St. Bernadette is only mentioned in the Ordo for February 11 (Our Lady of Lourdes) with no option of celebrating her feast on April 16. (Perhaps that is because in 2013 April 16 fell within the Easter Season). If this parish wishes to honor their patronesses on the dates of their feasts what options do they have? I can understand if these dates were on a Sunday, but in the future, may the option for celebrating the Mass for A Holy Woman be used for Saint Gianna and the option for a Religious be used for Saint Bernadette?

You will find at the beginning of the Roman Missal a table of liturgical days (also here).
This should tells us all we need to know.

Regardless of whether a particular saint is on the General Calendar, or the Particular Calendar of a nation or a diocese, if a parish is dedicated to that saint, his or her feast is “on the calendar” for that parish.

A helpful guide is HERE.

Unless 28 April or 16 April fall on a higher-ranked celebration (such as Easter or Ascension), the parish celebrates its titular feast day and the titular feast day of the parish church.  Patronal/titular feasts are ranked as solemnities, but proper solemnities rather than solemnities such as the important feasts of the Lord or Our Blessed Mother and so forth.    So, we should give proper liturgical observance to the patron of the place, the titular patron saint of the church and also the anniversary of the dedication of the church building.

If the pastor wants to transfer the celebration to a Sunday of Ordinary Time, he should consult with the local bishop about the praxis of the diocese. The local diocesan bishop can grant permission (and this is fairly common, I think) to transfer the celebration.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. dominic1955 says:

    I never liked the idea of changing a parish’s name. Why? We have one in my archdiocese that was originally St. Philomena but then they changed it to St. Frances Cabrini. Nothing wrong with St. Frances but there was nothing wrong with St. Philomena either (except that people try to say she didn’t exist).

    The other problem was that it seemed that the Chancery never told all the Irishmen that there were more Irish saints than St. Patrick. There are too many parishes named St. Patrick in our moderately sized diocese.

  2. AJS says:

    Sometimes it might be a good idea to change the name of a parish. When buildings change jurisdiction things can be odd. There is a Maronite parish that was erected by the local Latin bishop before the Maronites in the US had their own bishop. That Latin bishop named the parish “Our Lady of Purgatory.” That name may fit for the Latin Church but it is just bizarre when appropriated for use by Syriacs, Byzantines, or any other Eastern or Oriental Church. We wouldn’t expect a Latin parish to be called “Our Lord of the Uncreated Energies” and so it would be a good thing if we were able to rename our parish something that doesn’t use “purgatory” in the name.

  3. Vergilius says:

    On a related note, does anyone know if priests are allowed to celebrate the feasts of their personal patrons (i.e., the saint of their baptismal name, their confirmation name, their religious name) with greater solemnity? [There is with the TLM always the possibility of celebrating a Missa Cantata or a Missa Solemnis, if it can be organized.]

  4. Andy Lucy says:

    As an inveterate slide rule collector, is the image in this post one of an actual device used to calculate feast days? If so, THAT would be an almost unbelievable cool item to look for to add to my collection… a circular Catholic slide rule!

  5. Chuck3030 says:

    Dominic, equally varied are the poish parishes. Nobody seems to have told them that there are other holy things in Church history than the Holy Cross.

  6. Juho says:

    I vaguely remember having read that whenever there is no obligatory feast for the day, a priest may choose to celebrate the Mass of any of the worldwide saints listed in the day’s Martyrologium… That is, even if they are not in the diocesan calendar.

  7. Pingback: Daniel Mitsui - Big Pulpit

Comments are closed.