QUAERITUR: Feast of St. Michael on a Sunday? Fr. Z responds with a Michaelmas sermon.

From a reader:

Today in the old calendar is the Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost. [Indeed, it is.]

It’s also September 29, the feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Michael. [Indeed, it is.]

Propers for the TLM I attended today were for the latter. Should’t they have been for the former? [Indeed, according to my understanding, and my Ordo, that is so.]

In the old calendar, is it licit to make that kind of substitution? I see discussion online about the “external solemnity” of Corpus Christi (celebrating it on Sunday instead of, or in addition to, the preceding Thursday) but none about other feast days in the calendar. [Usually we don’t shove out the greater in favor of the lesser, do we.]

This wasn’t a matter of transferring the Mass for St. Michael to the nearest Sunday, since this year it happens to fall on a Sunday. [Indeed, that is so.] But I thought that on Sunday we use the propers for that Sunday, not the propers for the feast day we would have been celebrating that day if it weren’t a Sunday (with maybe one or two exceptions, including Christmas).

“Green” Sundays after Pentecost, in the traditional Roman calendar are 2nd class feasts. St. Michael, Michaelmas, is a 1st class feast. Thus, Michael gets the spotlight today. But we don’t just ignore the Sunday.

In the Extraordinary Form today we celebrate St. Michael, actually the Dedication of (the Church/Santuary of) St. Michael the Archangel, and we have as a commemoration the prayers for 19th Sunday after Pentecost. That is to say, the Mass formula is for St. Michael, and then we double-up the three major orations, following each one for Michaelmas with those we would have said had this been a normal 19th Sunday after Pentecost.

The best of both worlds, as it were.

We would observe the same for 2nd Vespers today.

Just so that you are not too disappointed on this fine feast, here is a sermon for Michaelmas:

Again, I am not sure why, the player may “hang”.  Sometimes, it does, sometimes it doesn’t.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. StWinefride says:

    Thank you for the sermon, Father Z – we didn’t make Mass today due to illness, so this was a nice surprise!

    The St Michael Chaplet is a great way to honour St Michael and the Nine Choirs of Angels:


  2. Fr. Thomas Kocik says:

    Reason #8,791 for Summorum Pontificum. In the Ordinary Form, which does not allow for multiple collects, St Michael is liturgically ignored today… just as Our Lady of Sorrows was ignored on the 15th and, worst of all, Our Lady’s Nativity on the 8th. The liturgical reformers did not want saints’ feasts/memorials to trump Sunday, the Lord’s Day; but what harm would it have caused to permit commemorations (i.e., second collects) of the more significant saints whose feasts happen to fall on a Sunday?

  3. Jim in Seattle says:

    Per FSSP 2013 Ordo, today is Dedication of St Michael the Archangel (Class I). 19th Sunday is Class II.

  4. ecclesiae says:

    At one time, would there have been a Proper Last Gospel today?

  5. Hello Fr Z. and everyone,

    For your interest, my Archdiocese, Toronto, in Ontario, Canada, was ordered by it’s Cardinal and Archbishop, Thomas Collins, to use the Ordo for the Feast of St. Michael in Mass. The Archdiocese’s patron saint is St. Michael, and it’s Cathedral is named after the saint. I think His Eminence did this as part of the Year of Faith and to coincide with the Pastoral Plan in the Archdiocese for the New Evangelization/regeneration of the diocese, though I am not able to confirm the true reasons behind the decision. So ++Collins did something “extraordinary” in the sense that this is NOT the norm, and well he just happened to “do the right thing” in terms of the EF gradation of levels of feast days without realizing it. Also, he allowed for the gaining of an Indulgence this Sunday if you 1) Attend Mass or do the Liturgy of the Hours (e.g. a Vespers) at a Church in the Archdiocese and 2) Make a Profession of Faith (Apostles/Nicene Creed) under the usual conditions for indulgences.

    Aside from this nice spiritual token though, someone I associate with for the Latin Mass in my diocese made an interesting observation: Because of what our Archbishop has done, it does add confusion for the laity for the readings, as if you went to any other diocese, they would be the 26th Sunday OT in the N.O/19th Sunday after Pentecost in the EF (save what fr. Z describes above). In addition, the change wouldn’t be as drastic in the EF because of what Fr. Z says above: it wouldn’t be an entire change of the prayers and the readings, whereas in the Novus Ordo there is much more leeway for a priest if they desire to use alternate feast days, readings, etc. that don’t jive together, or because he can and not necessarily in a positive way. (E.g. for the Feast in the N.O., the church I went to used the Psalm from 5th Sunday OT in the Canadian Catholic Book of Worship III.) While it did sound a little “Radical Catholic Reactionary” to use Dave Armstrong’s term that replaces “rad trad,” and it sounded different than what I’ve written here, I’ll admit my friend has a valid point about the N.O giving priests more freedom to muck around with parts of the liturgy vs. the EF. (out of free will vs. the Class/ranking system proper with sound reason and backing behind it).

  6. iPadre says:

    Indeed the blessing of the Extraordinary Form. Next week, I will celebrate the External Solemnity of Our Lady of the Rosary with a Commemoration of the 20th Sunday after Pentecost.

    I love the fact that we don’t loose our beautiful celebrations, even if they become Commemorations!

  7. Fr. Thomas Kocik says:

    Julian: It is my understanding that a parish’s patronal feast assumes the rank of solemnity (ergo, with Gloria and Credo) for the parish in question and may trump even “ordinary or “green” Sundays. I suppose your archbishop effectively did the same thing, albeit at the diocesan level.

  8. Interesting. I celebrated St. Michael Archangel this morning in the Dominican Rite.

    However in our Rite, no extra collects may be added on a first class feast (except, the Dawn Mass of Christmas). Second class feasts, however, may have a second collect, but only when they override another second class feast. Third class and below may have up to three collections. So the rubrics published in the Analecta SOP in 1960 (S.C.R. Prot. N. O.126/960 [16 Dec. 1960]) and so inserted into the Missale iuxta Ritum Ordinis Praedicatorum (1965), the last edition.

  9. Make that “three collects” not (happily) “three collections.” ;-)

  10. jeffreyquick says:

    FWIW, St. Michael Propers and motets at Immaculate Conception in Cleveland today, including the premiere of my setting of the St. Michael Prayer (perhaps better concert music than liturgical music).

  11. Eriugena says:

    Different Last Gospel from Trent (and possibly before, but I’ve no way of checking) until 1950. In 1955 it was changed to In princípio erat Verbum

  12. JonPatrick says:

    Here in Lewiston ME we had the Mass “Benedicte Dominum” for the Dedication of St. Michael the Archangel with a second collect and postcommunion prayer for the 19th Sunday after Pentecost. Father preached on St. Michael.

  13. ppb says:

    “I thought that on Sunday we use the propers for that Sunday, not the propers for the feast day we would have been celebrating that day if it weren’t a Sunday (with maybe one or two exceptions, including Christmas).”

    It’s somewhat more complicated than that. In the 1962 rubrics, a 1st class feast (or a 2nd class feast of Our Lord) would replace a Sunday of the 2nd class. (There are additional rules to determine whether the Sunday is commemorated or not). So yesterday, September 29, was definitely the feast of the Dedication of St. Michael the Archangel in the EF, and would have been the propers and readings for that feast, but with commemoration of the 19th Sunday after Pentecost.

    At one point, I made a list of the feasts in the Proper of the Saints that would take precedence over a Sunday of the 2nd class, so that our choir wouldn’t get confused. I don’t have the list in front of me, but I believe there are about 10 of them.

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