A note about Old Testament Prophets and the Church’s calendar

Since the beginning of December, Holy Mother Church has been imitating the Lord on the Road to Emmaus.   She has been reminding us of all the prophecies about the coming of the Messiah who would also be incarnate God.  She has done this subtly, through feast days, but feasts that are not generally visible to most of us.  Holy Mother Church has used her “album of the saints”, the Roman Martyrology to teach about the Old Testament Prophets.

Sometimes you hear people use the word “liturgy” when they mean “Mass”.  “In today’s ‘liturgy’…”, they say.  No.  The Mass is the greatest expression of the Church’s liturgy, but it is not all there is.  There are also the canonical hours of the divine Office.  The Office also makes use of the liturgical book, the Roman Martyrology.

Paging through the Martyrology, we find that many Old Testament figures are counted as saints.  If the general calendar of the Church permits, it would even be possible to celebrate them for Mass.

About those Old Testament prophets…

Keep in mind that in earlier days, Advent was longer than it is now, from Martinmas.  Prophets start popping up in the calendar in the Martyrology.

19 Nov – Abdia or Obediah.
1 Dec – Nahum
2 Dec – Habakkuk
3 Dec – Sophonius or Zephaniah
16 Dec – Haggai and some sources David (others have David on 29 Dec)
18 Dec – Malachi
21 Dec – Micah
24 Dec – “Commemoratio omnium sanctorum avorum Iesu Christi, filii, David, filii Abraham, filii Adam…”

Just a little public service announcement.

FYI… other prophets

1 May – Jeremiah
9 May – Isaiah
15 June – Amos
20 July – Elijah
23 July – Ezekiel
21 Sept – Jonah
17 Oct – Hosea
19 Oct – Joel




About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Yea, the Catholic Church is very inclusive ; )

  2. grateful says:

    Wish someone would make a movie about the conversation on the road to Emmaus.
    Thank you Father for providing the “script”.

  3. johncmeyers says:

    Elias (Elijah) is conspicuously absent from the list.

    I do wonder if there was any explanation given for moving Michaes (Micah) and Habacuc (Habkkuk) from January 15 to separate days in December?


  4. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Thank you so much for this post! i have developed a devotion to the holy prophet Jonah. good to know of a specific time to observe his feast – clearly a feast that should involve seafood.

  5. Elijah, much venerated by Carmelites, is honored on 20 July.

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  7. anthtan says:

    As someone who grew up entirely with the novus ordo, the discovery of the commemoration of Old Testament saints was a great surprise.

    I would suggest that the complete exclusion of the Old Testament saints from the modern liturgy has a negative impact on our appreciation of the whole of Sacred Scripture, its inerrancy and its inspired nature. Basically, we don’t celebrate these folks anymore because we can’t be sure they existed. Maybe that part of the Bible is allegorical.

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