THE Liturgical Year is to
he reorganised from next January 1, with the new calendar promulgated by a decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites on March 21. There will be certain modifications to permit the continued use of existing liturgical books.
The general organisation of the Liturgical Year is not radically changed. but the constituting elements of the various seasons are placed in greater evidence. Advent takes on a tone of joyous expectation of the twofold coming of Christ: His final advent and the coming at
The former is emphasised during the first two weeks of Advent. the latter from December 17 to 24. Christmastide ends on the Sunday after Epiphany, and has been altered as follows: The Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus is now suppressed, His naming being commemorated on January 1, which becomes "The Solemnity of the Holy Mother of God."
The Feast of the Holy Family is transferred to the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas, and the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord is observed on, the Sunday after
Epiphany. The period of Septuagesima is suppressed and the three weeks that formerly constituted it become "weeks during the year."
Passiontide is also suppressed insofar as its name is concerned in order to preserve even the external integrity' of Lent. But its special elements are preserved both in the Mass and in the Office.
Eastertide will last for 50 days, culminating at Pentecost. Hence its octave is abolished, but the days from the Ascension to Pentecost are emphasised as the period of expectation of the Holy Spirit.
The 34 weeks remaining outside these special seasons make up the so-called time "during the year," divided between the period before Lent and that following Pentecost. The liturgical texts are to be grouped into one series which will serve during both periods.
In the latter period the Feast of Christ the King is now transferred from the last Sunday of October to the last Sunday of the Liturgical Year. The various seasons will be characterised in part by the biblical reading assigned to each, as well as the Mass prayers which are increased in number so that each day of Advent. of Lent and of Eastertide will have its proper prayer.
The new Liturgical Calendar is organised on the following principles: The restoration to each saint
Of his flies ?walls, the day of
his birth, as his feast day. The selection of those saints most important to the universal Church so that other saints are left to local custom —national, regional or diocesan.
The optional celebration of many feasts inscribed in the calendar which are now no longer imposed for commemoration by the whole Church.
In general, the traditional feasts of Our Lord remain, less the Holy Name and the Most Precious Blood. The principal feasts of Our Lady remain. but the following are now optional: Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Mount Carmel. the Dedication of Saint Mary Major's and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The number of saints inscribed in the calendar has been diminished. At the same time, a more universal representation of feasts has resulted, so as to correspond better to the present growth and extension of the Church.