dominica minor

What is “Dominica Minor”?

Can you provide the context?

Dominica VI Post Epiphaniam ~ Semiduplex Dominica minor Commemoratio: SS. Faustini et Jovitae

Doesn’t “minor” refer to Commemoratio, rather than to Dominica?

It means that the Sunday in question is not privileged, i.e., first class feasts would still pre-empt it. The Sundays in Lent cannot be superceded by any feast whatsoever, but Sundays after Epiphany can. Even some second-class feasts, such as happened two weeks ago on Candlemas, can pre-empt the “minor” Sundays.

I actually found this on Divinum Officium website. This particular Dominica Minor was actually on a Saturday.

A short answer

No, your eyes were not fooling you, and if you were looking at a certain period in time, the site was not wrong. Under the rubrics in place before around 1955, certain Sundays could be transferred to other days, even other days of the week.

More detail

Before around 1955, when rubrics were simplified, the calendar had more of what I’ll call “liturgical Sundays” than would be needed in a typical year because of how this calendar dealt with Sundays in relation to a moveable Easter. (Look at Ordinary Time: this year, the 9th week drops out entirely.)

The calendar also sought to have all of these “liturgical Sundays” observed to some extent, even if doing so meant moving a few of them to other days of the week–as happened to that one “Sunday” this year.

(If I’m remembering something correctly, what happened liturgically to such a “Sunday” depended on its “interaction” with what was otherwise scheduled for the day; sometimes that Sunday would be outranked by a feast and reduced to a commemoration but never entirely disappear. I also doubt that anticipating a Sunday on a Saturday turned that Saturday into a holy day of obligation.)

Even more detail

In that calendar, there are always six “liturgical Sundays” after Epiphany, which is always January 6. (There is also a little pre-Lenten season starting at Septuagesima, nine weeks before Easter and 17 days before Ash Wednesday. It and the following two Sundays are the reason that there wasn’t a “seventh,” “eighth,” or “ninth Sunday after Epiphany.”)

Some years, Easter falls very late, and all six of these “liturgical Sundays” find a natural-looking place in the “actual Sundays” after the Epiphany.

But “very late” isn’t very often: in those years, Easter falls on or after April 22 in a regular year, or on or after April 21 in a leap year. (Under our current Western rules, the next five such years will be 2038, the leap year 2052 when Easter falls on the 21st, 2057, 2068, and 2079. Save the dates!)

Most years, though, there is no space to match all of them. This year, Easter is late (April 20) but not that late.

Under those old rules that allows as an option, there was room to match five of those “liturgical Sundays” to “actual Sundays” (Sunday, January 12 to Sunday, February 9), and because Septuagesima was February 16, the sixth got anticipated one day, on Saturday, February 15.

(If I remember correctly: in years when Easter and Septuagesima were very early, the “extra” Sundays were used before Advent, since the same scheme didn’t have enough “liturgical Sundays” after Pentecost to cover all the “actual Sundays” in such years. In other words, although there could be as little as one actual Sunday between Epiphany and Septuagesima, these years didn’t see a line of five straight anticipated Sundays.)

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