Optional Readings on Feast Days

Today, on the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, we had different readings from the regular ones for 16 July that I saw listed on USCCB and elsewhere. We had 3 instead of 2. The first was from Isaiah, the second from Galatians, and the third from the Gospel of John. I don’t know exactly what the readings were, as I am in Kyiv, Ukraine (attending Roman Catholic Mass) and my Ukrainian language skills are less than stellar. I normally mark the readings ahead of time and read along in English, but I had the wrong ones today. I did recognize the gospel as where Mary and John are at the foot of the cross, “Behold, your mother,” and “Behold, your son.” This feast day is a big deal here, the patroness of the diocese and every year at this time there’s a pilgrimage going out to the Mother of God shrine about 100 miles SW of here, wrapping up this weekend. Anyway, I’ve heard of optional memorials on some feast days, but just wondering where one can find the Mass readings. I recognize the first two from the LOTH, but don’t know how the gospel of john got in there. Also, is it normal to turn a regular daily Mass into the full blown 3-reading-with-gloria-and-nicene-creed Mass? Semper fidelis.

Now, the only possible explanation that I can think of is that you probably went to a Carmelite parish. Religious orders will sometimes be granted the privilege of having different readings than the rest of us get because they are celebrating their patronal feast day. This would explain why you experienced a variance. When I was a kid, we had a different set of readings for the feast of St. John Bosco because I was attending a Salesian school. This was a privilege for the Salesians since this was our major feast.

Even what you described is different from the optional readings for the feast day that we had here in the United States. Again, if I had attended a Carmelite parish for Mass, I probably would have heard the same thing you did.

John 19: 25-27 (“behold mother/son”) is listed in the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary options (#11).

Isaiah 7 10-14
Galatians 4: 4-7

There aren’t any “proper” readings specific to OL Mt. Carmel–the Lectionary simply says to use the common readings.

One important note: I’m reading from the 1970 Lectionary, because that’s the one I happen to have near the desk for reference purposes. While there have been changes, I don’t think they would have changed too much for this particular feast.

Regardless, since any of the readings for the “Common of the BVM” can be used on this day, and there are so many different options, the publishers for the different sources probably just picked certain ones. There are 11 different Gospel options, for example.

This question pops up quite a bit here on these forums. Often, posters are confused because the source they happened to check is different from what was read at Mass. That usually happens because whoever compiled that particular printing (or online version, or whatever else) simply chose to list some of the options rather than all of the options.

Thank you!

It is “normal” in so far as competent authorities (diocese, religious order, pastor, et cetera) are permitted and encouraged to draw up particular calendars to show special honor to those saints who are their own.

While OL Mt Carmel is an *optional memorial *in the general calendar, it is entirely appropriate that, as patroness of the diocese, she would be celebrated in the particular calendar as a Solemnity (3-reading-with-gloria-and-nicene-creed, et cetera).


I heard the above readings at Mass on Thursday. We have an active Carlmelite group that meets in our church. SO we had the white vestments more candles, Gloria and the three readings PLUS a Sequence.

Thanks for the info everyone. We had those readings both on the feast day on Thursday, and again at the Carmelite monastery, where the shrine is and where the pilgrimage concluded, on Sunday (yesterday).

That makes much more sense, since they are the readings prescribed in the Carmelite Lectionary (no choice)

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.