Regular mass or feast takes precedence?

Our choir makes a yearly trip to the (relatively) close Holy Hill, National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians (recently named a minor Basilica). There is a monastery there of Discalced Carmelites, who were historically founded by St. Therese.

The day that our choir is to go there this year is also the feast day of St. Therese. We have been informed that all masses that day will revolve around St Therese, and that the music, etc. should reflect that. That isn’t a direct quite, but basically, it sounds like they are saying the regular mass is being superceded by the feast day. The call came from one of the Fathers there to our liturgical music director.

Anyone else see a problem with this? I thought regular Mass was foremost and if they wanted a special devotional mass they should have it some other time. But this is supposed to “replace” every mass said that weekend.

On the patronal feast of a chapel/parish/convent/monastery/diocese, it is permitted to celebrate the feast of the saint rather than the Mass of that particular day, unless a Solemnity or the Easter Triduum would happen to fall on that date.

Our parish’s patron is St. Therese, and we will (with permission of our Bishop) be celebrating her feast day at our weekend Masses on September 30-October 1.

The OCD were founded by Teresa of Avila, not Therese of Lisieux. But Threrese was an OCD, and since she is their Saint, they are allowed to celebrate her feast as a Solemnity! So, no: there is no problem about interrupting your regularly scheduled programming . . .

On the patronal feast of a chapel/parish/convent/monastery/diocese, it is permitted to celebrate the feast of the saint rather than the Mass of that particular day, unless a Solemnity or the Easter Triduum would happen to fall on that date.

Ok, but I’m still confused how a monastary of monks dedicated to St. Therese can supercede the Church devoted to Mary, Help of Christians? Wouldn’t that mean they can have their devotion in their monastary, not in the church? Yeah, they’re on the same grounds, but the parish is to Mary, not St. Therese.

Would this mean the readings etc. would change too?

I’m not sure what the exact ruling is regarding this, but I believe that because they are of the same order as St. Therese, they can (again, with permission of the local Bishop) celebrate the feast of St. Therese. Anyone with more info, please clarify.

Would this mean the readings etc. would change too?

Yes. They would use the readings and prayers of the feast day (St. Therese).

If the parish is under the care of the OCD from a monastery dedicted to St. Therese, then they can celebrate their patronal feast. The readings would be proper to the Feast, not those on the general calendar.

I’m a little confused. Are you talking about October 1, which falls on a Sunday this year? I believe the Solemnity of the titular of a congregation can be celebrated, even on a Sunday. Somebody correct me if I am in error. In any event, Mary, Help of Christians would not be celebrated on that day.

This is correct and they do not need to have permission from the Bishop to do this as it is their custom according to their liturgical calendar. Many of the Religious Orders have a slightly different calendar than that of the universal calendar. For instance the Franciscans celebrate the Feast of Francis as a Solemnity and they also celebrate other Franciscan Saints as Feasts when they may not be on the universal calendar or they have other Solemnities and Feasts that are not on the universal calendar such as the Transitus and others. This is the same with the Carmelites. Both Theresas are celebrated as Solemnities and are only trumped by Universal Solemnities and Feast of Our Lord.

It sounds to me as if this Basicila is under the authority of the OCDs and so any parish, school, church etc under the custody of a religious order would normally follow the ordo of that religious order.

Note: What I mean here by universal calendar is the calendar in use by the whole of the Latin West. Each other sui juri Church has their own Calendar as well.

Yes, Oct. 1, feast of St Therese. The Shrine is to Mary, Help of Christains, but the order takes care of the place. They want to celebrate the feast of St. Therese at all masses that weekend.

I do not know how to properly describe the geography. The shirne of Holy HIll is set in the forest, on the tallest hill in the area. It is a beautiful church with tall spires, and is very pictureque. There are trails through the woods, and poeple have picnics, etc. there, tour groups come. It is quite a tourist attraction. There is a gift shop on the first floor, the secod floor is the St Therese Chapel, and the main church is on the highest level with a commanding veiw of the surrounding area, and is the Mary, Help of chirstians. They have several masses each weekend, and use both floors.
They just finsihed a several million dollar renovation, and you could check out the website at At the base of the church is also a cafe/restaurant. They recently made news as some really stupid vandals spray painted a bunch of the statues, etc. with satanic messages right on the heals of the renovation being completed. (the dummies were quoted as saying “what’s the big deal? It was just a prank. We used spray paint so they can just wash it off.” DUH!!!)

As well, the monastrary is on the grounds, and at the bottom of the hill is another church/parish called Mary of the Hill. They seem to be seperate from the big church, but are still on the same grounds. Not sure who actually runs that one. Does that clear it up some?

Based on what you said and looking at the information on the site given my post #7 above is correct unless the canonical status of the Basicila is under the custody of the Archdiocese and not the Carmelites that staff it at this time. However, I would assume that their instruction to your chior is correct as it seems that it is correct.

Sorry to resurrect this once more, but I am now confused again. The Shrine is run by the Discalced Carmelites. But Oct 1, sounds like the wrong feast day.

St. Teresa of Jesus (Teresa of Avila), Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada was born in Avila, Spain, on 28th March 1515. Her feast day is kept on 15th October. Doctor of the Church

St. Therese of Lisieux. October 1, is the Feast Day of St.Therese the Little Flower of the Child Jesus. She was a Carmelite, OCJ

From the Holy Hill website (bold added by me):
The Discalced Carmelite Friars of Holy Hill belong to the reform order of Carmelites begun by St. Teresa of Jesus (1515 - 1582) and St. John of the Cross (1542 - 1591). Teresa and John worked to establish the reform of the Carmelite order in Spain during the later part of the sixteenth century. This reform resulted in the Discalced Carmelites becoming a separate branch of the Carmelite order. Teresa’s goal in the reform was for members of the order to return to the original rule of St. Albert as mitigated by Pope Innocent IV. The ancient Order Carmelites (0. Carms.) and the Order Carmelites Discalced (O.C.D.) differ in that the Reform or Discalced (meaning barefoot) branch of the order places greater emphasis on community and contemplation.
The images of Teresa and John are portrayed in mosaics above the two side altars in the upper church. Teresa is represented with the child Jesus in the mosaic above the left side altar. The illustration represents an experience Teresa had of being interrupted by a little boy while at prayer in the courtyard of her cloister. The child asked, “Who are you?” She answered, “I am Teresa of Jesus, and who are you?” The child replied, “I am Jesus of Teresa” and disappeared. St. Teresa of Jesus is also referred to as Teresa of Avila (she was born in Avila, Spain) or the Great St. Teresa. Cannonized in 1614 (her feastday is October 15), she is the first woman to be declared a doctor of the church. This honor was awarded to her on September 27, 1970.

The Discalced Carmelite liturgical calendar celebrates the feasts of both Teresa and Therese as solemnities as well as St John of the Cross.

So, on Oct. 15 they will celebrate the feast of St Teresa as a solemnity.

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