I don’t understand why the church decided to celebrate the Solemnity of All Saint this year on Sunday. Not only that, the liturgy of the day was that of All Saints. Is All Saints more important than Sunday being the day of the Lord? Please I need clarification. I was asked the question but I couldn’t give a very solid and reasonable answer to the question. What’s the liturgical stand on that? Thank you.
Solemnities rank higher than Sundays on the Church calendar.
A Solemnity is the highest ranking type of feast day, and they either commemorate an event in the life of Jesus or Mary, or a saint important to the whole world or to the local community (for example, the patron saint of a nation).
All Saints’ Day is a Solemnity. Therefore, when Nov. 1 falls on a Sunday, All Saints’ Day is celebrated rather than the usual Sunday Mass. This is true for all Solemnities falling outside of Advent, Lent, and Eastertide. (I believe if a Solemnity falls on a Sunday during those seasons, it would get transferred to a different day for that year only. )
It’s a bit odd that you’re framing this as “are Saints more important than the Lord” when every Mass is the commemoration of the unbloody sacrifice of Jesus. Every single Mass, no matter on what day or whether it’s in honor of a saint or not, honors God.
As @Tis_Bearself mentions, every single Mass is first and foremost directed directly to the Holy Trinity.
If you read the prayers of the Mass, no where do the prayers places the Saints above God.
Furthermore, there would be NO Saints in Heaven without the Holy Trinity, so I really fail to understand your position.
I for one, was very disappointed that we missed out on the extremely important and highly anticipated 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time. It was like Christmas was cancelled.
This is correct. For example, the Solemnity of the Annunciation is transferred to a different date if its falls on a Sunday of Lent. In that case, it is moved to the following day. However, if it falls anytime during the period From Palm Sunday through Divine Mercy Sunday, it is transferred to the day after Divine Mercy Sunday. This Solemnity was moved to a different date in 2005, 2008, 2013, 2016, and will be moved again in 2024.
On most Sundays, the Sunday Mass would outrank whatever feast days, memorials, etc. happen to fall on that day. However, All Saint’s Day is a Solemnity; indeed, it’s one of the most important liturgical days of the year in which we celebrate all the saints, which is why it outranks Sunday when it does happen to fall on a Sunday.
This is also why we still celebrate the Nativity of Our Lord on the 25th, even if it falls on a Sunday. Christmas outranks the regular Sunday.
Every diocese has a book called “Ordo” (online and/or printed), which I have nicknamed “Bible for the Sacristans” where we can read which celebrations are for different days and alternatives, liturgical colours, readings for the Mass etc. There is also pages which list which celebrations that have the highest rang to the lowest and a lot of explanations regarding different days in the life of the Church.
Basically, yes - All Saints is more “important” than an Ordinary Time Sunday.
This chart shows how liturgical days are ranked:
All Saints Day is about why Christ came, died, and rose. Not only do we look back on Christ’s Passion and Resurrection, but we also look forward to the final salvation that He purchased for us thereby.
The Church has a table of precedence of liturgical days. All solemnities out rank Sundays in Ordinary Time and in the Christmas season. However, Sundays of Advent, Lent and the Easter season outrank all solemnities.
Sunday 1st November has what is called occurrence, which is two liturgical days falling on he same calendar day. The clash was between the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time and the solemnity of All Saints. As explained above a solemnity outranks a Sunday in Ordinary Time. So, this year on Sunday 1st November we celebrated the solemnity of All Saints. Other solemnities which can usually outrank Sunday because they often fall during Ordinary Time are Ss Peter & Paul (29th June) and the Assumption (15th August).
Some solemnities do get moved because they are outranked by a Sunday. This is because when a Sunday outranks a solemnity the observance of the solemnity is transferred to another day, usually the Monday if that is free. A good example of this is the Immaculate Conception (8th December). If that falls on a Sunday it will be one of the Sundays of Advent which outranks a solemnity. In years when that happens the Immaculate Conception is transferred to Monday 9th December.
Sometimes the transfer may be several weeks later. St Joseph can occur during Lent and if he falls on a Sunday he’s transferred. If he falls, as his solemnity can, during Holy Week or the Easter Octave his solemnity is transferred to the second week of Easter.
Because solemnities can outrank a Sunday a bishop may occasionally issue a decree in which he raises a holy day with the rank of feast to solemnity on a temporary, one-off basis. He may do this if a feast important in his diocese is going to fall on a Sunday. If that happened the feast could not be observed that year. By elevating the feast to solemnity itr can outrank the Sunday and still be celebrated.
No, if St. Joseph falls during Holy Week (March 19 can never fall on or after Easter), it’s transferred to the Eve of Palm Sunday, because the Annunciation would necessarily fall during Holy Week or the Paschal Octave, and that is the solemnity that will be celebrated on Monday of the Second Week of Paschaltide.
On the Byzantine calendar, we celebrate BOTH Sunday and the Feast if it falls on Sunday. Example: In 2018, the Feast of the Annunciation fell on Palm Sunday. We celebrated BOTH in my Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church:
One year the Feast of the Annunciation fell on Great and Holy (Good) Friday. Obviously, we celebrated BOTH. The Archeparchy of Philadelphia issued a booklet for Great Vespers with Divine Liturgy. This is the ONLY time Divine Liturgy is offered on Great Friday. Otherwise, there’s no Liturgy - not even Presanctified.
The Feast of the Annunciation is the ONLY Feast that gets such precedence. Reason: The Eternal Son of God could not endure His Passion, rise from the dead and ascend into Heaven unless He had a human nature, which He assumed in the chaste and immaculate womb of the Most Holy Virgin when she freely consented to the Incarnation:
Today is the fountainhead of our salvation and the revelation of an eternal mystery: the Son of God becomes the Virgin’s Son and Gabriel announces this grace. Wherefore let us with full voice exclaim with him to her: Hail, Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee.
Troparion, Feast of the Annunciation
For Great Friday, it’s Passion Matins with the 12 Gospels (usually done on Great and Holy Thursday evening but technically it should be on Great Friday morning) and Vespers on Great Friday.
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