The Calendar

The careful use of the ranking of Feasts can alleviate much confusion. When Sundays and Feast Days are listed by rank, then rules of precedence can always determine what is to occur when they coincide. The first comment at this post lists the ranking of feasts as compiled by Fr. John Fenton, according to the Tridentine(Western) Rite with a few Lutheran modifications. The second comment contains the rules of precedence. Further comments are invited.


Father Eckardt said...

Sundays and Feasts Ranked according to Accepted Usage in the History of the Evangelical Lutheran Church

First Class:
Easter Sunday (includes the Vigil of Easter)
Pentecost Sunday (includes Pentecost Eve)
The Sundays in Advent
The Sundays of Lent
The Sundays of Passiontide (Judica, Palmarum)
The First Sunday after Easter (Quasimodogeniti)
The Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord
The Feast of the Most Holy Trinity (Trinity Sunday)
The Nativity of Our Lord (includes Christmas Eve)
Good Friday
Maundy Thursday
The Epiphany of Our Lord
The Ascension of Our Lord
The Feast of St. Mary, Mother of God (15 Aug.)
The Circumcision of Our Lord (1 January)
Ash Wednesday
Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday, Holy Wednesday
Commemoration of the Faithful Departed (2 Nov.)
The Days in Easter Week
The Days in Pentecost Week
Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (25 March)
SS Peter and Paul (29 June)
St. Michael and All Angels (29 Sept.)
The Nativity of St. John the Baptist (24 June)
All Saints= Day (1 Nov.)
The Anniversary of a Congregation
The Baptism of Our Lord (13 Jan.)
The Presentation of Our Lord (2 Feb.)
The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin (2 July)

Second Class:
Sundays after Christmas
Sundays after Epiphany
Sundays of Pre Lent (Septuagesima, Sexagesima, Quinquagesima)
Sundays after Easter
Sundays after Trinity [Pentecost]
St. Andrew (30 Nov.)
St. Thomas (21 Dec.)
St. John the Evangelist (27 Dec.)
St. Matthias (24/25 Feb.)
St. Mark (25 April)
SS. Philip and James (1 May)
St. Barnabas (11 June)
St. Mary Magdalene (22 July)
St. James (25 July)
St. Bartholomew (24 Aug.)
St. Matthew (21 Sept.)
St. Luke (18 Oct.)
SS. Simon and Jude (29 Oct.)
Conversion of St. Paul (25 Jan.)
St. Stephen (26 Dec.)
Holy Innocent Martyrs (28 Dec.)
St. Lawrence (10 Aug.)
The Days after Christmas (Dec. 29, 30, 31; Jan. 2, 3, 4, 5)
Holy Cross Day (14 Sept.)
Day of Humiliation and Prayer
The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin (8 Sept.)
The Beheading of St. John the Baptist (29 Aug.)
St. Joseph (19 March)

Third Class:
Presentation of the Augsburg Confession (25 June)
Reformation Day (31 Oct.)
Bl. Martin Luther (18 Feb.)
Bl. C. F. W. Walther (7 May)
Thanksgiving Day
Festival of Harvest
Mission Festival
St. Timothy ( 24 Jan.)
St. Titus (6 Feb.)
St. Martin (11 Nov.)

Father Eckardt said...

The basic principles of the ranking of Feasts are these:
1. There are two overlapping systems in the church calendar: Sundays (the Temporal Cycle) and Feasts (the Sanctoral Cycle).
2. The core of the liturgical year (i.e., the celebration of our Lord=s passion, death and resurrection) is never disturbed.
3. Feasts of our Lord always take precedence over any other Sunday or Feast (e.g., when the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord [13 January] falls on the First Sunday after the Epiphany, the Feast of the Baptism supersedes the First Sunday after the Epiphany).
4. Sundays, Feasts of the Blessed Virgin, St. Michael=s Day, the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, All Saints= Day, the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed, and the Anniversary of the Founding of a Congregation are understood as Feasts of Our Lord. (Reason: they are dependent upon a particular aspect of Christology.)

5. Sundays are subdivided into two main parts: those that touch on the three main pillars of the liturgical year (Easter, Pentecost, Christmas) and therefore may not be displaced except under very rare circumstances (First Class Sundays); and those that are per annum (throughout the year) and therefore may be displaced under certain circumstances (Second Class Sundays; see the example in # 3).
6. Feasts are divided into two classes: those that may displace a Sunday (First Class Feasts; i.e., Feasts of Our Lord) and those that never displace a Sunday (Second or Third Class Feasts).
7. The difference between Second Class and Third Class Feasts is this: Second Class Feasts are those of the Apostles or other prominent saints; Third Class Feasts are those of all other saints. Second Class Feasts always displace Third Class Feasts.
8. Local customs of a synod or parish may modify the rank of selected Feasts (i.e., in the LCMS, Reformation Day is treated as a First Class Feast superseding the Sunday it falls on; at the Lutheran Church of St. Philip, the Feast of St. Philip [1 May] may be treated as a First Class Feast superseding the Sunday it falls on). Local custom may also add other Feasts (usually Third Class; e.g., Bl. Martin Luther, Bl. C. F. W. Walther). 

For Evangelical Lutheran reasons, the rankings differ slightly from those found in the Tridentine Rite. Days may be added or subtracted (usually Third Class) according to Synodical or Parish custom.

Pr. H. R. said...

I would like to see the setting the next year's calendar by the Gottesdienst Liturgy Seminar to become a yearly event. Then it could be published in Gottesdiesnt in a nice format fit to be hung in the sacristy for the altar guild. The 2007-08 Church Year especially needs some attention because of the very early date of Easter the issues that involves.

In addition, the theme of unity is first and foremost served if we are all on the same texts each Sunday.


Father Eckardt said...

Agreed. That little item would make Tuesday a success.

Fr. BF Eckardt, Editor-in-chief, Gottesdienst