Thursday, January 31, 2008

Hartford and Providence Dioceses Shift the Date of St. Patrick's Day And the Annunciation for 2008

The Vatican decided that due to conflicts in the Catholic Church's liturgical calendar in 2008 that the dates of the feasts of St. Joseph and of the Annunciation of the Lord will be moved. In 2008, if the feast of St. Joseph were to be celebrated as usual on March 19, it would fall on the Wednesday of Holy Week and if the feast of the Annunciation of the Lord were to be celebrated March 25, it would fall on the Tuesday during the octave of Easter.

While the two feasts are among the 14 solemnities marked with special care in the Catholic Church, they do not take precedence over the commemoration of Christ's suffering, death and resurrection. Therefore in 2008 the feast of St. Joseph will be celebrated March 15, the day before Palm Sunday, and the feast of the Annunciation will be celebrated March 31, the Monday after the second Sunday of Easter, which also is Divine Mercy Sunday.

Regarding the feast of St. Patrick:
The Bishop has agreed to join the Bishop of the Hartford Province and assign the optional memorial of St. Patrick to Friday, March, 14.

Inquiries have been received concerning the optional memorial for St. Patrick (March 17), which falls on the Monday of Holy Week. As a result of the above mentioned change for the Solemnity of St. Joseph, a memorial for St. Patrick may be celebrated on Friday, March 14. The Bishop is prepared to issue a dispensation for those celebrating this optional memorial Friday, March 14, which is a Friday during the Lenten Season. Any social activities taking place around the feast of St. Patrick should be most sensitive to the solemn nature of Holy Week which observes the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of the Lord.

It is the first time in almost 100 years that the feast of St Patrick will not be celebrated March 17. In 1913, the same conflict occurred, and in that case the church marked the feast April 1.

According to historians, March 17 is the traditional date given for the death of St. Patrick, and his feast has been celebrated on this day since the seventh century.

The next time St. Patrick's Day will fall during Holy Week will be 2160

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