December 1, 2021 // Bishop

December feasts and the calendar

FORT WAYNE — Two December feasts fall on the 2021 calendar in a way that’s worth noting. For parishes and individuals, it may mean some additional planning this year.

Our Lady of Guadalupe

According to the Office of Worship of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, because the Third Sunday of Advent falls on Dec. 12 this year, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe does not get celebrated in 2021. There is no provision for the actual feast itself to be transferred to another day. 

However, since this feast is so meaningful — especially to Hispanic communities — Office of Worship Director Brian MacMichael noted that one way to continue to observe the occasion is by celebrating a Votive Mass of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Saturday, Dec. 11. It would have to be celebrated before 4 p.m. or on a nearby available weekday evening. The readings and Mass prayers from the feast would be used, with the main change being the replacement of “feast” with “commemoration in the proper prayers,” and since the General Instruction of the Roman Missal No. 53 allows for the Gloria to be sung “at particular celebrations of a more solemn character,” including a Gloria during this special votive Mass would still be possible. 

Dual obligations for Christmas and Holy Family 

Christmas falls on a Saturday this year, Dec. 25, and remains a holy day of obligation. The next day – Sunday, Dec. 26, the feast of the Holy Family) – also has its own, distinct obligation. There are thus two separate obligations to fulfill. 

Since Christmas outranks Holy Family, on the evening of Saturday, Dec. 25, the prayers and readings of the Christmas “Mass during the Day” would still be used, and Evening Prayer II of the Nativity would be prayed. 

Nonetheless, attending Mass on Saturday evening — any time after 4 p.m. — can count toward either the Christmas obligation or the Holy Family Sunday obligation, but not both.

For example, someone can actually go to a Christmas Mass in the morning on Saturday — Christmas Day — to fulfill the Christmas obligation, and then go to another Christmas Mass after 4 p.m. on Saturday to fulfill the Holy Family obligation. 

No matter how it is accomplished, the key is that the two obligations must be fulfilled separately.

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