December 12, 2009

In Inventione S. P. N. Francisci

One of the brothers here set up an old (pre-1962) Missale Romano-Seraphicum in one of our hallways as a museum piece. As I have gone by each day, I have set it up for the Mass that would have corresponded to the day.

Today is a Franciscan feast that I haven't been able to figure out: In inventione S. P. N. Francisci conf. I suppose it's the "Finding of our holy father Francis, confessor." The observance does not appear in the current Franciscan calendar nor in the 1962 M R-S, and so is no longer observed in any form of the Roman rite.

I'm guessing that it has something to do with the translation of the remains of the saint, but I can't guess exactly how. Anybody know?

Update: a clue! Opening my mail today, I read the newsletter of the local fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order of which I am Spiritual Assistant. The little Franciscan calendar box lists tomorrow as the feast of the "Finding of the Body of St. Francis." I must speak with Sister Editrix!

Update 2: From the very good website of a Florida region of SFO fraternities:

The church which was built at Assisi in honor of St. Francis soon after his death (1228-1230) was a double church, and the body of the saint was buried deep under the lower church. In the course of time the exact location of the tomb was forgotten, and with the permission of the Holy See, excavations were made in 1818 for the purpose of finding the relics. After 52 nights of hard work, the stone coffin containing the bones and ashes of St. Francis was found. A third underground church was then hewn out of solid rock upon which the church had been built; and there the relics of St. Francis are venerated today. Pope Leo XII instituted a special feast to commemorate the finding of the body of St. Francis. It is observed by the Franciscan Order on Dec 12, except in the Americas where it is kept on the following day.

So that also solves the question of the divergent days. Presumably In inventione was celebrated a day late here in the Americas because of the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. So that leads to the next question: When did her day become universal in the Americas? Benedict XIV granted her day to "New Spain" in 1754, but was she celebrated everywhere before being declared the Patroness of the Americas by Pius XII in 1946?

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!


Qualis Rex said...

Hello Father Charles, from historical accounts I have read, OLOG was only celebrated in Mexico for the longest time, as she was highly associated with Mexican identity for obvious reasons. In the Catholic enclaves within the US and Canada, local feast days were celebrated by the various immigrant communities. Even today, while the title of Empress of the Americas etc is bestowed on her, it is pretty rare to see her feast celebrated among say Polish, Irish or Italian communities, which opt for their own Marian celebrations. Even among other Latin American countries, it's a touchey subject, since OLOG is so identified with Mexican heritage and often you will find Salvadorans, Nicaraguans, Hondurans etc who prefer not to celebrate her day, and once again, opt for their own local Marian celebrations.

Her story definitely is local and esoteric to a specific people at a specific point in history, but the message is so much wider; that she, like God's message, is universal, which has the power to unite seemingly ireconcileable cultures and peoples.

Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe y Viva Cristo Rey!!!

Qualis Rex said...

LOL. Sorry Father, but sadly the silence on this post/subject definitely seems to validate my above comment. I'm guessing you don't have much of a Mexican following (yet).

Brother Charles said...

Well, QR, I have thought at times of trying to start a blog in Spanish.

Qualis Rex said...

GREAT! I really don't know where you find the hours in the day or the energy to keep this one going, let alone an entirely new one in Spanish. They must be serving some very fortified "Wheaties" for breakfast at your monastery. Please let me know if you procede there.