November 13, 2012


Ever since I bought my first real breviary, the Daily Prayer I picked up at Galway Cathedral in the spring of 1993, I've been familiar with the document, printed toward the front in editions of the Liturgy the Hours, called the 'General Roman Calendar.' It's the calendar, mostly of the sanctoral cycle, of those observances that are celebrated throughout all of the Latin Catholic Churches. For example, St. Francis of Assisi. He might be a memorial at home in the United States, a feast here in Italy because he is the national patron saint, and a solemnity for us Franciscans, but everywhere in the world the liturgy celebrates St. Francis each October 4.

Now apart from living within this General Roman Calendar, I've also been aware of some of the proper or particular calendars I've lived in; those of the United States and the Franciscan Order, to take the clearest examples. But it never crossed my mind, until today that is, that in addition to the General Roman Calendar there should be such a thing as a particular Roman calendar, a liturgical calendar proper to the diocese of Rome. Today, however, I realized as much when I read the little weekly liturgical calendar that the brethren make here (to which I'm paying special attention because it's my week to be lector) and saw that today was the memorial of Pope St. Nicholas I. You won't find him in your breviary, because his day only seems to be observed here in Rome, where it is an obligatory memorial, and, somewhat unfortunately for us Franciscans, it suppresses the optional memorial of Didacus of Alcalá.

I've been looking around for a copy of the proper liturgical calendar for the diocese of Rome, but haven't found it yet, even on the wonderfully named website of the diocese,

According to Wikipedia, Pope St. Nicholas was most famous for having denied an annulment to Lothair II, king of Lotharingia, so he could get unmarried to Teutberga, daughter of Boso the Elder, and get married to his mistress Waldrada. Who wouldn't want to marry a girl named Waldrada? Or be relieved of having a father-in-law named Boso, for that matter. I have to say, people had cooler names in the olden days.

In any case, this Roman observance of Pope St. Nick meant that, for the first time I can remember, I got to read the bit of sermon from Leo the Great that the Common of Pastors provides for the Office of Readings for a Pope. I liked this part in particular:

"As the faith stands firm in what Peter believed in Christ, so it stands firm in what Christ instituted in Peter."

Of course it works better in Latin: sicut permanet quod in Christo Petrus credidit, ita permanet quod in Petro Christus instituit.



carl said...

Does the Diocese of Rome have an Ordo book as do American dioceses? Not quite as clean as a calendar or supplement, but it would do the trick.

Brother Charles said...

Indeed they do, and it does do the trick. I found it somewhere here

Benedicta said...

I am kinda spoiled praying the Liturgy of the hour from my smartphone(no cofusion). It is like handed in a silver platter.