A Liturgical Calendar of the Domestic Church

Earlier this week, Daria of Coffee and Canticles wrote about how she accidentally missed the feast of Saint Mark because she forgets to check the calendar and the proper before starting in on the psalter.  And I got excited, because I had that very problem (in a bad way) until I added a custom liturgical calendar to my burgeoning calendar habit.  In fact, I had just updated it with the moveable celebrations through the end of 2014.

So I quickly sanitized my domestic church calendar down to the feasts and solemnities of the General Roman Calendar (+ US), stuck it up as a public google calendar, and offered it for public use.  (If you’re interested, you can subscribe here.)

Then I found out that not everyone checks their calendar regularly even before they get out of bed.  …mea culpa.

But this post isn’t really about me sticking my foot down my esophagus.  (Again.)  It’s about what I sanitized out of my calendar before publishing it.

I started out with just the solemnities.  Then I added the feasts.  Then memorials.  Then I thought – if I want all this, why don’t I just subscribe to RomCal?  I looked at RomCal again, and remembered why I never used it in the first place.  RomCal has an entry for every day of every week, and it is entirely overwhelming.  I went back to my homemade calendar of solemnities and feasts, and started thinking about how to make this work.

Then I read the Universal Norms on the Liturgical Year and the General Roman Calendar.  It not only told me exactly what I wanted, but also how to do it properly.

What I wanted was a particular calendar for our domestic church.  The memorials on it ought to be of appropriate to our vocation, or of special significance to our family, days deserving celebration.  But at the same time, they ought not interfere with the chief celebrations of the liturgical year.  They shouldn’t be on the calendar in such excess that they obscure the seasons of the liturgical year.  And finally, because this is a homebrew particular calendar instead of a anything official, these days (usually) remain memorials and don’t receive the greater significance they would receive in the official particular calendar of a local church or a religious community.

Here’s what I ended up with:

  • Our wedding anniversary and birthdays – we take the memorials of these days as patronal celebrations, especially the memorial of our wedding anniversary which seems analogous to the patronal feast of a church.  It also provides a nice random sample of memorials throughout the liturgical year.  The only exception is GeekBaby, who I can’t stop mentally associating with Saint Bonaventure, whose feast was on his due date.
  • Saint’s Days, especially for the littles (and including those for our godchildren.)
  • Baptismal anniversaries (also including those of our godchildren.)
  • The memorial of our parish patron.  This is the only memorial we keep as a feast, since it’s our primary link to the larger church.
  • Memorials of Saints with special significance for our family.  Saint Nicholas is here, obviously.  But we also have Saints Blaise and Lucy as patrons of particular health concerns, Saints Patrick and Juan Diego as part of our heritage, and a small handful of memorials with special significance to individuals.
  • Memorials that it offends my CDO to omit.
  • And finally, the anniversary of each of our miscarriages.  Instead of memorials, these are listed as Office for the Dead.

This has ended up working very well.  It keeps the number of celebrations down to a reasonable number dull roar.  But at the same time it makes our celebration of the liturgical year more deliberate and consistent instead of just something that crops up during Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter.

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3 Responses to A Liturgical Calendar of the Domestic Church

  1. melaniebett says:

    I am not a check the calendar kind of person. At all. But I generally know what feast day it is because I try to pray Morning Prayer with iBreviary every day. I would like to be more deliberate with our celebrations of the liturgical year. My big hang up isn’t so much the calendar as that I need to figure out exactly what I want a significant memorial to look like. What prayer do we say and when? Do we do a special food or coloring page or read a biography of the saint?

    On our baptism days I make a special dessert and we light the baptismal candle and renew our vows. But I don’t really know what I want a patron saint day to look like. Making a special dessert is out because too many of them are too close to other important days. For example, St Sophia is the day before my birthday, which is also now Ben’s baptismal day. Three celebrations in two days is too much. I started to try to give them a holy card or some little trinket on their name day and baptismal day, but soon realized that was entirely too unwieldy with five kids. I just can’t manage even fifteen holy cards a year. I suppose I could add the saint prayer and biography to bedtime prayers/bedtime stories, but too often we are rushing through those because Dom came home late and we had dinner late and the kids are all tired and cranky and just need to get to bed. It’s all much too haphazard, but I don’t quite know how to fix it.

    • melaniebett says:

      Another thing I thought about doing to celebrate feast days and baptism days was going to daily Mass. Maybe when they are older that will actually be something we can do. Right now, not going to happen.

    • GeekLady says:

      My calendar breakthrough was with the iOS notification center. Just swipe down to get a quick overview of today and tomorrow’s stuff? Yes, please.

      But the calendar is (right now) almost entirely for my benefit. I don’t always know how to incorporate a celebration into our life… But I know when they all are, and that’s a step in the right direction. For baptismal anniversaries, we light their baptismal candles and do a renewal of baptismal vows (I think I got this idea from you) but almost everything else is breviary-oriented.

      We also have four (five after the summer) godchildren – I try (and usually fail) to send cards for baptismal anniversaries. But I do manage to remember them specially in prayer on their days.

      It IS hard to think outside the dessert box for celebrating things, though. Especially when different events cluster together. And I’m not a fan at all of kid-centric activities in lieu of a celebration! Coloring pages are just about my limit.

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