Electric Prayer

The Liturgy of the Hours, the Mass, and other things.

Mass readings on the Memorials of saints

Posted by universalis on 29 August 2017

The Lectionary gives readings for most saints’ days. So do the printed missals, and so do a lot of web sites.

In most cases the readings given should not be used.

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal says (at §357) that the readings given for a saint should not normally be used. The readings of the ordinary (ferial) day should be used in preference to the readings given for the saint “unless a pastoral reason truly suggests it.”

Universalis offers the choice of both readings.  In very early versions we used to have the readings for the saint as the default, with the readings of the ferial day as an option. We were then told off by a number of experts, and so the default is reversed. We obey the General Instruction.

You can still choose which readings to use. In the apps and programs you will find a menu button at the right-hand edge of the screen opposite the title of the day (today it is the Beheading of St John the Baptist). If you press that button then you will be able to choose the set of readings you want.

On the web site, you have the same choice. The heading of the page will say something like “Tuesday of week 21 in Ordinary Time (the Beheading of St John the Baptist)”, and the Beheading part will be a link. Click on the link, and you will find yourself at “The Beheading of St John the Baptist (Tuesday of week 21 in Ordinary Time)”, and this will have the readings of the saint.

Of course there is one exception! If a New Testament saint is being celebrated and one of the readings refers specifically to him or her, then that reading is compulsory and must be used. Universalis does this automatically. For the Beheading of St John the Baptist, for instance, the Gospel is always the narrative of the beheading itself.

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