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Andrew Motyka is the Archdiocesan Director of Liturgical Music and Cathedral Music for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.
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"It's good that you are in the USA, otherwise who is going to—in the best sense—make music?"
— Ignaz Friedman writing to Josef Hofmann (4 January 1940)

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From Every Oops
published 4 September 2013 by Andrew R. Motyka

E ARE ALL AWARE, at least peripherally, that every mistake carries with it a learning experience. Some have big impacts on our lives, some give us insights about ourselves, and others we just say, “Wow, I never knew that.” This story is one of those last kinds, with a little bit of forced humility added in.

As most of you know, I just started a new position last November. As my first Easter in this parish drew to a close and we re-entered Ordinary Time, I learned something about my parish’s celebration of their feast day, Saints Peter and Paul. I learned that for many years now, the parish had shifted their titular feast from June 29 to the nearest Sunday.

I thought that was a particularly odd practice, and ran it by the director of worship. He agreed that the Sunday celebration should always take precedence when the Solemnity doesn’t actually fall on the Sunday. We talked it over with the rector, and there was much disappointment among the people. Hey, at least we were doing it right, right?

Cut to 2 weeks ago, when the director of worship emails me two different articles by the inimitable Gary Penkala over at CanticaNOVA Publications addressing this very subject. Well, fine. The parish feast day (as well as, as Penkala rightly points out, the patron feast day and the anniversary of dedication) can be celebrated as solemnities in their respective parishes. Of course I knew that. Furthermore, when June 29 falls on a Sunday (as it does next year), it’s a Solemnity anyway, so it will trump the Sunday. No problem. It’s all in the Table of Precedence in the Calendar.

Oh, what’s that it says? No way. I’ll have to check…um…yup. There it is, in the Universal Norms on the Liturgical Year and the General Roman Calendar:

#58. For the pastoral good of the faithful, it is permitted to observe on Sundays in Ordinary Time those celebrations that fall during the week and that are agreeable to the devotion of the faithful, provided the celebrations rank above that Sunday in the Table of Liturgical Days. The Mass of such celebrations may be used at all the celebrations of Mass at which the people are present.

Well, shoot. Even if SS. Peter and Paul wasn’t a Solemnity, it would become one by virtue of it being the titular feast of the parish. So yes, they can transfer it to the nearest Sunday in Ordinary Time.

I wasn’t just slightly off in my focus. I was unabashedly, flat-out wrong. We’ll make it right next time. Now that I’ve had a couple of weeks to wipe the egg off of my face, isn’t that an interesting distinction in the calendar? Your parish has many opportunities to celebrate its titular feast, its patronal feast, and its anniversary of dedication.

Get partying!