Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Church Calendars - or - More than One Way to Skin a Cat
I've never particularly cared for the reform of the Latin Rite calendar which was lobotomized more than 30 years back. Probably closer to 40. A lot of the dates were moved around or dropped all together. [Where the HELL is the St. Joseph of Cupertino memorial, which should be celebrated on my birthday, Sept, 18th? Here we have a saint that could LEVITATE and he doesn't get a day? As my friends in da hood would say, "What up wid dat?"]
I've always been a calendar geek (and a map geek too, but that's a different thing) -- so I've always enjoyed it every year when my Aunt Mary sends me a copy of the church calendar from St. John the Baptist in Northampton, Pa. It's Byzantine, and the calendar is in Ukrainian and English. EVERY day has something you can choose to celebrate. The way it should be. And they didn't mess around with the names of things. Jan 1 is "Circumcision" and also Basil the Great.
St. John's is also the first church I ever remember attending too. I can't say I much liked it when I was tiny, aged 2 to almost 4 - mostly because all I saw were OVERCOATS, mom not liking to sit up front and me, even then wanting to see what was going on. HOWEVER, I remember the most wonderful incense, and I was sure that the ceilings, walls and iconostasis were painted just for me so I'd have something to look at!
A lot of the saints aren't familiar to Latin Rite Catholics, but no matter - it's nice to know there's more than one way to skin a cat. On the back of this calendar, the readings are listed for the day. Often times different ones than what would be read in the West.
I've always liked attention paid to the saints. I.E. the "Church Triumphant." It's nice to know we've got friends in heaven we've never met. I've always favored by far Eucharistic Prayer I -- particularly the litany of Saints. I used to love hearing them read in Latin when I was little. It really fulfills "the communion of saints" in a way that I don't get from the other options. The calendar also has the added bonus of making me think of my grandmother every time I look at it. And of course, this one reminds me that Lent starts on the Monday before Ash Wednesday and there is also abstinence on Wednesdays too. [So stop whining, some of you, you've got it easy.]