Divine Office Forum: Precedense of feasts/solemnities proper to a particular religious order
Precedense of feasts/solemnities proper to a particular religious order QUESTION from Br. John Gabriel of St Teresa, OCDS August 5, 2001 J.M.+J.T.
Dear Brother John-Paul,
Pax Christi! As a member of the secular Order of Discalced Carmelites, I use the Carmelite Proper for the Liturgy of the Hours for the readings and prayers for celebrations proper to our feasts, solemnities and memorials. My question is: which takes precendence? For example, this year, the feast of Our Lady of Mt Carmel fell on a Monday. First Vespers of the solemnity should have been prayed on the evening of July 15. However, July 15 fell on a Sunday. Does Sunday's Vespers II take predence over Vespers I of the Solemnity proper to the OCD? Another example, though not related to the Carmelite Order specifically. St Mary Magdalen fell on a Sunday this year. This is a saint to which I have a particular devotion. Is it permissible to anticipate her memorial to the previous day (i.e. in this case Saturday July 21) provided the day is an optional memorial or a weekday of ordinary time? May the office proper to her memorial be prayed the day after, same conditions as above applying? I would appreciate clarification on this matter. In the meantime, God bless and God reward you for your time.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on August 7, 2001 Dear Br. Gabriel:
There is a section in the front of the Divine Office book entitled, Table of Liturgical Days. This table gives the order of precedence of the various liturgical days.
For example, the number one priority is the Easter triduum. It comes before all other days.
Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints that are on the Roman Calendar has a 7th priority ranking.
Proper Solemnities of a Saint who is a founder of an order, or a principal patron of an oder has a ranking of 4th priority.
Feasts listed in an Order's own calendar have a priority of 8.
Memorials listed in an Order's own calendar have a priority of 11.
The Rule is when several celebrations fall on the same day, the celebration of higher rank is the one observed. A solemnity, however, and Our Lady of Mt Carmel is a solemnity to the Carmelites, that falls on a day where another celebration outranks it, the solemnity should be moved to the nearest day in which it will not be outranked. Other days are not celebrated that year in which they are outranked.
As for Vespers, quoting from the Table of Liturgical Days:
If on the same day verspers of the current office and first vespers of the following day are to be celebrated, the vespers of the day holding the higher rank in the table of litugical days takes precedence; if both days are of the same rank, vespers of the current day takes precedence. Personal devotions to saints not on the calendar of the Church or of an order to which you are associated, are called Votive Offices. The rule from no. 245 of the General Instruction states:
For a public reason or out of devotion, except on solemnities, the Sundays of Advent, Lent and Easter, Ash Wednesday, Holy Week, the octive of EASter and the 2nd of November, a votive Office may be celebrated, in whole or in part... In other words, it appears, if I am reading this right, that Votive Offices essentially have the same rank as Optional Memorials, Priority 12.
If your saint of personal devotion has a Feast which is outranked by another, then you can move celebration of that saint to a day in which the saint is not outranked -- to an unrestricted with no feasts, or a day in which optional memorials are listed.
Back to Index Page