Sunday, April 30, 2023
A Catholic Life Podcast: Episode 11

In today’s episode, on the 3rd Sunday after Easter, I would like to go over a few things:
  1. How the 1962 Calendar Is Not Traditional in the First Week of May: Honoring the Forgotten Feasts of St. John, Ss. Philip and James, and the Finding of the Holy Cross. 
  2. Understanding the Forgotten Eastertide Feast of St. Joseph with its Octave, which preceded the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker
  3. The Spirituality of May in Honor of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary
I would like to thank for sponsoring this episode., the leader in online Catholic catechism classes, has everything from online K-12 programs, RCIA classes, adult continuing education, marriage preparation, baptism preparation, confirmation prep, quince prep classes, catechist training courses, and much more. They have a wonderful 10-part course on Mariology available for only $29.95.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023
St. Mark's Day As A Former Holy Day of Obligation

Discovery of the Body of Saint Mark

The first catalog of Holy Days comes from the Decree of Gratian in c. 1150 AD, which shortly thereafter gave way to Decretals of Pope Gregory IX in 1234, which listed 45 Holy Days. In 1295, Pope Boniface VIII enacted the decretal Gloriosus which "commanded that each of the feasts of the twelve apostles, four evangelists, and four doctors of the Church be celebrated as an officium duplex" (The Cambridge History of Medieval Canon Law by Anders Winroth and John Wei).

In 1642, His Holiness Pope Urban VIII issued the papal bull Universa Per Orbem which mandated the required Holy Days of Obligation for the Universal Church to consist of 34 days as well as the principal patrons of one's one locality (e.g. city and country). Those days were the Nativity of Our Lord, the Circumcision of Our Lord, the Epiphany of Our Lord, Monday within the Octave of the Resurrection, Tuesday within the Octave of the Resurrection, Ascension Thursday, Monday within the Octave of Pentecost, Tuesday within the Octave of Pentecost, Most Holy Trinity, Corpus Christi, the Finding of the Holy Cross, the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Dedication of St. Michael, the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, St. Andrew, St. James, St. John (the December feast day), St. Thomas, SS. Philip and James, St. Bartholomew, St. Matthew, SS. Simon and Jude, St. Matthias, St. Stephen the First Martyr (the December feast day), the Holy Innocents, St. Lawrence, St. Sylvester, St. Joseph, St. Anne, and All Saints.  

Ultimately Universa Per Orbem helped bring more uniformity to the Church since some parts of the Catholic world observed even more holy days of double precept (i.e., mandatory attendance at Mass and rest from servile work). One of those former days which kept in some places as the Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist. 

For instance, in modern-day Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, which were included in the ecclesiastical province of Mexico, the feasts were regulated by the Third Council of Mexico in 1585, as American Catholic Quarterly Review states: 

"In these parts besides those already mentioned, the faithful observed as holy days of obligation St Fabian and St Sebastian (January 20th), St Thomas Aquinas (March 7th), St Mark (April 25th), St Barnabas (June 1), the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin (July 2), St Mary Magdalene (July 22), St Dominic (Aug 4), the Transfiguration (Aug 6), St Francis (Oct 4), St Luke (Oct 18), St Catharine (Nov 25), the Expectation of the Blessed Virgin (Dec 18). 

And while our ancestors in the New World in Florida and Louisiana would not have kept St. Mark's Day as a Holy Day of Obligation, it was kept as a day of abstinence from meat on account of it being the Major Rogation Day. See A History of Holy Days of Obligation & Fasting for American Catholics for more information on this forgotten history. The same can be said for English Catholics who were bound to abstain from fleshmeat on the Major and Minor Rogation Days until they were dispensed by Pope Pius VIII in 1830 (A Catholic Dictionary from 1893 by William Edward Addis).

Thus this year, on April 25th, in addition to praying the Litany of the Saints for the Rogation Day and observing abstinence, let us honor the memory of St. Mark by reading his Gospel and by attending the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Sunday, April 23, 2023
A Catholic Life Podcast: Episode 10

In today’s episode on Good Sheperd Sunday, I address the following:

  1. Good Shepherd Sunday
  2. The Feast St. Mark and the Major Rogation Day, including Rogation Day Processions, Prayers of Blessing for Rogation Day, and how come colonies kept St. Mark’s Day as a Holy Day of Obligation.
  3. Feastdays occuring this last week in April.

I would like to thank Meaning of Catholic for sponsoring this episode. Meaning of Catholic has just launched its online store offering PDF copies of “The Definitive Guide to Catholic Fasting and Abstinence” (in 3 languages), “The Roman Catechism Explained for the Modern World,” and a few other great books to add to your library by authors like Timothy Flanders and Kennedy Hall. Please visit to check them out today.

Sunday, April 16, 2023
A Catholic Life Podcast: Episode 9

In today’s episode on Low Sunday, I address the following:

  1. Low Sunday – the Sunday of Many Names and How Sundays Are Given Latin Names in the Liturgy
  2. Why Penance Is Not Wrong for Pascaltide
  3. The Almost Election of Cardinal Rampolla

I would like to thank for sponsoring this episode., the leader in online Catholic catechism classes, has everything from online K-12 programs, RCIA classes, adult continuing education, marriage preparation, baptism preparation, confirmation prep, quince prep classes, catechist training courses, and much more. Use discount code Easter25 to save 25% off the Easter Season Course.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023
Fasting and Penance Is Not Prohibited in Pascaltide

The total length of Paschaltide (i.e., the Easter Season) from Easter Sunday to the end of Whitsuntide is 56 days inclusive. In this way, Holy Mother Church shows us the joy of Easter has eclipsed the time of penance of Lent. Yet even in this time of joy, some penance is obligatory and even mandatory by Church Law. Thus, even in times of joy, we can and should continue to offer up fasting and abstinence for the good of souls.

Year-Round Friday Abstinence Is Required (Not Just in Lent!)

As Catholics, we are still bound to either abstain from meat or rather to do some act of penance each Friday of the entire year. Abstinence should always be what we choose to do since this underscored Christian culture for nearly 2,000 years since mandatory Friday abstinence went back to the time of the Apostles. As such, the 1983 Code of Canon Law decrees:

Can. 1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Rogationtide Is A Time of Penance in Eastertide

Virtually forgotten by all Catholics is the important practice of Rogationtide, which falls during Pascaltide as well.

The Major Rogation Day is on April 25th, which is coincidentally the Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist. Should it happen that the feast of St. Mark the Evangelist is transferred to another day (e.g., when a day in the Octave of Easter falls on April 25th), the Rogation procession is held nevertheless on April 25th, unless the feast falls on Easter Sunday or Monday, in which case the procession is transferred to Easter Tuesday. The Minor Rogation Days are the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday preceding Ascension Thursday. Hence, the date of the Minor Rogation Days varies.

In 2020, Dom Alcuin Reid gave a monastic conference on the Minor Rogation Days where he said in part:

Their observance is now similar in format to the Greater Litanies of April 25th, but these three days have a different origin, having been instituted in Gaul in the fifth century as days of fasting, abstinence and abstention from servile work in which all took part in an extensive penitential procession, often barefoot. The procession and litanies only found a place in the Roman liturgy much later (around the beginning of the ninth century) and even then purely as days of rogation – of intercession – rather than as ones of fasting and penance; the latter being deemed incompatible with the nature of Eastertide.

He continued:

Indeed, this ancient tradition itself is now widely lost in the West. How many Catholics understand what is meant by the greater or lesser litanies, or by the expression “the Rogations” – clergy included? 


Dom Guéranger himself lamented the lack of appreciation of the Rogations in his own day: “If we compare the indifference shown by the Catholics of the present age for the Rogation days, with the devotion wherewith our ancestors kept them, we cannot but acknowledge that there has been a great falling off in faith and piety. Knowing, as we do, the great importance attached to these processions by the Church, we cannot help wondering how it is that there are so few among the faithful who assist at them. Our surprise increases when we find persons preferring their own private devotions to these public prayers of the Church, which, to say nothing of the result of good example, merit far greater graces than any exercises of our own choosing.”

The Minor Rogation Days go back to 470 AD when Bishop Mamertus of Vienne in Gaul instituted an annual observance of penance on the three days immediately before the Feast of the Ascension. He prescribed litanies in the form of processions for all three days. Thereafter they spread to the Frankish part of France in 511, to Spain in the 6th century, and to the German part of the Frankish empire in 813.  In 816, Pope Leo III incorporated the lesser litanies into the Roman Liturgy, and during the subsequent centuries, the custom of holding these litanies was customary for each year.

Is Penance Unbefitting for the Pascal Season?

Dom Guéranger, the great liturgist and Church historian who lived around the end of the 1800s, answers this question which many liturgically-minded Catholics ask: 

The question naturally presents itself, why did St. Gregory choose the 25th of April for a Procession and Station, in which everything reminds us of compunction and penance, and which would seem so out of keeping with the joyous Season of Easter? 

The first to give a satisfactory answer to this difficulty, was Canon Moretti, a learned Liturgiologist of last century. In a dissertation of great erudition, he proves that in the 5th, and probably even in the 4th, century, the 25th of April was observed at Rome as a day of great solemnity. The Faithful went, on that day, to the Basilica of St. Peter, in order to celebrate the anniversary of the first entrance of the Prince of the Apostles into Rome, upon which he thus conferred the inalienable privilege of being the Capital of Christendom. It is from that day that we count the twenty-five years, two months and some days that St. Peter reigned as Bishop of Rome. The Sacramentary of St. Leo gives us the Mass of this Solemnity, which afterwards ceased to be kept. St. Gregory, to whom we are mainly indebted for the arrangement of the Roman Liturgy, was anxious to perpetuate the memory of a day, which gave to Rome her grandest glory. He, therefore, ordained that the Church of St. Peter should be the Station of the Great Litany, which was always to be celebrated on that auspicious day. The 25th of April comes so frequently during the Octave of Easter, that it could not be kept as a Feast, properly so called, in honor of St. Peter's entrance into Rome; St. Gregory, therefore, adopted the only means left of commemorating the great event.

Hence from ancient times the Church kept these days as days of supplication. And even if fasting, the hallmark of Lent, would be ill-suited for Pascaltide, abstinence is still permitted and even obligatory in the Pascal Season. In former times, Rome enjoined abstinence from meat on the faithful during Rogationtide. Other places, however, such as the Churches in Gaul where Rogation Days originated, required fasting. Dom Guéranger testifies unknown custom to this:

A day, then, like this, of reparation to God’s offended majesty, would naturally suggest the necessity of joining some exterior penance to the interior dispositions of contrition which filled the hearts of Christians. Abstinence from flesh meat has always been observed on this day at Rome; and when the Roman Liturgy was established in France by Pepin and Charlemagne, the Great Litany of April 25 was, of course, celebrated, and the abstinence kept by the faithful of that country. A Council of Aix-la-Chapelle, in 836, enjoined the additional obligation of resting from servile work on this day: the same enactment is found in the Capitularia of Charles the Bald. As regards fasting, properly so-called, being contrary to the spirit of Paschal Time, it would seem never to have been observed on this day, at least not generally. Amalarius, who lived in the ninth century, asserts that it was not then practiced even in Rome.

Fasting was championed as well by St. Charles Borromeo in Milan, although Rome has never obligated fasting during the Pascal Season. Fasting during the Pascal Season, though is not a sin, just as almsgiving and prayer, the other Lenten pillars, are certainly praiseworthy during Pascaltide.

May we continue to incorporate some of our Lenten practices going forward and offer them in joy for the conversion of sinners and the exaltation of Holy Mother Church. And chief among our weapons to conquer demons and concupiscence is fasting.

Want to learn more about the history of fasting and abstinence? Check out the Definitive Guide to Catholic Fasting and Abstinence.
Sunday, April 9, 2023
A Catholic Life Podcast: Episode 8

In today’s episode, on Easter Sunday, the most glorious all feastdays, I address the following:

  1. Customs for Easter Week: Food, Activities, Greetings, and More
  2. The Agnus Dei Sacramental
  3. The Easter Duty: What it is and when it may be fulfilled
  4. There is no incompatibility between abstinence and Pascaltide. Observe Friday Abstinence and even Saturday abstinence in Eastertide.

I would like to thank for sponsoring this episode., the leader in online Catholic catechism classes, has everything from online K-12 programs, RCIA classes, adult continuing education, marriage preparation, baptism preparation, confirmation prep, quince prep classes, catechist training courses, and much more. Use discount code Easter25 to save 25% off the Easter Season Course.

Sunday, April 2, 2023
A Catholic Life Podcast: Episode 7

In today’s episode, on this Palm Sunday, I address the following:
  1. The Strictness of the Holy Week Fast: Passion Fast & Xerophagiae 
  2. Traditions for Holy Week: Indulgences, Forgotten Customs, & Suggestions for a Holy Week
Please spare a minute to pray for JoeSixPack, the author of Cantankerous Catholic, who has unexpectedly died. Requiescat in pace!


Copyright Notice: Unless otherwise stated, all items are copyrighted under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. If you quote from this blog, cite a link to the post on this blog in your article.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links on this blog are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. As an Amazon Associate, for instance, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases made by those who click on the Amazon affiliate links included on this website. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”