Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Feast of St. Malachy

November 3rd is a solemnity for St. Malachy parish. The day the Church designates as the day to remember a parish's saint is a BIG deal and ought to be celebrated on par with Christmas and Easter and the other solemnities. While not a holy day of obligation, it should be considered a very joyous day for all in the parish. As I always tell people on big feast days and solemnities - eat an extra dessert today!

Also, quickly, if you've ever wondered what the difference is between a solemnity/feast/memorial, here you go:

The highest rank a day can have is a solemnity. All Sundays are solemnities, and in addition to Sundays, there are approximately 19 others scattered throughout the year.

Here are the solemnities, in case you are curious
January 1st - Mary, Mother of the Lord
January 6th - Epiphany of the Lord
March 19th - Saint Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary
March 25th - Annunciation of Mary
Sunday after Easter - Divine Mercy Sunday
40 days after Easter - Ascension of the Lord
50 days after Easter - Pentecost
Trinity Sunday
Thursday after Trinity Sunday - Body and Blood of Christ ("Corpus Christi")
8 days after Corpus Christi - Sacred Heart of Jesus
June 24th - Nativity of St. John the Baptist
June 29th - Saints Peter and Paul
August 15th - Assumption of Mary
November 1st - All Saints
November 2nd - All Souls
Last Sunday before Advent - Feast of Christ the King
December 8th - Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
December 25th - Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)

Also, a parish's feast day is a solemnity, as well as the day that is the anniversary of the dedication of the parish Church.

After solemnities, feasts are the next highest rank for a day, and below feasts we have the celebrations that are known as memorials. Most saints, if they aren't "special" (well-known), their day is typically a memorial. Not all saints even make the calendar though. St. Malachy isn't in the calendar of celebrations that are celebrated throughout the world, but each saint has a day where those who have a special devotion to that saint are to celebrate that saint. For example,
St. Peter and Paul = solemnity around the world
St. Luke the evangelist = feast around the world
St. Theresa of Avila = memorial around the world
St. Malachy = not on the world wide calendar, but for St. Malachy parish, November 3rd is bumped up to a solemnity.

Anyway, St. Malachy was a bishop in Ireland whose story can be found here. What St. Malachy is most well known for is his prophecy. Here is the description of the prophecy taken from the Catholic Encyclopedia

"The most famous and best known prophecies about the popes are those attributed to St. Malachy. In 1139 he went to Rome to give an account of the affairs of his diocese to the pope, Innocent II. While at Rome, he received (according to the Abbé Cucherat) the strange vision of the future wherein was unfolded before his mind the long list of illustrious pontiffs who were to rule the Church until the end of time. The same author tells us that St. Malachy gave his manuscript to Innocent II to console him in the midst of his tribulations, and that the document remained unknown in the Roman Archives until its discovery in 1590 (Cucherat, "Proph. de la succession des papes", ch. xv). They were first published by Arnold de Wyon, and ever since there has been much discussion as to whether they are genuine predictions of St. Malachy or forgeries. The silence of 400 years on the part of so many learned authors who had written about the popes, and the silence of St. Bernard especially, who wrote the "Life of St. Malachy", is a strong argument against their authenticity, but it is not conclusive if we adopt Cucherat's theory that they were hidden in the Archives during those 400 years.

These short prophetical announcements, in number 112, indicate some noticeable trait of all future popes from Celestine II, who was elected in the year 1143, until the end of the world. They are enunciated under mystical titles. Those who have undertaken to interpret and explain these symbolical prophecies have succeeded in discovering some trait, allusion, point, or similitude in their application to the individual popes, either as to their country, their name, their coat of arms or insignia, their birth-place, their talent or learning, the title of their cardinalate, the dignities which they held etc. For example, the prophecy concerning Urban VIII is Lilium et Rosa (the lily and the rose); he was a native of Florence and on the arms of Florence figured a fleur-de-lis; he had three bees emblazoned on his escutcheon, and the bees gather honey from the lilies and roses. Again, the name accords often with some remarkable and rare circumstance in the pope's career; thus Peregrinus apostolicus (pilgrim pope), which designates Pius VI, appears to be verified by his journey when pope into Germany, by his long career as pope, and by his expatriation from Rome at the end of his pontificate. Those who have lived and followed the course of events in an intelligent manner during the pontificates of Pius IX, Leo XIII, and Pius X cannot fail to be impressed with the titles given to each by the prophecies of St. Malachy and their wonderful appropriateness: Crux de Cruce (Cross from a Cross) Pius IX; Lumen in caelo (Light in the Sky) Leo XIII; Ignis ardens (Burning Fire) Pius X. There is something more than coincidence in the designations given to these three popes so many hundred years before their time. We need not have recourse either to the family names, armorial bearings or cardinalatial titles, to see the fitness of their designations as given in the prophecies. The afflictions and crosses of Pius IX were more than fell to the lot of his predecessors; and the more aggravating of these crosses were brought on by the House of Savoy whose emblem was a cross. Leo XIII was a veritable luminary of the papacy. The present pope is truly a burning fire of zeal for the restoration of all things to Christ.

The last of these prophecies concerns the end of the world and is as follows: "In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there will reign Peter the Roman, who will feed his flock amid many tribulations, after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and the dreadful Judge will judge the people. The End." It has been noticed concerning Petrus Romanus, who according to St. Malachy's list is to be the last pope, that the prophecy does not say that no popes will intervene between him and his predecessor designated Gloria olivæ. It merely says that he is to be the last, so that we may suppose as many popes as we please before "Peter the Roman". Cornelius a Lapide refers to this prophecy in his commentary "On the Gospel of St. John" (C. xvi) and "On the Apocalypse" (cc. xvii-xx), and he endeavours to calculate according to it the remaining years of time."

Saint Malachy - pray for us!!

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