Thursday, June 22, 2017

Solemnity Alert! Corrected and Updated!

Thanks to alert reader Mike, I have to correct this post, which in its previous iteration talked only about the solemnity of St. John the Baptist. Mike reminded me of another and greater Solemnity on Friday.

Tomorrow (Friday)  is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. That means Evening Prayer I  tonight (Thursday) would be that of the Sacred Heart. (No more Sts.Thomas More&John Fisher)
For the same reason, the Solemnity of St. John the Baptist does not get an Evening Prayer I, because solemnities of the Lord trump solemnities of saints.

Thank you, Mike.

However, the Baptist's Nativity does get an Evening Prayer II, even on a Saturday evening, because solemnities trump Sundays in ordinary time.

I love all the liturgical folklore regarding this feast. For example, it is noted that  from the day of the Baptist's birth,  just after the summer solstice, the days start getting gradually shorter each day until that of winter. Then, from around the time of Christmas, they begin getting longer once more. Remember how John the Baptist says of Jesus, "He must increase, I must decrease."? I've always loved that.

Today is St. Thomas More and John Fisher. The second reading, from St. Thomas letter from prison, is one of the highlights of the the Office of Readings, I think. It bears more frequent reading than once a year. It's both bracing and comforting at the same time.

Thomas More tends to overshadow St. John Fisher, since there is no Oscar winning film about his life. And today, on their shared memorial, we only hear from Thomas. However, St. John Fisher speaks to us twice in the Office of Readings during the rest of the year. His commentaries on Psalms 101 and 120 are excerpted on Friday of week 3 in ordinary time, and Monday in the 5th week of lent, respectively.  You might want to peruse those today if you have a 4 volume breviary.


  1. Hi Daria,

    Tomorrow is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Wouldn't Evening Prayer II for the Sacred Heart take precedence since It's a Solemnity celebrating the Lord?

    1. oops! I think you are right. I missed that. Figures. Will fix post, post-haste.

  2. Interestingly, until the 1955 reforms, the two feasts being the same rank (1st-class Doubles), I Vespers of the Nativity of St John the Baptist actually took precedence over II Vespers of the Sacred Heart, the latter receiving a commemoration at the former. Also interesting to note that prior to Pius X's breviary reform of 1911, the Sacred Heart was only a 2nd-class Double and outranked by St. John's nativity.

    Not taking any polemical position here -- it's just fascinating (to me at least) to see how we relate differently to various feasts in different times, and how these understandings and emphases evolve in liturgical history.

    Thanks for your always-helpful posts, Daria.