26 November 2014

Vespers And Diocesan Difference in 1863

One of the things shown up by the fact that Sunday Vespers was a commonplace of Catholic parish life in the 1860s is just how different from each other Catholic dioceses were.  I don't want to delve too deeply into the Office, partly because it is too big a subject for me, partly because I want to relate what parish life looked like to lay people, but one aspect of Sunday Vespers is worth noting.

Pre-Pius X, Sunday Vespers regularly included the Suffrages: special prayers of intercession, and these would be typically, of the Cross, the BVM, the Patron and for Peace.

You would have thought that "the Patron" was easy to identify: St George for England, St David for Wales.  But not so: as far as Hexham and Newcastle was concerned, St George was not the patron; St Cuthbert was, and the prayer to St George was not said.  In Northampton and Plymouth, their patrons-St Thomas of Canterbury and St Boniface respectively-were addressed before St George.

This is only a few years after the reestablishment of the Hierarchy: by 1890, a generation later, the diocese of Salford had established additional feasts (ie additional to those of its diocesan patrons and additional to those particular to England and Wales) as follows:

Sunday within the Octave of Epiphany: Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple
13 February: St Kentigern
17 February: The Flight of OLJC into Egypt
26 March: The Good Thief
26 April: Our Lady of Good Counsel
12 May: The Humility of the BVM
15 May: Our Lady of Grace
29 June: Commemoration of all the Holy Apostles
15 July: The Division of the Apostles

Salford is the only diocese I've looked into for this purpose and 1890 is long after what I am aiming for in this series, but I'm sure other dioceses had developed their own calendars too (no doubt also celebrating some of the feasts in the Salford list) and that life in England and Wales was a mosaic of difference. 

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