General Roman Calendar

For historical forms of the General Roman Calendar, see Tridentine Calendar, General Roman Calendar of 1954, General Roman Calendar of Pope Pius XII, General Roman Calendar of 1960, and General Roman Calendar of 1969.

The General Roman Calendar is the liturgical calendar that indicates the dates of celebrations of saints and "mysteries of the Lord" in the Roman Rite, wherever this liturgical rite is in use. These celebrations may be linked to a fixed date or may be related to a particular day of the week (examples are those of the Baptism of the Lord in January and the Feast of Christ the King in November) or to the date of Easter (examples are the celebrations of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary). National and diocesan liturgical calendars, including that of the diocese of Rome itself, as well as the calendars of religious institutes and even of continents, add other saints and mysteries or transfer the celebration of a particular saint or mystery from the date assigned in the General Calendar to another date.

These liturgical calendars also indicate the degree or rank of each celebration: Memorial (which can be merely optional), Feast or Solemnity. Among other differences, the Gloria is said or sung at the Mass of a Feast, but not at that of a Memorial, and the Creed is added on Solemnities.

The last general revision of the General Roman Calendar was in 1969 and was authorized by the motu proprio Mysterii Paschalis of Pope Paul VI. The motu proprio and the decree of promulgation were included in the book Calendarium Romanum, published in the same year by Libreria Editrice Vaticana. This contained also the official document Universal Norms on the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, and the list of celebrations of the General Roman Calendar. Both these documents are also printed in the Roman Missal, after General Instruction of the Roman Missal.[1][2] The 1969 book also provided a detailed unofficial commentary on that year's revision of the calendar, on which see the Wikipedia article on the motu proprio.

The contents of the General Roman Calendar and the names in English of the celebrations included in it are here indicated in the official English version of the Roman Missal.

Selection of saints included

The General Roman Calendar assigns celebrations of saints to only about half the days of the year, and contains only a fraction of the saints listed in the 776-page volume Roman Martyrology, which itself is not an exhaustive list of all the saints legitimately venerated in the Catholic Church. The Martyrology assigns several saints to each day of the year and gives a very brief description of each saint or group of saints.

While canonization involves the addition of the saint's name to the Roman Martyrology, it does not necessarily involve insertion of the saint's name also into the General Roman Calendar, which mentions only a very limited selection of canonized saints. There is a common misconception that certain saints, e.g., Saint Christopher, were "unsainted" in 1969 or that veneration of them was "suppressed". In fact, Saint Christopher is recognized as a saint of the Catholic Church, being listed as a martyr in the Roman Martyrology under 25 July.[3] In 1969, Pope Paul VI issued the motu proprio Mysterii Paschalis. In it, he recognized that, while the written Acts of Saint Christopher are merely legendary, attestations to veneration of the martyr date from ancient times. His change in the calendar of saints included "leaving the memorial of Saint Christopher to local calendars" because of the relatively late date of its insertion into the Roman calendar.[4]

Many sources give calendars that mention one or more saints for each day of the year, usually selected from those listed in the Roman Martyrology. One example is Saints by Day. They mention the saints of the General Roman Calendar, but they also give names of saints not included in the General Roman Calendar, especially on a day to which the General Roman Calendar assigns no celebration whatever of a saint.

Particular calendars

The General Calendar is printed, for instance, in the Roman Missal[5] and the Liturgy of the Hours.[6] These are up to date when printed, but additional feasts may be added later. For that reason, if those celebrating the liturgy have not inserted into the books a note about the changes, they must consult the current annual publication, known as the "Ordo", for their country or religious congregation. These annual publications, like those that, disregarding the feasts that are obligatory in the actual church where the liturgy is celebrated, list only celebrations included in the General Calendar,[7] are useful only for the current year, since they omit celebrations impeded because of falling on a Sunday or during periods such as Holy Week and the Octave of Easter.

The feast days of saints celebrated in one country are not necessarily celebrated everywhere. For example, a diocese or a country may celebrate the feast day of a saint of special importance there (e.g., St. Patrick in Ireland, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in the United States). Likewise, a particular religious institute may celebrate its founder or members of the institute, even if that saint is not listed on the universal calendar or is included in it only with a lower rank. The General Roman Calendar contains only those celebrations that are intended to be observed in the Roman Rite in every country of the world.

This distinction is in application of the decision of the Second Vatican Council: "Lest the feasts of the saints should take precedence over the feasts which commemorate the very mysteries of salvation, many of them should be left to be celebrated by a particular Church or nation or family of religious; only those should be extended to the universal Church which commemorate saints who are truly of universal importance."[8]

The liturgical year

In the liturgical books, the document General Roman Calendar (which lists not only fixed celebrations, but also some moveable ones) is printed immediately after the document Universal Norms on the Liturgical Year and the Calendar,[1][2] which states that "throughout the course of the year the Church unfolds the entire mystery of Christ and observes the birthdays of the Saints". The birth of a saint to heaven is as a rule celebrated on a fixed day of the year (although sometimes they may be moved either to or from a Sunday), but the mysteries of Christ are often celebrated on dates that always vary from year to year. The Church's year combines two cycles of liturgical celebrations. One has been called the Proper of Time or Temporale, associated with the moveable date of Easter and the fixed date of Christmas. The other is associated with fixed calendar dates and has been called the Proper of Saints or Sanctorale.[9][10][11][12] The General Roman Calendar includes celebrations that belong to the Proper of Time or Temporale and is not limited to those that make up the Proper of Saints or Sanctorale.

The document on the liturgical year and the calendar includes among "liturgical days":

  1. Sundays, to only four of which solemnities or feasts are permanently assigned for celebration, namely, the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph and the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, and the solemnities of the Holy Trinity and of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.
  2. Solemnities, Feasts and Memorials
  3. Weekdays

Under the title "The Cycle of the Year" the same document arranges under seven headings the Church's celebration of "the whole mystery of Christ, from the Incarnation to Pentecost Day and the days of waiting for the Advent of the Lord":

  1. The Paschal Triduum, which begins with the evening Mass on the Thursday before Easter, includes Good Friday and Holy Saturday, has the Easter Vigil as its centre, and concludes with Evening Prayer on Easter Sunday.
  2. Easter Time, the fifty days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday. The first eight days form the Octave of Easter. The solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord is celebrated on the fortieth day or, if not observed as a Holyday of Obligation, on the seventh Sunday of Easter. The last nine days before Pentecost "prepare for the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete".
  3. Lent, the forty days from Ash Wednesday to the Thursday of Holy Week up to but not including the evening Mass of the Lord's Supper. Holy Week itself begins with what is called Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord.
  4. Christmas Time, the period from First Vespers of Christmas (evening of 24 December) to the Sunday after Epiphany or after 6 January. It includes the Octave of Christmas, which is composed of the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (on the Sunday within the Octave or, if there is no Sunday, on 30 December), the Feasts of Saint Stephen (26 December), Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist (27 December), the Holy Innocents (28 December), days within the Octave (29–31 December), and the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God (1 January, the Octave Day). It also includes the Solemnity of the Epiphany and the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.
  5. Advent, lasting from First Vespers of the Sunday that falls on or nearest to 30 November to before First Vespers of Christmas.
  6. Ordinary Time, which runs from the Monday after the Sunday that follows 6 January to the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, resumes on the Monday after Pentecost Sunday and concludes before First Vespers of the First Sunday of Advent.
  7. Rogation and Ember days on dates to be decided by the episcopal conference.

Transfer of celebrations

Some celebrations listed in the General Roman Calendar are transferred to another date, as explained below.

"For the pastoral advantage of the people, it is permissible to observe on the Sundays in Ordinary Time those celebrations that fall during the week and have special appeal to the devotion of the faithful, provided the celebrations take precedence over these Sundays in the Table of Liturgical Days" (General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, 58).

Solemnities that fall on certain Sundays or on days within Holy Week or the Octave of Easter are transferred to the next day that is free for them, and special rules govern the transfer of the Solemnities of Saint Joseph and of the Annunciation of the Lord.

General Calendar

Variations from the following list of celebrations in the General Calendar shall be indicated not here but, below, under the heading "National calendars".













National calendars

Only variations from the General Roman Calendar for celebrations according to the Roman Rite are given here. The various Eastern Catholic Churches have completely different liturgical calendars, as do Latin Rite Catholics who use the Ambrosian and Mozarabic Rites.



According to the national calendar of Argentina, as requested by the Argentine Episcopal Conference (CEA) and approved by the Holy See:


See Liturgy Brisbane

Austria, Germany, Switzerland

The Episcopal Conferences of Austria, Germany, and Switzerland share one regional proper calendar, although each country remains free to insert additional celebrations (Austria, for example, has inscribed the optional memorial of Blessed Charles of Austria for its territory on 21 October).

From Das Stundenbuch Online [15]



Bosnia and Herzegovina

Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and Swaziland



According to the national calendar of Canada, as requested by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) and approved by the Holy See:

Cape Verde


According to the national calendar of Chile, as requested by the Episcopal Conference of Chile (CECh) and approved by the Holy See:

China, Hong Kong and Taiwan

From the website of the Chinese Regional Bishops' Conference[16]


Costa Rica


Czech Republic

Democratic Republic of Congo




According to the national calendar of England,[17] as requested by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales and approved by the Holy See:


From the website of the Catholic Church in Finland [18]


According to the Calendrier propre à la France' [19]








According to the national calendar of Ireland,[20] as drawn up by the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference and approved by the Holy See:










New Zealand


North Africa (Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia)

The dioceses within Algeria, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia constitute one Episcopal Conference, and so share one regional proper calendar.


From the website of the Catholic Church in Norway [21]






As by the Secretariado Nacional de Liturgia (National Secretariat of Liturgy):[22][23]

Puerto Rico

According to the proper calendar of Puerto Rico, as requested by the Puerto Rican Episcopal Conference and approved by the Holy See:



São Tomé and Principé


According to the national calendar of Scotland, as requested by the Bishops' Conference of Scotland and approved by the Holy See:




Sri Lanka



From the website of the Diocese of Stockholm[24]



United States

According to the national calendar of the United States,[25] as requested by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and approved by the Holy See:

Ordinariate use

In addition to the national calendar of the United States, the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter contains a number of saints from the British Isles in its liturgical calendar;[29] this calendar now supplants the former one used by Anglican Use Catholics in the United States:[30] prior to 2015.




According to the national calendar of Wales,[31] as requested by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales and approved by the Holy See:

Local calendars

The calendar for a diocese is typically based on a national calendar, such as those listed above, with a few additions. For instance, the anniversary of the dedication of the cathedral is celebrated as a Solemnity in the cathedral church and as a Feast in all the other churches of the diocese. The feast day of the principal Patron saint of the diocese is celebrated as a Feast throughout the diocese.[32]

The calendar of a parish is based on the calendar of its diocese, but—in addition to the celebrations in the diocesan calendar—there are other celebrations, including the anniversary of the dedication of the parish church and the feast day of the principal Patron saint of the church, both of which are celebrated as Solemnities.

Other calendars

Each institute of consecrated life (religious institute or secular institute) also has its own calendar, with variations from the General Calendar.

See also


  1. 1 2 The Roman Missal (Liturgy Training Publications ISBN 978-1-56854-991-0)
  2. 1 2 Missale Romanum 2002 (lat)
  3. Martyrologium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2001 ISBN 88-209-7210-7)
  4. "Memoria S. Christophori, anno circiter 1550 in Calendario romano ascripta, Calendariis particularibus relinquitur: quamvis Acta S. Christophori fabulosa sint, antiqua inveniuntur monumenta eius venerationis; attamen cultus huius Sancti non pertinet ad traditionem romanam" – Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 1969), p. 131.
  5. Missale Romanum, editio typica tertia 2002, Libreria Editrice Vaticana
  6. Liturgia Horarum iuxta ritum Romanum, editio typica altera 2000, Libreria Editrice Vaticana
  7. An example is Ordo Missae Celebrandae et Divini Officii persolvendi secundum calendarium Romanum generale pro anno liturgico 2006 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana).
  8. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 111
  9. Columbia University in the City of New York, "Liturgical Year"
  10. Encyclopaedia Britannica, "church year"
  11. Merriam-Webster Dictionary, "sanctorale"
  12. John Hardon, Modern Catholic Dictionary, "Proper of the Saints"
  13. Notification "Per Decretum die"
  14. "St Mary Magdalene's memorial is promoted to a feast day". Catholic Herald. 10 June 2016. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  15. Das Stundenbuch online
  16. National Calendar of England on-line
  17. Liturginen kalenteri | Katolinen kirkko Suomessa
  18. Calendrier propre à la France
  19. National Calendar of Ireland on-line
  20. Liturgisk kalender 2013 — Den katolske kirke
  21. "Santos" (in Portuguese). Secretariado Nacional de Liturgia. Retrieved 25 February 2013.
  22. "Agenda Litúrgica 2015". Secretariado Nacional de Liturgia. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  23. Hem | Katolska kyrkan
  24. Proper Calendar for the Dioceses of the United States of America
  25. 1 2 3 USCCB Committee on Divine Worship Newsletter, August-September 2010, pg. 33
  26. USCCB Committee on Divine Worship Newsletter, August-September 2013, pg. 29
  27. USCCB Committee on Divine Worship Newsletter, September 2014, pg. 33
  28. Liturgical Calendar for the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter
  29. Book of Divine Worship, pg. 9ff
  30. National Calendar of Wales on-line
  31. General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, Table of Liturgical Days according to their order of precedence, 4 and 8.

External links

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