Saturday, January 03, 2009

Calendar of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius

I was recently sent a copy of the new Sung Mass training DVD by the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius (more on that in another post) and also a copy of their 2009 liturgical calendar.

I was quite impressed with the calendar and it would seem pertinent to give a quick review of it as, no doubt, many may be yet considering the purchase of a 2009 liturgical calendar.

A General Comment About the Usefulness of Liturgical Calendars

First, a general note about liturgical calendars. It is quite common for the NLM to be asked for recommendations about how to go about integrating the liturgical life of the Church into their own day to day lives. Others are looking for advice about how to begin to take up the Divine Office as part of their day to day prayer life -- a most excellent and highly encourageable practice I should note -- but feel intimidated starting out. Still others ask questions about how they can learn to follow a pew missal; this has been a particularly common question since the motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum, as new people begin to have more ability to attend the usus antiquior and wish to follow along in a missal.

In each of these cases, a liturgical wall (or desk) calendar is quite useful and one of the first recommendations I would give to people generally, for it will provide the ready ability to identify where we are within the Church's liturgical year. This can mean identifying the particular saints who feasts we celebrate on a particular day, what Sunday it is in liturgical time, when moveable feasts fall, or when particular liturgical seasons begin and end.

This is evidently useful in its own right, but also for the purpose of setting up your missal, breviary, or for simply being cognisant of the Church's liturgical year.

But of course, there are other features that can make particular liturgical calendars especially useful or desireable and with that, let us turn our attention to the calendar at hand.

The 2009 Saint John Cantius Liturgical Wall Calendar

One of the strengths of the 2009 St. John Cantius calendar (which, I should note, is the TAN calendar but with their own images) is that it uses particularly beautiful liturgical images which capture the various periods and elements of the liturgical year. The art included in a liturgical calendar is particularly important and it is highly desireably, in my opinion, that it somehow draw us into the Church's liturgical life somehow.

Permit me to give you two examples from the Cantius Calendar, beginning with the month of February which shows the celebration of Tenebrae:

For April, the month in which Easter falls in this year, a beautiful image of the Solemn Mass of Easter:

This perhaps gives you a sense of the kind of images to expect within the calendar.

Since the motu proprio, we have now also come into a situation where two liturgical calendars are in use, and of course, many may not as yet be familiar with the calendar of the usus antiquior, nor fully understand it. This brings up the second particularly desireable feature of the St. John Cantius wall calendar: the inclusion of the calendars of both the ancient and modern forms of the Roman rite.

A closer look at the calendar will show you this feature:

The advantage of this is that you will be able to quickly identify what the particular Sunday in liturgical time is for both the ancient and modern liturgy, saints days, or even simply identify the differences in the two calendars -- such as the time after Pentecost in the ancient calendar and Ordinary time in the modern calendar.

Priests who are celebrating both forms of the Roman rite, or trying to familiarize themselves with both forms, will no doubt find this particularly useful as an addition to their rectories and sacristies -- in addition to a formal Ordo of course.

For those setting up their missals or breviaries, this will also be quite valuable and useful to you in this regard.

The final bit of value that should be mentioned is that this calendar will also remind you of the days of Fast and Abstinence for both calendars in the Roman rite, and also highlights the solemnities of the Church's liturgical year. The rules for fast and absintence are explained at the back of the calendar and traditional penitential practices are detailed. Finally, Ember Days are also noted.

All said, I was quite impressed with this calendar and am very glad to have it.

Those interested in ordering it, it is available at the very reasonable price of $10.00 USD from the St. John Cantius webstore.

A Final Thought for the Publishers of Future Liturgical Wall Calendars

My next comment is meant generally, for many liturgical wall calendars I have seen recently do not include the feature I am about to mention.

If there was any one feature that I think would useful for all liturgical wall calendars, including the TAN/St. John Cantius wall calendar, it would be the inclusion of the liturgical colour of the day for each day of the year, for both forms of the Roman liturgy.

This could be accomplished particularly effectively if a small strip of the liturgical colour were to be included for each day, or two parallel strips where the liturgical colour varies between the two forms. This would make the liturgical colours of the day and month noticeable at a mere glance, which would help highlight as well the liturgical character of the time.

For example, where there was a variance in the liturgical colour between the two calendars:

Or where the colour of the day is shared between the two forms:

Of course, this might also be manifest in other ways, including even just by noting the colour textually, but it is a point for future consideration.

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