Interesting news, via The Pillar:
The Vatican has turned down a request from some U.S. bishops to add a feast day celebrating the marriage of Joseph and Mary to the Church’s universal liturgical calendar.
The U.S. bishops’ conference told bishops earlier this month that “a number of bishops have written to the Holy See in support of a petition to add the Feast of the Holy Spouses, Mary and Joseph, to the Church’s universal calendar. This celebration, which focuses on the betrothal of Mary and Joseph, has been approved at various times for liturgical use in some places and for certain religious institutes.”
But Cardinal Arthur Roche, prefect of the Vatican’s liturgical office, “would like our conference to know that that ‘there are no plans to reinstate this celebration in the universal calendar,’” according to a Sept. 2 memo from Archbishop Leonard Blair, chair of the USCCB’s committee on liturgy.
The memo, which was seen by The Pillar this week, added additional context for that decision.
“Cardinal Roche pointed out that even before the liturgical reforms inaugurated by the Second Vatican Council, the Holy See had begun to simplify the liturgical calendar…This led to the removal of various devotional feasts from the universal calendar, as well as from local calendars” including the feast which celebrated the betrothal of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph.
The feast, customarily celebrated Jan. 23, was first celebrated in the fifteenth century. The feast gained some popularity in the ensuing centuries, was celebrated across much of Europe in the 1700s, and its liturgical use was permitted in the United States by the 1840s.
Celebrating the Feast of the Holy Spouses was largely discontinued in 1961, when Pope St. John XXIII suppressed the celebration of numerous locally celebrated feasts through the instruction De calendariis particularibus.