Rorate Caeli

All Souls' Day and its Monday rubrics
Updated (PCED letter)

The feast of Christ the King was of course celebrated this past Sunday, 26 October, using the 1962 calendar for the traditional Latin Mass, moved to November at the novus ordo liturgy.  This coming Sunday, 2 November, will be another example of stark contrasts in calendars, colors and logic, when the novus ordo commemorates All Souls' Day on Sunday, while the 1962 calendar for the traditional Latin Mass retains the long-standing custom of separating feasting and mourning.

According to the Codex Rubricarum, as promulgated by the motu proprio "Rubricarum Instructum" (1960), under Part One, "General Rubrics", All Souls' Day may not be celebrated on a Sunday.  Therefore, if 2 November falls on a Sunday, such as this year, All Souls' Day is transferred to Monday 3 November.  Here are three references to that transfer:

Under Chapter 3, "Sundays", number 16b is listed thusly:

Sunday II class takes precedence over All Souls' Day.  

Under Chapter 11, "Precedence in Liturgical Days", the eighth day "arranged according to order of precedents" under "Liturgical days I class", number 91, is listed thusly:

All Souls' Day, which, however, gives place to an occuring Sunday.

Under Chapter 13, "The Accidental Occurence and Transfer of Liturgical Days", number 96b is listed thusly:

When All Souls' Day falls on a Sunday, it is transfered, as to its proper place, to the Monday following.

Black vestments are always used on All Souls' Day, except if Masses are offered during the time of Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament for the Forty Hours Prayer, when vestments are violet.

Some additional rubrics that may be of interest for All Souls' Day are under Part Three, chapter seven, "Masses of the Dead":

403. On All Souls' Day every priest may celebrate three Masses, as in the Missal for this day.
404. In saying the Masses of this day the following rules are to be observed:
    (a) a priest who celebrates only one Mass uses the first; if two, then the first and second.
    (b) a priest who sings a Mass or who celebrates the conventual Mass, uses the first Mass, but the faculty is granted to anticipate the second and third Masses;
    (c) should a priest sing several Masses in different churches, he must always use the first Mass.
    (d) but if several Masses are sung in the same church, the first is used first, then the second and finally the third. 

There have been rare exceptions to some of these rubrics, particularly concerning Remembrance Day on Sunday in England, however the general rubrics apply universally for traditional Latin Masses to be offered on All Souls' Day.  May there be many of them for the faithful departed on Monday 3 November.

[Update (October 30), New Catholic]

While not detracting in any way from the perfect and flawless presentation of the matter above, explaining why the regular date for the All Souls' Requiem in the Traditional Roman Rite ("Extraordinary Form" of the Roman Rite) is Monday, November 3, when November 2 falls on a Sunday, it is also our duty to keep you informed of all aspects of the question, especially when they are brought to our attention.

November 2 also fell on a Sunday in the second year of Summorum Pontificum, 2008, and in that year, the Latin Mass association of San Remo (Grupo Stabile "Beato Tomaso Reggio", in the Diocese of San Remo - Ventimiglia, Italy) consulted the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei (PCED) with a Quaestio in order to know if the Solemn Requiem could be celebrated on Sunday, November 2.

PCED, charged by the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum to tackle all such questions (arts. 11 and 12 of the motu proprio), then responded that yes, and it would seem that this would apply elsewhere, especially in those countries and places where the local custom related to the date of November 2 is so strong that it would cause distress or perhaps even scandal not to celebrate it on the day itself. Responsum below:


N. 166/2008

September 22, 2008

Illustrious Attorney,

I respond with delay - due to vacation - bur gladly to your letter of the past July 23.

It seems logical to me that the celebration of the "Commemoratio omnium Fidelium Defunctorum" be common for the two forms of the Roman Rite. The intention to celebrate the Requiem Mass solemnly in the evening of November 2 certainly goes in the right direction. There is no doubt that Mozart's "Requiem Mass" may be sung on this occasion, date that is certainly determined for the Tridentine Rite.

I wish that the faithful of San Remo will be numerous at this celebration, and I remain yours with cordial greetings.

[Camille Perl]

This year as well, as Messa in Latino informs today, the San Remo group will hold a Sung Requiem Mass on November 2, at 5 p.m. local time.