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A post for calendar nerds

Today is 17th March, St. Patrick's Day. But if you come to Church you will not see a hint of it. Why?

Well, it is not because we are against St. Patrick at all but there are a few things which conspire against his day being celebrated.

First of all St. Patrick is a "Minor Saint". In fairness, most of the Saints fall into this category because it is usually only the people who actually met Jesus who are called "Major Saints". (There is one big exception - do you know who it is?)

Saints get "days" - a date when we remember them. Events also get days - things like Christmas and Easter are obvious, there are several major events which we commemorate, but there are less obvious ones, for example the day that Mary went to visit Elizabeth. So we end up with major and minor days as well.

And then there are Sundays - they are always big days - every week we celebrate the Resurrection. You can see how it would get confusing with all these things competing for space. So there are rules - there is a ranking system so that we always know what we are celebrating and when. The details are here

Some days get really messed around by this. One of the days which gets pushed out of sync a lot is the Feast of the Annunciation on March 25th. This often falls in Holy Week or Easter Week and each of those weekdays is considered more important so it gets bumped and bumped (Transferred) until there is an empty day, in 2024 - April 8th.

As to poor old St. Patrick - his day is waaaay down the list and he never gets to have his day on a Sunday - although there are some special rules around which make it possible in some places. No one is saying you should not have fun on St. Patrick's day, enjoy and be careful. The good thing is that every Sunday is a feast day and so Lent rules can be suspended, or perhaps I shouldn't mention that....

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