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Saturday Devotions to the Virgin Mary

Leonardo da Vinci
The Virgin and Child with St Anne
c. 1510
Oil on wood, 168 x 130 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

On Saturdays in Ordinary Time when there is no obligatory memorial, an optional memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary is allowed.

Source: Daily Roman Missal, Edited by Rev. James Socías, Midwest Theological Forum, Chicago, Illinois ©2003

This excerpt from Chapter V of the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, issued by the Holy See in December 2001, describes the Church's traditional dedicatino of Saturday to the Virgin Mary. The chapter describes the importance of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, in Catholic devotional life, including the Liturgy, and includes reflections on popular devotions to Mary, her feast days, and the Rosary. See also WFF's Rosary page, and Pope John Paul II's apostolic letter on the Rosary, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, issued October 16, 2002, and his 1987 Encyclical, Redemptoris Mater (Mother of the Redeemer).
Link to the complete document on Vatican web site: DIRECTORY ON POPULAR PIETY AND THE LITURGY

188. Saturdays stand out among those days dedicated to the Virgin Mary. These are designated as memorials of the Blessed Virgin Mary(218). This memorial derives from Carolingian times (ninth century), but the reasons for having chosen Saturday for its observance are unknown(219). While many explanation have been advanced to explain this choice, none is completely satisfactory from the point of view of the history of popular piety(220).

Prescinding from its historical origins, today the memorial rightly emphasizes certain values "to which contemporary spirituality is more sensitive: it is a remembrance of the maternal example and discipleship of the Blessed Virgin Mary who, strengthened by faith and hope, on that great Saturday on which Our Lord lay in the tomb, was the only one of the disciples to hold vigil in expectation of the Lord's resurrection; it is a prelude and introduction to the celebration of Sunday, the weekly memorial of the Resurrection of Christ; it is a sign that the "Virgin Mary is continuously present and operative in the life of the Church"(221).

Popular piety is also sensitive to the Saturday memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The statutes of many religious communities and associations of the faithful prescribe that special devotion be paid to the Holy Mother of God on Saturdays, sometimes through specified pious exercises composed precisely for Saturdays(222).

(218) The Missale Romanum contains diverse formularies for the celebration of Mass in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday mornings during "ordinary time", the use of which is optional. See also the Collectio missarum de beata Maria Virgine, Praenotanda 34-36; and the Liturgia Horarum for Saturdays of "ordinary time" which permits the Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturdays.

(219) Cf. ALCUIN, Le sacramentaire grégorien, II, ed. J. DESHUSSES, Editions Universitaires, Fribourg 1988, pp. 25-27 and 45; PL 101, 455-456.

(220) Cf. UMBERTO DE ROMANIS, De vita regulari,II, Cap. XXIV, Quare sabbatum attribuitur Beatae Virgini, Typis A. BEFANI, Romae 1889, pp. 72-75.

(221) CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP, Circular letter Guidelines and proposals for the celebration of the Marian Year, 5.

(222) An example of which is to be found in Felicitacion sabatina a Maria Inmaculada compose by Fr. Manuel Garcia Navarro, who subsequently entered the Carthusians (+1903).

PRINCIPLES AND GUIDELINES Vatican City December 2001


Saturday (188)

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