For earlier forms of the General Roman Calendar, see the Tridentine Calendar, the General Roman Calendar of 1954, the General Roman Calendar of Pope Pius XII and the General Roman Calendar of 1962

The General Roman Calendar indicates the days of the year to which are assigned the liturgical celebrations of saints and of the mysteries of the Lord that are to be observed wherever the Roman Rite is used. National and diocesan liturgical calendars, as well as those of religious orders and even of continents, add other saints or transfer the celebration of a particular saint from the date assigned in the General Calendar to another date.

These liturgical calendars also indicate the degree or rank of each celebration: Optional Memorial, Obligatory Memorial, Feast or Solemnity. Among other differences, the Gloria is said or sung at the mass of a Feast, but not at that of a Memorial, and the Creed is added on Solemnities.

The General Calendar assigns celebrations of saints to only about half the days of the year, and contains relatively very few of the saints recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, whose official list of saints is the 776-page volume Roman Martyrology (which does not claim to contain the names of all the saints legitimately venerated). The Martyrology assigns several saints to each day of the year and gives a very brief description of each saint or group of saints.

While canonization involves the addition of the saint's name to the Roman Martyrology, it does not necessarily involve insertion of the saint's name also into the General Roman Calendar, which mentions only a very limited selection of canonized saints.

Many sources give calendars that mention one or more saints for each day of the year. One example is Saints by Day. These will usually mention the saints of the General Roman Calendar, but they will also give names of saints not included in the General Roman Calendar, especially on a day, known as a feria, to which the General Roman Calendar assigns no celebration whatever of a saint.

"Feria" is a Latin word that, in ecclesiastical usage, means "weekday"; more precisely, it refers in the calendar to days on which no saint is celebrated. "Ferial" is an adjective formed from "feria" and is used in connection with a noun, as in the phrase "ferial Mass".

The General Calendar is printed, for instance, in the successive editions of the Roman Missal[1] and the Liturgy of the Hours.[2] These are up to date when printed, but additional feasts may be added later. For instance, the celebration of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio) on 23 September does not appear in the latest editions of these two books. For that reason, if those celebrating the liturgy have not inserted into the books a note about the changes, they must consult the current annual publication, known as the "Ordo", for their country or religious congregation. These annual publications, like those that, disregarding the feasts that are obligatory in the actual church where the liturgy is celebrated, list only celebrations included in the General Calendar,[3] are useful only for the current year, since they omit celebrations impeded because of falling on a Sunday or during periods such as Holy Week and the Octave of Easter.

General Roman Calendar

As was already stated, the feast days of saints celebrated in one country are not necessarily celebrated everywhere. For example, a diocese or a country may celebrate the feast day of a saint of special importance there (e.g., St. Patrick in Ireland, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in the United States). Likewise, a particular religious order may celebrate its founder or members of the order, even if that saint is not listed on the universal calendar or is included in it only with a lower rank. The General Roman Calendar contains only those celebrations that are intended to be observed in the Roman Rite in every country of the world.

This distinction is in application of the decision of the Second Vatican Council: "Lest the feasts of the saints should take precedence over the feasts which commemorate the very mysteries of salvation, many of them should be left to be celebrated by a particular Church or nation or family of religious; only those should be extended to the universal Church which commemorate saints who are truly of universal importance."[4]

There is a common misconception that certain saints, e.g., Saint Christopher, were "unsainted" in 1969 or that veneration of them was "suppressed". In fact, Saint Christopher is recognized as a saint of the Catholic Church, being listed as a martyr in the Roman Martyrology under 25 July.[5] The change in 1969 — done with explicit recognition that, while the written Acts of Saint Christopher are merely legendary, attestations to veneration of the martyr date from ancient times — consisted of "leaving the memorial of Saint Christopher to local calendars" because of the relatively late date of its insertion into the Roman calendar.[6]

Variations from the following list of celebrations shall be indicated not here but, below, under the heading "National Calendars".

Moveable (General Calendar)

Epiphany is celebrated on the Sunday after 1 January, the Ascension of the Lord on the Seventh Sunday of Easter, and the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) on the Sunday after Holy Trinity in countries where the Episcopal Conference, with the prior approval of the Apostolic See, has decided that they are not treated as Holy Days of Obligation.

"For the pastoral advantage of the people, it is permissible to observe on the Sundays in Ordinary Time those celebrations that fall during the week and have special appeal to the devotion of the faithful, provided the celebrations take precedence over these Sundays in the Table of Liturgical Days" (General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, 58).

January (General Calendar)

Note: The feast of the Baptism of the Lord is celebrated on the Sunday after 6 January. But whenever Epiphany falls on 7 or 8 January (only in countries where it is not a Holy Day of Obligation), the feast of the Baptism of the Lord is celebrated on the following Monday.

February (General Calendar)

March (General Calendar)

April (General Calendar)

May (General Calendar)

June (General Calendar)

July (General Calendar)

August (General Calendar)

September (General Calendar)

October (General Calendar)

November (General Calendar)

December (General Calendar)

National Calendars

Only variations from the General Roman Calendar for celebrations according to the Roman Rite are given here. The various Eastern Catholic Churches have completely different liturgical calendars, as do Latin Rite Catholics who use the Ambrosian and Mozarabic Rites.




According to the national calendar of Canada, as requested by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) and approved by the Holy See:




According to the national calendar of England,[7] as requested by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales and approved by the Holy See:



According to the national calendar of Ireland,[8] as drawn up by the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference and approved by the Holy See:



New Zealand



According to the national calendar of Scotland, as requested by the Bishops' Conference of Scotland and approved by the Holy See:



United States

According to the national calendar of the United States,[9] as requested by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and approved by the Holy See:

Anglican Use

In addition to the national calendar of the United States, Anglican Use Catholics in the United States add a number of additional saints to their calendar [10]:


According to the national calendar of Wales,[11] as requested by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales and approved by the Holy See:

Local calendars

The calendar for a diocese is typically based on a national calendar, such as those listed above, with a few additions. For instance, the anniversary of the dedication of the cathedral is celebrated as a Solemnity in the cathedral church and as a Feast in all the other churches of the diocese. The feast day of the principal Patron saint of the diocese is celebrated as a Feast throughout the diocese. (General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, Table of Liturgical Days according to their order of precedence, 4 and 8.)

The calendar of a parish is based on the calendar of its diocese, but — in addition to the celebrations in the diocesan calendar — there are other celebrations, including the anniversary of the dedication of the parish church and the feast day of the principal Patron saint of the church, both of which are celebrated as Solemnities.

Other calendars

Each institute of consecrated life (Roman Catholic religious order, secular institute etc.) also has its own calendar, with variations from the General Calendar.


  1. Missale Romanum, editio typica tertia 2002, Libreria Editrice Vaticana
  2. Liturgia Horarum iuxta ritum Romanum, editio typica altera 2000, Libreria Editrice Vaticana
  3. An example is Ordo Missae Celebrandae et Divini Officii persolvendi secundum calendarium Romanum generale pro anno liturgico 2006 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana).
  4. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 111
  5. Martyrologium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2001 ISBN 88-209-7210-7)
  6. "Memoria S. Christophori, anno circiter 1550 in Calendario romano ascripta, Calendariis particularibus relinquitur: quamvis Acta S. Christophori fabulosa sint, antiqua inveniuntur monumenta eius venerationis; attamen cultus huius Sancti non pertinet ad traditionem romanam" - Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 1969), p. 131.
  7. National Calendar of England on-line
  8. National Calendar of Ireland on-line
  9. National Calendar of the USA on-line
  10. Book of Divine Worship, pg. 9ff
  11. National Calendar of Wales on-line

External links

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