The Church Year: Jan. 20, 2012

by Jimmy Akin

in +Religion, Liturgical Year

Today is Friday of the 2nd week in Ordinary Time. The liturgical color is green.

In the Extraordinary Form, this is the season after Epiphany, and the liturgical color for today is red.


Saints & Celebrations:

Today, January 20, in both the Ordinary and the Extraordinary Form, we celebrate St. Fabian, pope and martyr who died in A.D. 250. It is an optional memorial.

In both the Ordinary and the Extraordinary Form, we also celebrate St. Sebastian, martyr, who died in A.D. 284. It is a Class III day.

If you’d like to learn more about St. Fabian, you can click here.

If you’d like to learn more about St. Sebastian, you can click here.

For information about other saints, blesseds, and feasts celebrated today, you can click here.



To see today’s readings in the Ordinary Form, you can click here.

Or you can click play to listen to them:


Devotional Information:

According to the Holy See’s Directory on Popular Piety:

29. In the West, the high middle ages saw the formation of new cultures, and political and civil institution deriving from the encounter of Christianity, already by the fifth century, with peoples such as the Celts, the Visigoths, the Anglosaxons, and the Francogermans.

Between the seventh and the fifteenth century, a decisive differentiation between Liturgy and popular piety began to emerge which gradually became more pronounced, ending eventually in a dualism of celebration. Parallel with the Liturgy, celebrated in Latin, a communitarian popular piety celebrated in the vernacular emerged.

30. The following may be counted among the reasons for the development of this dualism:

  • the idea that the Liturgy was the competence of clerics since the laity were no more than spectators at the Liturgy;
  • the marked distinction of roles in Christian society – clerics, monks, and laity – gave rise to different styles and forms of prayer;
  • in Liturgy and iconography, the distinct and particular consideration given to the various aspects of the one mystery of Christ, while expressing a devotion for the life and work of our Lord, failed to facilitate an explicit realization of the centrality of the Paschal mystery and encouraged a multiplicity of particular times and forms of celebration of a distinctively popular tenor;
  • lack of a sufficient knowledge of the Scriptures on the part, not only of the laity, but of many clerics and religious, made access to an understanding of the structure and symbolic language of the Liturgy difficult;
  • the diffusion of apocryphical literature containing many stories of miracles and episodic anecdotes, on the other hand, had a significant influence on iconography which, touching the immagination of the faithful, naturally attracted their attention;
  • the parctical absence of any form of homeletic preaching, the disappearance of mystagogical preaching, and poor catechetical formation, rendered the celebration of the Liturgy closed to the understanding and active participation of the faithful who turned to alternative [ritual] times and forms;
  • a tendencey to allegory, excessively incroaching on the meaning of the liturgical texts and rites, often deviated the faithful from an understanding of the true nature of the Liturgy;
  • the discovery of expressive, popular forms and structures unconsciously redrafted the Liturgy which, from many perspectives, had become increasingly incomprehensible and distant from the people.

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