By this document, Pope Paul VI implemented the Second Vatican Council's norms for restoring the liturgical year and "approve[d] by Our apostolic authority…the new Roman Universal Calendar…and likewise the general norms concerning the arrangement of the liturgical year".
The principles indicated in the document Universal Norms for the Liturgical Year were declared applicable both to the Roman Rite and to all other liturgical rites, while the practical norms were to be understood as intended for the Roman Rite alone except in so far as by their very nature they concerned other rites as well.
A liturgical day is defined as running from midnight to midnight except for Sundays and solemnities, which begin on the previous evening.
Saints of worldwide significance are to be celebrated everywhere, while others are to listed in the General Calendar as optional or are to be left to local or national calendars or those of religious institutes.
Weekdays of special importance are Ash Wednesday and the days of Holy Week, which outrank all other celebrations, and also the Advent weekdays from 17 to 24 December, and all the weekdays of Lent.
The volume Calendarium Romanum that presented the 1969 revision of the liturgical year and the General Roman Calendar, pointed out that, while the Tridentine Calendar, Pope Pius V's 1568 revision of the Roman Calendar, contained only 65 feasts of double rank, the General Roman Calendar of 1960 had 21 first-class feasts, 31 second-class, and 180 third-class, as well as 106 commemorations. Some were feasts of saints who died later than 1568, others were added as devotional feasts or because monarchs and religious institutes wanted their own saints inserted. Indeed, before the reform of Pope Pius X, feasts were gladly added for the reason that celebration of Matins on a saint's day involved recitation of only nine short psalms instead of the 18 long psalms assigned on Sundays and the 12 long psalms assigned on weekdays. Accordingly, the Second Vatican Council decreed: "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."
Progress in historical and hagiographical studies led to distinguishing three classes of saints included in the 1960 calendar that it seemed better not to keep in the revision. One class is that of the saints about whom there are serious historical problems. It cannot be affirmed that they did not exist, but the lack of clear grounds for venerating them led to their exclusion from the 1969 calendar with the single exception of Saint Cecilia (22 November) by reason of popular devotion to her. Another class is that of those ancient Roman martyrs about whom there is clear historical evidence but of whom little, if anything, is known other than their names, with the result that they have little meaning for the faithful of today. A third class is that of the founders of the ancient Roman churches known as tituli and about whom there exists a specific genre of legends. For lack of evidence that they were martyrs or confessors, as pictured in the legends, they were excluded from the revision, again with the single exception of Saint Cecilia.
While the many Roman martyrs and popes that remained (the popes reduced from 38 to 15) ensured that the tradition of a Roman calendar was preserved, the revised calendar also endeavored to maintain a certain geographical and chronological balance, by selecting from the martyrs inscribed in the 1960 calendar, the more famous ancient saints and those best known at a popular level in Rome and elsewhere, and adding some medieval and modern martyrs from different countries. A similar selection was made among non-martyr saints, with the result that 30 were removed to particular calendars. For the sake of geographical balance, most of these were Italians.
Changes to the General Roman Calendar
The following are changes introduced in 1969 by removal or transfer of celebrations in the calendar as it stood immediately before. Celebrations that remained unaltered or were newly added are not indicated.
The explanations given are those published in Calendarium Romanum in 1969. By "particular calendars" are meant those of "a particular Church or nation or family of religious". The phrase "truly of universal importance" is also taken from the Second Vatican Council's Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.
Telephorus, 5 January, added in 1602, deleted: the feast was originally that of an otherwise unknown martyr, who was not a pope.
Hyginus, 11 January, added in the 12th century, deleted; not a martyr and the date of his death is unknown.
Hilary, 14 January, moved to the date of his death, 13 January.
Felix, 14 January, not a martyr; left to particular calendars.
Paul, first hermit, 15 January, added in the 12th century, left to particular calendars in view of problems concerning the historicity of Saint Jerome's Life of him.
Maur, 15 January, added in the 12th century, left to particular calendars: he was mistakenly identified with the Saint Maurus mentioned in the Roman Martyrology for this day.
Marcellus, 16 January, left to particular calendars: not "truly of universal importance".
Prisca, 18 January, left to the calendar of the Roman basilica that bears that name: her Acts are not only fabulous but also concern a different saint.
William, 25 June, added in 1785, left to particular calendars: not "truly of universal importance".
John and Paul, 26 June, left to the Roman basilica named for them: from the historical point of view there are many difficulties concerning their Passion.
Vigil of Peter and Paul, 28 June, reduced to the optional evening Mass.
Commemoration of Paul, 30 June, abandoned: it was added to enable the Pope to follow up the 29 June celebration in Saint Peter's with another in Saint Paul's on the following day; but outside of Rome there is no need for this twofold celebration.
Margaret of Antioch, 20 July, deleted: the Acts of Saint Margaret or Marina are entirely fabulous.
Praxedes, 21 July, left to the Roman basilica of that name: the Acts of Saint Praxedes are fabulous.
Apollinaris, 23 July, left to particular calendars: not "truly of universal importance".
Liborius, 23 July, added in 1702, left to particular calendars: not "truly of universal importance".
Christina 24 July, left to particular calendars: nothing is known of her other than her name and her burial at Bolsena.
Christopher, 25 July, left to particular calendars: although the Acts of Saint Christopher are fabulous, there are ancient testimonies to his veneration; but devotion to this saint is not part of the Roman tradition.
Abdon and Sennen, 30 July, left to particular calendars: nothing is known of these martyrs other than their names and their place and day of burial.
Holy Machabees, 1 August, left to particular calendars: until 1960 they were merely commemorated in the celebration of Saint Peter in Chains; under the revised rules, the memorial of Saint Alphonsus Liguori, now on 1 August, does not admit commemorations.
Barbara, 4 December, deleted: her Acts are completely fabulous and there is much disagreement among scholars about where she was martyred.
Sabbas, 5 December, left to particular calendars: not "truly of universal importance".
Melchiades, 10 December, left to particular calendars: died not as a martyr after the Peace of Constantine.
Eusebius, 16 December, moved to the day after his death, 2 August.
Thomas, 21 December, moved to the date of the transfer of his relics, 3 July, in order not to interrupt the series of major weekdays leading to Christmas
Vigil of Christmas, 24 December, reduced to the optional evening Mass.
Note: the commemoration of Saint Anastasia previously included in the second Mass of Christmas Day, 25 December, is omitted in line with the rule in the revised Roman Missal: "At Mass only a single Collect is ever said", and was not mentioned in the commentary on the revision of General Roman Calendar, which says of 25 December: "No change.".
Pope Felix I was the bishop of Rome from 5 January 269 to his death on 30 December 274.
Pope Lucius I was the bishop of Rome from 25 June 253 to his death on 5 March 254. He was banished soon after his consecration, but gained permission to return. He was mistakenly classified as a martyr in the persecution by Emperor Valerian, which did not begin until after Lucius' death.
The calendar of saints is the traditional Christian method of organizing a liturgical year by associating each day with one or more saints and referring to the day as the feast day or feast of said saint. The word "feast" in this context does not mean "a large meal, typically a celebratory one", but instead "an annual religious celebration, a day dedicated to a particular saint".
Saint Ursula is a legendary Romano-British Christian saint, died on 21 October 383. Her feast day in the pre-1970 General Roman Calendar is 21 October. There is little definite information about her and the anonymous group of holy virgins who accompanied her and on some uncertain date were killed at Cologne. They remain in the Roman Martyrology, although their commemoration does not appear in the simplified Calendarium Romanum Generale of the 1970 Missale Romanum.
The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, known in the East as The Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple, is a liturgical feast celebrated on November 21 by the Catholic, Orthodox Churches, and some Anglo-Catholic Churches.
In Christianity, the Visitation is the visit of Blessed Virgin Mary, who was pregnant with Jesus, to St. Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist, as recorded in the Gospel of Luke, Luke 1:39–56.
Nabor and Felix were Christian martyrs thought to have been killed during the Great Persecution under the Roman emperor Diocletian. A tomb in Milan is believed to contain their relics.
Saints Marius, Martha, Audifax, and Abachum were, according to their largely legendary passio of the 6th century, four saints of the same family. They came from Persia to Rome, and were martyred in 270 for sympathizing with Christian martyrs and burying their bodies. Some ancient martyrologies place the date of their death between 268 and 270, during the reign of Claudius II, although there was no persecution of Christians during this time.
The Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God is a feast day of the Blessed Virgin Mary under the aspect of her motherhood of Jesus Christ, whom she had circumcised on the 8th day, according to the biblical and Jewish Law. Christians see him as the Lord, the Son of God. It is celebrated by the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church on 1 January, the Octave (8th) day of Christmastide. The solemnity is a Holy Day of Obligation in areas that have not abrogated it.
Liborius of Le Mans was the second Bishop of Le Mans. He is the patron saint of the cathedral and archdiocese of Paderborn in Germany. The year of his birth is unknown; he died in 397, reputedly on 23 July.
Martinian and Processus were Christian martyrs of ancient Rome. Neither the years they lived nor the circumstances of their deaths are known. They are currently buried in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.
Saints Nereus and Achilleus are two Roman martyr saints. In the present General Roman Calendar, revised in 1969, Saints Nereus and Achilleus (together) are celebrated on the 12th of May.
Symphorian, Timotheus (Timothy), and Hippolytus of Rome are three Christian martyrs who though they were unrelated and were killed in different places and at different times, shared a common feast day in the General Roman Calendar from at least the 1568 Tridentine Calendar to the Mysterii Paschalis. While still a young man, Symphorian was either beheaded or beaten to death with clubs.
Felicitas of Rome, also anglicized as Felicity, is a saint numbered among the Christian martyrs. Apart from her name, the only thing known for certain about this martyr is that she was buried in the Cemetery of Maximus, on the Via Salaria on a 23 November. However, a legend presents her as the mother of the seven martyrs whose feast is celebrated on 10 July. The Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates their martyrdom on 25 January.
Rufina and Secunda were Roman virgin-martyrs and Christian saints. Their feast day is celebrated on 10 July.
Basilides, Cyrinus, Nabor and Nazarius are saints of the Roman Catholic Church, mentioned in the Martyrology of Bede and earlier editions of the Roman Martyrology for 12 June as four Roman martyrs who suffered death under Diocletian.
This article lists the feast days of the General Roman Calendar as approved on 25 July 1960 by Pope John XXIII's motu proprioRubricarum instructum and promulgated by the Sacred Congregation of Rites the following day, 26 July 1960, by the decree Novum rubricarum. This 1960 calendar was incorporated into the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal, continued use of which Pope Benedict XVI authorized in the circumstances indicated in his 7 July 2007 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.
The Feast of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary is an optional memorial celebrated in the liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church on 12 September. It has been a universal Roman Rite feast since 1684, when Pope Innocent XI included it in the General Roman Calendar to commemorate the victory at the Battle of Vienna in 1683. It was removed from the Church calendar in the liturgical reform following Vatican II but restored by Pope John Paul II in 2002, along with the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus.
Christina of Bolsena, also known as Christina of Tyre, or in the Eastern Orthodox Church as Christina the Great Martyr, is venerated as a Christian martyr of the 3rd century. Archaeological excavations of an underground cemetery constructed at her tomb have shown that she was venerated at Bolsena by the fourth century.
Perpetua and Felicity were Christian martyrs of the 3rd century. Vibia Perpetua was a recently married well educated noblewoman, said to have been 22 years old at the time of her death, and mother of an infant she was nursing. Felicity, a slave imprisoned with her and pregnant at the time, was martyred with her. They were put to death along with others at Carthage in the Roman province of Africa.