With the revival of the traditional Roman Mass throughout the Church, a number of rather significant calendar differences between old and new make themselves increasingly felt by the faithful and those who minister to them. We are all aware, but no one better than our dedicated clergy, that almost every Sunday of the year would demand two different homilies if the same priest, intending to preach on the readings of the day, celebrated Masses in both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms.

One of the most egregious differences between the two calendars is the location of the Feast of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ. In the old calendar, it is always celebrated on the last Sunday of the month of October, right before All Saints. In the new calendar, however, it is the last Sunday of the liturgical year, leading up to the First Sunday of Advent. In practice, the gap between these is often as great as a month. In bi-formal parishes or chapels, the priest is advised to keep that October homily handy for November.

Noting the existence of this difference is not nearly as interesting as asking why there should be such a difference, particularly in a feast of such recent origin. After all, Pope Pius XI instituted the feast in 1925, and already, by 1970, it had been moved. To answer this question, we need to look first at the reasons given by Pope Pius XI himself for choosing the last Sunday of October:

Therefore by Our Apostolic Authority We institute the Feast of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ to be observed yearly throughout the whole world on the last Sunday of the month of October—the Sunday, that is, which immediately precedes the Feast of All Saints. … The last Sunday of October seemed the most convenient of all for this purpose, because it is at the end of the liturgical year, and thus the feast of the Kingship of Christ sets the crowning glory upon the mysteries of the life of Christ already commemorated during the year, and, before celebrating the triumph of all the Saints, we proclaim and extol the glory of him who triumphs in all the Saints and in all the Elect. Make it your duty and your task, Venerable Brethren, to see that sermons are preached to the people in every parish to teach them the meaning and the importance of this feast, that they may so order their lives as to be worthy of faithful and obedient subjects of the divine King. (Encyclical Letter Quas Primas, 28-29) CONTINUE READING