During the long liturgical season of Ordinary Time (also known as the “Time through the Year”) the liturgy can be a little repetitive. Those who are in the habit of going to daily Mass might notice that the main prayers at Mass (opening, offertory, and post-communion prayers) are the same ones as the previous Sunday – meaning that in a week where there are no obligatory feast days, one might hear those same prayers seven days in a row!
On the weekdays of Ordinary Time the priest has a lot of flexibility, however, as to which prayers he can use on days when there is no obligatory feast or memorial. For example, I could use the prayers from any Ordinary Time Sunday – not just from the previous. I could also use one of the Masses from the “Masses and Prayers for Various Needs” section of the Missal. These include themes like…
- For the Pope
- For the Unity of Christians
- For the Nation or State
- For the Sick
- For the Grace of a Happy Death
- For Giving Thanks to God
- For Chastity
- For Charity
…and there are several others.
Or, I could celebrate one of the so-called “Votive Masses”. This is how the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops explains the difference between the Masses for Various Needs and the Votive Masses:
Whereas the Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions respond to the concerns and demands that weigh on the Christian in the world, Votive Masses respond to the devotional desires and preferences.These Masses highlight 19 central aspects of the faith and are intended to foster the devotion of the faithful toward these central mysteries, which include the Trinity, the Mercy of God, Christ, the Cross, the Eucharist, the Holy Spirit, Mary, the Angels and the Saints.
A few months back I came across a list of the Votive Masses that are traditionally offered on certain days of the week for devotional purposes. I provide that list here, with the hopes that other priests will discover this long-standing tradition and put it into practice wherever they celebrate the Sacred Mysteries:
Traditional Daily Votive Masses
Monday: Most Holy Trinity
Wednesday: St. Joseph, or Ss. Peter & Paul, or Holy Apostles
Thursday: Holy Spirit, or Blessed Sacrament, or Jesus Christ High Priest
Friday: Holy Cross, or Passion of the Lord, or Sacred Heart
Saturday: Our Lady