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MARTIN MASS AND “ST. MARTIN’S SUMMER”

This past week we have celebrated the annual Feast of St. Martin of Tours (+397 A.D.) on November 11th (co-incident with our national Veterans’ Day Holiday.) St. Martin’s Feast (Martinmas or Martin Mass) is a wonderful complement to the Feast of All Saints’ as he is the first non-martyr so venerated as a Saint in Heaven by the Western Church. He is a “Confessor” Saint (that is, a male saint who did not die a blood-martyr’s death.) A Roman soldier since the age of 15, he gave up his military belt and was baptized a Christian at the age of 18 (A.D. 334).

He became a monk and later the Bishop of Tours in Roman Gaul (present-day France). Revered by the faithful for the holiness of his life, God gave him the power to work miracles, including raising three persons from the dead. When he celebrated Mass an orb of light hovered over his head.

The summer-like warm weather which we typically experience in New England at this time of November (as we did this past week) is also known in Europe. It is called “St. Martin’s Summer”.

Martin Mass was a major day of feasting in the Middle Ages. For this reason, St. Martin is sometimes represented holding a goose for the cooked goose of the St. Martin’s feast-day table. Martin Mass was also at one time a kind of last-feast before what were once the austerities observed before Christmas. November 14th was the beginning of the “Moses Lent” which lasted until Christmas Eve, December 24th.  

For us, our American Thanksgiving Day serves as a great feast before the time of recollection (if not of a Lent-like fast) begins with Adventide. This year, two Sundays from today. 

 

About Our Parish

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes is Newton and Needham Massachusetts's oldest Roman Catholic Parish. Founded as Saint Mary's Parish in 1870 it was renamed "Mary Immaculate of Lourdes" when the new Church was dedicated on Thanksgiving Day, 1910. In addition to being a regular territorial parish of the Archdiocese of Boston it is also a "Mission Parish" since 2007 with a special apostolate for the Traditional Latin Mass (1962 Missal).

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"If you are willing to serenely bear the trial of being displeasing to yourself, then you will be for Jesus a pleasant place of shelter."
- St. Therese of Lisieux (+1897)

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