November 16th is the traditional date of the feast of Saint Aelfric!
Trouble is, he’s not in the ACNA calendar, so you kind of have to add this day in. Double trouble: today is already occupied by St. Margaret, Queen of Scotland. Solution: move her aside, to the 15th, to make room for Aelfric today. Is this allowed? Yes, because….
- at the official level, all of these commemorations are optional anyway;
- moving Minor Saints Days around to make room for more days of higher rank (including other Saints’ Days) is already part of Western tradition;
- if you’re a fan of this ministry, then celebrating its patron saint is actually quite appropriate.
Let’s say you even want to commemorate him at the daily Eucharist today, or just in an Antecommunion liturgy on your own. There are about nine sets of Propers (that is, collects & lessons) for commemorations like these, and Aelfric fits the bill for Monastic, for Pastor, and for Teacher of the Faith. I haven’t made my own final decision on which Collect to choose for him, but these are the lessons I prefer for his commemoration:
- Proverbs 3:13-26 & Psalm 119:89-106 (from for a Teacher of the Faith)
- Acts 2:42-47 (from for a Monastic)
- Matthew 24:42-50 (from for a Pastor)
Now it should be noted that these Propers are not meant to be mixed and matched like this. For the optional commemorations, we are meant to pick one, wholesale. Each set is ordered such that they speak to a common theme, or type of Saint, and if you mix them up you run the risk of creating an incoherent scattering of liturgical bits and bobs. The reason I’m breaking this rule for the commemoration of St. Aelfric is because I aim to treat this day as if it were a Major Feast Day with a unique set of Propers.
Finally, whether you celebrate Aelfric in the liturgy today or not, you can still read more about him. I’ve prepared a brief biography of him over at leorningcnihtes boc, and you can also read about why he is the patron of this Customary on this page.
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