The Papal Artifacts’ Collection is primarily dedicated to artifacts connected to the papacy. Individual popes, their biographies and multiple items belonging to them, including first and second class relics, make up the majority of this Collection. But that isn’t all it is.
Father Kunst has a deep devotion to the saints as can be readily seen in viewing the Saints & Blesseds section of this site. We invite you to visit Papal History/Saints & Blesseds to view the many canonized and beatified men and women who make up this section of the Collection.
What follows is information on how feast days are ranked, liturgically, in the Catholic church.
Differences among Ranks of Feast Days
When is a feast day a feast and when is it celebrated as a solemnity or memorial?
In the Catholic Church there are three ranks of feast days – solemnities, feasts and memorials.
The most important is a solemnity, which is reserved for the major mysteries of faith. A solemnity commemorates an event in the life of Jesus or Mary or celebrates a saint important to the church in the role of salvation or to the local community. Easter, Pentecost and the Immaculate Conception, for instance, are celebrated as solemnities. Also some principal titles of God, such as the Sacred Heart, are solemnities as well as certain events in the lives of major saints, such as the birth date of St. John the Baptist. The dedication of a cathedral is celebrated as a solemnity in that cathedral parish as well.
Solemnities follow the same format as Sunday Mass – three readings, the Creed and Gloria – and follow the proper prayers designated for that day: the opening prayer, Communion prayer and prayer after Communion. They can also have a special preface.
Some solemnities are also holy days of obligation.
A feast honors a secondary mystery or title of God, the Blessed Mother or saints of particular importance. Some examples are the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and feasts days of the apostles and evangelists.
Feasts have only two readings, but include the Gloria.
Memorials are what most people think of as feast days of saints. They primarily celebrate the lives of saints. They may be broken down into memorials and optional memorials, which gives the priests an opportunity to remember more than one saint or to celebrate the Mass of the day, such as the third Wednesday in Ordinary Time. There are a few memorials that celebrate some aspects of God or Mary; for example, the Holy Name of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary are celebrated as memorials.
A memorial has at least a proper opening prayer and may have proper readings suitable for the saint being honored. A memorial may have more general prayers; for example, there is a common of martyrs, a common of pastors and a common of holy men.