Particular Calendars

When devotion to the Holy Spouses becomes widespread in a diocese, the faithful may petition the bishop of the diocese to include the liturgical celebration of the Holy Spouses in the proper liturgical calendar of the diocese, usually as an optional memorial. If the local bishop approves this request, it must then be submitted to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments for confirmation. Religious congregations may also petition to have the liturgical observance included in their particular calendars.

When the liturgical celebration has been accepted in a significant number of particular calendars throughout the country for a significant period of time (usually 5 to 10 years), petition may be made for it to be included in the national liturgical calendar.

Usually particular calendars consist of observances having particular significance for the local area, often because the particular saint lived or ministered there. The Holy Spouses devotion, on the other hand, has a universal significance still to be recognized. Mary and Joseph are the most universal patrons, and their betrothal is an undeniable part of the mystery of redemption. The process for acceptance of the liturgical celebration, however, will most likely begin with its widespread re-introduction into particular calendars, especially where it was already present prior to Vatican II, such as in the United States of America, since 1840.

January 23 came to be the date most used to celebrate the feast, but it was by no means the only date, which has varied according to time and place. In the particular calendar of the United States, January 23 already has two optional memorials, that of St. Vincent (transferred from January 22 in favor of the day of prayer and penance for acts of abortion) and St. Marianne Cope (canonized in 2012). Rather than compete to add a third optional memorial to that same day, it could be suggested that the Holy Spouses be celebrated in the United States on the nearest dates liturgically free, which would be January 19 or January 29.