January 1 – RELIGIOUS CALENDAR
RELIGIOUS CALENDAR .
In order to sanctify time, to give it a sense of eternity and, in the Biblical fashion, to recall to mind some events in the history of the Institute, the Superiors had the idea of publishing a religious calendar. And it was relatively early: at the end of the
19th century. The religious calendar came into being on 1st January 1898.
It contained – can you believe it? – 200 pages, with four headings for each day:
saints from the martyrology; rosary and communion intentions (if one wanted to receive communion); indulgences,· to be gained in big numbers; a thought from Montfort or from a Superior General.
From 1905 to 1953, it got reduced to less than 100 pages: smaller letters, suppression of the second heading and trimming of the third. The quotations bec me, more varied: to those existing more were added from the Bible, the liturgy and the lives of saints. A new heading appeared and continued to fill out, namely, the events in the Institute.
In 1954, Rev. Br. Gabriel-Marie gave the calendar an annual theme (1954: Marian Year; 1955: Year of the educator, etc.); the illustration on the cover page changed every year, instead of the portrait of Montfort that appeared all the previous years. The theme was introduced and developed each month. The calendar had become a mini spiritual treaty. An adapted English edition was prepared in India.
1968, when so many customs were given up, saw a closing down of the calendar, but it rose again in 1971 with the title The Word of LifeFrom September
1971 to December 1974, it appeared in the form of a single monthly sheet measuring 21 x 29.7. We shall have a glance at the January 1975 number which brought about a big change in its size (eight pages measuring 14 x 21) and in its content: one page .furnished suggestions for a community meeting, and another explained a biblical theme. The five other pages gave for each day of the month precise information ori the liturgy, on the recently departed Brothers, and on Montfortian and Gabrielite events.
It was in 1984 that the calendar took its present shape, restrained and concise, and in two languages, namely, English and French (in 1997 a Spanish edition was added). It recalled the memory of Brothers who died within the last ten years.
In order to mark the entry into the 3rd millennium, we have the present calendar. As it is a permanent one, the movable feasts of the liturgical year are not included in it. By contrast, all the departed Brothers are mentioned, thanks to an updating of the necrology that appeared for the first time in 1992 and prepared by Br. Michel Morfin. Another aspect of this calendar is the presentation of our history in a different way, hopefully with the daily enjoyment of an “event” in the larger sense.