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Colonial Spanish Catholic Liturgical Calendar

 

This page provides an overview of the colonial Spanish Catholic liturgical calendar, since Spanish historical accounts from the colonial era very commonly include references to Catholic feast days or saint's days, as well as broader liturgical seasons, and since colonial-era labor and diet were to some extent determined within the framework of the liturgical calendar according to ecclesiastical rules limiting work activities on Sundays and major feast days, and regarding fasting and abstinence from meat during specified days and periods.  These are presented in greater detail below.

Calendar / Transcriptions / Rules


Liturgical Calendar

The colonial-era Catholic liturgical calendar consisted of movable and fixed feasts and celebrations.  The calendar dates of movable feasts varied with each year, and missals and breviaries normally included tables listing the calculated dates for seven principal feasts: Septuagesima, Ash Wednesday, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, the Body of Christ, and the First Sunday of Advent.  More detail can be found on the Movable Feasts page, including a full listing of Lenten dates throughout Florida's First Spanish Period (1513-1763).

The full calendar below includes the liturgical feasts and celebrations that occurred every year on a fixed calendar date, and is valid throughout much of the Spanish colonial era, and more specifically for the period after the 1568-1570 revisions of the Roman Catholic breviary and missal by Pope Pius V, which lasted (with some modifications) through 1911.  Feasts preceded by vigils with obligatory fasting are noted in red.  It should be noted that the calendar below is a summation of the calendars throughout this nearly two-century-long period (1568-1763), including some saints that were added late, or dropped early, and the highest rank attained by a celebration (double or semidouble) is indicated below, though some clearly rose in rank over time.  A few saints appeared on different (sometimes adjacent) dates early in their celebrations, but their final (and now traditional) date is indicated below.  Some of this variation between periods may be seen in the breviary transcriptions below.

Jan / Feb / Mar / Apr / May / Jun / Jul / Aug / Sep / Oct / Nov / Dec

 

January

January 1: Circumcision of the Lord (double).

January 2: Octave of St. Stephen (double), with commemoration of octaves.

January 3: Octave of St. John (double), with commemoration of the octave of the Holy Innocents.

January 4: Octave of the Holy Innocents (double).

January 5: Vigil, and commemoration of St. Telesphorus, pope and martyr.

January 6: Epiphany of the Lord (double).

January 7: Of the Octave of Epiphany.

January 8: Of the Octave.

January 9: Of the Octave.

January 10: Of the Octave.

January 11: Of the Octave, and commemoration of St. Hyginus, pope and martyr.

January 12: Of the Octave.

January 13: Octave of the Epiphany (double).

January 14: Hilary, bishop and confessor (semidouble), and commemoration of St. Felix, priest and martyr.

January 15: Paul the First Hermit, confessor (semidouble), and commemoration of St. Maurus, abbot.

January 16: Marcellus, pope and martyr (semidouble).

January 17: Anthony, abbot (double).

January 18: Chair of St. Peter at Rome (double), and commemoration of St. Prisca, virgin and martyr.

January 19: Marius, Martha, Audifax, and Abachum, martyrs.

January 20: Fabian and Sebastian, martyrs (double).

January 21: Agnes, virgin and martyr (double).

January 22: Vincent and Anastasius, martyrs (semidouble).

January 23: Raymond of Peņafort, conessor, and commemoration of Emerentiana, virgin and martyr.

January 24: Timothy, bishop and martyr (semidouble).

January 25: Conversion of St. Paul, apostle (double).

January 26: Polycarp, bishop and martyr (semidouble).

January 27: John Chrysostom, bishop and confessor (double).

January 28: Agnes the second.

January 29: Frances de Sales, bishop and confessor (semidouble).

January 30: Martina, virgin and martyr (semidouble).

January 31: Peter Nolasco, confessor (double).

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February 

February 1: Ignatius, bishop and martyr (semidouble).

February 2: Purification of Blessed Mary, virgin (double).

February 3: Blase, bishop and martyr.

February 4: Andrew Corsini, bishop and confessor (semidouble, optional).

February 5: Agatha, virgin and martyr (semidouble).

February 6: Dorothy, virgin and martyr.

February 7: Romuald, abbot (double).

February 8: John of Matha, confessor (double).

February 9: Apollonia, virgin and martyr.

February 10: Scholastica, virgin.

February 14: Valentine, priest and martyr.

February 15: Faustinus and Jovita, martyrs.

February 18: Simeon, bishop and martyr.

February 22: Chair of St. Peter at Antioch (double).

February 23: Vigil.

February 24: Matthias, apostle (double).

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March

March 4: Casimir, confessor (semidouble), and commemoration of St. Lucius, pope and martyr.

March 7: Thomas Aquinas, confessor and doctor of the church (double), and commemoration of Ss. Perpetua and Felicity, martyrs.

March 8: John of God, confessor (double).

March 9: Francis of Rome, widow (double).

March 10: The Forty Martyrs (semidouble).

March 12: Gregory, pope, confessor, and doctor of the church (double).

March 17: Patrick, bishop and confessor (semidouble).

March 19: Joseph, confessor (double).

March 20: Joachim, confessor (double).

March 21: Benedict, abbot (double).

March 25: Annunciation of Blessed Mary, virgin (double).

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April 

April 2: Francis of Paula, confessor (double).

April 4: Isidore, bishop and confessor (double).

April 5: Vincent Ferrer, confessor (double).

April 11: Leo, pope and confessor (double).

April 13: Hermenegild, martyr (semidouble).

April 14: Tiburtius, Valerian, and Maximus, martyrs.

April 17: Anicetus, pope and martyr.

April 21: Anselm, biship and confessor (double).

April 22: Soter and Cajus, popes and martyrs (semidouble).

April 23: George, martyr (semidouble).

April 25: Mark, evangelist (double).

April 26: Cletus and Marcellinus, popes and martyrs (semidouble).

April 28: Vitalis, martyr.

April 29: Peter, martyr (double).

April 30: Catherine of Siena, virgin (double).

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May

May 1: Philip and James, apostles (double).

May 2: Athanasius, bishop and confessor (double).

May 3: Invention of the Holy Cross (double), and commemoration of Ss. Alexander, Eventius and Theodulus, martyrs, and Juvenal, bishop and confessor, in Lauds and private Masses.

May 4: Monica, widow (semidouble).

May 5: Pius V, pope and confessor (semidouble).

May 6: John before the Latin Gate (double).

May 7: Stanislaus, bishop and martyr (semidouble).

May 8: Apparition of St. Michael, archangel (double).

May 9: Gregory Nazianzen, bishop and confessor (double).

May 10: Antoninus, bishop and confessor (semidouble), and commemoration of Ss. Gordian and Epimachus, martyrs.

May 12: Nereus, Achilleus and Domitilla, virgin, and Pancras, martyrs (semidouble).

May 14: Boniface, martyr.

May 16: Ubaldo, bishop and confessor (semidouble).

May 18: Venantius, martyr (semidouble).

May 19: Peter Celestine, pope and confessor, and commemoration of St. Pudentiana, virgin.

May 20: Bernardine of Siena, confessor (semidouble).

May 25: Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, virgin (semidouble), and commemoration of St. Urban, pope and martyr.

May 26: Philip Neri, confessor (double), and commemoration of St. Eleutherius, pope and martyr.

May 27: John, pope and martyr.

May 30: Felix, pope and martyr.

May 31: Petronilla, virgin.

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June

June 2: Marcellinus, Peter, and Erasmus, martyrs.

June 6: Norbert, bishop and confessor (double).

June 9: Primus and Felician, martyrs.

June 10: Margaret, queen of Scotland, martyr (semidouble).

June 11: Barnabas, apostle (double).

June 12: John of St. Fagondez, confessor, and commemoration of Ss. Basilides, Cyrinus, Nabor, and Nazarius, martyrs.

June 13: Anthony of Padua, confessor (double).

June 14: Basil the Great, bishop and confessor (double).

June 15: Vitus, Modestus, and Crescentia, martyrs.

June 18: Mark and Marcellianus, martyrs.

June 19: Juliana Falconieri, virgin, and commemoration of Ss. Gervase and Protase, martyrs.

June 20: Silverius, pope and martyr.

June 22: Paulinus, bishop and confessor.

June 23: Vigil.

June 24: Nativity of St. John the Baptist (double).

June 25: Of the octave of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist.

June 26: John and Paul, martyrs (double), with commemoration of the octave of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist.

June 27: Of the octave of the Nativity of St. John.

June 28: Leo, pope and confessor (semidouble), with commemoration of the octave and of the vigil.

June 29: Peter and Paul, apostles (double).

June 30: Commemoration of St Paul, apostle (double), with commemoration of the Octave of St John.

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July

July 1: Octave of St. John the Baptist (double), with commemoration of the Octave of the Apostles.

July 2: Visitation of Blessed Mary, virgin (double), with commemoration of the Octave of the Apostles, and of Ss. Processus and Martinian, martyrs.

July 3: Of the octave of the Apostles.

July 4: Of the octave.

July 5: Of the octave.

July 6: Octave of the Apostles Peter and Paul (double).

July 8: Elizabeth, queen of Portugal (semidouble).

July 10: The Seven Brothers, martyrs, and Ss. Rufina and Secunda, martyrs (semidouble).

July 11: Pius, pope and martyr.

July 12: John Gualbert, abbot (double), and commemoration of Ss. Nabor and Felix, martyrs.

July 13: Anacletus, pope and martyr (semidouble).

July 14: Bonaventure, bishop, confessor, and doctor of the church (semidouble).

July 15: Henry, emporer, confessor (semidouble).

July 16: Solemn commemoration of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel (double).

July 17: Alexius, confessor (semidouble).

July 18: Symphorosa with her seven sons, martyrs.

July 19: Vincent de Paul, confessor.

July 20: Margaret, virgin and martyr.

July 21: Praxedes, virgin.

July 22: Mary Magdalene (double).

July 23: Apollinaris, bishop and martyr (double), and commemoration of St. Liborius, bishop and confessor.

July 24: Vigil, and commemoration of Saint Christina, virgin and martyr.

July 25: James, apostle (double), and commemoration of Saint Christopher, martyr, in Lauds and private Masses.

July 26: Anna, mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary (double).

July 27: Pantaleon, martyr.

July 28: Nazarius, Celsus, and Victor, pope and martyr, and Innocent, pope and confessor (semidouble).

July 29: Martha, virgin (semidouble), and commemoration of Ss. Felix, pope, and Simplicius, Faustinus, and Beatrice, martyrs.

July 30: Ss. Abdon and Sennen, martyrs.

July 31: Ignatius, confessor.

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August

August 1: Peter in Chains (double), and commemoration of the Holy Machabees, martyrs.

August 2: Stephen, pope and martyr.

August 3: The Finding of Saint Stephen, protomartyr (semidouble).

August 4: Dominic, confessor (double).

August 5: Dedication of St. Mary of the Snows (double).

August 6: Transfiguration of the Lord (double), and commemoration of Ss. Xystus, pope, and Felicissimus and Agapitus, martyrs.

August 7: Cajetan of Thiena, confessor (double), and commemoration of St. Donatus, bishop and martyr.

August 8: Cyriacus, Largus and Smaragdus, martyrs (semidouble).

August 9: Vigil, and commemoration of St. Romanus, martyr.

August 10: Lawrence, martyr (double).

August 11: Of the octave of St Lawrence, with commemoration of Ss. Tiburtius and Susanna, martyrs.

August 12: Clare, virgin (double), and commemoration of the octave.

August 13: Of the octave, and commemoration of St. Hippolytus and his companions, and  Cassian, martyrs.

August 14: Of the octave, with commemoration of the vigil, and of St. Eusebius, confessor.

August 15: Assumption of the Blessed Mary, virgin (double).

August 16: Hyacinth, confessor (double), and commemoration of the octave of the Assumption and St. Lawrence.

August 17: Octave of St. Lawrence (double), and commemoration of the Octave of the Assumption.

August 18: Of the octave, and commemoration of St Agapitus, martyr.

August 19: Of the octave.

August 20: Bernard, abbot (double), with commemoration of the Octave of the Assumption.

August 21: Of the octave.

August 22: Octave of the Assumption of Blessed Mary (double), and commemoration of Ss. Timothy, Hippolytus, and Symphorianus, martyrs.

August 23: Philip Benizi, confessor (double), with commemoration of the vigil.

August 24: Bartholomew, apostle (double). At Rome celebrated on the 25th.

August 25: Louis, king of France, confessor (semidouble). Rome, 26th.

August 26: Zephyrinus, pope and martyr.

August 28: Augustine, bishop, confessor, and doctor of the church (double), and commemoration of Saint Hermes, martyr.

August 29: Beheading of St. John the Baptist (double), and commemoration of St. Sabina, martyr.

August 30: Rose of St. Mary of Lima, virgin, with commemoration of Ss. Felix and Adauctus, martyrs.

August 31: Raymund Nonnatis, confessor (double).

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September

September 1: Giles Abbot, and commemoration of the Holy Twelve Brothers, martyrs.

September 2: Stephen, king of Hungary, confessor (semidouble).

September 8: Nativity of Blessed Mary, virgin (double), and commemoration of St. Adrian, martyr, in Lauds and private Masses.

September 9: Of the Octave of Blessed Mary, and commemoration of St. Gorgonius, martyr.

September 10: Nicholas of Tolentino, confessor (double), and commemoration of the Octave of the Nativity of Blessed Mary.

September 11: Of the octave, and commemoration of Ss. Protus and Hyacinth, martyrs.

September 12: Of the octave.

September 13: Of the octave.

September 14: Exaltation of the Holy Cross (double), with commemoration of the Octave of the Nativity of Blessed Mary.

September 15: Octave of the Nativity of Blessed Mary (double), with commemoration of St. Nicomedes, martyr.

September 16: Cornelius and Cyprian, pope and bishop, and martyrs (semidouble), and commemoration of Ss. Euphemia, Lucy, and Geminianus, martyrs.

September 17: Impression of the Stigmata of St. Francis (semidouble).

September 18: Thomas of Villanova, bishop and confessor (semidouble).

September 19: Januarius, bishop, and companions (double).

September 20: Eustace and companions, martyrs (double), and commemoration of the vigil.

September 21: Matthew, apostle and evangelist (double).

September 22: Maurice and companions, martyrs.

September 23: Linus, pope and martyr (semidouble), and commemoration of St. Thecla, virgin and martyr.

September 26: Cyprian and Justina, martyrs.

September 27: Cosmas and Damian, martyrs (semidouble).

September 28: Wenceslas, duke and martyr (semidouble).

September 29: Dedication of St. Michael Archangel (double).

September 30: Jerome, priest, confessor, and doctor of the church (double).

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October

October 1: Remigius, bishop and confessor (double).

October 2: Guardian angels (double).

October 4: Francis, confessor (double).

October 5: Placid and companions, martyrs.

October 6: Bruno, confessor (double).

October 7: Mark, pope and confessor, and commemoration of Ss. Sergius, Bacchus, Marcellus, and Apuleius, martyrs.

October 8: Bridget, widow (double).

October 9: Denis, Rusticus, and Eleutherius, martyrs (semidouble).

October 10: Francis Borgia, confessor (semidouble).

October 13: Edward, king, confessor (semidouble).

October 14: Callistus, pope and martyr (semidouble).

October 15: Theresa, virgin (double).

October 18: Luke, evangelist (double).

October 19: Peter of Alcantara, confessor (double).

October 21: Hilarion, abbot, and commemoration of St. Ursula and companions, virgins and martyrs.

October 25: Chrysanthus and Daria, martyrs.

October 26: Evaristus, pope and martyr.

October 27: Vigil.

October 28: Simon and Jude, apostles (double).

October 31: Vigil.

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November

November 1: Feast of All Saints (double).

November 2: Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (double), and of the Octave of All Saints.

November 3: Of the octave.

November 4: Charles, bishop and confessor (double), and commemoration of the octave, and of Ss. Vitalis and Agricola, martyrs.

November 5: Of the octave.

November 6: Of the octave.

November 7: Of the octave.

November 8: Octave of All Saints (double), and commemoration of the Holy Four Crowned Martyrs.

November 9: Dedication of the Basilica of the Saviour (double), and commemoration of St. Theodore, martyr.

November 10: Andrew Avellino, confessor (semidouble), and commemoration of Ss. Tryphon, Respicius, and Nympha, martyrs.

November 11: Martin, bishop and confessor (double), and commemoration of St. Menas, martyr.

November 12: Martin, pope and martyr (semidouble).

November 17: Gregory Thaumaturgus, bishop and confessor (semidouble).

November 18: Dedication of the Basilicas of Peter and Paul (double).

November 19: Elizabeth, widow (double), and commemoration of St. Pontianus, pope and martyr.

November 20: Felix of Valois, confessor (double).

November 21: Presentation of Blessed Mary, virgin (double).

November 22: Cecilia, virgin and martyr (double).

November 23: Clement, pope and martyr (semidouble), and commemoration of St. Felicitas, martyr.

November 24: Chrysogonus, martyr.

November 25: Catherine, virgin and martyr (double).

November 26: Peter of Alexandria, bishop and martyr.

November 29: Vigil, and commemoration of St. Saturninus, martyr.

November 30: Andrew, apostle (double).

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December

December 2: Bibiana, virgin and martyr (semidouble).

December 3: Francis Xavier, confessor (double).

December 4: Peter Chrysologus, bishop and confessor, and commemoration of St. Barbara, virgin and martyr, commemoration.

December 5: Sabbas, abbot, commemoration.

December 6: Nicholas, bishop and confessor (double).

December 7: Ambrose, bishop, confessor, and doctor of the church (double).

December 8: Conception of Blessed Mary, virgin (double).

December 9: Of the Octave of the Conception.

December 10: Of the octave, and commemoration of St. Melchiades, pope and martyr, commemoration.

December 11: Damasus, pope and confessor (semidouble), with commemoration of the octave.

December 12: Of the octave.

December 13: Lucy, virgin and martyr (double), with commemoration of the octave.

December 14: Of the octave.

December 15: Octave of the Conception of Blessed Mary (double).

December 16: Eusebius of Vercelli, bishop and martyr (semidouble).

December 20: Vigil.

December 21: Thomas, apostle (double).

December 24: Vigil.

December 25: Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ (double).

December 26: Stephen, protomartyr (double), and commemoration of the Octave of the Nativity.

December 27: John, apostle and evangelist (double), and commemoration of the Octaves.

December 28: The Holy Innocents, martyrs (double), and commemoration of the Octaves.

December 29: Thomas of Canterbury, bishop and martyr (semidouble), and commemoration of the Octaves.

December 30: Of the Sunday within the Octave of the Nativity, or of the Octave of the Nativity, with commemoration of the Octaves.

December 31: Sylvester, pope and confessor (double), with commemoration of the Octaves.

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Breviary Transcriptions

1738 Breviary volumeThe transcripts of published liturgical calendars linked below provide an overview of some of the more notable celebrations observed during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries.  All the information on these calendar pages were extracted from published Roman Breviaries, containing the Latin text of the Divine Office prayed by priests on a daily basis.  Account records from colonial Spanish Florida include many examples of breviary books purchased for use by Florida missionaries and secular clergy, and thus it may be presumed that this type of volume was in regular use in Florida and the rest of the Spanish colonial world (see 1738 example to right).

The information included in these breviaries, dating to between 1542 and 1738, typically included tables calculating the precise dates of movable feasts (such as Easter), which occurred on different days each year, as well as monthly calendars denoting the fixed daily celebrations and seasons which framed the liturgical year.  Some volumes additionally included details about the relative rank and priority of each class of liturgical feast day, along with tables providing instructions as to which class took priority over another when there were concurrences between two celebrations.

The transcripts provided here are in the original Latin (and also Spanish, in the last case), and include original abbreviations and other formatting details, including red text where it appears in the original.  As will be noted, there are differences both small and large between the liturgical calendars of each breviary volume, generally due to ongoing changes in the Roman Catholic calendar of saints and other commemorations.  The most substantial change is evident between the 1542 and 1675 calendars, due in large part to reforms in Catholic calendar as a result of the Council of Trent, and in particular the major reform in the Roman Breviary instituted by Pope Pius V in 1568.  Many celebrations, however, persisted throughout the entire period.

1542

Extracts from Breviarium Romanum ex sacra potissimum scriptura, & probatis sanctoru historiis nuper confectum, ac denuo per eundem authorem accuratius recognitum (Lyon, 1542).

1675

Extracts from Breviarium Romanum Ex decreto Sacro-sancti Consilii Tridentini restitutum, Pii V. Pont. Max. jussu editum, Et Clementis VIII primum, nunc denuo Urbani PP. VIII auctoritate recognitum (Paris, 1675).

1729

Extracts from Breviarium Romanum Ex decreto sacrosancti Consilii Tridentini restitutum, Pii V. Pont. Max. jussu editum, et Clementis VIII primum, nunc denuo Urbani PP. VIII auctoritate recognitum (Antwerp, 1729).

1738

Extracts from Oficio de Nuestra Seņora (Antwerp, 1738). 

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Ecclesiastical Rules

Within the context of the liturgical calendar summarized above, Spanish Catholics were expected to confirm to specific rules of behavior with respect to behavior and diet.  The information was below was compiled from a variety of sources, but is perhaps best summarized in the two-volume Instituciones del Derecho Canonico Americano, by Justo Donoso (1848-1849), esp. pp. 208-212 and 223-233.

On Sundays and major feast days throughout the year, the following activities were generally prohibited, with exceptions granted under specific circumstances:

  • Servile Labor, including manual and intellectual labor, both obligatory and voluntary.

  • Business Transactions, excluding the sale and purchase of necessities.

  • Judicial Acts, including all stages of the judicial process.

In addition, below are the specific rules regarding abstinence from meat, as well as fasting (only one large meal in a day) combined with abstinence:

Abstinence (no meat)

Fridays and Saturdays throughout the year

Sundays in Lent only

Major Rogation (Greater Litanies) on the day of St. Mark [April 25]

Minor Rogations on the three days (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday) preceding Ascension Thursday

Fasting and Abstinence (only one meal, and no meat)

All days of Lent, excluding Sundays

Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays of the four Ember Weeks, including (1) the week after the first Sunday of Lent, (2) the week after Pentecost, (3) the week after Exaltation of the Cross [Sept. 14], (4) the last full week before the Christmas Vigil [Dec. 24]

Vigils (excluding Sundays, when fast is observed the previous Saturday), including vigils for the feast days of Christmas, Pentecost, St. John the Baptist, St. Lawrence, All Saints, and for all the apostles except St. Philip and St. James, and St. John the Evangelist.

From the above regulations, the following general dietary rules may be interpreted for colonial-era Spaniards:

General Dietary Rules for Days of the Week

  • Sundays were never marked by fasting, and by abstinence only during Lent

  • Fridays and Saturdays were always marked by abstinence, and also by fasting throughout Lent, during the four Ember Weeks, and on specific Vigil days.

  • Thursdays were occasionally marked by abstinence on April 25, and also by fasting throughout Lent, and on specific Vigil days.

  • Wednesdays were occasionally marked by abstinence on April 25, and always during the Minor Rogations, and were also marked by fasting throughout Lent, during the four Ember Weeks, and on specific Vigil days.

  • Mondays and Tuesdays were occasionally marked by abstinence on April 25, and always during the Minor Rogations, and were also marked by fasting throughout Lent, and on specific Vigil days.

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