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St. Martha’s feast day broadened to include siblings Mary and Lazarus


Duccio di Bouninsegna/Wikipedia

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 02/02/21

And 3 Doctors of the Church given Optional Memorials.

The memorial of St. Martha on July 29 has been broadened to include her two siblings, Mary and Lazarus.

The Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments released two decrees, approved by Pope Francis, on Tuesday.

One inscribed the Memorial of Sts. Martha, Mary, and Lazarus into the Roman Calendar on the day that was previously dedicated just to Martha.

This means all liturgical books around the world will be updated with the prayers and texts proper to these three companions of Jesus.

The decree notes:

In the household of Bethany the Lord Jesus experienced the family spirit and friendship of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, and for this reason the Gospel of John states that he loved them. Martha generously offered him hospitality, Mary listened attentively to his words and Lazarus promptly emerged from the tomb at the command of the One who humiliated death. The traditional uncertainty of the Latin Church about the identity of Mary – the Magdalene to whom Christ appeared after his resurrection, the sister of Martha, the sinner whose sins the Lord had forgiven – which resulted in the inclusion of Martha alone on 29 July in the Roman Calendar, has been resolved in recent studies and times, as attested by the current Roman Martyrology, which also commemorates Mary and Lazarus on that day. Moreover, in some particular calendars the three siblings are already celebrated together.

The decree says that the siblings offer an “important evangelical witness” in “welcoming the Lord Jesus into their home, in listening to him attentively, in believing that he is the resurrection and the life.”


Read more:
5 Sets of siblings who all became saints

Doctors of Church

In a separate decree, Pope Francis inscribed three Optional Memorials in the Roman Calendar for three Doctors of the Church.

– Saint Gregory of Narek, Abbot and Doctor of the Church, on 27 February;
– Saint John De Avila, Priest and Doctor of the Church, on 10 May;
– Saint Hildegard of Bingen, Virgin and Doctor of the Church, on 17 September.

The decree says “the combination of holiness with knowledge in the experience of the mystery of Jesus Christ is inextricably linked to the mystery of the Church.”

This link of holiness and wisdom is especially visible in those who have been given the title “Doctor of the Church”.

The decree states that these three Saints were added to the Roman Calendar because they each have something unique to offer the Church.

“The wisdom that characterizes these men and women is not solely theirs,” it reads, “since by becoming disciples of divine Wisdom they have themselves become teachers of wisdom for the entire ecclesial community.”

Teresa of Avila and Catherine of Siena

Read more:
This year is 50th anniversary of first women being named Doctors of the Church

LiturgyPope Francis
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