Today the Church honors St. Francis de Sales. For more than two hundred years this January 24th was known as the Feast of Francis de Sales. But now it is just called the Memorial of Francis de Sales. What’s the difference? Well, fifty years ago our Church saw the need of doing away with its snobbery.
Back then, every day of the year our Church honored a different one of its saints, and in the Office for us priests we always read a short biography of the saint of the day. We could see our snobbery in that the biography of each of those saints contained the detail that the person had noble blood. Our Saint Vincent was the rare exception, in that he cam from a French sharecropper’s large family.e
We people who attended Mass every day had come to love each day’s noble saint. Each feast day liturgy carried a reading that honored the saint as a martyr, confessor, virgin, or bishop. And that had us hearing the same readings over and over. But fifty years ago the Church decided that we should hear readings from each book of the Bible.
At first we didn’t like all those strange Bible readings, and we missed our over and over hearing the same readings fitted to each saint’s day. I was one of those who complained loudly about our downgrading of our noble saints.
Francis de Sales, born in1567, was so bright that his father invested in sending him to get several doctoral degrees. But after his father had found a noble bride for his son, Francis arranged to be ordained a priest, and then he further disappointed his dad by ministering to the untitled men and women of Savoy.