According to Catholicism, what are the norms or rubrics that explain what is the patronal feast day of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, when no particular mystery or other title has been indicated?

In my diocese alone there are many churches dedicated to the Virgin Mary with no other indication as to know when we should celebrate the parish feast day!

I am interested in the norms and rubrics for both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Rites of the Mass, whether they are different or the same.

  • 2
    My gut feeling is that it is the Feast of the Assumption.
    – Ken Graham
    Jul 31, 2019 at 10:58
  • The title of these churches is St. Mary’s Catholic Church. What is the norm(s) that the Church uses to determine what feast day is to be accorded to the parish church?
    – Ken Graham
    Jul 31, 2019 at 22:58

2 Answers 2


Your hunch "that it is the Feast of the Assumption" appears correct, at least according to

  • Rev. W. J. Wiseman, “The Titular Feast,” The Pastor 3, no. 5 (March 1885): 129–36.

In the § "Practical Directions" (p. 131), he writes:

  1. Blessed Virgin is a general title. […]
    (a) If the titulus is simply B. M. V., the titular feast is to be celebrated on the feast of the Assumption, where everything remains as now in the Ordo.

That's interesting it's the Assumption and not the Immaculate Conception (whose dogma Pius IX defined 31 years prior to this article, in Ineffabilis Deus). Of course the feast of the Assumption was celebrated even before Pius XII defined the dogma in Munificentissimus Deus in 1950, too. They're both great (1st class) feasts.

  • It is appropriate that it is the Feast of the Assumption as this feast is the birthday of Mary’s entrance into heaven.
    – Ken Graham
    Aug 1, 2019 at 0:54
  • A parish church (Anglican) not all that far from me has recently reverted to its pre-Reformation title of "the Assumption and St Nicolas" (from "the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Nicholas", different spellings and all). Aug 2, 2019 at 7:50

There are several Marian feasts, so it's hard to know.

Marian feasts:

  • Feb. 2: Purification
  • Feb. 11: Apparition of Our Lady at Lourdes
  • Mar. 25: Annunciation
  • May 13: Our Lady of Fatima
  • May 31: Visitation of the B.V.M.
  • July 16: Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
  • Aug. 5: Mary of the Snows
  • Aug. 15: Assumption of the B.V.M.
  • Aug. 22: Immaculate Heart of Mary / Queenship of Mary
  • Sep. 8: Mary's Nativity (birthday)
  • Sep. 12: Holy Name of Mary
  • Sep. 15: Seven Sorrows of Mary
  • Oct. 7: Holy Rosary
  • Nov. 21: Presentation of Mary in the Temple
  • Dec. 8: Immaculate Conception
  • Dec. 12: Our Lady of Guadalupe

(The dates are from the traditional calendar; you can see if they've been changed in the Novus Ordo calendar.)

  • I am quite aware that there are many Marian feasts. The norms that I am searching for do exist., can not locate them.
    – Ken Graham
    Jul 31, 2019 at 10:19
  • I guess September 24 is a feast only in England. Jul 31, 2019 at 13:18
  • As far as I know, the traditional patronal feast for churches named (just) for Mary would be the feast of her name, September 12. Jul 31, 2019 at 14:45

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