Patronatsfest der Schmerzhaften Mutter, immer am Freitag vor dem Palmsonntag, also eine Woche vor dem Karfreitag.

Herrgottsruh celebrates Friday of Sorrows on 22 March

Our Lady of Sorrows has been the patron saint of the Herrgottsruh Brotherhood since 1727

On Friday 22nd March 2024, the patronal feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, the Friday of Sorrows, will be celebrated in the pilgrimage church of Herrgottsruh in Friedberg, Bavaria. This feast always falls on the Friday before Palm Sunday, one week before Good Friday. The Mother of Sorrows is the patron saint of the Herrgottsruh Brotherhood, which was founded by decree of the Bishop of Augsburg on 28 April 1727.

A rich spiritual programme is planned:

8.00 am Morning Praise
8.30 a.m. Festive High Mass followed by coffee and cake in the Fraternity House for all participants.
14.00 Rosary
14.30 Stations of the Cross

According to Father Hans-Joachim Winkens, director of the pilgrimage, the history of this Friday of Sorrows is interesting, as the traditional date is still celebrated in Herrgottsruh as the patron saint’s day, which the Church has officially moved to 15 September.

Reform of the calendar of saints in 1970

On 1 January 1970, following the Second Vatican Council (1961-65), the new calendar of saints came into force. There was a storm of protest among Catholic Christians at the time: some feast days and name days were moved, such as those of St Clare and St Henry, because the exact dates of their deaths were now known, while other “saints” were initially removed, such as St Christopher and St George, because they were considered legendary figures. However, much of this was soon reversed by the Vatican, or special permission was granted to celebrate the traditional dates.

The doctrine of the seven sorrows of Mary

The patronal feast of Our Lady of Sorrows also fell victim to this calendar reform. Medieval theology, especially among the Cistercians, developed the doctrine of the Seven Sorrows of Mary. Their celebration was recommended at a synod in Cologne in 1423 and made obligatory for the whole Church by Pope Benedict XIII in 1737.

Patronal feasts on 22 March and 15 September?

An unfortunate duplication of the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows occurred in 1814, when Pope Pius VII moved the feast to 15 September, one day after the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, in thanksgiving for his return from Napoleonic captivity, but kept the old date. For Pallottine Father Winkens, this is also a happy coincidence: “This means that we can celebrate the patron saint’s feast twice a year in Herrgottsruh. In the pilgrimage church of Herrgottsruh we keep to the traditional date. We invite people to make a pilgrimage on the Friday of Sorrow during Lent”.

Invitation and pictures: Father Hans-Joachim Winkens SAC, Pilgrim Director

What is a Catholic Brotherhood?
A confraternity is an association or body recognised by the Church, typically formed in the 17th and 18th centuries to carry out “works of piety and social charity” and to organise their own services, pilgrimages and processions. Brotherhoods were an integral part of Catholic popular piety. The patron saints and symbols had, and still have, a special meaning for the members of a confraternity.


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