I managed to forget that yesterday was Canada’s Thanksgiving Day. Possibly only our Canadian oblate and friends registered the lapse, and, being Canadians, forgave as soon as they noticed. Today the liturgical calendar gives us the memoria of Blessed John Henry Newman, the feast of St Denis of Paris (and his companions) and a lovely mish-mash of local devotions, depending on where one happens to be. I can cope with that, but it is also Libraries Week and I don’t know how many special ‘days for’ everything under the sun. It seems that the further we get from Christianity, the more we multiply our secular commemorations in an awkward kind of parallel liturgicalism. I am suffering from calendar overload, and possibly you are, too. Being asked to pray for whatever good (and sometimes not so good) cause has attracted a Twitter hashtag is one thing; being expected to order our priorities according to these newly-coined ‘days for’ is another. The Church, of course, was here long before our our secular counterparts with her adoption of saints and martyrs as patrons of this, that and the other. St Denis, for example, is patron saint of those suffering from frenzy, strife, headaches, and hydrophobia. Bl. John Henry is too recently beatified to have attracted official patronage of any except the Ordinariate, but I’m sure it won’t be long before he also has a string of causes to his name. It is perhaps perverse of me, but I find the older, liturgical commemorations, throwing as they do light on the concerns of our forebears, much more human and much less strident than the demands made on us by many of our contemporary ‘days’. Mind you, Libraries Week has definite appeal . . .