Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Solemnity

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(From Lat. solet and annus — a yearly celebration).

The word solemnity is here used to denote the amount of intrinsic or extrinsic pomp with which a feast is celebrated. Intrinsic solemnity arises from the fact that the feast is primarium for the entire Church, or for a special place, because in it a saint was born, lived or died; or because his relics are honoured there. Extrinsic solemnity is added by feriatio, by the numbers of sacred ministers, decorations of the church or adjoining streets, the ringing of bells, the number of candles, costly vestments, etc. In the Roman Martyrology Easter Sunday is announced as the solemnity of solemnities; the first Sunday of October, as the solemnity of the Rosary of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. The term solemnity is also used in contracts, especially matrimony, in votive Masses, in vows, and in ecclesiastical trials.

FRANCIS MERSHMAN