Once upon a time, many significant days in the Church had an Octave associated with them, for example the Epiphany of the Lord, Pentecost and Corpus Christi. When the Calendar was revised after the Second Vatican Council, only two remained: Easter and Christmas. However, unlike Easter when each day is celebrated as Easter Sunday, the Christmas Octave is rich with a variety of celebrations of Saints for the first part of the day and reverts to the Christmas focus in the evening.
Tuesday 26th December: The Feast of St Stephen the First Martyr, patron of Deacons and Altar servers
Wednesday 27th December: The feast of St John the Evangelist, patron of our Cathedral and the only Apostle not to suffer a martyr’s death.
Thursday 28th December: we recall the Holy Innocents who gave their lives during the great slaughter by King Herod.
Friday 29th December: we celebrate the bishop and martyr, St Thomas of Canterbury, patron of the secular clergy and principal patron of the City of Portsmouth.
Sunday 31st December as the secular year draws to a close we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph when we recall the wonderful example of that family par excellence.
May all these holy men and women guide us and pray for us during this Christmas week.